Agenda for Children

Meet the Staff

Dr. Anthony Recasner, CEO

Tony Recasner, CEOA native of New Orleans, Dr. Anthony “Tony” Recasner took over the helm of Agenda for Children in January 2011 after almost twenty years of working to reform public education in New Orleans. Tony is co-founder of FirstLine Schools, a charter school management organization which opened the city’s first charter school (New Orleans Charter Middle School) and now operates five charter schools. Tony’s work has consistently demonstrated how to educate disadvantaged children by challenging and engaging them academically, while effectively addressing their social and emotional needs. In January 2009 at President George W. Bush’s farewell address to the nation, Tony was recognized by the President for his work and for serving as an example of heroism for all Americans. Tony serves on the board of the Louisiana Children’s Medical Center, Children's Hospital, the Louisiana Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board, Bureau of Governmental Research, St. Andrew's Episcopal School and the GPOA Foundation. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Louisiana Outdoor Outreach Program (LOOP). Tony has a Master’s and Doctorate in School Psychology from Tulane University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Loyola University New Orleans. 

Yolanda Brumfield, Director of Finance and Administration

Born in the New Orleans area Yolanda has lived in San Francisco and the Washington, DC area before returning to New Orleans in 2012. Yolanda has over 18 years of accounting and not-for profit experience and brings to Agenda an extensive background in corporate, grant and project budgeting; training and developing staff; grant management; internal controls; and change management. Prior to joining Agenda, Yolanda worked as Director of Finance for US-based international non-profits where she was responsible for establishing and maintaining headquarters’ and field office accounting operations, worked with management and the board in developing strategic financial plans and multi-year forecasts. Yolanda has also worked in public accounting assisting clients with the development and implementation of budgeting concepts. Yolanda holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Howard University and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Virginia and Louisiana.

Elizabeth Kief, Director, Child Care Resource and Referral

A native of Long Island, New York, Elizabeth "Luz" Kief comes to Agenda for Children with more than 22 years of experience in the Early Care and Education field. She has direct teaching experience in full inclusion preschool and self-contained early childhood special education classrooms. While working in a regional CCR&R in southwest Florida, Elizabeth held positions as a Resource and Referral Specialist, Infant/Toddler Specialist, Program Coordinator, and Assistant Education Director where she was responsible for supervision of directly operated early care and education sites and the development, provision, and/or facilitation of both community and regional trainings and technical assistance activities. She also has extensive experience with varied child and program assessments as a teacher, trainer, and assessor. Elizabeth has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and has taken graduate level coursework in early childhood special education and general special education.

Kathy Namba, Director of the Early Childhood Professional Development Institute

Kathy Namba is a native of San Francisco and found her way to teaching English in Japan for ten years. Upon her return to the States, she found her calling in Early Care and Education and has been working in the field since 1997, most of her professional career in New Mexico. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education with a Focus on At-Risk and has served as Director of programs in several capacities including Early Intervention, Early Head Start, Home Visiting and Early Childhood Evaluation. She has also served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of New Mexico’s Early Childhood Multi-Cultural Education program. She is a LA Pathways Trainer III, a PITC Certified Trainer, a Certified Infant Massage Instructor and holds a Developmental Specialist Certificate from NM. She is also a certified CLASS Observer for both the Infant and Toddler CLASS tools. While keeping young children as the focus Kathy supports teachers and administrators to continuously increase their capacity to provide best practices for children and families. 

Cherrie Barthelemy, Senior Accountant

Born and raised in New Orleans, Cherrie is happy to return home after living in Washington, DC and Memphis, TN for the last seventeen years.  She comes to Agenda for Children with over 20 years of accounting, budgeting and financial management experience, in government, corporate as well as non-profit. Cherrie is excited to be a part of an organization that works to improve the lives of Louisiana’s children and families.  Cherrie has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Xavier University.

Tasha Landry, Business Office Assistant

Originally from New Orleans, Tasha is the organization’s Business Office Assistant with over 16 years of service to Agenda for Children. In addition, Tasha plays an active volunteer role for the following organizations: Family & Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, Pyramid Parent Training Center, and Central City Renaissance Alliance.

Teresa Falgoust, KIDS COUNT Program Manager

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Teresa has held the KIDS Count Program Coordinator position since 2005. Teresa brings expertise in accessing and using data on child well-being in Louisiana, including data on economic security, education, early education, juvenile justice, health and child welfare. She is a Louisiana ACE educator and serves on the Steering Committee of the New Orleans Grade Level Reading Campaign and the PRAMS Advisory Committee. Teresa has her Bachelor’s in Political Studies from Bard College.

