Staff And Leadership


Deb is a 13 year resident of Transylvania County. She is skilled in financial operations, program management, fund development, administration and compliance/risk management. Her experience includes for profit and nonprofit enterprises in human services, higher education, and information technology. Before becoming the Executive Director of Smart Start, she worked for Sharing House in a financial management capacity and The Children and Family Resource Center in Henderson County as Director of Finance & Administration. She developed a passion for early education and young children in her capacity at The Children and Family Resource Center in Henderson County. She has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Wheaton College and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Suffolk University. She has completed the Duke University Nonprofit Management Certificate program as well as the Transylvania County Vision Leadership program.

Her community service includes serving on the boards of the WNC Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Brevard / Transylvania Chamber of Commerce.

Her professional affiliations include working with the WNC Child Advocacy Network, a network of organizations who collaborate on policy advocacy to improve access to, and quality of, early childhood care and education programming in western NC counties. The network also collaborates with statewide organizations on shared policy interests while advancing western counties’ priorities in statewide settings.

Deb is the current lead for the WNC regional “Smart Start Local Partnership Advisory Committee”, comprised of the western region Smart Start partnerships. This provides an opportunity for best practice sharing, collaborative work, and the ability to influence the statewide network.

When relaxing, she enjoys traveling with her husband, supporting the Brevard Music Center, and the natural beauty of our region.

Rebecca Snurr has lived in Cedar Mountain since 2013 where she enjoys the outdoor activities nature offers. What she did not expect from her adopted home was the warmth and openness of the community which has inspired her to get involved, eventually leading her to the nonprofit world. She uses her organizational and interpersonal skills at Smart Start to simplify and execute operational duties, always motivated by the goal of increasing the quality of care and education for children in Transylvania County.

Heidi comes to us with a background in volunteering for 20 years in Texas public schools. While raising two children, she was active in Scout Leadership and worked as a substitute teacher and crossing guard. After retiring, Heidi and her husband, Roger, moved to Brevard in 2014. She brings to us a passion for helping young people learn and thrive.


A retired Teacher-Librarian from Syracuse, NY, Mary has taught high school English in Missouri, Florida and Rhode Island and was a K-12 Library Media Specialist in New York. She loves reading, the outdoors, gardening and travel. She has been to all 50 states and over a dozen countries with her Navy husband and four children.

Board Of Directors

  • Chair - Nick Iosue
    Nicholas Iosue currently serves as Branch Manager & Commerical Lender for Entegra Bank in Brevard, NC. Raised in Hendersonville, Nicholas and his wife currently reside in Mills River where they raise their two daughters, Caitlyn and Nicole. As a socially concerned business leader, Nicholas has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations in our community, with a focus on supporting the youth in our area. In addition to serving on the board of Smart Start of Transylvania County, he has served or is serving on the boards of Brevard Academy, Pisgah Forest Rotary Club, the North Carolina Young Bankers Association, and the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce. Nicholas is a graduate of Western Carolina University, as well as the North Carolina School of Banking at UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • Vice Chair - Jeanette Chapman
    Jeanette Chapman grew up in Swain County, North Carolina. She attended Mars Hill College earning an associates degree and then earned a bachelor of science degree in Education from Western Carolina. She taught in Transylvania County for 6 years before starting a family. Once she raised her children, she joined Transylvania County Child Development where she worked for 28 years in the capacities of teacher and director of a child care center. Since retiring, Jeanette has enjoyed her three grandsons and spends her time helping family, neighbors, community and church wherever and whenever needed!
  • Treasurer - Pam Pallas

