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About Us

Since 1986, the National CACFP Sponsors Association (NCA) has been a leading national organization offering support to thousands within the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) community. Our core mission is to provide advocacy, education and resources for everyone involved in administering, operating and participating in USDA's child nutrition programs. Our overarching goal is to ensure nutrition security for families by facilitating access to vital food programs.

Rhonda Kobylecky, CMP, CCNP


Denise Andrews, CMP, CCNP


Alix Pasillas, CMP, CCNP


Gabriela Rangel, CMP, CCNP


Blake Stanford, CMP

Immediate Past Chair

Kate Abernathy, CMP, CCNP

Beth Carlton, CMP, CCNP

Deborah Gillison-Wilson, CMP, CCNP

Susan Ison, CMP

Lisa Mack

Annetta F. Rutland, CMP, CCNP

Lisa Mack NCA Headshot Square-2

Lisa Mack is the President & CEO of NCA, responsible for working with the board of directors to develop and implement the long-term operating plan to ensure the growth and success of the National CACFP Sponsors Association. Central to that plan is managing member and partner relationships, resource and product development, and training and conference programming. Lisa previously served as the director of corporate communications for a food service software corporation where she was responsible for client communications and newsletters, user group conferences, and partnerships with industry organizations such as Second Harvest, Research Chefs Association, Women's Foodservice Forum and the Society for the Advancement of Food Service Research. Lisa is a graduate of Pace University with a BBA.

It's kind of fun to do the impossible. ~ Walt Disney

Elizabeth Sherman NCA Headshot Square

Elizabeth Sherman is the association’s director of operations and your first point of contact for inquiries regarding memberships, conference registrations, product orders and certification applications. She manages the certification program along with daily administrative tasks such as database maintenance, financial deposits, social media updates and data entry.  Elizabeth was a CACFP provider for several years in South Dakota before moving to Texas 10 years ago.  Since then, she has spent the majority of her administrative professional career with the City of Round Rock's Parks and Recreation Department, most recently as office manager.

There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made. ~ 
Michelle Obama

Alexia Thex NCA Headshot Square

Alexia Thex is our director of policy and partnerships, charged with expanding NCA’s advocacy on policy matters and advancing the mission and interests of association members and stakeholders while forming long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with corporations and organizations that fit the mission of NCA. Alexia utilizes her past experience in nonprofit management and development and community and corporate health and wellness to build capacity and garner support for the CACFP. She firmly believes that nutrition security is a right and is committed to expanding access and modernizing the program.  Alexia holds a Master of Education in Exercise Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not. ~ Dr. Seuss

Jennifer Basey NCA Headshot Square

Jennifer Basey has served in many roles for the association including membership, website, conference, sales, and education. Jennifer serves currently as our certification coordinator. Jennifer graduated from Texas A&M with a BA in business administration, then went on to obtain her Master of Education degree from Texas State University. Jennifer spent ten years in the education field as an elementary teacher and later on became an instructional coach working directly with teachers.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ 

Laurie McDonnell NCA Headshot Square

Laurie McDonnell is the organization's accounting assistant, with her primary responsibilities including processing accounts payable and tracking accounts receivables. She also tracks the monthly budget and prepares financial reports and documents for the association. With a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Virginia Tech, Laurie has worked in different marketing communications roles in a variety of different industries including window treatment, industrial gardening equipment and engineering software and hardware. Over the last few years, she has been very involved in her children's schools and the PTA. This included 6 years as an executive officer; three of these years as budget coordinator and treasurer of an elementary school PTA.

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. ~ C.S. Lewis

Halley Ramirez NCA Headshot Square

Halley Ramirez is our senior administrative assistant primarily responsible for contact management. She makes it possible to get education resources and policy information delivered directly to over 95,000 members of the CACFP community by ensuring information accuracy and integrity. Halley graduated from California State University of Bakersfield with a BA in child, adolescent, & family Studies. Her career history includes administrative responsibilities coupled with team leadership. In addition, she also has employment and volunteer experiences with various childcare facilities.

There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher. ~ Henry Van Dyke

Chloe Smith NCA Headshot Square

Chloe Smith is our senior marketing communications specialist. She maintains the NCA's website, creates and sources content for publication online and in weekly eNews, manages and designs the association's graphic elements, produces segmented communications for members and marketing efforts, and develops showcase materials, training modules and webinar materials. Chloe previously worked in collegiate athletic communications, and also served as the marketing coordinator for the indie video game Brukel. She graduated from Central Arkansas with a BA in mass communications and earned her MS in sport management from Eastern Michigan.

Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time. ~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Hannah Morris NCA Headshot Square

Hannah Morris is our senior event specialist and is primarily responsible for planning the National Child Nutrition Conference. She organizes all aspects of the conference, including hotel logistics, volunteer opportunities, workshops, speakers, attendee experiences and assists with marketing the conferences. Hannah graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BS in Hospitality Management. She has planned events for various Marriott/Hilton properties and assisted with multiple hotel openings. Hannah is a member of the National Association of Catering & Events, which provides ongoing education and access to a large network of event professionals.

