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Dynamic community volunteers and civic leaders serve on the EarlystART Board of Directors. Their diversity, expertise, advocacy, and philanthropic commitment drive our mission. Likewise, representatives of our founding organizations, St. Mark Union Church and the Heartland Presbytery, continue to provide leadership and support to EarlystART.

Board of Directors


Theodis Watson, President – Central Bank of the Midwest

Mary Jorgenson, Past President – Heartland Presbytery Representative

Rebecca James, Vice President – Abovo

Phyllis Hardwick, Secretary/Treasurer – Community Advocate

Deidre Anderson, CEO, Ex-Officio – EarlystART

Tom Eatman, Director – Builders by Design, LLC

Alexis Kerr, Director – Hallmark

Todd Navrat, Director – J.E. Dunn Construction

Matthew Oates, Director – Burns & McDonnell

Ruth Stricklen Pullins, Director – University Health

Terra Purifoye, Director – Sunshyne Aesthetics

Cydney Ricker, Director – Kansas City Chiefs

Joni Wickham, Director – Wickham James Strategies & Solutions

Leadership Team


Deidre Anderson, Chief Executive Officer

Deidre Anderson has extensive experience in education, community development and child welfare. With a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. she knows early learning lays the foundation for future academic success.

In 2019, Deidre was honored with the Evelyn Wasserstrom Award for her pursuit of access to high quality pre-K education for all children. Under her leadership, EarlystART leads the way in pre-K education and empowers families to reach their fullest potential.

Mariah Roady, Chief Development Officer

With a background in the arts and nonprofit development and marketing, Mariah Roady leads EarlystART’s fund development, donor engagement, and communications initiatives. She is involved with local performing arts organizations as a teaching artist and is an active parent advocate through her leadership with Kid’s Win Missouri and Parent Leadership Training Institute – Kansas City. Mariah is also proud to have recently participated in the Kauffman Education Fellowship and also been named a 2023 Next Gen Leader with the Kansas City Business Journal.

Latresse Yarbough, Chief Finance & Operations Officer

Latresse Yarbough brings to EarlystART more than 15 years of experience in finance and operational management for educational institutions in Kansas City. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and a Master of Science in Accountancy.

June McDaniel, Chief Human Resources Officer

June McDaniel has an extensive background in Human Resources and Leadership Development. June holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and a Master’s in Communication and Leadership. “Discover your strengths; build on them, and let them lead you to your destiny”.

Raina Davis, Chief Program Officer

Raina Davis’ roles in early childhood education over 20 years include Lead Teacher, Parent Educator, and Early Learning and Inclusion Director. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development from Missouri State University and a Master’s in Elementary Education from Southeast Missouri State University.

Dr. Asiya Foster, Chief Innovations Officer

Asiya Foster has over 20 years of experience in early childhood education, most of which is specialized in teacher training and development. Asiya holds a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies, a master’s in Educational Administration, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. She also holds certifications in TESOL for Very Young Learners, CELTA, and Education Diplomacy and is a former Fulbright Senior Scholar.

Rhonda Mays, Director of Family & Community Engagement

Rhonda Mays has a diverse background in broadcast communications, community development, family engagement, event planning, and resource coordination. With a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she serves on the 2Gen Thrive Community Action Board and works diligently to connect families with resources and support.

Matrika Hornsby, Early Learning and Inclusion Director

Matrika has worked in the education field for 18 years. She obtained a Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of Central Missouri in Child and Family Development.

For the last 7 years, she has worked with EarlystART serving as a Lead Teacher, Family Advocate, Assistant Director and now in her current role as the Early Learning and Inclusion Director for St. Mark Center. Matrika is a mother of two girls, loves working with children and families, and is passionate about helping others reach their full potential.