About Us

Uniting Voices – Inspiring Hope

Our Mission

Unite voices and inspire hope for positive change in the United States early childhood education system.

Our Vision

Every family in the United States has access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education and care.

Our Team

CECE was created in response to the need for a more affordable childcare system and the need for resources and government aid for daycare owners. Since its inception in Arkansas in 2020, CECE staff include community leaders, daycare owners, teachers, and families that have vast experience with our national daycare system and childhood education.

What does leadership look like? All of us.
Here are your leaders, making your voice heard.

Robin Slaton

Founder - Chairman of the Board


Annita Ball

Board Member


Anitta Ball

Board Member


Anitta Ball

Board Member


Executive Director

Michelle Barnes

Michelle Barnes has served as the Executive Director of the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center since 2000.  She holds a degree in Business, Early Childhood Education, and a M.Ed. in Leadership.  During this time, she has supported the field of early childhood education by collaborating with Arkansas State University and Department of Human Services in roles such as consultant, trainer, and assessor.  Additionally, she served on the Arkansas’ Early Childhood Association Board, Invest Early Council, and the Governor’s Early Childhood Commission.  She was awarded Women in Business Honoree (2015).  Recently, she has joined Eco-Healthy Child Care National Advisory Committee, Getting Ready for Baby National Advisory Committee, Hartsook Global Advisory Council, Arkansas’ TEACH Advisory Panel, and Safe Kids NWA.


Strongly committed to ensuring ALL children have access to high-quality care and education, she began the HighQ Center to collaborate with 400 Northwest Arkansas early childhood centers by providing training opportunities, resources, and support services.

Finally, she drove a team of experts to design and build the first healthy campus in America; eliminating six classes of chemicals from construction to classroom materials.  The campus opened in spring of 2019 and will act as a model for healthy practices in early childhood education.