The AECEO is a member driven organization with elected voluntary Board of Directors. It is the role of the Provincial Office Staff to implement, support and maintain the services, policies, and directives as dictated by the Board and fundamentally by its members, within the scope of the Association’s mission and mandate.
Profile of the 2017 - 2018 Provincial Board of Directors
Noreen McChesney BA, RECE
Noreen has been involved with children and families for over 20 years and has been on the AECEO Board of Directors for two years. After receiving her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Windsor and her Early Childhood Education Diploma from Cambrian College she began practice directly with young children and their families as an Educator. Noreen has worked in varying capacities in the Early Learning sector, including supervisory roles in child care, special needs resourcing, parent education and support in CAPC/CPNP programs and Child Care Program Quality Coordinator for the municipality. She has served on a Child Care Board of Directors, local system planning tables, Best Start Networks and specialized services committees. Her current position at Child &Community Resources is Best Start Manager, with oversight of seven Best Start Hubs in local schools, and co-chairing the Building Early Years Success committee of Sudbury’s Best Start Network. Also, she has extensive experience as part-time faculty in the ECE program at Cambrian College, and this work in particular, has solidified her commitment to understanding best and promising practice in the field of Early Learning. Noreen believes that the benefits of membership to the AECEO cannot be emphasized enough to Registered Early Childhood Educators. She would like to see the membership grow this year,through the valuable work of local branches. This will be increasingly important to RECEs as the College of Early Childhood Educators introduces the Continuous Professional Learning program this year. The AECEO embodies the principals of high quality professional learning and the building of leadership capacity within the Early Childhood profession. Noreen looks forward to continuing the remarkable work of the AECEO in advocacy, organizational partnerships and professional recognition of the integral work of RECEs in all areas of early learning.
Brooke Richardson M.A., Ph.D., RECE
Brooke Richardson is a part-time faculty member in the Early Childhood Studies program at Ryerson University as well as a Ph.D. candidate in Policy Studies (also at Ryerson). She completed both her B.A. and M.A. in Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson and is currently completing her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Rachel Langford. Her research focuses on the childcare advocacy movement, the devaluation of care in neoliberal political climates as well as the representation of childcare in mainstream media. As an educator of prospective early childhood educators, Brooke is dedicated to engaging and inspiring her students to make the critical connections between the current state of childcare in Canada and public policy at all levels of government. Central to this goal is supporting prospective ECEs to advocate for the professional wages and working conditions they deserve. Most recently she and her students initiated the Ryerson Student Childcare Advocacy Association which provides a platform for prospective ECEs to voice their hopes and concerns about childcare policy changes in Toronto, Ontario and Canada. Brooke also is an early childhood music educator (certified in Suzuki, Orff, Kodaly and Dalcroze) and a mother of 3 young children. Brooke is motivated by her belief that high quality, affordable childcare, delivered by a wellcompensated and professional workforce, is necessary to actualize women and children’s basic rights.
Alana Powell HBA, MA Candidate, RECE
Alana Powell is an RECE and holds an HBA in Political Science from the University of Toronto. After working with children in a community non-proit centre, she has recently returned to Ryerson University to continue her education in the Early Childhood Studies program. Alana’s commitment to advocating for ECEs and childcare in Ontario was reinforced by her experiences working in the ield. She has collaborated with the AECEO as both an individual, and most recently as Co-Chair of the Ryerson Student Childcare Advocacy Association. Alana is pleased to be joining the AECEO on its Decent Work Project. She believes the ECE workforce’s knowledge and experience is crucial in achieving informed policy change in Ontario. She is committed to building the collective voice of ECEs and looks forward to working with community leaders across the province. Alana is excited by the prospect of being more deeply involved in contributing to the work at the AECEO by joining the Board of Directors.
Shannon Sveda MA, RECE
Shannon Sveda has a diploma in early childhood education from Sheridan College. She also completed her BA and MA in early childhood studies at Ryerson University.
Shannon is passionate about supporting Early Childhood Educators in their pursuit of professional learning, with a special interest in their pursuit of a reflective and intentional practice. As such, her Masters research focused on blogging in a virtual learning community as a form of continuous professional learning.
