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TLCCA Board Members - 2020


  President Rickie Lafon Email
  President Elect Stephanie Retherford  Email
  Immediate Past President Melissa Horton Email
  1st Vice President: Tedra Jackson
  1st Vice President-Elect: Sylvia Nicole Rivera Email
  2nd Vice President: Cynthia Stimpson
  Treasurer:  Kelly Britton
  Recording Secretary: Traci Mackintosh
  Corresponding Secretary: Alesha Brandt
   Legislative Chair Alex Little



TLCCA Board Member Bios

Melissa Horton, Immediate Past President 

Melissa Horton is a Franchise Owner with Primrose Schools, and has served on the TLCCA Board since January of 2013 as a Corporate Representative.  Since entering the childcare industry in 2001, she has been a Teacher, Assistant Director, and Director before becoming a childcare owner around the same time she discovered TLCCA. 

She believes in helping people where there are opportunities to serve, especially where it involves childcare managers, teachers and children (foster children, especially).  She is also passionate about sharing her experience and expertise with others through trainings and networking, and one of the ways she does this is by volunteering for a national accreditation organization on occasion.  She is working towards her Masters in Counseling, and plans on using that degree to make a positive impact on the lives of children.

Melissa was very honored to be elected President of TLCCA, and is proud to serve such a wonderful group of industry professionals and child advocates.

Rickie Lafon, President 

Rickie Lafon, Owner/Director of Sunrise Learning Center, Inc. in McKinney Texas.  My wife and I started Sunrise in 1997.  I have been a member of T.L.C.C.A. and on the State board since November of 1997.  I have served on many positions on the board and I really enjoy helping with conferences and getting to do legislative visits.  I am also very involved with Special Olympics of Texas and I like going to Washington DC to visit with elected officials about Special Education and Special needs adults.

 Traci Mackintosh, Recording Secretary

Traci Mackintosh’s long time career with children began in 1985 when she began working in a church nursery (and still works there every Sunday.)  After graduating college and having a child, she quickly realized she was made to work in the early childhood industry and took her first position in a licensed facility in 1995.  Ms. Mackintosh has served centers in Carrollton, Lewisville, Frisco and most recently, Prosper, TX.  Throughout her career, she has served in many roles: classroom teacher, assistant director, director, multi-school Director of Education and Texas registered trainer. Ms. Mackintosh currently holds the office of Vice-President with the North Central Texas TLCCA affiliate and serves on the state board as the Immediate Past President.  Each of these opportunities and work experiences allow Ms. Mackintosh to help others in the field, network with leaders and professionals, guide parents/teachers, and learn the latest in the industry - all of which, most importantly, make the difference in the life of a child. 

Teresa Federspiel

Teresa Federspiel has worked with and for children over 30 years, starting as a Toddler Potty Training Specialist.  In 1985 Teresa opened Teresa's Tadpole Home preschool, developing an age appropriate curriculum for infants to 5 year-olds.  At the same time she served on the Plano Home Daycare Association as the President and on the board of directors.
For the last 20 years has been with PSA based in Plano, Texas, providing quality year-round recreational and competitive sports leagues to over 100,000 youth who live the North Texas area. As a Senior Director Teresa has a long list activates that she oversees at PSA such as, forecasting, budgeting, marketing and leadership skills.
Under Teresa's direction PSA's camps have been licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.  As the Program Director Teresa is responsible for the oversight 3 PSA facilities and their programs that average daily 700 school-aged kids, with a staff of three Site Directors, their assistants and 325 seasonal counselors.
Teresa is on the Texas Trainer Registry as #3368.  She is a certified Childcare Administrator, Director, Non-Profit Manager and as CAO (Certified Arena Operator).
Teresa currently serves on the board of Texas Licensed Child Care Association (TLCCA), Past President and Treasurer for TLCCA of North Texas Affiliate.  She takes great pleasure in sharing her extensive experience in the work she has done with and for children.


