Meet our Task Force

Bernice Cipparrone-McLeod, RECE, has been in the early years sector for over thirty years holding positions at various levels in childcare and children’s mental health. Bernice has focused her work on social justice issues, creating inclusive environments and leadership development. Bernice has co-authored tools and a textbook to equip students and professionals to meet the diverse needs of children, families and community.

Bernice also worked at a senior level for the Ontario Trillium Foundation (a granting agency of the government of Ontario) where she was able to support local organizations and individuals to build capacity and transform communities.

Bernice has been with George Brown College for the past sixteen year, first as an instructor in the department of continuing education before becoming full-time faculty in 2011 in the School of Early Childhood. Bernice was cross-appointed as the Executive Director of the Atkinson Centre from 2014-2016 where she focused on promoting healthy child development through community engagement, and mentoring and coaching emerging leaders. She continues to teach and represent the Atkinson Centre, collaborating with the AECEO and the OCBCC on the mobilizing early years workforce in the Decent Work Project.

Monina Febria, joined ONN as Decent Work Project Lead in March 2017. She will continue to build a decent work movement in the nonprofit sector through policy advocacy, resources, practices and more – including leading our pension plan framework into implementation. She knows the sector and network building well, coming most recently from the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council connecting over 100 professional immigrant networks, community agencies and other stakeholders in the immigrant employment landscape. Her previous experience includes the federal government, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and Amnlae La Casa de la Mujer (in Nicaragua), among others. Monina has an MA in Globalization & International Development (Specialization in Gender Studies) from the University of Ottawa.

Natalee Johnson, RECE, has been a Registered Early Childhood Educator for over 10 years. She has worked in various childcare centres, summer camps and family programs throughout the GTA. She currently works in Full Day Early Learning. Natalee holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education, a degree in Child and Youth Work and a degree in Professional Studies in Education. Natalee has been featured in the College of Early Childhood Educator video highlighting the different roles of RECE’s. Natalee is also an author of the children book “My Magnificent Hair”. Natalee wrote the book to support literacy and diversity within communities and learning environments.  In the past Natalee has served as a Union Representative in Peel, representing Early Childhood Educators within the school board. Natalee is passionate about  Early Childhood Education and believes the early years are the most critical years in a child’s development.

Natalee is delighted to serve on the Task Force Team and continuously bring awareness to Early Childhood Education and the importance of Early Childhood Educators role in Early Childhood Education.

Rachel Langford, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the School of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University. From 2006 to 2016 she served as the director of the School. Her research and scholarly work focuses on childcare advocacy and policy development, workforce professionalization, and conceptualizations of care and care work. She is a co-editor of a UBC Press edited volume, Caring for children: social movements and public policy in Canada. She has also published widely on inclusion in early childhood settings, early childhood pedagogy and provincial curriculum frameworks. She served for ten years as an AECEO Board member, advocating for a comprehensive human resources strategy for the early childhood education and care workforce in Ontario.

Elise Larsen, is currently a research officer with the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. She graduated from the Early Childhood Studies program at Ryerson University with honours, having earned the Colleen Roulsten Award for Research. She also received her teaching certificate at York University. She is dedicated to merging care and education across age groups and has grounded her practice in the Constructivist approach to teaching and learning. Her love of science, plant and animal life and the outdoors has led her to work in initiatives across Toronto connecting children to nature. She is passionate about a great many things and has equally as many aspirations. 

Lyndsay Macdonald, is the Coordinator of the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO). Lyndsay is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with an MA in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University. She has a range of experience in early childhood education and care including working with young children in a variety of programs, teaching at the post-secondary level, working as a policy researcher at the Childcare Resource and Research Unit and as the Coordinator for the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada. Her work at the AECEO involves analyzing and responding to policy and program changes in the ECEC sector, advocating for the rights of ECEs, and supporting ECEs and the broader ECEC workforce to fulfill their professional obligations in an empowering and ethical way. Lyndsay is also one of the founding members of the grassroots advocacy group, Advocates for Progressive Childcare Policy.

Sarah MacMillan (MacVicar), RECE, is in her first year of practice as a Registered Early Childhood Educator and is currently working at a non-profit Child Care Centre. She received her ECE diploma in 2016 from Sault College where she served as President of the Sault College Early Childhood Education Chapter Class of 2016 and Vice Chair of Sault College Advisory College Council 2014 – 2015. She is currently studying toward a B.A. in Psychology and has been a volunteer Leader with the Girl Guides of Canada since 2014.

Ronna MacPherson, is the Human Resources Manager at Andrew Fleck Child Care Services (AFCCS). She provides the HR support and services to the 145+ employees of AFCCS. Typically, AFCCS has over 50 external and internal hires each year.

Julie Mathien, began advocating for high quality early learning and child care in the early 1970’s. She worked for both local and provincial governments to develop policy to increase and improve programs for children and families and experienced ELCC first-hand as a parent. Julie has been involved in a number of studies related to ELCC and taught public policy in the Department of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University. From 2007-2012 she was the Director of Early Learning and Child Development at the Province of Ontario during the policy development and implementation of full-day early learning and kindergarten.

Alana Powell, is an RECE and holds an HBA in Political Science from the University of Toronto. She we will beginning the Masters of Early Childhood Studies program at Ryerson University in the fall, where she is co-chair of the Ryerson Student Childcare Advocacy Association. Her experiences working as an RECE at a non-profit centre compelled her to become more involved with the AECEO and to engage and empower fellow RECEs in advocacy. She is a facilitator on the AECEO's Decent Work and Professional Pay campaign and has recently joined the AECEO's Board of Directors. She is currently a contract lecturer at George Brown College, in the ECE Diploma program.

Laurel Rothman, is the Interim Public Policy and Government Relations Coordinator for the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. Laurel has more than three decades of experience as a professional, volunteer, advocate and consumer in the community services field.  She has worked in the voluntary sector, municipal and provincial governments, and the union movement in direct service, planning, policy development and advocacy.  A long-time child care advocate, she was the Director of CAW Child Care Services, an early president of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and served for many years as the National Coordinator for Campaign 2000: End Child Poverty Now.  In 2013, she was honoured to be named the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Mothercraft Society’s Bill Bosworth Memorial Award recognizing leadership, innovation and unwavering commitment to children and families.


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