Leadership Team

Chris Gentry

Director, Family Support Network of Greater Forsyth

Chris has served as the Director of the Family Support Network of Greater Forsyth since January 2004. This program offers a multitude of support services to families who have children with special needs, including onsite hospital/NICU support, parent-to-parent matching, sibling programs, educational opportunities for caregivers, and information and referral services. Chris has over 30 years of experience serving families of young children with a focus on quality childhood experiences and environments. She has worked in public and private school settings, as well as with NC’s Smart Start Initiative. Her educational background includes Social Work, Pastoral Care and Non-Profit Management.

Karen S. Young

Developmental Day Director, The Special Children's School

Karen Young has worked in the early childhood field for 35 years in various positions in Wake, Cleveland and Forsyth counties.  She has an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education and in 2010 she graduated from Salem College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.  Karen has been at The Special Children’s School since 2002 and has been the Developmental Day Director since 2007. She is married and has two grown children and two grandchildren.

 

    Meredith Flowe

    Assistant Executive Director

    Meredith Flowe began her career as a Teach For America Corps Member.  First teaching middle school in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and then displaced students in St. John Parish, LA following Hurricane Katrina.  She then joined the Charter School Lending team at Self-Help, a nonprofit national lender headquartered in Durham, NC before pursuing a law degree.  After graduation, Meredith served as the Public Interest Fellow at the National Association for Legal Professionals and then Chief of Staff at the Impact Center in Washington, D.C.  During her time at Impact Center, the team grew their women’s leadership program, facilitated retreats for presidential appointees, and convened the inaugural Gender Intelligence Summit.  In 2012, Meredith returned to Self-Help where she focused on facility financing and real estate development for public charter schools in 17 states and D.C. as well as national and state education policy.  Prior to joining CFEC, she was the Director of Development at Henderson Collegiate, a charter school dedicated to serving low-income families in Henderson, NC.  Meredith has served on the Steering Committee of the Charter School Lenders Coalition, PAVE SE Raleigh Advisory Board, and the Georgia Charter School Association Advocacy and Policy Committee.  Meredith is a Board Member of the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools and member of Leadership for Educational Equity.  She holds a B.A. in International Studies from UNC-CH and a J.D. from UNC School of Law.

      Nancy Griffith

      Executive Director

      Nancy began serving as the permanent Executive Director for The CFEC on August 1, 2015. She was a member of The Children’s Center and then CFEC Board of Directors for many years, serving lastly as on the executive committee as chair of the strategic planning committee, and was the founding president of Friends. Her undergraduate degree is in secondary education from UNC-Chapel Hill, and her graduate degree is in public administration from Appalachian State University. She has worked in various areas of education and non-profits and served on numerous community boards, including the WSFCS Board of Education. Nancy and her husband, David, have three grown children and four young granddaughters. Her passion for her family extends to all children and their families, especially those with special challenges.

      Robin McKeown

      Finance Manager     

      Robin McKeown has served as a staff member at The Children’s Center for more than 24 years now, performing various duties. Robin retired from the WSFCS System in 2018 and currently works with the CFEC.

      Samantha Manring

      Principal

      Samantha Manring was named principal of The Children’s Center in July 2016. Before joining The Children’s Center family, Samantha served as the assistant principal of Cash Elementary School. She has extensive experience in the exceptional children’s division, having served as an exceptional children’s teacher, process specialist and case manager. Samantha earned a bachelor of arts in special education from High Point University and a master’s degree in special education from Appalachian State University.

      Sandra Gilmer

      Principal

      Since 2011, Sandra Gilmer has served as the principal of The Special Children’s School. She is proud to be a part of such a unique and outstanding program that serves the special needs of young children in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Sandra has 17 years of experience as a classroom teacher with exceptional children in Lexington City Schools and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Since 2000, she has been a school administrator with the Rowan County Schools and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Her education degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Greensboro include the areas of Early Childhood Education, Exceptional Children, and Educational Leadership. Sandra’s teaching and administrative experience have spanned the pre-K, elementary, middle, and high school levels.

      Sarah Shutt

      Receptionist

      Sarah Shutt is not only a former student of The Children’s Center, but she worked as a volunteer with us prior to beginning her tenure as our receptionist. Most days, Sarah can be found at the front desk greeting parents and visitors or interacting with our children, who love the time they spend with her while waiting for their buses to arrive.  Sarah’s experience of being a student at The Children’s Center enables her to have a unique relationship with both our children and our parents.

      Shana Heilbron

      Director of Philanthropy, The CFEC

      Shana is the Director of Development & Marketing at The Centers for Exceptional Children. In this role she serves as the CFEC’s external representative to philanthropic entities, corporate organizations and charitable foundations. She is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to raise the critical funding required to advance the CFEC mission. Shana has been working in nonprofit development for 14 years, and has successfully executed fundraising luncheons and galas, and managed million-dollar development plans. Shana began her career in Washington, D.C. as a communications and press staffer for D.C. City Councilmember Harold Brazil and the Committee on Economic Development, and then served at the head of the Development Departments for The Excel Institute and the YWCA National Capital Area. On a voluntary basis, Shana is on the board of directors for the YWCA Winston-Salem and The Association of Fundraising Professionals (Triad Chapter). She is also a member of the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, Novant Health Women’s Council, United Way’s Young Leaders United Steering Committee, and The Forsyth Promise’s Community Equity Committee. Shana received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Politics & Government and Women’s Studies form Ohio Wesleyan University. Originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio, Shana relocated from Washington, DC to Winston-Salem, NC in August 2016.

      Shawn Martin

      Operations Manager / Technology Support, The CFEC

      Shawn Martin has an extensive background in the field of early childhood education. She holds an A.A.S. (Early Childhood Education with Administrative Credential) from Forsyth Technical Community College and a B.A. (Teaching, Schools and Society with Advocacy Concentration) from Salem College. She comes to the CFEC with more than thirty years of experience working with children with and without special needs. Shawn has served as a board member for both Smart Start of Forsyth County and Work Family Resource Center. She continually seeks out opportunities to advocate for all children and families.

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