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 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.

Dulce Sherman, MA 

Chief Human Resources & DEI Officer

Dulce Sherman is a first-generation American of immigrant parents from Mexico. She was raised in a small Nebraska town and has two siblings who attended Head Start programs. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management, Master of Arts in Business Management, and a graduate-level certificate in Organizational Development. Dulce is a graduate of the LeadDIVERSITY program and the NAM Nonprofit Executive Institute. She is the President of the Latino Center of the Midlands board of directors and serves on the Girls, Inc. and Millard Public Schools Foundation boards. Prior to joining NECC, she founded her small HR consulting business, Sherman Executive Consulting, working with small nonprofits. She has worked as a Human Resources leader in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors for the past 35 years.  

Outside of work, Dulce advocates for civic engagement, mental health and suicide awareness, and enjoys gardening, cooking, and baking. Dulce says, “I love working with leadership and employees, leveraging their strengths, creating meaningful business relationships, and collaborating with both to solve complex business problems.”

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.

Tommy Greco

Vice President of Impact and Innovation

As Vice President of Impact and Innovation, Tommy leads the annual action planning related to NECC’s strategic and sustainability plan and provides leadership to maximize organizational impact through relationship-building, day-to-day operations management, and strategies to strengthen organizational culture. He serves as the primary architect of NECC’s data-driven decision making to support impact and sustainability, cultivating new partnerships along the way to bring strategies and tools to Nebraska.  

Born and raised in Omaha, Tommy holds a business administration degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and has been with NECC since 2017. He played a key role in the development of Elevate, an annual first-of-its-kind business summit for child care providers that launched in 2018 and has brought in early childhood experts from all over the country.

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

  • Patricia Carter

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

  • Dave Shrader

    Finance and Administration Subcommittee
    Employee Benefits Trust Officer, Wealth Management, Security National Bank

  • Dalhia Lloyd, PH.D.

    Program Subcommittee
    Director of Professional Learning, Buffett Early Childhood Institute

  • Mikki Frost

    Program Subcommittee
    Community Volunteer

  • Betty Harris

    Finance and Administration Subcommittee
    Director of Total Rewards, Immanuel Communities

  • AnnMarie Marlier

    Program Subcommittee
    Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Doane University

  • Rick Putnam

    Acting Secretary & Legal Counsel
    Managing Partner, Baird Holm

  • Laura Thomas

    Program Subcommittee
    Independent Consultant for International Mission Driven Organizations, La Mancha Ventures, LLC

  • Andrea Jahn, JD

    Finance and Administration Subcommittee
    Associate General Counsel, University Privacy Officer, Creighton University

  • Jesse Brickner

    Finance and Administration Subcommittee, Chair
    Manager, Hancock/Dana

  • Wayne Brown

    Finance and Administration Subcommittee
    President and CEO, Urban League of NE

  • Christian Espinosa Torres

    Program Subcommittee, Chair
    Program Administrator, Small & Emerging Small Business Program, City of Omaha, Human Rights & Relations Department