The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative (NECC) was established in 2014 as a strategic initiative of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund. NECC was designed to provide back office and consulting services for early childhood development and care centers and in March 2015, was awarded a $2.6 million federal Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant.
NECC supports its member centers by utilizing a shared services model to maximize efficiency and increase the quality of care at early childhood education programs.
Although NECC is relatively new to the Nebraska landscape, the shared services model we provide has gained momentum across the country. This model for early learning providers is part of a solution that promotes cost-effective, quality care and education. The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative leadership team brings almost than 200 total years of experience in the ECE and Non-profit fields. The leadership team and the members of their departments are experts in back office services that share their skills with clients to allow them to focus on the work that matters most: early childhood development, education, and care.
Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative Leadership Team
Shannon Cotsoradis – Chief Executive Officer
As Chief Executive Officer, Shannon Cotsoradis oversees the overall work of Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative. Shannon has been a voice for children for more than two decades, and aims to continue that work since joining the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative leadership team in 2016. Prior to coming to NECC, Shannon was the president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children (KAC) since 2010. Though originally from Leavenworth, Kan., she attained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Sweet Briar College in Virginia and later earned a master’s degree in child development from Sarah Lawrence College in New York before returning home to attain a second master’s in public administration from the University of Kansas.
Her work on behalf of children has been recognized through the Presidential Volunteer Service Award initiative, the YWCA Women’s Leadership Luncheon and the Dental Champions Leadership Program. Shannon was appointed to serve two consecutive terms on the Kansas Children’s Cabinet, and was an appointed member of the Kansas Blue Ribbon Panel on Infant Mortality. She is a graduate of the Sunflower Foundation’s Advocacy Fellowship and a member of the Leadership Kansas Class of 2008.
Dwight Lang – Vice President of Finance & Administration/CFO
Dwight Lang oversees financial and administrative services for NECC as well as for our member centers, and as Vice President of Finance & Administration/CFO, brings more than 30 years of experience in financial oversight for nonprofit organizations. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, where he lives with his wife and three boys, ranging from ages 7 to 20. The majority of his work in the field has been with nonprofits in federal funding and grant funding. When he’s not crunching numbers, Dwight enjoys golfing and riding his Harley Davidson.
Deb Winkelmann – Vice President of Early Education
In her role as the Director of Quality and Practice Transformation at Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative, Deb Winkelmann is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Headstart monitoring protocol, assisting in the development of the Program Information Report, and developing long-range program goals and the steps to achieve them. She works closely with NECC member centers on compliance with state licensing, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Sixpence, and ensures that developmentally appropriate practices and curricula are implemented.
Deb earned her bachelor’s degree in Education from Concordia University before receiving her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane College. She also holds a Nebraska Teaching Certificate and is endorsed in Early Childhood, Elementary Education, and Special Education. For 17 years Deb owned and operated her own child care center prior to teaching elementary education for 10 years and early childhood special education for over two years. She was hired on and spent three years as a Master Teacher for Educare Omaha a site director for Educare Omaha for more than eight years before joining the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative leadership team.
Venessa Bryant – Director of Data & Educational Systems
Venessa Bryant has been with NECC since 2014 when she took on the role of Director of Operations and now holds the title of Director of Data & Educational Systems. Venessa is responsible for the technology and operations within the organization and its member centers. Her professional background includes positions with Educare Omaha, an NECC affiliate, for 12 years. She previously worked in Early Childhood Special Education as well as in the role of Data Specialist at the Omaha Public Schools. Venessa received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and is an active volunteer with the Special Olympics, Summer Arts Festival, and Salvation Army.
Pam Stanton – Director of Human Resources
Pam Stanton joined Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative in March 2017 and brings over 20 years of experience managing Human Resources within in various industries including: technology, printing and publishing, hospitality, retail, and nonprofit. As the Human Resources Director of NECC, Pam oversees all Human Resources functions including: recruiting, on-boarding, benefits, compensation, employee relations, and legal compliance. Pam has been recognized nationally earning Best Workplace and Best of the Best Workplace designations for HR leadership. Pam is a member of Society of Human Resources Management, Human Resources Association of the Midlands and has been a member of various local chambers, business groups and community organizations.
Originally from Oklahoma, she attended several colleges and universities while earning her degree in business, majoring in management and psychology. Pam and her husband chose to relocate to Nebraska after a business trip introduced them to the Omaha area and all the enjoyable and family friendly offerings. They have enjoyed raising their 5 children in the place they now call home.
Karla Bohl – Director of Educational Services
Karla Bohl works with the educational, disabilities, and mental health services as a consultant to Early Childhood programs while supervising the Education Coaches and Mental Health Consultants that serve the Omaha Early Learning Centers (OELC). She also consults with programs that have instructional coaches to offer support with classroom observations, coaching plans, training, and behavior plans.
She earned her master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University. Karla worked in various early childhood setting including Headstart and special education preschool classrooms before joining Educare Omaha in 2003 as a Master Teacher. She was eventually promoted to Site Director before joining NECC as Director of Educational Services. In her free time, Karla is actively involved with her church where she is an elder.
Cathy Stockwell – Director of Professional Development
As the Director of Professional Development at Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative, Cathy Stockwell works closely with the Omaha Early Learning Center member sites to seek out, plan, and coordinate their professional development and training needs. Training needs at these sites include supporting the staff that are working on their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential as well as those involved in the T.E.A.C.H. Program. She is also responsible for the tracking and monitoring of individual progress in these programs and other professional development needs while supporting member centers on policies and procedures around the programs.
Cathy has worked in the Early Childhood field for 27 years, including positions with Headstart and Iowa Western Community College. In that time, she has also worked in a child care resource and referral program supporting in-home providers and centers in their work with licensing and providing services to children and families. Cathy graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in reading education and later earned her early childhood endorsement. She is a member of the Metro Community College Advisory Board and previously sat on the Iowa Western Community College Advisory Board for 15 years. For the last five years, Cathy has sat on the Career and Technical Education Advisory Board for Council Bluffs Community Schools.
Mary Lariviere – Director of Family Services
Mary Lariviere’s team of Family Engagement Specialists and ERSEA coordinators are responsible for assisting families through the application and enrollment process as well as facilitating family education and engagement activities in member centers. Mary brings more than 20 years of experience in working with children and families. Her experience began as a Department of Defense daycare provider on several USAF bases in continuation with her education. Mary holds a master’s degree in human services management as well as a bachelor’s degree in social science. In her spare time, Mary could be found as a hotline and CASA volunteer, and now is involved in her in her church and son’s athletics.