Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario

AECEO Board of Directors 2015-2016

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 2016-2017 Provincial Board of Directors

PRESIDENT

Noreen McChesney 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.

SECRETARY

Chanequa Cameron RECE, BCD, Masters Candidate

Chanequa Cameron has been on the board of directors for the AECEO since 2012. During this time Chanequa’s professional roles have included presenting at conferences, meeting with ministry stakeholder groups and consulting directly with ECEs about their needs and concerns in Ontario. Chanequa’sprofessional work experience includes work at early learning centres, kindergarten readiness programs, full day kindergarten classes, curriculum consulting and ECE undergraduate teaching.

Chanequa’s advocacy experience includes close collaboration and relationship building with her local union, an Africentric mentorship program in the GTA and parents at her daughters elementary school in Toronto. In the past Chanequa has been a part of campaign videos for the AECEO’s Professional Pay for Professional work Initiative and the Canadian Labour Party. In the past, Chanequa has been a member council representative for the Canadian Child Care Federation and a board member for the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.

Currently, Chanequa is a student at Ryerson University in the Master of Early Childhood Studies (ECS) program. Her research will focus on providing narratives reflecting the well-being of ECEs working in kindergarten classrooms. She is also the current president of the ECS graduate student union and committee member for vice-president of research and innovation.

In the near future Chanequa would like to work closely with ECEs to continue to raise their professional profile and aptitudes. She also intends to pursue a PhD that will allow her to engage in critical discourse analysis to elicit social justice.

TREASURER

Laura Coulman RECE

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. Laura’s day job is the child care planning and policy analyst for the County of Wellington. 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 redesign 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.

MEMBERS-AT-LARGE

Andrea Ferguson RECE

Andrea Ferguson has her degree in Sociology from York University and a Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University. She recently finished a twenty-year career at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital working in many disciplines including therapeutic recreation, resource teacher and coordinator. She is currently working as a part time Professor for both Seneca College and George Brown College for the Schools of Early Childhood Education. Andrea is very dedicated to working with children with special needs and their families and continues her career privately supporting communities who seek to have inclusion as their mandate. Her main focus is leading adult students of ECE to discover the power of knowledge and helping families to discover the developmental needs of their children with or without a diagnosis. Andrea believes that the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario is instrumental in supporting its members to continue to become informed professionals and is passionate about working together to continue the work this provincial organization promotes.

Ruth Houston RECE, AECEO.C

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

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.

Monica Lysack RECE

Monica is passionate about child care policy. As an educator who holds a Bachelor of Education and a Masters of Education from the University of Regina, she has devoted most of her professional life to the development of public policy affecting children and families. She has been a national spokesperson for child care advocacy as the Executive Director for the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada. As a member of the Federal-Provincial Early Childhood Development Working Group she helped to negotiate federal-provincial agreements for early learning and child care. Monica was a member of the national steering committee for Canada’s participation in the OECD’s international review of ECEC (Starting Strong II) and chaired Saskatchewan’s participation in the review. Monica is actively involved in politics and as past national executive member of Equal Voice, is a strong advocate for the election of women at all levels of government. Monica is currently a faculty member of Sheridan College, School of Education teaching ECE and is excited about the prospect of contributing to the important work of the AECEO.

Brooke Richardson

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.

Elaine Winick RECE

Dr. Elaine Winick is proud to be a full time faculty member in the George Brown College Early Childhood Education Department, teaching in both the diploma and degree programs. She is also an ECE honours graduate, eventually returning to earn post-graduate certificates in Early Intervention and Family Education. Throughout her career, Elaine has worked in many different venues within the early learning sector, including child care, preschool and nursery schools, parent and child programs, employee advocacy agencies, consulting firms, private schools, storytelling, family education programs, fathers’ support programs, Early Literacy Specialist with York Region Ontario Early Years, and over 23 years of post-secondary education teaching experience. Each of these experiences also brought with them a myriad of training certificates. Elaine has her undergraduate degree from York University, her Masters of Education from Brock University, and her PhD from OISE/UT. Elaine's PhD dissertation examined ECE leadership in Ontario, interviewing 36 individual and high profile leaders, and surveyed 168 early years’ stakeholders. She belongs to a number of professional early years groups: including, the AECEO, NAEYC, AERA, Early Years Educators of Ontario, and a Joint Advisory Group focusing on collaborative practice symposiums.  Elaine has been part of the College of Early Childhood Educator’s Pilot Project: as a mentor, as a learning module facilitator, and as one of the participants of the CECE Leadership video. This work with the CECE continues with one of the leadership modules to be available online as a CPL option. As a strong advocate for ongoing professional learning, Elaine has presented at a large number of local, provincial, national, and international conferences. At each opportunity she shares her expertise in such areas as child development, literacy, working with families, arts-based pedagogy, leadership and advocacy, and sharing components of various current research studies. Her most recent research focuses on early years' professional self-identity. Ultimately, Elaine feels that both mentoring and high quality ongoing professional learning should be acknowledged as required and necessary components of professional practice​. 

Anne Wright, AECEO.C 

For over 20 years, Anne has been involved with children and families in York Region and Simcoe County. After receiving a degree in Early Childhood Education from Seneca College and an Educational Support Worker Diploma from Georgian College she began practice directly with young children and their families as an Educator in childcare and Family Learning Centre settings. Anne continued her education to receive a B.A. in Psychology and a Bachelor of Education Degree from York University. Recently, Anne completed a Masters of Education Degree from Charles Sturt University, Australia. A main focus of Anne’s work, and future continuing studies, will be to foster inquiry-based learning to “filter-up” from early learning environments to secondary and post-secondary levels. Anne has worked in varying capacities in the education sector, including Educational Assistant, Classroom Teacher (K – 8), Special Education Resource Teacher, and Aboriginal Education Resource Teacher. Her current position is a Special Education Resource Teacher with the Simcoe County District School Board. Also, she is member in good standing with the Ontario Association of Math Educators, the Ontario College of Teachers, Gibimosedimin “Walking Together” First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Frontline Worker Group, and the Georgian Bay Native Women’s Association Infant Mental Health Coalition, and the College of Early Childhood Educators. Anne continues to work to ensure equitable and inclusive educational environments for all learners. Anne also knows that membership to the AECEO is vital for Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) to continue the influential work of gaining the acknowledgement we deserve as professionals. The AECEO recognizes that RECEs are united in our shared beliefs, knowledge, and identity, yet have very different working contexts and experiences. Anne believes that the AECEO is how RECEs build collaborative partnership in early learning and how educators are better and stronger together. Anne looks forward to leveraging the opinions and perspectives of members to promote recognition of the integral work of RECEs in all areas of early learning, family, and community support.