River Valley Early Childhood Association (RV-ECA)
Please visit this form to tell us what professional development topics you would like us to share.
Meet the Board
Ashley has over 10 years of experience in the Early Education field as a Lab School administrator, teacher, private tutor and special needs caregiver. Over the last three years, she has provided training in the River Valley area on various Early Childhood topics. Ashley received her B.S.E in Communication Disorders from the University of Arkansas and M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Texas Woman’s University. She has been married to her college sweetheart for 5 years. In her spare time, she enjoys walking and playing with her wild toddler. Ashley previously served as secretary for RV-ECA.
Vice President of Membership & Communications
Deborah has over 20 years of experience working in the field of early childhood. She has been a classroom teacher and program administrator. She is currently a Program Specialist for Arkansas State University Childhood Services. Deborah works on the ERS/TA project. Her responsibilities include training, coaching, technical assistance, and ERS assessments. Her classroom teaching experience includes infants, toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade. She has worked in Early Head Start, Head Start, ABC, Better Beginnings, public school, and private school settings. Deborah has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Northeastern State University, with additional coursework in Early Childhood from Arkansas Tech University. She is completing her M.S. in Early Childhood Services at Arkansas State University. Deborah has been married for 20 years and has a 16-year-old son. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, crafting, and shopping. She has been active in the River Valley Early Childhood Association since 2014 and has served as treasurer and president.
Ronnette is the lead instructor for the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Program and the Coaching/Outreach Coordinator for their Early Childhood Education Professional Development Program. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher and a National Board Candidate Support Site Facilitator. Ronnette was a classroom teacher for many years and believes that a strong educational system begins with teachers that are knowledgeable in child development and equipped with the skills and strategies proven to increase student learning.
Joel has three-associate degrees, a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and will receive a doctoral degree in the summer of 2021 and has goals to complete three additional doctoral degrees. Joel served twenty-one years in the Active Army. Joel plans to continue to maximize each opportunity to learn something new, either in college, Professional Development, or bible study groups. For the last five years, he has worked as a classroom Paraprofessional for Fort Smith Public Schools and currently works at Euper Lane Elementary. He has four children, three young ladies and one young man. He enjoys spending time with his adult children, traveling, and relaxing as he simply enjoys life.
Member at Large
Thelma is a Child Development Technician providing care and intervention to children age 3 to age 4 with developmental delays and special medical needs. She has 16 years of experience in early childhood which includes Van Buren Public School, James R. Tate Elementary School, Fort Smith Public Schools, Sunnymede Elementary School, Lincoln ABC, New Orleans Parish School Board, Frazier-Keiffer Daycare, and Solomon’s Daycare. Thelma also works at the Fort Smith Public Library.
Ex-Officio (advisory member)
Erica has been involved in the field of early childhood education for 16 years. She currently works as the Project Coordinator for Child Care Aware of River Valley and as a Trainer for the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. She has been providing training in the River Valley area for the last seven years on various topics related to early childhood. Erica holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with a Minor in Psychology from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. She completed her Master’s Degree in Educational Theory and Practice from Arkansas State University. Most recently, she became a Hudson Institute Certified Coach to assist teachers in implementing the knowledge gained at training. In addition, she has multiple publications in national magazines including NAEYC’s Teaching Young Children and The Mailbox. Erica has worked in child care centers around the nation before returning home to Van Buren, Arkansas to raise her children. She has served as secretary and vice president on the River Valley Early Childhood Association Board.