The dedicated professionals who are members of Attachment Parenting International's Board of Directors meet quarterly to develop policies and procedures, define the vision and mission of the organization, and advise staff when needed.
Board of Directors
Barbara Nicholson holds a master's degree in education, specializing in learning disabilities. She taught school in the Texas school system before moving to Nashville, TN in 1980, where she became a Leader with La Leche League International, an educational and support organization for breastfeeding mothers. She led meetings and parenting workshops for over 25 years. She is trained as a facilitator in the Nurturing Parenting Program and has spoken internationally about the relationship of societal violence and parenting practices. She is also a certified educator in Infant Massage (CEIM), through Infant Massage USA. Ms. Nicholson co-founded Attachment Parenting International in 1994 and served as the President of the Board for 15 years. She is the co-author with Lysa Parker of the book, Attached at the Heart, 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children (HCI publishing, 2013) and a parenting curriculum of the same title based on the book. She and Ms. Parker are conducting trainings for the parent education program around the U.S. and internationally. She is a recipient of Vanderibilt's MIHOW (Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker) Mentoring award and La Leche League International's Alumnae Award. She is the mother of four adult sons and lives with her husband in Nashville, TN.
API Founder & Director Emeritus
Lysa Parker (Lisa) received both her bachelor’s in education and her master’s degree in Human Environmental Sciences specializing in human development and family studies. She earned her designation of Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) from the National Council on Family Relations in 2004 and was the 2014 president for the Southeast Council on Family Relations. Lysa is also a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM).
As cofounder of Attachment Parenting International (API) in 1994, a nonprofit parent education and support organization, Lysa served as the executive director. Prior to her involvement with API, she was a special education teacher for twenty years, helping children with multiple handicaps and learning difficulties. During that time, she also volunteered for several years as a La Leche League Leader, a breastfeeding and support organization. She is the coauthor of the award winning book Attached at the Heart,with Barbara Nicholson. In 2012 Lysa and Barbara developed a curriculum based on the book and they currently teach parenting educator trainings internationally.
Lysa is the recipient of the La Leche League International Alumni Award with Barbara as well as the Jack Davis Professional Achievement Award from the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Alabama. Currently Lysa is a writer, speaker and parenting education trainer. She is the mother of two adult sons, an adult stepdaughter and grandmother of five grandchildren. She lives with her husband in the Huntsville, Alabama area.
CEO of TUFF Mama Time
Valerie Bryant is CEO of TUFF Mama Time, inspiring women to nourish themselves while nurturing their children. Devoted to family-focused furtherance, she was an adjunct instructor, teaching business communications to incarcerated women and equipping them to re-bond with their children upon release. Her service on a national education board targeted low academic performance in minority children, encouraging change through increased parental involvement. Valerie was a Department of Defense government contractor working instructional design issues. She developed resiliency-based e-learning programs, relieving beleaguered military families. Valerie is a former La Leche League Leader and has served as a natural childbirth educator since 1992.
Valerie earned a Bachelor of Science in math and her military officer commission from the University of Michigan. She earned a Master of Science from Troy University. Following active duty, she was a military spouse and full-time mom to her nine children - biological and adopted. Valerie sustained her family through untold military relocations and family hardships, earning the titles “TUFF Mama” and “Family Team Builder.” She originated family-sustaining strategies, eventually authoring three parenting books, co-authoring one with her children. She operates an online moms’ support forum, is a listed national speaker for Mothers of Preschoolers, and is on registry with several national speaker bureaus.
Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Valerie presently lives in San Antonio, Texas. She continues enjoying life as a mom, raising a few still at home, while also romping with her precious grandchildren.
Psychology Department, Southern Methodist University
George W. Holden, Ph.D. is a professor in the Psychology Department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He served as chair of the department from 2015 to 2020. Holden’s research interests are in the area of social development, with a focus on parent-child relationships. His work, into the determinants of parental social cognition and behavior, discipline and positive parenting, and the causes and consequences of family violence, has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the Timberlawn Research Foundation, and the U.S. State Department.
He is the author of numerous scientific articles and chapters, as well as the author or editor of five books, including Parenting: A dynamic perspective, currently in its 3rd edition. He has been or is on the editorial boards of Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Emotional Abuse, Journal of Family Psychology, and Parenting: Science and Practice. Holden is a fellow of the American Psychological Society (APS) and a member of four other societies, including the Society for Research in Human Development (SRHD), where he served as president. Currently, he is President and a founding board member of the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children (www.endhitting.org). In addition, he is the past president of the board of Family Compass, an organization devoted to preventing child maltreatment in the Dallas community.
Dr. Holden received the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Society for Research in Human Development, the Lightner Sams Foundation Child Advocate Prism Award from Mental Health America of Greater Dallas, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center on the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University, Chicago, and the Distinguished Career Award from the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. He is married to Anne Cameron. They are parents of three adult children and the proud grandparents of two delightful children. His Twitter handle is @DrNoSpank.
