Who We Are

Meet our Team

Amity profile pic

Amity Buckner

Executive Director

Amity has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Winthrop University and holds certifications in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood. She is also a certified trainer with the SC Center for Child Care Career Development. As an early childhood educator and advocate for over 20 years, with over a decade in the 4K and 5K classroom, Amity has a passion for the importance of early childhood experiences. She joined First Steps in 2010 and has served as their Executive Director since 2013. Her commitment to early learning has been recognized on the state and local level. Most recently, Amity was named the 2106 Rhonda Corley Friend of Children Award by the SC Early Childhood Association as well as the 2016 Community Partner of the Year by the United Way of Pickens County. In her spare time, she enjoys running, decorating, shopping and Starbucks. Amity and her husband, Michael, have two teenage children.

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Tyla Hill

Program Director

Tyla has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Clemson University. She also has 24 graduate hours in reading and curriculum. Tyla has spent over a decade in K4, 2nd, and 3rd grades in public and private schools. In her role with Pickens County First Steps, she helps put a book in the hands of four year olds throughout our county through the Book Flood program. She is also in charge of our new child care scholarship program to local families in need. In her free time, Tyla enjoys spending time with her family, Bible study, and exercise. Tyla and her husband Jim have two teenage daughters.

Marian Resized

Marian Vischer

Communications Director

Marian has Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science, Economics, and History, plus an M.A. in History. She taught at the University of Kentucky and Southern Wesleyan University. In 2007, she left college teaching to be a homeschool mom to her own children. During that time, she taught a weekly preschool class, worked in children's curriculum development, and began work as a writer. As a homeschool mom turned public-school mom, she enjoys helping parents discover which educational option is right for their family. In her role with Pickens County First Steps, Marian creates content for blog posts and publications, keeps the website current, and manages social media. Marian and her husband of twenty years have three children.

Board Members

  • Mandy Bowling
  • Christina Brock
  • Diane Brown
  • Susan Childers
  • Harriett Clamp
  • Julie Ducworth
  • Nikita Harrison
  • Erika Hays
  • George Hicks


  • Sheryl Hopkins
  • Lyle Jacks
  • Susan Kastner
  • Tammy Kelley
  • Edi Ley
  • Teresa Winmueller
  • Carol Wiley
  • Greta Young

Financial Transparency

As an organization supported by our state government and local community—for the benefit of our local community—we understand the importance of financial accountability.

2014 Annual Report

2015 Annual Report

2016 Annual Report

2017 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report