Leadership Team

Our staff members are highly qualified and deeply committed to ensuring the best possible experience and environment for children. With extensive training and expertise in early childhood education, our team brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to their roles. They understand the unique needs of each child and strive to create a nurturing and stimulating atmosphere where every child can thrive.

Organizational Directors

Norma W. Honeycutt, M.Ed., Executive Director

Norma W. Honeycutt is an expert, international award-winning early Childhood trainer and consultant. She is the Executive Director of Partners In Learning Child Development and Family Resource Center and a state-wide advocate for early care, education, and intervention.

She is certified to provide Triple-P, Special Instruction for Infants and Toddlers, and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child and Family Development from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and a Master’s Degree in Birth through Kindergarten.  For more than three decades, Norma has used her skills to support children and their families. She is a highly regarded and popular trainer and speaker.  She is passionate about quality in early childhood, making sure that children receive the best possible care and education to help them reach their full potential. She has worked within the education, health, and social services sectors, performing a wide range of roles such as teacher, director, education consultant, and child care commissioner.

Norma is married and is the mother of five adult children, which is why she is able to speak from the heart to parents and all those who care for or educate children.

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Amy Vestal, Development Director

Amy received her B.S. in psychology from Appalachian State University. She has also completed courses in behavior analysis through the Florida Institute of Technology. In her career, she has served as an interim director of development and has directed summer programs and community service programs for single mothers of children with autism. Amy has worked in the field of early intervention for over a decade, with a special concentration on children with autism. Through her experience, she has worked in public and private non-profit school settings, as well as provided in-home aid to families. She utilizes evidence-based practices in her instruction. She also believes tailoring a program that best suits the family’s needs and desires is what allows the family to successfully achieve their goals. Amy focuses on providing parent education and sharing resources so parents can be their child’s best advocate and teacher. She is passionate about doing whatever is necessary to ensure that these resources are available.


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Cassie Karriker, Clinical Services Director

Cassie Karriker has worked at Partners In Learning since 2011. Cassie has had many different roles at Partners in Learning. She has been a lead mentoring teacher, afternoon supervisor, early intervention director, and now clinical services director.  Her passion for children and families started in the classrooms here at Partners in Learning. Ensuring that each child and family felt included and had access to resources that they needed. As the Clinical Services Director, she will oversee all support services provided by Partners in Learning and will assist in supporting the community in any way possible.

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Dan Henderson, Finance Director

Dan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Appalachian State University and a Master of Science degree in Education from N.C. A&T State University. He has an extensive background in both education and business. In addition to working with high school students, he has experience working in the insurance industry as a corporate business analyst and as the operations manager of a residential development company. Dan is married and has two adult children and one grandchild.

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Educational Directors

Heather Fidler, Director of Woods Location

Heather has three daughters who keep her on her toes. They are her pride and joy, and together they enjoy playing outside, exploring nature, and traveling home to Pennsylvania and New York to see their family. Growing up, Heather lived all over the country, as her father was a chief in the United States Navy.

Heather has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and History from Elmira College in Elmira, NY. She has worked with children of all ages, including teaching high school in the private sector for 5 years, and has over 20 years’ experience working with preschool age children.

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Aleshya Spruill, Director of Novant

Aleshya Spruill began her early childhood career in 2006, when she was a senior in high school. She always knew that she wanted to work closely with children and was waiting for the right chance to do so.

Aleshya is married with three beautiful and amazing children. She started working at Partners In Learning at 18 years old, and received her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. In May 2020, Aleshya graduated with her bachelor’s degree in birth-kindergarten education.

While at Partners In Learning, Aleshya has fulfilled several roles, including afternoon staff, flexible teacher, assistant teacher, lead teacher, afternoon supervisor, school-age coordinator, assistant director, and now director of our Novant Site!

Aleshya’s philosophy on life is to simply have fun, make memories, and form bonds. Without this, you have a regular day that lacks zeal. She thrives on positivity and great work ethics and strives to be better every day.

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Tony Andruzzi, First Impressions Director

Mr. Tony is a beloved figure our children often mention at home. With a journey at Partners since 2018 as a volunteer and later as an employee in 2019, Mr.

Tony wears many hats. From cooking in the kitchen to fixing things, playing with electronics, and even accompanying the kids on the bus, he’s deeply involved in various aspects of the center’s activities.

While most individuals here have designated spaces like classrooms or offices, the entire center feels like home to Mr. Tony. Each morning brightens up when the children take a moment to wave, say hello, or offer a hug. It’s a heartwarming experience, and he hopes to remain a memorable figure in their lives as they grow and embark on their own journeys.

Mr. Tony’s journey with Partners in Learning began through the CBRS (Community Based Rehabilitation Services) program for his son, Gabriel. With Partners’ support, not only Gabriel but also Mr. Tony and his wife, Mrs. Candy, received assistance in meeting Gabriel’s needs and goals. Witnessing Gabriel’s increased confidence, thanks to PIL’s help, inspired Mr. Tony to dedicate himself to the organization.

His goal? To contribute in any way possible to ensure that Partners in Learning remains a safe, nurturing, and inclusive environment for all children to thrive and learn. With his own children benefiting from the program, Mr. Tony is personally invested in the center’s success.

Clinical Directors

Angel L. Thomas, MSW, LCAS-A , LCSWA ,Director of Mental Health Services

Angel L. Thomas was born in Brentwood, NY, but raised in Memphis, TN, and considers herself a Southern Belle. Angel received her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Lane College in Jackson, TN, and her Master’s in Social Work from Alabama A&M University. She is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist Associate (LCAS-A) and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate (LCSWA). Angel’s passion is children, and she loves helping the community.

Angel is a wife and has been married since 2015. She became a mother in 2020 to her son, who is medically complex with a trach and g-tube. Angel states that being a mom to a child with special needs has made her more understanding and wanting to help others, even more now than ever before. Angel is also an active member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., where she is the Community Service Chair for her chapter.

Angel lives by the quote, “We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.”

Alana Iannello, MAT, BCBA, Director of Autism Services

Alana has worked alongside individuals, families, school systems, and advocates in the autism community for over two decades. She had the opportunity to provide community-based services to individuals on the autism spectrum early in her career, prior to entering the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system. In this setting, she taught in a classroom supporting students with autism, before taking a role as an autism consultant for the district. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus in Special Education, as well as being licensed as a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA).  She worked with a variety of families across the state during her time with the Autism Society of North Carolina over the last six years, providing in-home behavior analytic services to families in the Charlotte, Asheville, and Morganton areas.  In her time with the Autism Society, she also delivered presentations, workshops, and ongoing coaching to school systems, service providers, and other stakeholder groups. She has experience implementing and overseeing programs that emphasize the integration of evidence-based practices in intervention for neurodiverse children, adolescents, and adults. Current areas of focus include equity in education and behavioral intervention, social emotional learning, naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions, and promoting self-advocacy skills for individuals in the autistic community. She is excited to join Partners in Learning to continue this journey!