Over the past decade Shannon has had the opportunity to work in a variety of early childhood education and care settings, including licensed child care and early intervention. Shannon is currently a professor of early childhood education at Mohawk College and is actively involved on social media as CanadianECE.
Laura Coulman RECE, MSC, Ph.D. Candidate
Laura Coulman has been a proud ECE since graduating from Ryerson’s Early Childhood Education programme in the early 1990s. She completed her MSC in Child Studies at the University of Guelph and is now a PhD candidate in the Applied Psychology and Human Development programme at OISE/University of Toronto. Always having been a strong proponent of early childhood education and child care, it has shaken her resolve of late that our Ontario potential for extending the values of a public education system into early childhood is being challenged. The AECEO is a well-suited organization to knock child care out of its legacy of provisional and poorly organized services for some, to a totally new and completely remodeled early childhood education system for all. For Laura, the system re-design should be made by early childhood educators. She hopes that the AECEO might unlock the potential of early childhood education as a truly integrated entity of education – and help to get Charles Pascal’s clearly articulated and practical framework for early childhood education realized in Ontario in her lifetime.
Ruth Houston RECE, AECEO.C, BCD, MA
Ruth Houston is a long standing certified member of the AECEO and an active member of the Early Learning community in York Region. Ruth recently completed the Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Studies Program at Ryerson and values ongoing learning. Issues of public advocacy pertaining to universal, accessible, not-for-profit and inclusive childcare, professionalization and compensation for RECEs are topics of great interest. Ruth has served on many committees within York Region including the Early Years Steering Committee, Enhanced Funding Standing Committee, School Age and Quality Assurance Subcommittees of the Child & Family Collaborative. She was the chair of the York Branch of the AECEO for many years and remains committed to the work of the AECEO. Ruth has a solid understanding of the changes occurring in the early learning and care sector and staying current on issues relevant to her profession.
Donna Kotsopoulos Ph.D., OCT
Donna Kotsopoulos is a professor in the Faculty of Education, cross appointed to the Department of Mathematics in the Faculty of Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is the director of the Mathematical Brains Laboratory and an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT). Her research and teaching focuses on early mathematical cognition and learning (prior to formal schooling). A significant component of her outreach is with parents, young children, and early childhood educators. Donna is the co-founder of the LittleCounters® program, offered through many Early Years Centres across Ontario. For her work in early childhood mathematics education, she recently received the 2016 Partners in Research Mathematics Ambassador Award for outstanding research and outreach activities. Donna’s early childhood education and policy concerns include: Phase 2 Regulations under the Child Care Early Years Act; fair wages for early childhood educators (including fair access to labour regulation protection); and the need for a national early childhood education and care strategy for Canada.
Safra Najeemudeen MA ECS, RECE
Safra Najeemudeen has a degree in Early Childhood Leadership from George Brown College and a Masters in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University. She is currently working as a contract lecturer for George Brown College, Seneca College and Ryerson University. Throughout her career, Safra has worked in early learning and child care centres, parent and child programs, family education and support programs. Safra is dedicated to working with new immigrant families with young children and continues her career as a member of Ryerson University’s Lifeline Syria supporting the sponsorship and settlement of Syrian refugee families. Her research focus is on integrated early childhood programs, speciically family support programs. Safra’s master’s research study examined high-quality characteristics of school-based family support program from the perspective of parents/caregivers. In the near future Safra would like to work closely with practitioners to continue to raise their awareness culturally responsive pedagogy.
Anne Wright RECE, AECEO.C, B.A., BEd, MEd.
Anne began her career as an Early Childhood Educator with child and family learning centres in York Region. From there, she joined the Simcoe County District School Board as an Educational Assistant and then as a classroom teacher. Anne’s roles within SCDSB have included co-teaching full-day kindergarten, Grades 1 – 8, and currently as a Special Education Itinerant Resource Teacher in the Aboriginal Education Department. Throughout many diferent teaching assignments, her commitment to early learning and supporting our youngest learners has been a priority. Since irst joining AECEO in 2003, Anne has continued for the past 13 years to advocate and support the work of Early Childhood Educators as we share our knowledge of best practices, child development, and curriculum in the early years.