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  • Writer's pictureBrooklynn Thomas

Welcome and Congratulations for New Horizons with East Coast Migrant Head Start Project 

Over the last 50 years, we have grown so much and as our reach grows, so do our teams. We seek to promote from within, and we continue to welcome many passionate, brilliant professionals to our teams across the campuses, regional offices, and Raleigh Corporate Office. East Coast Migrant Head Start Project (ECMHSP) is blessed to be served by many devoted people, and we would like to introduce some of those who have moved into new roles, along with some new members of our management teams. 


Sondra McDonald Named Chief Financial Officer.  

Celebrating a decade of excellence! We are thrilled to announce a significant milestone in ECMHSP. With a remarkable decade of service under her belt, McDonald has not only been a driving force but has also exemplified unwavering commitment to our mission. Now, we recognize her as our Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 

McDonald’s leadership is marked by a proven record of accomplishment in financial management. Her ability to interpret and analyze intricate financial data aligns with our organizational goals. Beyond her financial expertise, she has demonstrated innovation in the digital evolution of our financial systems, driving continuous process improvements.  

Her experience ensures that our organization's financial management is in capable hands, enabling us to sustain our commitment to migrant and seasonal farmworker families. As an alum of North Carolina A&T State University and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., McDonald embodies dedication and excellence to mother East Coast, and we are so proud to have her as our CFO.  

Introducing Paula Taylor, Controller 

Taylor has recently become part of our team, as Controller. With a wealth of accounting experience in North Carolina, she brings a mix of business and nearly a decade of nonprofit accounting expertise to our Finance Department. Taylor is a collaborative and adaptable leader skilled in professionally communicating, and managing data, documentation, budgets, compliance, and project deadlines in dynamic environments. 

In her position, she will be overseeing and optimizing our accounting functions, meticulously navigating the intricate landscape of federal, state, or local laws and regulations. Her expertise in financial analysis and management allows us to maintain robust financial health while upholding our commitment to transparency and accountability. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from UNC-Greensboro and a Master of Accountancy degree from the University of Phoenix. 

Welcoming Christopher Davis as Director of Human Resources 

Davis joined the leadership team in August of 2023 and provides strategic guidance and leadership across all facets of the Human Resources (HR) function. With a forward-thinking approach, he is entrusted with shaping the future vision and direction of our human capital programs, policies, and services. Davis plays a pivotal role in ensuring the effectiveness of our workforce, consisting of 1,000 employees dedicated to supporting our mission.  

He joins us from a state government role as an Employee Engagement and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Manager, where he successfully managed HR programs for a workforce of 1,800 employees. Davis is a retired Air Force veteran, having served his country for almost 23 years on active duty. 

Introducing Director of Communications, Lindsay K. Saunders 

Introducing the newest maestro to the communications symphony, Saunders took the helm of the Communications Department, as our Director of Communications, in November 2023. She is a seasoned, award-winning communications and outreach professional with a strong commitment to addressing community issues and promoting matters of equity. Her diverse skill set spans a full range of communication disciplines, including media relations, social media strategy, web content, design, and various forms of writing. As the Director of Communications, Saunders plays a significant role in elevating our voice and advocating for the rights and well-being of migrant and seasonal farmworker families. 

Her unique journey includes leading NC nonprofit communications work for social impact, work in state government, and a remarkable assignment overseas as a Development, Outreach and Communications specialist with the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) at the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia. There, her work was recognized with the U.S. Embassy Eagle Award, presented by the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, Danial L. Foote, for her initiative in promoting health information and outreach.  

Welcoming Lisa M. Murray as Director of Technology Solutions 

With the start of 2024, ECMHSP welcomed Murray as our Director of Technology Solutions. She overseas technology operations not only at the Raleigh corporate office, but also all our educational campuses operating in 12 states, impacting nearly 3,000 children from migrant and seasonal farmworker families. 

Her goal is to align technological advancements with organizational values and goals of ECMHSP, significantly contributing to the growth and development of the children we serve. 

With an impressive career spanning over two decades in information technology, Murray brings a wealth of knowledge from diverse sectors, including higher education, local government, and healthcare. Her experience encompasses collaboration with internal and external stakeholders to identify and implement IT solutions that elevate efficiency, security, and customer satisfaction. 

Congrats to Lupe Hernandez, Governance Manager 

Maria “Lupe” Hernandez began her journey at ECMHSP in February 2008. Her path has been one of growth, resilience, and commitment to our mission. She started as the Governance Clerical Assistant, gradually advancing. Now, we acknowledge her elevation to Governance Manager, a position she honors with passion and purpose, supporting our Board and Policy Council.  

She carries the impactful legacy of her migrant upbringing, understanding firsthand the challenges and aspirations of our community. She embodies the mantra “Si Se PUEDE!” -- it is possible. Born in Michoacán, Mexico, she worked in tomato packing houses, faced the hurdles of undocumented status, and stands today as a testament to the transformative power of education and perseverance. Hernandez urges the pursuit of education and empowerment.  


Candice Ortega Becomes Accounts Payable Supervisor 

We are quite proud of the progression of our Accounts Payable Supervisor! Candice Ortega started with ECMHSP as a temporary employee in January 2021 and became a direct hire employee in June 2021. She started, in the Raleigh Corporate Office, as a Technology Solutions Associate, assisting with technology solutions. In that role, Ortega traveled and assisted with onboarding technology training provided to the Indiana Campuses, when they joined our network of campuses in 2021.  

In October of 2022, she transferred to the Finance Team as an Accounts Payable Specialist. This was a wonderful opportunity for Ortega to apply knowledge from her degree in Science of Accounting. Then, just a year later, she was promoted to Accounts Payable Supervisor. We applaud her growth. This role presents new challenges and opportunities, along with leadership responsibilities. 

Join the Growth at East Coast Migrant Head Start Project 

Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of farmworker families and their children? Come work for one of the best Migrant Head Start programs in the U.S. ECMHSP is a nationally recognized leader, in childcare and early education, committed to preparing Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker children for success. Learn more about our current openings at our career center online.  

East Coast Migrant Head Start Project was established in 1974 through a grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Currently, ECMHSP operates in 43 Educational Campuses across ten states providing holistic, high-quality early childhood education services for approximately 3,000 farmworker children between 6 weeks to 6 years old. For more information, visit  

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