Episcopal Priest and Licensed Clinical Pastoral Therapist
Rod Kochtitzky (Kuh tit skee) is an ordained Episcopal Priest who served churches in TN and NY for ten years before becoming a psychotherapist who for the last thirty years has specialized in working with couples. Rod became involved in API in the early 90's motivated by the birth of his two sons. He also served on the board of API during that time period, hosting board meetings at his office; he has spoken to local API groups, written newsletter articles, and most recently was a panelist at API 2018 conference. Not only is Rod a firm believer in the importance of early attachment; he believes and has witnessed how these childhood developmental issues can affect adult lives - especially in the most intimate of relationships. He has specialized in Imago Relationship Therapy which helps couples understand how their childhood relational agenda can be unconsciously acted out in their marriage.
Rod is a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and a Certified Workshop Presenter and Advanced Clinician of Imago Relationship Therapy. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and a Master's in Divinity from the General Theological Seminary in New York City. He completed his training in psychotherapy at the Institutes of Religion and Health in New York City and trained at the Institute of Relationship Therapy founded by Harville Hendrix, who is the author of the best-seller Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples.
Rod has served on boards of Attachment Parenting International, Imago Relationships International, and Nashville Psychotherapy Institute. He has been an active leader in the international Imago movement. He is a licensed Clinical Pastoral Therapist (LCPT) in the State of TN.
Professor Emerita of Psychology, University of Notre Dame
Darcia Narvaez, Professor Emerita of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, researches moral development and human flourishing from an interdisciplinary perspective, integrating anthropology, neuroscience, clinical, developmental and educational sciences. Her earlier careers include professional musician, business owner, classroom music teacher, classroom Spanish teacher and seminarian, among other things. She grew up as a bilingual/bicultural Puerto Rican but calls the earth her home. Dr. Narvaez’s current research explores how early life experience influences wellbeing and moral character in children and adults.
She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association and former editor of the Journal of Moral Education. She has numerous publications, including more than 20 books such as Indigenous Sustainable Wisdom: First Nation Know-how for Global Flourishing; Basic Needs, Wellbeing and Morality: Fulfilling Human Potential and Embodied Morality: Protectionism, Engagement and Imagination. A recent book, Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom won the 2015 William James Book Award from the American Psychological Association and the 2017 Expanded Reason Award. She blogs for Psychology Today (“Moral Landscapes”), hosts the webpage EvolvedNest.org and is president of KindredWorld.org.
Nurse and Lactation Consultant
Kathy Parkes is the owner and CEO of Breastfeeding Perspectives, a registered nurse, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association, has a Masters degree in Nursing Education, and a Bachelor degree in Psychology. She has been an IBCLC since 1992 and has worked with new parents and babies in a wide variety of breastfeeding situations in the hospital, public health, home health, and private practice. This wide variety of experience gives her skilled clinical knowledge to share with others and to help expectant and new parents overcome difficulties and meet their breastfeeding goals. Kathy’s practice is the longest currently operating breastfeeding practice in the San Antonio area.
Additionally, Kathy has certifications as a Health Coach, specializing in prenatal, postpartum and breastfeeding as well as a Compassion Fatigue Educator, specializing in perinatal and infant loss. Breastfeeding assistance has been provided to families of all types and sizes, in a wide variety of life situations such as adoption, surrogacy, LBGTQI families, teen parents, long-term nursing, multiples, incarcerated mothers, prematurity, chronically ill mothers and infants, and many other challenges.
A published author and active speaker on global platforms, Kathy finds passion in meeting families where they are and assisting them to meet their own goals in feeding and nurturing their babies.
As a leading provider of up-to-date, research-based lactation information, Breastfeeding Perspectives takes pride in offering the best teaching, presentations, peer training, business lactation consultations, in-person and online consults for breastfeeding preparation and problems. We are dedicated to serving the needs of our customers each and every day. We can handle all type of breastfeeding situations and specialize in damaged nipples, tight oral tissues (tongue, lip, and buccal ties), milk supply issues, and slow-gaining infants.
Registered Nurse & Author
Martha, wife of renowned pediatrician William Sears, MD, is the mother of eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League Leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of many parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest, drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with their 8 children (including Stephen with Down syndrome and Lauren, their adopted daughter).
Martha speaks frequently at national and international parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today's mothers with their changing lifestyles. She is able to connect with both full-time mothers and mothers who work full-time because she herself has experienced both. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a "professional mother," and one of her favorite quips when someone voices a concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: "The world needs my children."
Martha and Dr. Bill have in the past been guests on many television shows including 20/20, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CNN, The Today Show, Dateline, The Dr. Phil Show, and The Doctors. Martha and Dr. Bill are best known for their Sears Parenting Library published by Little, Brown and Company: The Healthy Pregnancy Book, The Birth Book, The Baby Book, The Attachment Parenting Book, The Discipline Book, The Breastfeeding Book, The Fussy Baby Book, The Family Nutrition Book, The Premature Baby Book, The Baby Sleep Book, The A.D.D. Book, and The Healthiest Kid In The Neighborhood. She has also authored, for Harvard Common Press, 25 Things Every New Mother Should Know.
Samantha Gray is the Board treasurer. Prior to coming to the Board, she served as Nurturings and Attachment Parenting International's executive director for 14 years. She works as the executive director of a community theatre, Theatre Bristol, and as the coordinator of Bristol's Promise Parenting Education Program and Parenting Sweet. She writes a weekly column for the Bristol Herald Courier on parenting and teaches weekly Attached at the Heart Parenting Program Online classes.