Our Staff


Sophia Bracy Harrisis Executive Director of the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama (FOCAL) and Alabama Director of the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI, formed in 2001). Harris, a native Alabamian, received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Auburn University in Family and Child Development and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College in 1993. Having served the organization since its inception, Ms. Harris has received a number of awards and citations including the Rockefeller Public Service Award, Gleitsman Foundation “People who Make a Difference” and John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Awards. Her dedication to improve educational opportunities for children and their families has included service on boards such as Voices for Alabama’s Children, Vice Chair of the Joint Governor’s Legislative Task Force on Child Day Care, Southern Regional Council, Ms. Foundation for Women, New World Foundation and the Women’s Technical Assistance Project.
Teumbay (Tee) Barnesis currently Outreach Organizer at FOCAL (Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama). Tee believes that creating change begins within. Her passion is being involved in movements that help alter negative images that destroy communities. She helps create safe and sacred spaces where people are free to advocate for policy change.  In her leisure she enjoys yard sales, reading fiction, traveling, and experimenting in the kitchen.  Tee earned a BA in Communications, Alabama State University and a Master’s Degree in Post Secondary Education, Troy University.  She has served as Adjunct Instructor at Trenholm State Technical College.
 Cynthia Brown Cynthia Brown, Financial Coordinator, joined the FOCAL staff in 2007. She provides oversight for the financial operation and management of the annual budget and financial statement. She worked in Montgomery, AL as a Finance Officer for 27 years and performed a wide range of administrative tasks prior to joining the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama. She has a B.S. degree in Accounting from Troy State University, Troy, AL and her MBA work was done at Troy State University at Montgomery.
alicia  Alicia Foster, Membership Development Coordinator,
   Katherine Moore has been FOCAL’s bookkeeper for several years and is also responsible for Communications.  Her duties include the updating of FOCAL’s website and social media content. Katherine recently retired as a Paralegal from the State of Alabama after of 30 years of service. 


As Program Coordinator, Deborah Thomas is responsible for administration of program operation for the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama (FOCAL). In concert with the Executive Director, Deborah plans, develop and coordinate programs for FOCAL which includes, Child Care Services, SRBWI, AOP, CATCH and others identified by the Executive Director. She supervises staff persons who have programmatic responsibilities and develop appropriate and necessary resources, training, orientation and support systems for these employees.Deborah is a native of Alabama, a 1976 graduate of Miles College and a former substitute teacher of the Birmingham City School System. She taught in the pre-school classroom for seven years before serving as a child care center director for ten years. She has acquired more than 400 hours of training in the child development field.
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