    Pam Pallas is currently enjoying her second career as the owner/innkeeper at The Bromfield Inn in Brevard, but her first career and first love was early childhood special education.  Growing up with a sister with developmental delays, she began working with children with special needs by volunteering for ARC summer camps. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher and started working with younger and younger children as research and experience confirmed the need for intervention and support beginning as early as infancy. Pam earned a Bachelor’s in elementary education, a Master’s in special education, and a PhD in early childhood special education.  She taught pre-service teachers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Florida and was the director of several child care centers over the years. The last 13 years she was the director of Baby Gator Child Development and Research Centers at the University of Florida where she developed three fully inclusive centers serving over 350 children ages birth to five.  Pam shares innkeeper duties with her husband Abe. In her free time, she enjoys visiting their children Molly and Christopher and doting on grandchildren Charlie, Jacob, Josiah and Isabel, reading a good mystery and making quilts.
  • Secretary - Kae Parker
    Kae found her own children's development so amazing that she entered school a second time to obtain a Masters in Early Childhood and Birth through Kindergarten Certification. She worked for thirty years in the county's Child Development program which supports families and young children with a comprehensive preschool program and supportive services for families. Since retirement, Kae has enjoyed volunteering for the Habitat Nurture Committee, helping families work toward acquiring their first home; organizing Fostering Families, a ministry supporting advocacy, recruitment, training and support for Foster Children and Parents; and serving on the local Partnership for Children Board as secretary and cheerleader. Kae loves living on the family's century old farm in the Dunn's Rock community. She enjoys time with husband Carroll, daughters Donna and Holly and grandchildren Isaac and Bailey.

  •   Shirley Cox
    Shirley Cox and her husband, Jim, moved to beautiful WNC in 1982. Shirley worked as an Early Childhood Educator for 13 years before having her own child. After a short break, she bought a childcare center and ran it for 13 years. She then moved to working with school age children at The Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County as the Unit Director. She is now partially retired and still enjoys working at the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County part time. Shirley has served on the Smart Start Board of Directors for a total of 11 years. She has also volunteered in the Resource Lending Library of Smart Start. Shirley is very active in her church, enjoys the choir, crafting, and spending time with her husband and her adult daughter, Rebecca. 

    Stacy Friesland
    Stacy has a BA in Psychology and has  managed the Foster Grandparent Program at  Land of Sky for 15 years. Stacy currently  serves as a Board Member for the Southern  Cluster for the National Association of Foster  Grandparent Program Directors, has served  on the planning committee for the National  Foster Grandparent, Senior Companion and  RSVP conference for the past two years as  well, and has served as a Mentor of the  Corporation for National & Community  Service National Peer Mentoring Program. In  addition, Stacy serves on the Early Childhood  Initiative, CARE Coalition, and Madison  County  Children’s Collaborative.
  • Judy Nebrig
    Judy has lived in Brevard since 1978, so considers herself almost a native. As a licensed Clinical Social Worker, she worked in Children’s Services of Trend Community Mental Health Services in Transylvania and Henderson Counties for 23 years, in several clinical positions. She and her husband Fred raised and launched three wonderful children. Since her “last” retirement, Judy has been chair of the Board of El Centro, involved in her church’s partnership with a church in Guatemala, and participates on several community boards and committees, all in the service of building a strong, supportive community for all of our residents. She is fueled by hiking, swimming, spending regular time with friends at local bakeries, chatting with other regulars at Ingles, and enjoying concerts of all kinds at Brevard Music Center. She is thrilled to be part of Smart Start Board and looking forward to our collaboration with…Sesame Street in Communities!!
  • Elizabeth C. Dobbins-Smith
    Liz Dobbins-Smith is a Raleigh native but  recently moved to the mountains of North  Carolina. She resides in Brevard with her  husband Joe and their energetic kids (4 year  old son Elliot and 1 ½  year old daughter  Eleanor) who tirelessly keep their parents  running in circles! Liz currently serves as one  of the co-managing directors for the North  Carolina Economic Development Association  (NCEDA) where she oversees membership  engagement and programs. Her  partner- in- crime, Lawrence Bivins, oversees  policy & public affairs. They both love being at  the heart of NCEDA and working to  strengthen the association every day.
     Liz has had great opportunities in her career  working for the Greater Raleigh Chamber of  Commerce, Leadership North Carolina (LNC),  the North Carolina Department of Commerce,  the North Carolina Bankers Association and  the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging  Association.

  • Lisa Sheffield
    Lisa Sheffield is the Adult Services Librarian at the Transylvania County Library. She wears many hats there including responsibilities for programming for adults, collection development, IT support, supervision of Reference, Outreach Services, and Technical Services, and staff training. Lisa also teaches classes for the State Library of North Carolina training fellow librarians on library technology and reference services. She grew up in Albany, GA, attended Georgia Southern for a BA in History, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for her Masters in Library and Information Science. She and her husband Scott have one daughter, Emily, who is a freshman at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and three cats, London, Luna, and Thalia. She loves to read books of all types, be outside in our beautiful mountains, and to spend time watching the Atlanta Braves play baseball.