Tedra Jackson, 1st Vice President 

I am Tedra Jackson I have been working in the Early Childhood field for 35 years.  I have been a teacher, Asst. Director, Team Leader, Director and Area Director.  I love everything about working with children, teachers and parents.  I believe in the job that TLCCA does for all of us working in the field of Early Childhood Education and the children  in Texas.

Cynthia Stimpson, 2nd Vice President

Cynthia Stimpson is Owner of Cornerstone Childcare, Ltd., in Lake Worth, Texas.  Cornerstone is a 4 Star Rising Star school that offers quality early childhood development to young learners with focus on diversity and inclusion.  Cynthia has been in the industry for nearly 30 years.  She has worked as a teacher, director and district manager for corporate schools. As a true advocate for 0-5 development, she works daily to have a voice for every child.  Cynthia has been involved with TLCCA for 15 years and an active Ft Worth Affiliate board member for over 10 years.  Believing in the mission of TLCCA, Cynthia has always promoted the involvement of all licensed care facilities.  She promotes the networking, training, and legislative involvement that TLCCA provides.  Currently serving as 2nd Vice President-Membership, Cynthia hopes to reach out to many centers and encourage involvement with TLCCA.


Kelly Britton,Treasurer

Kelly Britton is currently a Center Director for a private center in Plano, Texas that serves students from the ages six weeks through Private Kindergarten and an after-school program for local elementary students.  Kelly serves on the Board of Directors for TLCCA, Texas Licensed Childcare Association, as Treasurer, she is a member of NAEYC, and has worked with AdvancED as an accreditation team member. Kelly graduated from UNT with her BAAS in Developmental Family Studies and will complete Concordia of Portland Master’s in Education Program in May.  Kelly lives in Rockwall with her husband and their four children.  

Crystal Dudley

Crystal Dudley has worked in early care and education for the past ten years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Science in Early Childhood, specializing in Leadership and Administration. Crystal is currently serving her second year as Board President for the Greater Fort Worth TLCCA Affiliate and has served on the TLCCA State Board of Directors for the past three years, first as the Area Rep for the Greater Fort Worth Affiliate and is currently serving her second term as the Recording Secretary. Crystal is a member of AELL, NAEYC, and TLCCA; and is a validator for the National Accreditation Commission.

Crystal has always held a passion for making the world a better place for children. This can be seen in her work with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and the Family Crisis Center. As well as the many years and wide breadth of volunteerism she has engaged in with regards to children’s organizations (PTA President, PTO Treasurer, Boys Scouts, Youth Baseball Association, Youth Soccer Association Coach, Cleburne Christian Academy Board Treasurer etc). She also serves on the Executive Board of her local Chamber of Commerce; as well as on the advisory boards for the Cleburne Education Foundation and Hill College Early Childhood program. 


Joan Altobelli, PhD

Joan Altobelli, PhD, is Executive Director for Extend-A-Care for Kids, a non-profit, out-of-school time provider in Central Texas with 104 licensed programs, at 81 locations, with 3200+ children in care each year. The programs include after school services on public school campuses and full-time daycare centers for teachers and staff at the school campuses. She enjoys making legislative office visits for licensed daycare issues and other social issues and providing interactive and relevant professional development to large and small groups at conferences and conventions throughout Texas and the U.S. Dr. Altobelli is also a retired special education director from Austin School District and lives in Bee Cave, Texas.\

Stephanie Retherford,President- Elect

With more than seventeen years’ child care experience, Stephanie Retherford is passionate about the child care industry. She believes that all children deserve quality and educational child care and is proud to have provided such to thousands of families over her career. She currently works as a Regional Manager serving the Dallas, Texas, Austin, Texas, and state of California markets. In addition to her passion for children and the schools that she loves, Stephanie is fueled with positivity and a drive to be a blessing to others. Through personal life experiences Stephanie has found that being positive, no matter what the circumstance, the journey in life can be an incredible ride. Stephanie has enjoyed serving on the Texas Licensed Child Care Association’s state board since 2010. During her time on the board, she has enjoyed planning and hosting numerous child care conferences across the state, which have provided quality training opportunities for teachers, managers, and Directors alike. In December of 2016, her child care experiences grew even more when she adopted her daughter, Kinsley, who is the light of Stephanie's life. Through early education and training, Stephanie feels that she is living her passion and purpose by affecting the lives of young children.