Today is your opportunity to build the tomorrow you want. ~ Ken Poirot

Isabel Ramos-Lebron NCA Headshot Square

Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD is our nutrition education specialist, whose primary function is to develop nutrition education materials & provide informational webinars on nutrition to support stronger program operations.  She has a strong background & passion in working with low-income communities of various cultural backgrounds, while working on graduate research projects and working in the nonprofit, food banking environment for eight years. Isabel has an MS in Nutritional Sciences and is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. She believes that all children and adults should have access to balanced, nutritional foods to aid in childhood development and adult health in the long term.

Brittany Uribe NCA Headshot Square

Brittany Uribe is our virtual event specialist, who is primarily responsible for planning and coordinating all webinars and virtual events, including those during the National Child Nutrition Conference. Brittany graduated from Florida State University with a BS in Family and Child Science. She began working for a CACFP sponsor in South Florida in 2013 and grew passionate about expanding CACFP training opportunities and educational resources.

McKenzie Brunner NCA Headshot Square

McKenzie Brunner is our policy and outreach specialist, responsible for tracking nutrition policy trends and legislation and serving as a subject matter expert for CACFP. She is also tasked with developing nonprofit partnerships and promoting collaboration among CACFP providers. McKenzie received her Master’s of Global Policy from the University of Texas at Austin. With a background in international development and foreign policy, McKenzie is passionate about increasing food security through promoting equitable policy and cross-sector collaboration.

Sarah Hogestyn NCA Headshot Square

Sarah Hogestyn is our membership and registration coordinator. She handles your inquiries regarding membership, event registration and other NCA questions. Sarah graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a BA in Theatre Arts, and in addition to her work with NCA, she is active in the Austin theatre community, where she works as a director and stage manager. Sarah's career history includes extensive work in child care, as well as social media and quality assurance.

Georgie Morell NCA Headshot Square

Georgie Morell is our partnership specialist. She strategizes and implements outreach initiatives to enhance program participation and form community and corporate alliances. Prior to this role, Georgie spent 12 years in public education and brings over a decade of experience in instruction, partnerships and community engagement. She believes that when people work together, they can make great strides towards bringing nutrition security to all.

Abril Maya NCA Headshot Square

Abril Maya is our executive administrator and is responsible for managing the association’s accounting, financials, payroll, benefits, reporting, IRS filings, hiring process, and supporting the CEO and Board of Director. In her previous role, Abril's responsibilities ranged from marketing, recruiting and human resources, as well as providing executive assistance to several founders and owners in the behavioral and occupational therapy industry. Abril graduated from Purdue University Online with her BS in Nutrition.

Laurin Kocurek NCA Headshot Square

Laurin Kocurek is our content and graphic design specialist. She produces and designs content that supports the association and helps to educate, empower, and enable the CACFP community. Laurin has extensive experience in nonprofit communication, having served the Abilene Chamber of Commerce for eight years prior to joining NCA. Laurin provided strategic direction and communication for the organization, most notably developing the largest young professional organization in West Texas, leading all crisis communication during the COVID-19 pandemic, and leading the organization’s 60-year-old public/private partnership through a complete re-brand. Laurin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communications in 2014 from Texas Tech University. She and her husband, Jeff, reside in Anson, Texas, where they assist in the operations of their fourth-generation, family-owned cattle operation and raise their two sons, Werner and Tucker.

Holden Childress
Holden Childress is our event specialist, responsible for assisting in the planning of the National Child Nutrition Conference (NCNC), and assisting in planning and coordinating all webinars and virtual events, including those during the NCNC.  Holden graduated from Tarleton State University with a BS in Psychology. He has a background in education and marketing, during which he worked to create engaging programming for students, faculty and clients.
"Love takes up where knowledge leaves off." - Thomas Aquinas


In 1986, we started as a small, Midwestern association with these few founding members Gaylene Barstow (Nebraska), Thora Cahill (Illinois) Lucille Patterson (Colorado), Cheryl Flaatten (Iowa) and Valerie Cable (Kansas).

We are now a more inclusive association, reaching friends in every state and Puerto Rico, across all seven USDA Regions. Thanks to our founders and to all our members for your support and faith in us throughout these years!

Friend of CACFP Award

The National CACFP Sponsors Association Friend of CACFP Award honors and recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to supporting and improving the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) through leadership and initiative. Individuals awarded have made significant and demonstrable contributions to the CACFP through advocacy, legislation, education or professional endeavors that exemplify a positive impact or advancement of the program.

Friend of SFSP Award

The National CACFP Sponsors Association Friend of SFSP Award honors and recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to supporting and improving the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) through leadership and initiative. Individuals awarded have made significant and demonstrable contributions to the SFSP through advocacy, legislation, education or professional endeavors that exemplify a positive impact or advancement of the program.

Lifetime Achievement Award