Recognizing Excellence In The South

Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA) is proud to announce the recipients of our 2022 awards.


SECA supports leadership development in our state affiliates and the development of exemplary early childhood projects throughout the South by providing financial support each year to selected persons and projects.


Available grants:
Janie Humphries Student Leadership Grant

 Student Conference Grant

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Cathy Waggoner

Deni Titcomb
(South Carolina)

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Outstanding SECA Member

The Outstanding Member Award is presented each year by the SECA Board of Directors to recognize a SECA member who has contributed significantly to the organization. Has a record of service to the organization, demonstrated a commitment to the mission of the organization as evidenced through his/her personal and professional experiences. And be recognized by his/her colleagues as a leader in the field of early childhood education through their service to children and families in the South.

The winner to be announced and will be presented with the Mint Julep Cup at the 2022 annual conference
Click here
to view previous recipients.

Phil Acord Award

This award established in 2017 to honor Phil Acord of Tennessee for his service to the children and families of the South and to recognize outstanding contributions by men to the field of early childhood education. The establishment of this award was a joint partnership between SECA and Kaplan Early Learning Company. Click here to view past recipients.

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Derrick Toups

President’s Award

This award is presented at the annual conference to a state advocate who has made contributions at the state level in the field of advocacy that supports children and families. Click here to view previous recipients.    

Dr. T. Berry Brazelton Friend of Children

This award is given at the annual conference to an individual who is a nationally recognized children’s advocate. For having made a contribution nationally in the field of advocacy that supports children and families. Click here to view previous recipients. 

Rich Schofield Memorial Scholarship

Created in 2005 by the SECA Board of Directors in memory of Rich Scofield, a SECA member from Tennessee, who contributed significantly to the Association during his life. Rich was the creator of School-Age Notes and focused his attention on the school-age population, particularly before and after school programs. Click here to view past recipients.

Melanie Bronfin


Helen Harley Scholarships Recipients

The Helen B. Harley Memorial Scholarships were created in honor of Helen B. Harley, SACUS business manager from 1971 to 1974.  Mrs. Harley was from South Carolina and served as the first “official” business manager of the Association.  Scholarships are presented each year to individuals from designated states to assist him/her in attending the SECA conference for the first time.  The scholarship consists of a stipend (set by the SECA Board of Directors) and complimentary conference registration.

Click here to view past recipients.

Kimberly Bemis

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Sarah Albahadily

Sarah Siebert

Marian B. Hamilton Award Recipients

This award was created in honor of Marian B. Hamilton, a past president of the Southern Association on Children Under Six (SACUS).  Marian was a member of the Kentucky association and served as SACUS (now SECA) President in 1978 & 1979.  During her term of office, circulation of Dimensions of Early Childhood rose to 12,000 and the first Board-to-Board newsletter was created.


Three grants are awarded each year by designated states to strengthen local affiliates/chapters or to recognize outstanding leadership. The award rotates among the states and the recipient is selected, based on the following:


Leadership—This individual or group of individuals is able to motivate and inspire others to accomplish a specific goal or objective.  


Initiative—This individual or group of individuals is able to take charge by creating or developing a program, project, or activity that impacts the community and has a personal commitment to see the project through to its resolution with determined effort.


Dedication—This individual or group of individuals is recognized by others for being

dedicated to achieving the desired results.


Click here to view past recipients.


Debra Jo Hailey



Dina Treff