Tere Holmes, Past President

Tere A. Holmes has been devoted to the field of Early Care and Education for over 40 years.  She is a native Texan who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and Marketing with emphasis in Spanish from Texas Tech University.  Tere has served in many positions, including center director, district manager, regional manager and director of operations. Tere’s expertise is in the successful multi or single unit operation of early care and education programs and effective advocacy and government relations for children’s issues. Tere’s experience includes the successful development of new early care and education programs, as well as organizational growth through acquisitions. As the Vice President of New Market Development for Children’s Learning Adventure, Tere manages the start up of all new programs and regulatory affairs for the company. With knowledge of licensed programs both regionally and nationally, Tere is familiar with all aspects of program operation. With memberships in international, national, and state associations, Tere serves on the board of the Texas Licensed Child Care Association. Tere has previously served on the board of the National Association of Child Care Professionals and the National Child Care Association.  Legislative and regulatory issues are very important to Tere and she stays involved on both the state and national levels. Tere is currently serving a four year term on the International Organizing Committee for the World Forum Foundation, an international group of leaders in the early care and education field. Tere strives to bring her sense of humor and passion for her profession to everything she does.

Alex Little,Legislative Chair

Alex Little is the President of Little Tyke Learning Centers. He is a 2nd generation early childhood Preschool Owner with over 20 years of hands on experience. Mr. Little currently owns and operates twelve learning centers in Tarrant, Johnson and Parker counties. Mr. Little employees over 150 teachers and enjoys the benefits provided by seasoned, dedicated employees having over 15% having served 10 years or more (with some exceeding 20-25 years) and another 15% celebrating from 5-9 years serving kids within Little Tyke family. His company is also proud of their Texas Rising Star accreditation of several schools, signifying the quality of programs provided. There is no better testament than from parents, now even grandparents, that attended ‘Little Tyke’ in their youth enrolling their children, their grandchildren to discover, explore and achieve in a creative learning environment. Alex has held numerous positions on the TLCCA state and Fort Worth Affiliate boards for the last 10-15 years. He believes his role with TLCCA is important so that he has a voice in keeping licensed child care affordable for families and small business viable in a season of potential great change through state and national legislation.


Teddie Gamel

Teddie Gamel comes with over 25 years experience in the early care and education industry. She has served as a Director/Owner, Trainer/Consultant, and Regional Director. Teddie has served on the board  for several years and is a member of the Texas Early Childhood Trainer Registry. Teddie is very passionate about early childhood education. She is a proud mom of three, and a blessed nana of four beautiful grandchildren.


Mendi Preston

My name is Mendi Preston. I have worked in the child care field as a Teacher and Director for 30 years working with for -profit programs both cooperate and private.  I am currently the Executive Director of Country Acres Child Care in Saginaw, Texas. I have been a part of TLCCA for 8 years now and have found a great group of people who have dedicated their life to helping others in this field gain the knowledge needed to stay up with the ever changing world we work in. I currently hold the position of the Fort Worth Affiliate of Vice President and Area Representative. I look forward to many more years on the TLCCA team.


Stace Jones

Stace Jones is the Chief Operations Officer for Christian Preschool Centers Inc., a Lubbock based Early Christian Education company that teaches and trains over 1200 students annually, and growing. Stace spends his Sundays as the Youth Leader for his church, he also spends time as the President of the non profit Company TCA. Texas Children’s Association (TCA) is focused on helping "at risk” students and families receive education, food and supplies for educational purposes. Stace’s Saturdays and weeknights are filled with his children’s events and he loves watching his children play and improve at soccer, martial arts, and dance. Stace married the love of his life in 2007 and they now work together in all areas of their life. Stace believes in his community and voluntarily spends time on several city and state boards, and committees.