The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative leadership team brings countless years of experience in the early childhood and non-profit fields. The leadership team and the members of their departments are experts in business services, coaching, training, and community partnerships and they share their skills with our providers, partners, and families to allow them to focus on the work that matters most: early childhood development, education, and care.
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.
Sarah Ann Kotchian
Chief Operating Officer
Sarah Ann Kotchian serves as Chief Operating Officer, the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative’s internal leader, managing growth and ensuring sustainable operational excellence. Sarah Ann brings to this role deep experience in nonprofit strategy, corporate development, and early childhood care and education. Sarah Ann has worked extensively for nonprofits for more than twenty years to drive program, practice, and policy improvements for women, children, and families. She has served in multiple appointments on local and state commissions, task forces, and boards of directors. She has been recognized as a State Children’s Champion by the Nebraska Head Start Association and was named 2018 Public Citizen of the Year by the Nebraska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She is a graduate of Creighton University and the University of Nebraska College of Law.
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.
Vice President of Family & Community Services
As the Vice President of Family & Community Services, Fawn oversees the work of the Teen & Young Parent Program (TYPP) and the Douglas County Community Response Program (DCCR). Fawn earned her Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Personnel Management. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Behavioral Science and Business Administration. Fawn has a vast amount of experience and knowledge in working with children and families, including oversight of an Early Head Start Program, Head Start Program, Comprehensive Adolescent Residential & Educational Services (CARES) for teen parents, and an accredited childcare center. Fawn’s previous experience includes the development and implementation of a substance and mental health program intended to engage and encourage minority participation in services. She is also a former Nebraska Probation Officer and served as a Review Specialist for the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board. While working there she implemented an Adoption Review Board designed to help young children obtain permanency in a timely manner.
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 Head Start 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.
Vice President of Quality Child Care Partnerships
As the VP of Quality Child Care Partnerships at NECC, Brandee Lengel provides visionary leadership and inspired direction by managing and developing programs that enable both family and center-based child care providers to become successful, independent, and dynamic small business owners. Brandee has worked in early childhood education for over 30 years in many roles including an assistant in a family child care home, a child care center teacher, an early childhood education specialist, and in nonprofit administration. Brandee earned a master’s degree in Management with an emphasis in Leadership, a bachelor’s degree in Human and Social Service Administration, and an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. Brandee is the recipient of the Nebraska Family Child Care Association Advocate of the Year Award, Sally Wysong Excellence in Early Childhood Award, and Southeast Community College ECE Honored Graduate Award.