Leslie joined Palmetto Shared Services Alliance as the founding Executive Director after serving 8 years as the Operations Director at Greenville First Steps.
She serves on various community boards and councils including Greenville County Childcare Association, GHS Children’s Hospital Community Advisory Council, Junior League of Greenville, Greenville Tech Early Childhood and Livewell. She is also a graduate of Leadership Greenville class 42.
Leslie graduated from Winthrop University and the University of South Carolina with a Masters in Social Work. She is married to her husband Ross an they live in Greenville with their 2 sons, Taylor and Mac.
Shelley’s career in early childhood education began over 20 years ago in Columbia, SC. She went on to be the assistant director for a preschool in Greenville, SC for 11 years before joining the staff of Greenville First Steps. Shelley worked side by side with Leslie to launch Palmetto Shared Services Alliance.
She is passionate not only about the welfare of our youngest and is excited to be a part of a program aimed at making sure they have a high quality, early childhood experience.
Shelley graduated from Wofford College in Spartanburg, with BA in Art History and is an avid painter in her spare time. Shelley lives in Greenville, SC with her two sons, Briggs and Davis.
Professional Development Director
Susan is an early childhood educator and advocate who has been working with young children in numerous capacities for the past 50 years. She started her career as a preschool teacher and has worked in various childcare settings; including higher education programs, literacy programs, and faith-based programs, ending up in administration.
Susan is proficient in creating developmentally appropriate curriculums, professional development for Early Childhood professionals as a Master Certified Trainer, and has exceptional leadership skills.
Susan graduated from Marietta College with BA in Sociology and East Carolina University with a MS in Child Development and Family Relations. She is married to her husband, Rhys, mother to her 2 children, Emily and Gordon, and Mimi to her 8 year-old granddaughter, Nora.
Special Projects Director
Emily received her Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education with concentration in Child Life from Mills College in 1999. Emily was certified as a child life specialist that same year and immediately began working as a child life specialist at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children in Falls Church, VA. She relocated to Greenville, SC in 2004 to join the child life team at what is now Prisma Health Children’s Hospital—Upstate where she continued to work until 2019. During this time, Emily worked as a child life specialist in the PICU, hematology/oncology unit, radiology, and as supervisor for Child Life Services. In 2017, Emily started teaching at Greenville Tech in the Early Care and Education program along with providing trainings for childcare providers at local conferences. Emily worked as an early interventionist with Ahead Start from 2019-2021, providing one-on-one services to children with special needs in their homes or childcare centers.
Palmetto Childcare Connect Director
Kelly Saunders is a highly experienced and accomplished professional with over 20 years of experience in the early childhood education field. She is passionate about helping others grow and achieve their personal goals, and her dedication to her work is evident in everything she does. In her previous roles, Kelly has served as the Director of two different child care centers, one of which she opened from the ground up. She has also worked as an Early Childhood Specialist with Southern Adirondack Child Care Network (NY), where she has helped providers thrive regardless of their experience level. Kelly is a skilled educator and communicator, and she has a deep understanding of children's developmental needs and growth. She is also certified in T-Tap, a gentle form of equine-assisted therapy, and she enjoys providing professional development to others in the field.
Outside of work, Kelly is a devoted mother to three grown children.
Bella has dedicated her professional life to becoming the best Executive Assistant. She has over 20 years of experience enhancing executives productivity, improving business operations, and helping teams work fluidly.
Bella's love as an avid Equestrian and horse trainer keeps her busy in her spare time.
"PSSA is a fantastic resource for childcare providers. I can't stress enough how important PSSA is to my profession. So much information in one place! Thanks for the platform and your dedication to the childcare field"!
Gracie McLeod - Little Places Learning Center
Jessica Sharp – SC Program for Infant and Toddler Care - Chair
Erin Hutton – Intuit
Deborah DePaoli – Institute For Child Success
Vaudrien Ray – Director/Owner, Miss Ruby’s Academy
Trey McLeod - SC DEW
Cathleen Cullen - Spartanburg First Steps Quality Counts
Susannah Kang - Self-employed, Health Insurance Broker
Brandon Kinder - Owner bioPURE
Hope Collins - Bon Secours St Francis
BJ Norris Long - Director, Primrose Simpsonville