Who We Are

Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative is more than a concept, it’s a community, and we couldn’t make any of it work without the passionate professionals bringing our vision and mission to life. This team has matched not only our rigorous standards of experience and care, but has exceeded our hopes with their compassion in action.

Sarah Ann Kotchian

Chief Executive Officer

Sarah Ann Kotchian serves as Chief Executive Officer 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.

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 35 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, Iowa. 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.

Jennifer Adhima

Chief Program Officer

As Chief Program Officer, Jennifer leads the strategy and development of learning and programming activities, evaluates their effectiveness, and builds partnerships with community-based organizations to strengthen early childhood outcomes across Nebraska. Jennifer obtained her master’s in social work from the University of Kansas and spent 16 years with the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Project Eagle, a multi-program project that focuses on the education, health, and well-being of pregnant women and young children. Jennifer brings years of experience working with Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Kansas. Prior to joining NECC, she served as the Executive Director of the Kansas Head Start Association where she led efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of the critical role of Kansas Head Start Programs.  

Jennifer is inspired by the families, caregivers, child care providers, and educators who work tirelessly to nurture children in their earliest years of life so that they may have a bright future. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring new places with her family, watching her daughter play tennis, and laughing with friends as often as possible.

Brandee Lengel

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.

Mary Lariviere 

Director of Early Head Start 

Mary Lariviere provides vision and leadership for the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program in her role as Director of Early Head Start. Previously the Director of Health and Family Services for six years, Mary brings a commitment to early childhood best practices and innovations while ensuring compliance with all federal, state, and local grant requirements, rules, regulations, and program standards. She has a Master’s in Science and Human Services Management and has been with NECC since 2016.  

Mary is inspired by the strong, empowered families she serves. Outside of her role, Mary enjoys road trips, hiking, gardening, reading, and Sunday family dinners.  

Board of Directors

  • Andrea Jahn, JD

    Associate General Counsel, University Privacy Officer, Creighton University

  • AnnMarie Marlier

    VP of Leadership Development, Business Ethics Alliance

  • Betty Harris

    VP Human Resources Strategy, Immanuel Communities

  • Charita J. Dailey, M.S.Ed.

    Director of Development, RISE

  • Christian Espinosa Torres

    Board Chair
    Assistant Director of the Human Rights & Relations Department, City of Omaha

  • Dalhia Lloyd, PH.D.

    Director of Professional Learning, Buffett Early Childhood Institute

  • Dave Shrader

    Employee Benefits Trust Officer, Wealth Management, Security National Bank

  • Jacqueline Huscroft-D'Angelo, Ph.D.

    Research Scientist, Oregon Research Institute

  • Jesse Brickner

    Finance-Administration Chair
    Manager, Hancock/Dana

  • Nancy Edick, Ed.D.

    Dean Emerita, College of Education, Health & Human Sciences, University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Patricia Carter

    Sr. Dir. of Accounting, Auditing, Douglas Co. Treasurer’s Office

  • Rick Putnam

    Acting Secretary & Legal Counsel
    Managing Partner, Baird Holm

  • Tiffany Awortwi

    Hotline Supervisor, Boys Town

  • Tina Cherica

    President, Omaha Zoo Foundation