Alicia Johnson-Turner, LSCSW, Therapy Services, Therapist

Alicia’s passion is helping children and their families reach their fullest potential.  Alicia is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the state of Kansas.  She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2013 with a Masters in Social Work.  She completed her play therapy coursework and supervision with KC Play Institute in 2013.  She also has advanced training including Level I and II of Theraplay®, Filial Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and is currently pursing certification in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics through the Child Trauma Academy.

Alicia has been employed at Douglas County Child Development Association/ Positive Bright Start as an Early Childhood Mental Health Clinician since 2013.  Alicia specializes in play therapy with children that have been subject to trauma or loss, who display challenging behaviors or who have disrupted or unsecure attachments including children in foster care.  Alicia enjoys working with parents and caregivers on parenting strategies, positive reinforcement and providing appropriate structure for their children.



Alissa Garrett, Positive Bright Start School Lead Teacher

Alissa is a Lawrence native who has been working in childcare for 11 years. She has been teaching at Positive Bright Start Preschool since 2016. She has worked with children ages 6 weeks to school age, but has found her home in the Pre-K classroom.  Alissa has completed Positive Behavior Support Training through DCCDA/Positive Bright Start and loves the way PBS allows the children in her classroom to work through their emotions in an individualized way.  She has a heart for working in an under-served community and enjoys the partnerships PBS has with community outreach centers such as Success by Six/United Way and The Sunrise Project.  Alissa is always searching for classes and training’s to participate in to further her education in Early Childhood and Child Development.




Amberlee Johns, MS, LMFT, Therapy Services, Therapist

Amberlee is honored to have the opportunity to come alongside of children and families during the storms that come their way.  She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Kansas, and completed her advanced degree in Marriage and Family Therapy/Community Counseling at John Brown University (JBU) in 2016.

While at JBU, Amberlee completed advanced training in play therapy providing her with a framework allowing her to work with children and families in a variety of developmentally appropriate ways.  She is additionally trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy, which is an attachment based model directed toward drawing upon emotional experiences to promote healing and connection within individuals and in their relationships. Amberlee has provided services to children, individuals, couples, and families, and has been employed at the Douglas County Child Development Association/ Positive Bright Start since October of 2016



Anna Jenny, Executive Director

Anna Jenny has been the Executive Director for DCCDA/ Positive Bright Start since May 2004.  With a BBA in Accounting, an MBA in Finance and a Masters in Social Work, she has the diverse skills required to manage a not-for-profit agency.  She loves knowing that no two days will be the same in this diverse agency.  She chose to make her career in social work administration because of the opportunity to create social change through innovative programming.  She loves to visit the classrooms and interact with the children, seeing the growth they are achieving, and knowing that they are developing the skills needed to reach their fullest potential.





Gwen Pennewell, Positive Bright Start School Site Director

Gwen has  been working in early childhood education since 2004, starting out volunteering for a high school credit in child development. Discovering then her love for the early childhood classroom, after graduation, Gwen became a classroom aide.  Since, Gwen has taken over 130 hours to learning new ways to understand childhood development and social emotional development. She feels passionate that all children should be loved, supported, and cheered for, even when they don’t have the language to express it.








Kristi McAlister, Positive Bright Start School Service Coordinator






Lane Eisenbart, Communications and Office Management

Lane wears many hats for Positive Bright Start.  She’s the voice you’ll hear when you call, the face you’ll likely see first as you walk in the door, and the person behind many of the emails you get.  Lane tries to make sure everyone at Positive Bright Start has what they need – from office paper to phone service to meeting space – to do their jobs.  And that all the computers and printers are behaving and functional.  Lane is the receptionist, as well as office manager, as well as the on-site tech support, and sometimes event planner.

Lane has a degree in English and Secondary Education from KU, has lived in Lawrence for nearly 15 years, is active and involved in her community, and believes that all children deserve love and safety and the opportunity to learn and grow.





Lisa Zwiener, CACFP Claims Specialist

Lisa has an Associates Degree in Science from JCCC  and 9 hours of Early Childhood Development training from Emporia State University. Lisa was home daycare provider for 5 years.  She has been at DCCDA for 12 years, training home daycare providers in CACFP guidelines for nutrition and activity for the past 10.  She has trained at the state level and several other counties in Kansas. To express how she feels about the importance of early childhood, Lisa shares this quote: “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” Lisa strives to make positive deposits daily with adults and children.




Marci Ramsay, LSCSW, RPT, Therapy Services, Therapist

Marci’s advanced degree is a Master of Social Work degree earned in 2006 from The University of Kansas. She holds licensure in the state of Kansas as a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker.  In addition, she is a Registered Play Therapist/Supervisor and is currently pursuing certification in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics through the Child Trauma Academy.

Marci has been employed at Douglas County Child Development Association/ Positive Bright Start as an Early Childhood Mental Health Clinician and Positive Behavior Support Administrator since 2007.  Marci’s primary practice is the assessment and treatment of children, birth through age 6, with social and emotional difficulties, specializing in treating children with trauma-related conditions, including child maltreatment, posttraumatic stress disorder, and attachment or adjustment disorders.  Marci is trained to use a variety of developmentally-based, play therapies to assist children with self-expression and problem resolution including child-centered play therapy, directive play therapy, Theraplay®, and EMDR.




Marsha Stetler, CACFP Claims Specialist

Marsha was a home child care provider for 20 years before coming to work at DCCDA/Positive Bright Start.  In the 20+ years she’s been with us, Marsha has worked in many different capacities.  Currently, Marsha is a CACFP Claim Specialist and Home Visitor.  Marsha enjoys being able to go into provider’s homes, offering one on one technical assistance and seeing the cute kiddos.





McKayla Murphy, Positive Bright Start School Assistant Teacher

McKayla noticed her passion for working with children around the age of twelve. She worked as a nanny for five years before she started college, and during college, she worked as a classroom and research aide in the University of Kansas’ Applied Behavioral Science classrooms. McKayla graduated from the University of Kansas in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in History, with a minor in Applied Behavioral Science. After that, she spent time working as an assistant teacher before she came to be at Positive Bright Start. McKayla loves learning new aspects of early childhood education, and believes all children deserve an educational experience that’s fun, but also safe and nurturing.











Michelle Needham, BSW, Therapy Services, Family Advocate









Sunday Monson, Continuous Quality Improvement Specialist