Meet the Team

Meet the Dillon County First Steps Team

We’re excited to introduce you to the Dillon County First Steps Team and executive board members. This dedicated group of people works hard to serve the county’s families, childcare providers, staff, and partners.

Shirleen Lewis, M.A., Education Specialist Certification
Executive Director

Shirleen Lewis became the Executive Director of Dillon County First Steps in May 2017. She has over 12 years of experience in management of early childhood programs in the non-profit sector to include Smart Start and Head Start. In addition, Shirleen serves as a Psychology Professor at Bladen Community College. She has a master’s degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership. She is a Certified Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider with South Carolina Endeavors. Shirleen is a member of the National Association of Education for Young Children and the National Head Start Association.

Shirleen and her husband Ja’Coby, reside in Dillon County, with their daughters Kennedie and Kyleigh.


Shantel McRae, Parenting Supervisor

Shantel McRae, has been employed with DCFS since September 2018 and serves as the Parents as Teachers Supervisor. She is a Certified Technical Assistance Professional with the Quality Enhancement Program.

Shantel’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Business/Child Development from South Carolina State University. She is a Master Certified Trainer and a Generalist II Technical Assistance Provider with the Center of Child Care Career Development.

Shantel is married to Terry McRae. Although she did not birth her children she is the mom of four Step children (Torez, Tinaya, Tyquzz, and Braylon) and five adopted children (Daniel, Damond, Arnasha, Jamez and Adrianna). She has been blessed with five grandchildren (Ja’Ziyah, Daniel, Damauri, Zayden and Damiyah).

Shantel has always had a passion for children. Her personal and professional lifestyle has impacted her love and passion for children and their families.

Angela Coward, Finance Manager


Angela Coward joined Dillon County First Steps at its inception in 2000. Angela began her duties at DCFS as the Administrative Assistant. She has held various positions to include Program Assistant, Program Director and currently Finance Manager. Angela is the DCFS Finance Manager. Angela coordinates the Child Care Training Program and the Raising A Reader Program. Angela is Parents As Teachers and Nurturing Parenting certified and serves families in the Nurturing Parenting program. Angela is a graduate of Northeastern Technical College. Angela and her husband, Jerry, reside in Dillon. They have three children, Jason, Justin (Denise), and Jordan Coward.

Meet the Board

NameBoard Category
Kenneth L. Smith
Non-Profit Organization That Provides Services to Families and Children
Dr. Michael McRae,
Vice Chair
Dillon School District Four
Preston Greene, III
Business Community
Millie Odom
Assistant Secretary
Childcare and Early Education Development Education Provider
Tierney L. AlfordDillon County Library
Lisa ArmstrongFamily Education, Training, and Support Provider
Beryl CollingtonPre-Kindergarten Through Primary Educator
Karen EnglishDSS
Chevella GermanHead Start
Akeesha LeggetteParent of Preschool Children
Dollie R. MorrellDillon School District Three
Reverend Allen NesmithFaith Community
Angela S. RogersDHEC