Learn more about our leadership team, working to support and manage our schools nationally, and ensuring your family receives high-quality care and education – every child, every family, every day.
Wes Wooten | President
As president of The Sunshine House, Wes is our trailblazer, our leader, motivator and encourager-in-chief. He keeps our 2,500 team members moving in the same direction, with purpose and enthusiasm. He embodies our mission: providing quality care and education – every child, every family, every day. Under Wes’s guidance, we serve more than 12,000 families each day. Wes has nearly 30 years of experience in the early childhood industry, and serves on numerous early childhood-related boards. A native of Garner, NC and current resident of Greenville, SC, Wes has a Master’s degree in Business Administration. But most important of all, Wes is the proud father of two awesome young adults. When he isn’t at work, Wes loves to cook and spend time outdoors.
Barbra Anderson-Richardson | Chief Branding Officer
As chief branding officer, Barbra and her marketing team are responsible for spreading the word about our company’s mission, and helping our schools provide exceptional experiences to the children and families in our care. Barbra has been with us for 7 years, and has 20 years of marketing and branding experience, coming to us from the banking and professional sports industries. A native of Newtown, CT, she graduated cum laude from New York University in New York, NY with a Bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism, and earned her Digital Marketing and Professional Certified Marketer certifications from the American Marketing Association. She volunteers as a legislative advocate and community organizer on animal welfare issues, and fosters homeless dogs for various rescues with her husband.
Stan Carper | Director of Facilities and Information Technology
Stan stays busy heading up two important departments at The Sunshine House – IT and facilities. His teams work hard to maintain our facilities (both inside and out) and our IT infrastructure. Stan has more than 20 years of IT experience and 10 years in project management. He earned his BS in Chemistry from Marshall University. He’s taught workshops and led seminars for the Florida Association for Child Care Management, North Carolina Licensed Child Care Association, Professional Association of Childhood Educators, National Afterschool Association and the Association for Early Learning Leaders. He has served as a board member for the YMCA and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. A native of West Virginia, he currently resides in Simpsonville, SC with his wife, Whitney; two children, Cooper and Elliott; and their bulldog, Prager.
Darlene Cole | Director of Human Resources
As director of human resources, Darlene and her team have an important job. They take care of our 2,500 team members, and ensure we recruit and retain the very best, brightest and most loving teachers and caregivers. Why? Because your child deserves the very best care and early education. Darlene has been at the helm of our human resources team for 3 years, and brings 12 years of senior-level HR experience to our group. Darlene earned her Master’s degree in Human Resources from Clemson University and her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English, also from Clemson University. She is a member of the National Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). An interesting fact about Darlene? She collects antique portraits and photographs, and is an avid genealogy researcher. Darlene is originally from the small town of Pumpkintown, SC, known for its Annual Pumpkintown Festival every fall.
Willis Fortson | Director of Training and Professional Development
As director of training and professional development, Willis coaches and develops Sunshine House team members across the country to help them deliver exceptional learning experiences for our children. Willis has nearly 25 years of experience in the professional development field and serves as a college adjunct professor, in addition to serving on various community-related boards. A native and resident of Clinton, SC, Willis has a Master’s degree in Business Administration. When he’s not busy developing tomorrow’s leaders, Willis enjoys traveling to Carolina Panthers games and researching family ancestry with his wife, Tammy.
Emily Habig | Vice President of Operations
Emily has been with us more than 20 years, in almost every role imaginable. She joined the team in 1995 as center director in Greensboro, NC. Twenty years later, when Emily visits that school she sometimes meets children who used to attend – who are now adults with children of their own attending the same school! Emily has a Bachelor of Science degree in Children and Family Relations from East Carolina University. She serves as the Treasurer of the North Carolina Licensed Childcare Association (NCLCCA) and is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Emily, a native of High Point, NC, is the youngest of 6 children, and loves being with her family. How much? Her family has vacationed together (parents, brothers/sisters, nieces/nephews) every summer for the last 56 years!
Kathy Hagen | Vice President of Operations
As vice president of operations, Kathy works to ensure our mission to provide quality care and education – every child, every family, every day – comes to life at each Sunshine House across the country. Kathy has more than 15 years of management experience and has been with our company for 6 years, joining the team as an assistant director in Charleston, SC in 2012. She also served as regional director before assuming her current position as vice president of operations. Kathy has a Business Management degree from the University of Minnesota, and is a member of the Georgia Child Care Association (GCCA), North Carolina Licensed Childcare Association (NCLCCA), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). A native of Minnesota, outside of work Kathy enjoys the beach, site seeing and spending time with her daughter.
Barbara Hill | Controller
Barbara has served as controller of The Sunshine House since 2013, and has more than 30 years of experience in finance and accounting. In her role, she provides financial leadership for the company, including oversight of the finance department and directing the preparation and management of the company’s budget and alignment of its resources. A Certified Public Accountant, Barbara graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, and has held a variety of financial leadership positions in various industries. Outside of work, Barbara enjoys reading, going to the beach and spending time with her two miniature dachshunds.
Jerod Mann | Vice President of Development and Operational Support
As our vice president of development and operational support, Jerod looks for ways to help our company expand into new markets and serve new communities. Jerod has been a part of our team for 5 years, coming to our company in 2013 after serving in the military for 12 years. He studied leadership, marketing, international business, and negotiation at Hawaii Pacific University, Upper Iowa University, and the University of Notre Dame, sequentially. His passion to serve others and enrich communities perfectly aligns with our vision to partner with families to create a better world. In his free time, Jerod loves to fish and volunteer at local charities with his wife Kara. A little known fact about Jerod? He collects old delta blues records from the early 1900’s (in case you have some you’d like to unload). A Pennsylvania native, Jerod now resides in Greenville, SC with this wife Kara and their two dogs, Dutchess and Brutus.
Michelle Salcedo | Chief Academic Officer
Michelle has been in early education for more than 30 years, starting as a “teacher’s helper” in her little brother’s preschool classroom when she was a teenager. Since that time she has worked as a teacher, director, family educator, curriculum coordinator, teacher trainer, and everything in between. She has traveled the country as a trainer and keynote speaker, and is the author of Uncovering the Roots of Challenging Behavior: Create Responsive Environments Where Young Children Thrive. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and an undergraduate degree in Developmental Psychology with an emphasis in Family Life Education. A native of (and true advocate for) Detroit, MI and her beloved Detroit Lions, Michelle and her husband have two adult children. When she is not living her passion of making the world a better place for children and families, she is studying for her sommelier exam.