Experience, Dedication and Trust

Our team leads and classroom teachers have accumulated dozens of years of knowledge. Each day we provide nurturing care and support to help build foundations on guiding principles to help prepare your child for each phase of their life.

Mary S. Hornbeck - Owner

Mary Hornbeck began her career in early care and education when, at the age of 21, she became the owner of Special Beginnings Early Learning Center. Since that time, she has expanded her business 5 times and now operates four programs that serve over 350 families. As Executive Director, Mary leads an 11-member management team and 80 staff members.


Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Life from the University of Kansas. She currently serves as President on the Board of Directors for the Association of Early Learning Leaders, a national organization for Owners and Directors of early care and education programs. Mary is a Validator for the National Accreditation Commission. She is also a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Kansas Women’s Business Center, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Mary has written and implemented staff and parent policy handbooks, as well as developmental assessments for young children. She is active in her community as a trainer and as an advocate for quality care and education of young children and for women business owners. In 2007 she was honored in Kansas City as one of 25 Women Who Mean Business by the Kansas City Business Journal.


Mary and her husband Steve have been blessed with three children: Andrew, Carolyn, and Matthew. In 2012, Mary and Steve became grandparents to their first grandchild, Olivia.

Anne Kohnle - Senior Director

Anne Kohnle is the Senior Director at Special Beginnings Early Learning Centers, and the on-site Director for the Lenexa location.


Anne is a graduate of Blue Valley North High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Kansas State University, where she was an active member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority. Anne continues to further her education through Master level Classes at Mid America Nazarene University as well as continued course work through KDHE, NAC, and AELL. Anne is currently an active member of the Association of Early Learning Leaders, a national organization for Owners and Directors of early care and education programs. Anne has also been member of NAEYC, KAEYC and KNEA.


Anne has been part of the Special Beginnings team since 1991 working as a teacher with all age groups and teaching the first private full day Kindergarten class at Special Beginnings in 1995. In 1996 Anne joined the administrative team at Special Beginnings and later became the Director of the Lenexa Center in 2001. As Senior Director, Anne is responsible for providing leadership to other administrative team members and guiding staff within Special Beginnings. Anne also oversees curriculum development for all locations. Anne was key in leading her team through NAC (National Accreditation Commission) accreditation which requires individual programs to meet standards of safety, care and educating of young children far higher than those established by individual states.  In addition to her passion for early childhood education, Anne is active in her community; volunteering with Girl Scouts, PTO, Reading Clubs, KCFC Soccer Club, Blue Valley Baseball, BVPAGE, and her church.


Anne and her husband Doug live in Olathe Kansas and are the proud parents of Gabrielle & Branden.

Jean Katt - Overland Park Center

Jean Katt has over fifteen years of experience in the early care and education field.  Beginning her career as an Assistant Teacher in January of 1997 while attending the University of Kansas, Jean has continued to challenge herself by learning more about child development practices through direct classroom experience as well as attending conferences, classes, and trainings.  Jean joined Special Beginnings in July of 1999, as a  Lead Teacher. She was invited to take her leadership to the next level, Assistant Director, in August of 2001.  In June of 2004, she was promoted to Director of Special Beginnings in Olathe where she provided leadership for 20 staff members who served 60 children each day.  Jean and her team raised the already high standards of Special Beginnings in the summer of 2008 by becoming a nationally recognized accredited center by the National Accreditation Commission (NAC).  In the Fall of 2008, Jean became the Director of Special Beginnings’ newest program which opened on the campus of Cleveland Chiropractic College in Overland Park, KS.  The Overland Park location is licensed for 105 children and has a staff of 25-30 early educators.  This program was recognized in the summer of 2013 as an accredited center by NAC. 


Jean holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas.  She has been a member of the National Association of Child Care Professionals since 2002, attending the NACCP National Conference for the past 10 years.  Jean serves as a Lead Validator for the National Accreditation Commission, observing superior centers nationwide.


Jean enjoys spending time with her husband Mike and son Luke.  As a family they like being outside at various sporting events and vacationing in warm places with palm trees.

Treva Summers - School Age Director - Lenexa Center

Treva Summers has twelve years of experience working with children and youth.  In 2000 she started working in churches as the youth leader while she attended Southwestern College in Winfield, KS.  After graduating from college Treva became an active AmeriCorps member working with elementary school children in an after-school program and summer camp.  In 2008 Treva joined Special Beginnings where she served as a Pre K Lead teacher for 5 years.  In 2013 Treva became the School Age Director.  She is responsible for our after-school program that reaches out to 12 schools in the Olathe and Shawnee Mission School Districts.  In the summer, Treva is the director of our school-age summer camp.  She provides leadership to a group of 4 staff members while serving 45 children.  Together they work to provide the children with unique opportunities through programming, weekly fieldtrips and swimming excursions.


Treva earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Philosophy and Religion with minors in Youth Ministry and Christian Education from Southwestern College.  She earned her Child Development Associate Credential in 2010 and was recertified in 2014.  In 2013 she joined the Association of Early Learning Leaders.


Treva enjoys spending time with her family and friends in the outdoors.  She especially enjoys spending time with her nieces Annika, Mariah, and Sonya and her nephew Tim. 

Parent Survey Responses

"Special Beginnings is an excellent child care facility. My kids love going to school and I know they are happy and safe but also learning and exploring in a safe environment."


"Teachers go above and beyond in this program! Staff is wonderful! We could not be happier!"

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Parent to Parent:

"We would highly recommend Special Beginnings to any parent who wants a fun and safe learning experience for their child."