New Orleans Early Education Network

Dr. Bridget Rey, CLASS Coordinator 

A New Orleans native, Bridget comes to Agenda with extensive experience as a school psychologist in Orleans Parish Public Schools and the Recovery School District. Prior to her work at Agenda, Bridget interned with Quality Care for Children, a Child Care Resource and Referral agency in Atlanta. She loves working with parents of young children to emphasize the importance of laying a strong educational foundation for their children. Bridget holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Xavier University, an M.A. and Specialist in Education from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph. D. in Special Education from Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Kristen Craig, NOEEN Administrative Assistant

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Kristen joined the Agenda for Children team in 2013 as the New Orleans Early Education Network Administrative Assistant. Since her graduation in 2010, Kristen has gained extensive experience in data collection and reporting, and she is very enthusiastic about bringing her skills to a non-profit setting. Kristen received her Bachelor’s in Political Science from Tulane University. 

Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG)

Keoka Bias, Early Childhood Coach

Born and raised in New Orleans, Keoka Bias is thrilled to join Agenda for Children as the Preschool Expansion Coach. Keoka join the team with over ten years of experience in early childhood education. Some of her roles were Lead Teacher and Supervisor of Assistant Teachers and Classroom Aides. She served as an Early Head Start teacher, where she gained extensive experience using Teaching Strategies GOLD, Creative Curriculum, CLASS assessments and ITERS and ECERS.  She’s TS Gold Inter-Rater Reliable, and is a Certified Reliable Observer for Toddler and Pre-K CLASS. She has a Master’s Degree in Adult Learning/Training. 

Ashley Robinson, Early Childhood Coach

A New Orleans native, Ashley joined Agenda in December of 2016. Ashley has taught for the past 10 years in public and private schools in both Jefferson Parish and New Orleans. In her most recent teaching position, she was promoted repeatedly, serving as a Pre-K lead teacher, Pre-K Department Head, LA 4 Coordinator, and as a peer coach for Pre-K staff. In addition she is a Louisiana Pathways Trainer Level II, Certified Reliable Toddler and Pre-K CLASS Observer, and is  Inter-Rater Reliable for Teaching Strategies GOLD. Ashley is also a published author--her most recent work is “I Love My City,” a fun and innovative story about a young child’s love for New Orleans. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Education from Dillard University.

Child Care Resource and Referral Team, Region 1, New Orleans

Olayeela Daste, Child Care Resource and Referral, Referral Program Assistant

Although she was born in Brooklyn, New York, Olayeela has called New Orleans home since she was a toddler. As one of the longest serving Agenda for Children staff members, Olayeela has extensive experience working in the early childhood field as a trainer, educator and resource for child care centers and families. Olayeela earned her Bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, as part of the Ashé Cultural Arts Center Unbound program. Olayeela is an active and beloved oral historian and storyteller with multiple organizations, faculty of the Institute of Cultural Education and founding member of the UMOJA Committee Inc. and its annual event, Celebration of the African-American Child.

Gabrielle "Gabby" Izzo, Child Care Resource and Referral, Technical Assistant/Trainer

A native of Boston, Gabby has worked in the early care and education sector for more than 16 years. Gabby has experience working as both a teacher and director in private early learning centers in Massachusetts and the greater New Orleans area. She is a CLASS-reliable observer for both the Toddler and Pre-K CLASS tools, and is an affiliate trainer for the Pre-K CLASS tool. She is also trained in the My Teaching Partner coaching methodology, which is a research-based program that’s been proven to boost teachers’ effective classroom interactions and improve child outcomes. Gabby holds a CDA and is a Level I Pathways certified trainer.

Laneir Landry, Child Care Resource and Referral, Technical Assistant/Trainer

Born and raised in New Orleans, Laneir Landry is happy to be living in New Orleans again after spending the past 11 years in Baton Rouge. She comes to Agenda with more than five years of experience in early childhood with previous positions with Volunteers of America-Partnerships in Child Care and Tulane University as a Quality Rating System Assessor. She is a Certified Reliable Observer for the Infant CLASS, Toddler CLASS and Pre-K CLASS instruments. She is also Inter-Rater Reliable for TS GOLD and is a Louisiana Pathways Trainer Level II. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from LSU in Family, Child, and Consumer Sciences. 

Kathleen S. Lee, Child Care Resource and Referral, Technical Assistant/Trainer

A native New Orleanian, Kathleen has over 25 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining Agenda for Children in 1996, she was the Director of St. Mark’s Child Care Center and Director of Emergency Child Care for United Urban Ministry Program. She also assisted in opening the first child care center on a high school campus in New Orleans, where she later served as the Director. Kathleen has also served as a board member for 10 years for the Hume’s Child Development Centers and for the past 20 years has served as the chairperson of the volunteers for the Greater New Orleans Association for the Education of the Young Child Conference. Kathleen has her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood and is a Level I Pathways certified trainer.

