Terrie VanZandt-Travis, MSW

Executive Director

Terrie VanZandt-Travis, MSW

Executive Director

Terrie VanZandt-Travis is an experienced social worker with a passion for children and families. Terrie received her bachelor, masters of social work degrees from the University of Kansas, and has 40 years of experience in her field.


While obtaining her masters degree, Terrie worked as the Community Service Work Coordinator for the Douglas County, Kansas court system.  She then served for several years as the Child Protection Coordinator for the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.  She also spent several years as a preschool teacher with Lenexa United Methodist Church.


Terrie continued her passion for working with children when she joined Growing Futures in 2002.  She started in the classroom as a teacher, then became a program coordinator and family services director moving into her current position as Executive Director in 2008.  As Executive Director, Terrie provides leadership in the planning, implementation and evaluation Growing Futures Early Education Center, a Head Start program serving vulnerable Johnson County children and families.


Terrie is a member of the Overland Park South Rotary Club and serves as a member of the board as Sergeant-at-Arms. Terrie is also a board member of the Downtown Overland Park Partnership, Inc. and participates in the United Community Services of Johnson County Children’s Coordinating Council. Terrie has been a guest speaker at local Rotary and Optimist Clubs, Chamber of Commerce, United Way Speakers Bureau and is a member of the North East Johnson County Chamber of Commerce. Terrie is married, has two married daughters, 3 precious grandchildren, and is an avid walker and a die-hard Kansas Jayhawk fan.


Melisa Smitson, PhD

Program Director

Melisa Smitson is the program director at Growing Futures since 2018.  Early learning initiatives have been her passion throughout her career.  She has been involved with early education and Head Start for over 36 years as a classroom teacher, education coordinator, family support coordinator and program director.  Melisa has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Florida State University, a Master’s Degree in Language and Literacy, an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis Early Childhood and an Interdisciplinary Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction/Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.  Her doctoral dissertation focused on teacher beliefs about early childhood guidance.

Dave Harrold

Finance Director

Dave joined the management team at Growing Futures in June 2020 as the Director of Finance. 

Dave has been passionate about our organization for a very long time, serving as a member of the Growing Futures Board of Directors for the last four years. In his role, Dave is responsible for managing the accounting system, including transaction accounting, payroll, internal control and financial reporting, as well as IT. He also works alongside the program staff in managing budget and financial forecasting.


Dave brings experience as a CPA with a wide range of business, accounting and finance experience. Dave has served in accounting and finance leadership positions with several non-profits, including the YWCA of Kansas City and The Salvation Army and has been a small business owner, where he gained valuable business operations and strategic planning experience.


Dave is married to Robin and together, they have three children. Dave is an active volunteer in non-profits and has served in several financial management related volunteer positions at his church for many years. In his free time, Dave enjoys home projects of all types, especially woodworking. He also loves being outdoors and hiking the Rockies is an all-time favorite activity.

Jessica Hoffman

Director of Development & Community Relations

Jessica is an accomplished marketing professional with over 20 years of experience, who is passionate about supporting the people in our community. With an extensive background in marketing, digital media, fundraising, event coordination, sponsorships, donations and community development; Jessica has put her skills to use to tell the Growing Futures story and to showcase all of the positive ways children and families are being supported.

Jessica grew up on her family farm outside of Clinton, MO and moved to Kansas City after attending college at Central Missouri State University. Her passion for giving back to the community began at an early age, when she became an advocate for the American Cancer Society while in high school. What began as organizing a small, community daffodil fundraiser in her DECA group, grew to become a part of her values and mission to give back to her local community. Since then, she has organized several, large-scale events and fundraisers that have further supported her passion and the communities she serves.


Jessica and her husband have two border collies, Brody & Bailey, and enjoy camping, fishing and all things outdoors. Her favorite holiday is Halloween and the Hoffman's spend a lot of time creating an interactive and fun experience for the children in their neighborhood. Jessica also enjoys cooking and baking, meeting new people, listening to good music, taking long walks with her dogs and spending time with friends and family.


