Board of Directors

MichelleMarriottMichelle Lyons Marriott

President/Fund Development

Michelle litigates patent, trademark, copyright, licensing, and trade secret issues for ERISE IP, P.A. She has handled cases at trial and on appeal, in state and federal courts and through \arbitration, representing both plaintiffs and defendants.

Michelle graduated summa cum laude with undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Business Administration from the University of Missouri. Michelle attended Vanderbilt University Law School, where she was the managing editor of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, and was a justice on Vanderbilt’s Moot Court Board. After law school, Michelle served as a law clerk to the Honorable Duane Benton on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and on the Supreme Court of Missouri. She began her career in private practice as a litigator at Baker Botts LLP in Dallas, Texas.

Michelle’s recognition includes earning the designation of Rising Star from KC Business magazine in 2014. Michelle is active in the community, and has served on NEEC’s board of directors since 2012.

JillAshbyJill Ashby

Vice President/Fund Development

Jill Ashby brings a real passion for avocation for children and community involvement to the Northland Early Education Center, where she serves on the Fund Development and Ranch Party Planning Committees. She has worked for Deloitte for the past fourteen years and is Operations Manager. Jill has spent many years volunteering with organizations like Children’s Mercy, Easter Seals and March of Dimes.

Jill and her husband, Denys, reside in Kansas City North with their son, Chase who will start kindergarten, and stepson, Cole, who will be attending the University of Missouri. Jill is a Northlander through and through and is very proud to be a part of NEEC, supporting their mission to provide quality early education and therapy services for children who have special needs and typical needs.  Jill wanted to serve on the Board of Directors to continue advocating for children with special needs including her amazing son, Chase.

Stephanie Wiley

Treasurer/Finance Committee

Stephanie Wiley brings a real passion for financial literacy and community involvement to the Northland Early Education Center, where she serves on the Finance Committee. She has worked for CommunityAmerica Credit Union for the past eight years and is currently the branch manager in Shawnee, KS. Stephanie attended Missouri Western University earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and in 2008 completed her MBA. She also completed the prestigious Leadership Northland through the Northland Chamber in 2010. Stephanie is an avid volunteer for Wayside Waifs and Great Plains SPCA as a foster parent for dogs and cats. Having lived in the Northland her whole life, Stephanie is a Northlander through and through. NEEC’s mission to provide quality early education and therapy services for children who have special needs and typical needs is the reason she wanted to serve on the Board of Directors; Stephanie has a special bond with her younger brother who has special needs.


Tammy Butler

Secretary/Quality Improvement Committee

Tammy is native of the Kansas City northland and has taught Elementary school in the North Kansas City School District for 23 years. Tammy’s love of children and her desire to help them reach their full potential inspired her career. Tammy graduated from UMKC with a BS in Elementary Education and completed her Master’s in Education at Webster University. She and her loving husband were proud to watch their daughter graduate from Cornell University in May 2008.

LisaHurleyLisa Hurley

Quality Improvement Committee

Elizabeth (Lisa) Hurley is an attorney practicing with the law firm of Fox, Partee and Nigro. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and from The University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law. After graduation, Lisa worked for Legal Aid of Western Missouri representing poor and indigent clients. Currently her focus is in the areas of municipal, traffic and criminal defense.

Lisa and her husband, Jeff, reside in Kansas City North with their two daughters, Kristen and Kaitlin. She also has a son, Nathan who is married with two children. Lisa spends her free time being involved in her girls’ school activities and watching her children’s sporting activities. She also is active in the Northland Race for Life, which does fundraising for cancer research and treatment.

StephanieWalkerSandy Walker

Quality Improvement Committee

Sandy Walker, PHR, is the Chief Administrative Officer for Renzenberger, Inc. in Lenexa, KS. Her education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Marketing from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In addition in 2000, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management.

Sandy has volunteered on the Board for NEEC since 2003, where she served two terms as Board President. In addition, she volunteers at the St. James Food Pantry and spends most her time attending her children’s many activities. Sandy and her husband Chuck have two children, Sierra and Forrest and live in Kansas City.

ChrisGardnerChris Gardner

Building Committee

Chris Gardner owns the Carnivore Store and also operates his own beef jerky business online. Chris has volunteered on the Board of Directors for Northland Early Education Center since the fall of 2008. He is a member of the finance and building committee.

Chris and his wife Tracie have been foster parents for over 14 years and adopted three children to join their four biological children. Three of the Gardner children attended NEEC. Chris and his family are both actively involved in NEEC activities and continue to be advocates of NEEC’s program for children in the Northland.

SteveSheadSteve Shead

Fund Development Committee

Steve Shead is currently an Insurance Agent with Missouri Farm Bureau. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Pittsburg State University. He is a Missouri transfer that grew up on the Kansas side of Kansas City. Steve has been and is still involved with many organizations that benefit individuals with special needs. These include: Special Olympics coach and volunteer, Big Brothers Big Sisters team captain, Autism Speaks team captain, Autism Society of the Heartland project coordinator and his latest role as Vice President of Heartland Helpers. Heartland Helpers is a community service club in association with Civitan International. Steve, Andrea Behrman and Jill Gromer began Heartland Helpers to assist individuals and community needs with an emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities. He is also a member of NEEC’s Fund Development Board.

Steve and his wife Nicole have a son, with special needs, enrolled at NEEC. Danny is able to utilize the staff of Therapist’s at NEEC for all his needs. Steve and Nicole are both actively involved in NEEC activities and feel blessed to have found NEEC as a community resource when they needed them most.