Suzanne "Suzea" Millerhebert, Child Care Resource and Referral, Technical Assistant/Trainer

Born and raised in New Orleans, Suzanne “Suzea” Millerhebert has been part of the Agenda for Children team since 2015. She comes to Agenda for Children with over thirty years of experience working with children in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and the greater New Orleans area. She has two decades of experience as a teacher in public schools and has also worked as a director and administrator in early learning centers, including private centers and Head Start. She holds a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from the University of New Orleans.

Jackie Rodriguez, Child Care Resource and Referral, Technical Assistant/Trainer

A New Orleans native, Jackie has lived in several different states and abroad during her travel as both a Marine and military spouse.  She comes to Agenda with more than 20 years of experience on the Early Childhood Education field with Head Start, Military Child Development Centers, and private child care providers.  Jackie held the position as the New Parent Support Specialist for the Naval Support Activity in New Orleans, where she helped new parents balance the demands of the military with parenting.  In her most recent position, she was the Training and Curriculum Specialist for a military child development center.  Jackie is a Certified Reliable Observer for the Toddler CLASS and Pre-K CLASS instruments. She is also Inter-Rater Reliable for TS GOLD and is a Louisiana Pathways Trainer Level III, and an American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor. Jackie has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Irvine Valley College, CA, a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Phycology from Loyola University in New Orleans, as well as a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies from Walden University.

Kenya C. Harris, Child Care Resource and Referral, Program Assistant

Originally from New Orleans, Kenya began with Agenda for Children as a receptionist in 2006. She is now the Program Assistant in New Orleans. Kenya is an integral part of the technical assistance team and is responsible for scheduling coach’s visits to early education programs, maintaining databases and ensuring the program’s compliance with grant requirements. She is proud to be part of the Agenda team because it allows her to support the growth and development of Louisiana's children in the early stages of their lives through the quality of care children and families receive. Kenya holds a Child Development Associate credential.

Child Care Resource and Referral Team, Region 3: Northshore/Mandeville

Glenda Bennett, Region 3 Coordinator, Technical Assistant/Trainer

Glenda joined the organization in 2011 and has over twenty-one years of experience in the early childhood education field. In her tenure as an early childhood professional, Glenda has held several leadership positions with increasing levels of responsibility and programmatic oversight. She has worked in such diverse locations as Germany, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and most recently in Robert and New Orleans, Louisiana. Most recently, she has served as Assistant Director at the Stennis Child Development Center, and Director of the Child Enrichment Center in Kentucky. Glenda holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Anita Redding, Technical Assistant/Trainer

A native New Orleanian, Anita joined the Agenda for Children team in 2015, with over 19 years of experience in the early child hood field. Anita has worked as a center director for Head Start and Early Head Start, an instructor at North Shore Technical Community College, a CDA advisor and PDE specialist. Anita is a Certified Reliable Observer for both the Toddler and Pre K CLASS tools, GOLD by Teaching Strategies Interrater Reliable and LA Pathways Trainer III. Anita holds a BA in Substance Abuse from Southern University of New Orleans and an MA in Early Childhood Education form Concordia university of St. Paul Minnesota.

 

Child Care Resource and Referral Team, Region 4: Houma/Thibodaux

Dianna Constant, Child Care Resource and Referral, Region 4 Coordinator

A long-time resident of Thibodaux, Louisiana, Dianna has been part of the Agenda for Children team since 1990. Dianna has over forty years of experience in early childhood education. She spent twenty years directing and operating her own child care center and has more than two decades of experience as a trainer and technical assistance advisor for early childhood programs. Dianna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Youth and Family Services from Nichols State University and is a Level II Pathways certified trainer. Dianna serves on the board of United Way of St. Charles and volunteers with the Bayou Land Families Helping Families. 

Brandi Joshua, Child Care Resource and Referral, Technical Assistant/Trainer

A native of St. James Parish, Brandi has resided in Thibodaux since 2008. She has over nine years of early childhood experience as a lead teacher and child care center director. Prior to joining the Agenda team in 2012, she served as the Director at Moses Child Care Center and previously worked as a Lead Teacher at St. James Head Start. Brandi holds an Associate’s Degree in Child Development and Preschool Management from Nicholls State University, and volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Lafourche Parish.

Ashley Plaisance, Program Assistant/Technical Assistant

Born and raised in Patterson, Louisiana, Ashley joined the Agenda team in 2015 as the CCR&R Region 4 Program Assistant/Technical Assistant. Ashley has experience as an early childhood teacher, as well as extensive experience working as an administrative assistant. Ashley holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, with a minor in child and family studies, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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