Suzanne Handlin, PHR

Human Resource Manager

Suzanne Handlin is the Human Resource Manager at Growing Futures.  She has been with Growing Futures since March of 2020.  Suzanne has over 16 years of experience in the HR field and earned her PHR certification in 2016.  Her experience consists mostly of working in the medical field, but has also worked in HR for a property management firm, software, and the movie theater industry.  Most of her time spent at Growing Futures is building relationships with the staff, mentoring, recruiting, and everything in between.  Suzanne chose Growing Futures because she sees the need in the community for an organization that will wrap their arms around a family and child in need.  Her mother was a teacher in the public school system where she grew up in Newport News, VA and was able to see the impact that teachers and caregivers can have on their students.  When Suzanne is not working, she loves spending time with her family, gathering friends, traveling, and attending live concerts of her favorite bands.  LinkedIn link: http://linkedin.com/in/suzhandlin


Not Pictured Above

Ms. Brittnie

Family Educator

Ms. Caylee

Room 17, Lead Teacher

Ms. Cherra

Family Educator

Ms. Danielle

Room 3, Lead Teacher

Ms. Deanna

Room 7, Lead Teacher

Ms. Felicia

Room 18, Teacher

Ms. Jenny

Room 16, Teacher

Ms. Jessie

Room 17, Teacher

Ms. Kenyatta

Room 19, Teacher

Ms. Marie

Room 20, Lead Teacher

Mr. Michael

Room 18, Lead Teacher

Ms. Rachel

Room 17, Lead Teacher

Ms. Rebacca

Room 14, Teacher

Ms. Saundra

Room Room 2, Teacher

Ms. Tobi

Room 3, Lead Teacher

Mr. Zack

Room 19, Teacher

Staff photos were taken by Bill Bornsheuer at Studio Graphics, LLC.

Carol Gonzales, President


Erika Cundiff, Treasurer

KC Structural Steel

Anne Mills, Secretary

Retired from Hallmark

Nancy Wallerstein

Community Activist

Jake Barnes

Financial Advisory Service, Inc.

Scott Campbell

Integrit Ops

Kendall Burr

Blue Valley School District

Amy Goostree

Tucker GC

Jill Grotzinger

USA Fencing

Carol Heil

Retired Not-for-Profit ED

Tim Hilton

Husch Blackwell

Ann Kenney

Retired Physiological Psychologist 

Jim Lisson

Retired IBM Corporation

Joe Onofrio

Five Elms Capital

Debra Peterson


Marc Shaffer

Searcy Financial Services

Thom Sutherland

Johnson County District Court

Margie Harden

Johnson County Young Matrons


Nora Mupo


Jessica Cissell

Vice President

Rihanna Schuetz


Sholabomi Popoola

Board Liaison

Claudia Zuale

Room Representative

Mayra Lopez

Room Representative

Zebib Ayele

Room Representative

Angela Lagunes

Room Representative

Rita Maganga

Room Representative

Tara Perrilli Mcgarrigle

Room Representative

Lesly Salas

Room Representative

Sandy Reece


Juletta Hutson


Celia Ruiz

United Health Care

Amanda Vega-Mavec

El Centro

Dr. Kelli Mather

El Centro

Rachel Perez

Johnson County Mental Health

Grow with us! Experience the everyday excitement our children have while they learn and grow at school. Growing Futures is proud to provide a safe, encouraging environment for the children, families and staff. We also provide a comprehensive benefit package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance; short-term and long-term disability; life insurance; 403(b); and generous paid time off, including 

winter and spring breaks.

Early Head Start Teacher - Full Time

This position has been filled.

Kitchen Assistant - Part Time

Click here to apply!

Finance Director

This position has been filled.

8155 Santa Fe Drive  |  Overland Park, KS 66204  |  913-649-9714

©2020 by Growing Futures Early Education Center

Thank you to our presenting sponsor!

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A Head Start For Children & Families