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Joseph Sparling, PhD

Senior Scientist Emeritus, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, UNC Chapel Hill 

Sparling is the Board Chair of the Abecedarian Education Foundation, Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina (USA), Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education of the University of Melbourne (Australia), and Honorary Professor at Jingdu Children’s Hospital, Beijing (China).


His 50-year career has been focused on bringing educational opportunities to vulnerable or disadvantaged children from birth though age five. With Professor Craig Ramey, he developed the early educational program known as the Abecedarian Approach. This program has been evaluated in a series of randomized controlled trials with results published in more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles.


He serves as a consultant on international early childhood research and/or staff training activities currently being conducted in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Jordan, Mexico, Singapore, and the USA. Sparling was the Director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Care Center during the intervention phase of the world-known Abecedarian longitudinal studies.

Kerry Goodman, MBA

Founder, Fiduciary Asset Management

Kerry Goodman, MBA, is Vice Chairman of the AEF Board of Directors and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary with Independent Advisor Alliance. In his professional role, he develops and executes strategies to quantify and assess financial goals, manage portfolio assets, and improve quality of life for retirees. He has been in corporate and personal finance since 1992.

Passionate about early childhood education as a basic human right, Kerry has been a student of pre-K development with a parent in the field since the 1970s. While a graduate student, he worked alongside professors to develop educational materials and digitize their curriculum delivery through early distance learning facilities, web development, and classroom technology.

An outdoor enthusiast, Kerry enjoys snow skiing and surfing with his children (girls ages 7 and 11), family hiking, and regular tennis matches at the UNC Farm Club. He is a charter member of the Surfrider Foundation, an advisor for LPL Financial, past Treasurer of CHCP and past President of the New York Hatters COA. He lives with his wife Simone and two daughters in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Anna Mercer-McLean

Director, Community School for People under Six

Anna has been director of the Community School for People under Six, a five-star licensed North Carolina child care center, for 27 years. She joined the Abecedarian Education Foundation in 2018 and serves as the Treasurer.   

She currently serves as the chair of Accountability with the NC Partnership for Children Board of Directors, co-chairs the Advancing the Education of the Workforce work group with the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals, and volunteers with other church and community groups.  

She has been in the early childhood field for 30 years with a focus on providing high quality care and education for all children and assuring early childhood educators are fairly compensated for the amazing work and support given to children and families.

Jonathan B. Kotch, MD, MPH

Research Professor Emeritus, Department of Maternal and Child Health, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Jonathan Kotch, MD, MPH, FAAP, retired in June 2016 after 38 years on the faculty of the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Prior to entering phased retirement in 2013, Dr. Kotch served as the Carol Remer Angle Distinguished Professor of Children’s Environmental Health.

Dr. Kotch attended Columbia University (BA 1968), Stanford University School of Medicine (MD, 1973), UNC Chapel Hill (MPH, 1977), and King’s College Cambridge (BA 1972, MA 1978). He began his pediatric residency training at Montefiore Hospital in Bronx, NY, completing it and his preventive medicine residency at UNC Hospitals.

During his academic career Dr. Kotch taught hundreds of master’s and dozens of doctoral students, authored or co-authored over 100 scientific articles, and has edited three editions of the textbook, Maternal and Child Health: Programs, Problems and Policies in Public Health.

He is a husband, father and grandfather, and lives in Chapel Hill, NC.


"During the course of my academic career I had the opportunity to partner with colleagues at FPG to study health and safety considerations in child care.  I look forward to continuing to improve both the health and the educational outcomes for children through my work with the AEF."

Moses Carey, Jr., MSPH, JD

Board Member, Abecedarian Education Foundation

Moses Carey, Jr. has spent most of his distinguished professional career in public health, organizational management and health law in Florida and North Carolina. He served as an administrator and Clinical Assistant Professor in the UNC School of Public Health where he taught health law in the Department of Health Policy and Administration. He served as Executive Director of Piedmont Health Services, Inc. for 18 years.


Moses was elected to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners in 1984 where he served
for 24 years, with 11 as chairman. In 1993, he was elected by his peers to serve as the President of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.


Moses was appointed in January 2009 by Governor Bev Perdue to chair the North Carolina Employment Security Commission. In this role he directed more than 1500 employees in 89 offices across the State. In March 2010, he was appointed by Governor Perdue as Secretary of the State Department of Administration, which serves as the business manager for the state. He served as Secretary until Governor Perdue left office in January 2013.

He and his wife live in Chapel Hill, NC. They have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

Don Stedman, PhD

Professor and Dean Emeritus of Education, UNC Chapel Hill


Don Stedman, PhD, retired in 2001 following 37 years of professional work in academic research, administration and foundation work. Dr. Stedman held tenured faculty positions at four institutions – Duke University (Child Psychiatry and Pediatrics), Vanderbilt University / Peabody College (Psychology and Pediatrics) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Education). He was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Auckland (NZ) and the University of Melbourne (Aus).

He has served as Associate Director of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation in Washington, DC, as Director of four University-based research Centers and Institutes and as Dean of Education at UNC Chapel Hill. For 14 years he was Associate VP of Academic affairs and VP of Research and Public Service Programs for the 16 campus University of North Carolina System.


He is currently a member of the Chancellors Philanthropy Council, an advisor to the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and Immediate Past President of the Retired Faculty Association of UNC Chapel Hill.

Don is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University (BA), the University of Rochester (MA), Vanderbilt University (PhD) and was a postdoctoral NIMH Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley.


Don lives in Chatham County along with Elliott the willful Yorkie.


"I am hopeful that my work with AEF will help bring the Abecedarian Approach to the world’s children."

Kimberly Meunier, MBA

Board Member and Executive Director, Abecedarian Education Foundation

Kimberly Meunier is the Executive Director of the Abecedarian Education Foundation and has over 19 years of experience in leading and managing new ECED initiatives focused on improving the lives of young children and families. She is an expert on the Abecedarian Approach and has worked in multiple countries and settings to adapt and apply this approach and other research-validated early childhood curricula and programs.


She has extensive experience in providing training and coaching to ECED leaders and practitioners for research projects and programs including ones based in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Jordan, Mexico, and Singapore. The majority of her work has targeted vulnerable populations from birth to age five.


Kimberly holds a MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has done graduate studies in Applied Developmental Psychology and Education.

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