About Us

Learn about our mission, values, and who we are.  Meet our Board Members, who are crucial to our success, along with the Beaufort County First Steps staff!


Every Child will arrive at Kindergarten ready to succeed


  • The years of early childhood are a critical window of development during which much of human potential is shaped.
  • Families are the single most important influence on the development of their young children.
  • The work of supporting families and caregivers is a collaborative effort between state and local stakeholders within the public, private and faith sectors.
  • School readiness is the result of a child’s development in many areas, with each contributing to the child’s success.
  • Services must be individualized and adaptable to meet the unique needs of children and families.
  • We value, and demonstrate in our collaborative work and advocacy, diverse perspectives in the development of public policy and programs.
  • To achieve desired results, services must be high-quality and grounded in strong evidence. First Steps operates within a culture of accountability.

Meet the Board

Name Position Board Category Place of Employment
Julia Burnes Chair  Head Start Beaufort Jasper EOC, Head Start
Anita “Lynn” Singleton Vice-Chair County School District Beaufort County School
James Williams Treasurer Non-Profit Beaufort Jasper EOC, Head Start
Tonya Allen-Jenkins Child Care, EC Provider Penn Center Inc.
Ronald Manyin Non-Profit Fripp Island Friends of Music
Nancy Priester DSS Beaufort County Department of Social Services
York Glover Faith Community Retired
Marilyn Jenkins Early Childhood Ed. Retired
Kathleen M. McTeer County Library Beaufort County Library
Ernestine Morris Early Childhood Ed. Retired
Madie Orage Green DHEC Beaufort County Department of Health & Environmental Control
Olandor Lewis Family Education, Training & Support Provider Beaufort Jasper EOC, Head Start
Kelly Zytynski Secretary Pre-K Primary Educator Child Enrichment Center/Baptist Church of Beaufort

Beaufort County First Steps Staff

Betty Washington, Executive Director
Lucette Brown, Parent Educator
Sheryl Newton, Early Child Educator
Solimar Abbott, Community Health Worker
Erin Mathews, Program Specialist