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Cleveland County Partnership For Children


Our Vision

Healthy children and families that are equipped with the resources needed to build strong foundations that enable children to be successful, life-long learners. 

Our Mission

  • Partner with families, the community, and childcare centers to provide resources and support. 

  • Improve the lives of children and families at every stage of early childhood development.

  • Allocate resources to meet the needs of our early childhood care and learning community. 

Diverse Kindergarten

Our Story

Cleveland County Partnership for Children is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) that started in 1993 as one of North Carolina's first 12 Smart Start Partnerships. Since this partnership began, our goal has been to form collaborative partnerships with families, child care providers, schools, businesses, local government agencies, organizations, and the faith-based community to make resources and programs readily available for parents and children in our community. Through the years, our resources and programs have reached thousands of children and families across Cleveland County. Our hope is that the services and supports we provide will enable our children to build strong health and learning foundations that will prepare them to succeed in life. 

Meet The Team

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Shannon White, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Tina Dellinger, JD,

Assistant Director/

Contract Director

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Tonya Luckadoo, BBA

Fiscal Officer

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Sammi Bailes, BS

NC Pre-K Program Director

Tracy Clark, MS

Quality Control Specialist & Disabilities Coordinator

Johanna Gillespie, BS

Program Manager

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Stephenie Freeman

Finance Assistant

Elyse Tidwell, BSN

Early Head Start

Health Coordinator


Molly Kendrick, BS

Education Coordinator

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Melissa Waters, BA

ERSEA Coordinator

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Billie Mitchell, AAS

Early Head Start Family Services Coordinator

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Sherri Sharpe, MA

Community Outreach, Parent Education, & Family Services Coordinator

Michelle Palmer, BS

Early Head Start Director

Max Tidwell

Early Head Start Family Services Coordinator

Thomas McGhee, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute - Board Chair

Betty Crow Kennedy, Vice-Board Chair & Community Leader

Andrea Leslie-Fite, Esq.- Attorney at Law

Hugh Sandoe, Burke County Government - Secretary/Treasurer

William Caldwell, NC Works

Katie Swanson, Director of Cleveland County DSS

Robin Smith, Owner of It Takes an Entire Village

Gracie Crowder - Nurse Practitioner, Shelby Children's Clinic

Paula Peeler, Director, Office of School Readiness, CCS

Heather Horton, CDSA

Leslie Cobb, President & CEO of United Way of Cleveland County

Dashe' Lawton, Wake County Public Health Center

Bonnie Beam, Adjunct Professor, Gardner Webb

Tonya Arrington, Cleveland Community College

Our Board Members

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