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Board of Directors 

Susan Cyr

Susan Martin Cyr is a former multi-center child care director and owner, and has over thirty-five years in Early Childhood Education, with strengths in operations, curriculum, and a love for all things online, marketing, and social platforms.  She volunteers on local and national non-profit boards that support the early learning years.  Susan owns a bed and breakfast event venue where she provides "luxuriated child care for adults", corporate training off site, wedding and family events to families in original ways.  

Susan is a mother to four sons and a new grandmother.  She makes her home in the coastal region of North Carolina known as the "Inner Banks' with her husband, Matt.  She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University.

Gabriel Smith
Vice President

Gabriel F. Smith (Gabe) has worked with state, national and international early childhood and school-age organizations/programs for over 15 years. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he received a BS and MS in Workforce Education and Development. Gabe is currently working on obtaining his PhD in Business Administration.

After serving in the United States Marine Corps and graduation, Gabe launched his career in Pensacola. This is where he began to specialize in designing and developing early childhood and school-age programs. Gabe has created national and state trainings programs that have educated thousands of early childhood and school-age professionals. That eventually led to positions such as senior instructional designer, project manager, director of business operations, CDEA Vice President and partnerships with over 200 Early Childhood organizations. It was in this capacity that he cultivated partnerships with city, state, and national organizations. Soon afterwards, his expanding expertise in partnerships and program development led to partnerships with agencies that provided services in Europe, Asia, and Australia.  

Mecca Johnson

Mecca Johnson is the founder of My Joy Speaks, LLC, a platform for “getting to the root of things” through humor, self-deprecation, and a fierce love and appreciation for authenticity in all of its forms. Her clients have reflected on time with Mecca as life-changing. Her commitment to providing tools to support individual improvement have resulted in improving the lives, families, and organizational cultures impacted by those she supports through speaking, training, consulting, and coaching.  Her experience includes 30+ years in the field of Early Childhood Education with a particular expertise in Leadership within a franchise culture.  Her message and the tools she provides transfer seamlessly to any industry.  

Donna Roberts, MBA

Donna Thornton- Roberts’s passion and devotion to early educators has propelled her into becoming a national treasure as a champion for those dedicated to teaching and caring for young children for the last 30 years.  Since 1989, she has crisscrossed the country providing thousands of professional development trainings to audiences with her inspirational messages in practical application from her first-hand experiences in childcare. 

She’s an author, business owner, and executive coach devoted to increasing the quality of early childhood programs by investing in the individuals who directly influence and teach young children.  Donna holds a BS in Management of Human Resources, a Master’s in Business Administration and anticipates completing her Doctorate in Leadership next year. 

She’s the founder and president emeritus of the Association of Early Learning Leaders and currently serves as the president of Child Development Education Alliance, Inc - an association serving over 500 faith based programs.  Donna has appeared on CBS News, Sirius Radio, and Family Net TV.  She has a passionate zeal to train-up the next generation of influencers in early care education!


CDEA, dba Association of Christian Early Educators • 141 5th St. NW • Winter Haven, FL 33881 • (904)573-8831
CDEA is a not-for-profit corporation under IRS Code 501c3. As such, all contributions are fully tax deductible.