Presenters & Special Guests

Rochelle Wilcox

4PXP, Co-Founder and Wilcox Academy of Early Learning, Owner

New Orleans, LA

Rochelle Wilcox is the founder and Executive Director of Wilcox Academy of Early Learning which runs three ECE centers rated 4 stars by the Quality Rated System(Administered by the Louisiana Department of Education). Rochelle is also a Managing Partner of Elite Teachers Institute, a CDA/Early Childhood Ancillary Program(approved by the Louisiana State BESE) that serves Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes. Rochelle holds a Bachelor of, Interdisciplinary Studies from, the University of New Orleans, and an Associate of Art in Early Childhood Education. Rochelle is passionate about empowering current and future early childcare leaders to have a strong advocacy voice on policy issues impacting the stability of early childcare education, families, and our community.

Kristi Givens

4PXP Co-Founder and Kids of Excellence, Owner

Kristi Givens, is the founder and Executive Director of Kids of Excellence which runs three NAEYC accredited ECE centers rated 4 stars by the Quality Rated System(Administered by the Louisiana Department of Education). Kristi is also a Managing Partner of Elite Teachers Institute, a CDA/Early Childhood Ancillary Program(approved by the Louisiana State BESE) that serves Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes. Kristi holds a Master of Education, Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Instruction, University of New Orleans, and a Master & Bachelor of Social Work, Southern University of New Orleans. Kristi is passionate about mentoring and collaborating with current and future leaders in the early childcare education industry to expand their services, master their business practices, and grow and glow as thriving top business leaders in the early childcare industry.

Tanya Dennis, M.Ed.

Early Childhood Education Specialist, Planner, and Consultant

Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina

Tanya is committed to serving young children, their families, and early educators. She believes her “true grit” direct approach to play, learning and living invites a multitude of adventures, experiences, relationships and developing approaches to early education. 

Tanya has over 36 years of Early Education and Care experiences. Her formal education is woven in the strength of our NC community college and university systems.  She has worked for noted programs such as Head Start, Smart Start partnerships, NC Public Schools, UNC-Frank Porter Graham and our North Carolina Community College But her heart is always found in a classroom or playground nearby.

Tanya native of North Carolina and currently resides in Fuquay Varina among her family, friends, and kin!

Tracy Haddix

Senior Director of Projects and Program Launch; Shine Early Learning

Glasgow, Kentucky

Tracy Haddix has worked in service to low-income and at-risk children and families for over 20 years, including over six years with Acelero/Shine Early Learning in various capacities, including the last two as the Senior Director of Projects and Program Launch.  Tracy has vast experience in grant and project development, executive coaching, organizational assessment and systems management.  She has experience in working with Community Action organizations, school-based programs, Migrant Head Start, child care partnerships and state early childhood systems and has led start-up of new Head Start programs in a number of states.

Kelly Finley

KFin Productions, Owner/CEO

Kelly Finley is a 23 year news veteran. Kelly joined 92ZEW in 2019 as news director/anchor and host. Kelly’s newscasts air weekdays on the Sound of Mobile (92ZEW, The SOUL, The CRAB and WNSP). Kelly also highlights local greatness throughout the community on her “Tell Me Something Good” segment. As host of “The Community Round Table”, Kelly introduces you to non-profit organizations, where you can donate your time and talents. Kelly proudly debuted, “251 NOW with Kelly Finley” in January of 2020. It’s a show about what’s happening in the city, businesses you need to know about, local artists, restaurants to visit, health, finance, wellness, community leaders making a positive difference, vibrant topics you and your family and friends are talking about, NOW! “251 NOW with Kelly Finley” is the go-to place for what’s happening in the community.

Dawn Owens

Early Childhood Education Special Projects Manager; Council for Professional Recognition

Montgomery, AL

Dawn is a career Early Childhood Professional with 30+ years of experience. Prior to joining the Council, Dawn began her career as a kindergarten teacher in Montgomery Public Schools and after teaching for 10 years, she took a position as a program coordinator with the Montgomery Education Foundation a local nonprofit whose mission was to support initiatives of our local school district. Over the next four years the district expanded full day pre-k programs in our district from 1 to 23 classrooms and created a unique community of practice that included high quality professional development and mentoring for teachers in all the participating classrooms. In 2010, Dawn joined the Department of Children’s Affairs, Office of School Readiness during her tenure at the department, she traveled throughout the state of Alabama providing coaching for classroom teachers, administrative support for program directors and training for programs who received First Class Pre-K funding. In 2013, Dawn launched Tandem Early Education Consulting and for over 7 years served clients such as State Agencies, School Systems, Head Start Programs, Non-Profits, Private and Community Based Child Care Programs.

Susan Griffin


Director of PATHS; Children’s of Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Susan Griffin is a licensed independent clinical social worker and serves as the Director of PATHS. She also holds a Certification in Health Care Quality and Management from the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians. She received her BSW from the University of North Alabama and her MSW from the University of Alabama. Griffin has a background in direct clinical services, providing behavioral health care to children, adolescents and adults. She also has extensive administrative experience, having been director of a physician-owned PHP/IOP program serving both adolescents and adults and serving as the Chief Quality Officer for a statewide managed behavioral health care company. Griffin joined Children’s of Alabama in October 2018 to become the Director of PATHS and also oversees the development and implementation of all Behavioral Health Project ECHO educational events for PATHS participants.

Karlos F. Finley, Esq.

Africatown Redevelopment Corporation; Executive Director

Karlos Finley is the Executive Director of the Africatown Redevelopment Corporation (ARC). He participated in the active practice of law for over 20 years prior to accepting the position with ARC. He currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the Friends of the African-American Heritage Trail, Inc. (FAAHT) and Heart of Mary School Board of Directors. He served three consecutive years as Chair of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Alabama’s Youth of the Year Award Luncheon. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Dearborn YMCA (Heritage Y), Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Bishop State Community College Foundation, 15 Place Homeless Services Center, Housing First and Mobile United (Diversity and Inclusion Committee). Finley is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and serves as Tribal Judge of the MOWA band of the Choctaw Indians. He is married to Mrs. Kelly A. Finley and they have three wonderful children.