Staff And Leadership


Deb is an innovative leader who creates opportunities to make a difference through passion for early childhood and advocacy. Her strengths include organizational transformation, capacity building, fund development, collaboration, and financial management/compliance. 

She is experienced in for profit and nonprofit enterprises in human services, early education, higher education, and information technology. During her fifteen years as a resident of WNC, Deb has devoted her energy to the nonprofit sector. 

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 WNC counties. She is the statewide lead for the WNC regional Smart Start advisory committee, comprised of the western region Smart Start organizations. This provides an opportunity for best practice sharing, collaborations, and the ability to influence the statewide network.

She holds 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. 

When relaxing, she enjoys the natural beauty of Western North Carolina as well as traveling worldwide.


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 coordinates the free high-quality NC Pre-K program in Transylvania County in addition to other programs that support and advance early education.


Eileen is a new resident to Western North Carolina after living and working in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. Her background is compiled with work in communications, team management, writing and customer service always with a focus on the value of the people in her surrounding community. Eileen brings her writing, social media and brand management skills to Smart Start of Transylvania County along with her experience as a parent of a young child.
Her passions and curiosities outside of her literary and communications wheelhouse include: gardening, cooking, and exploring the mountains on hikes and runs.


Jocelyn is a North Carolina native who has been living in Western North Carolina for the last ten years. She recently moved with her husband to Pisgah Forest and is eager to engage with her new community. She is currently working on her doctorate in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a research focus in literacy and Intersecting Disciplines in Psychology and Public Health through UNC-Greensboro. She is excited to share her background as an early intervention speech-language pathologist and educational pursuits collaboratively with local professionals to support and strengthen the community.

Jocelyn leads SSTC in the implementation of Family Connects, a program that connects parents of newborns to the community resources they need through postpartum nurse home visits and ultimately builds greater resilience.

When not working or focused on school, Jocelyn enjoys reading and running the mountain trails with her two dogs. She and her husband are thrilled to welcome their first child this year.


Ansley Harron, a Transylvania County native, graduated from Brevard High School in 2016. She went on to continue her education at Western Carolina University, earning her Bachelor of Social Work in 2019 with high honors. She has worked the last nearly four years as an early childhood educator in both Transylvania and Jackson counties. She will be working as a Family Home Childcare Coach for Transylvania county.

Her passions include social justice and bringing resources to families in her community.


Board Of Directors

Nicholas Iosue currently serves as Senior Commercial Lender for United Federal Credit Union. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Jimmy Harris is a proud board member of Smart Start of Transylvania County. He is the owner of Harris ACE Hardware, a family owned business on Main Street in Brevard that was established 1972. Jimmy has also served as the Mayor of Brevard since 1999 and is currently serving his 8th term leaving him as the longest serving mayor in Brevard's history. His past leadership and service accolades include Brevard College Board of Trustees, Woodmen of the World Youth Camp and North Carolina Leadership Council for National Federation of Independent Business. Jimmy has been a past president (and is currently serving as a board member) of the Heart of Brevard merchants association as well as the past president of the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce. From 2005 until 2019 he also served as the Chair of ACE Hardware Corporation Smoky Mountain Dealer Group Leader (representing all ACE stores in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina).

Jimmy graduated with his BA in Business Administration from Gardner-Webb University 1986 where he was also a Distinguished Graduate Recipient and is a U.S. Air Force veteran with his service spanning from 1980-1984.
He is a member of Brevard Wesleyan Church and has three children with his wife, Carri.

Chuck is a lifelong resident of Transylvania County.  Chuck is married to his wife April and they have two beautiful daughters.  He graduated from Brevard High School in 1994 and then graduated from Mars Hill College with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology with a concentrate in Criminal Justice.  Chuck started his career in law enforcement in 2002 when he swore in with the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office.  Chuck has held the position of Deputy Sheriff, School Resource Officer, Sgt. in the Patrol Division and is now the Professional Standards and Training Lt.

Lisa Sheffield is the Adult Services Librarian at the Transylvania County Library and is serving her second term on the Smart Start Board. She wears many hats at the Library including responsibilities for programming for adults, collection development, IT support, supervision of Reference, Outreach Services, and Technical Services, and staff training. 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 attends 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.

LInda Locks is a retired teacher who served and educated the children of Transylvania County for the majority of her career. While teaching, she encouraged her students to believe in themselves, do their best, never stop learning and shoot for the stars. She views education as the key to attaining a better life and a more secure future.

She possess a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from NCCU, a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from WCU and earned her National Board Certified Teacher Certificate as a Middle Childhood/Generalist.