Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario

Task Force

Meet the 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.

Janet Dassinger, is a Researcher with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) where she conducts research and provides support to the CUPE social services sector including preparing government briefs and submissions; assisting with sectoral meetings and conferences; and supporting staff and elected representatives in collective bargaining. Janet is highly experienced in initiating and developing a wide range of workplace training, labour adjustment, and union development/education projects, and in conducting in depth research and policy analysis on labour market issues. 

Bethany Grady, RECE, is currently a research officer at the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. Her work includes public education; policy analysis and consultation as well as research design and production of papers and online resources. Bethany has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Leadership and a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Sheridan. She is passionate about childcare and its importance as a social policy and feminist issue. Her interests include travel, food and a small dog named Moose.

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, RECE, 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.

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.

Cathy Taylor, is the Executive Director of Ontario Nonprofit Network. Cathy has been a member of the ONN team since June 2012. Throughout her 25 years working in the non profit sector, including as the founding Executive Director of the Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington, she has been passionate about collaboration and leadership in the sector. Cathy works with sector colleagues from across Ontario and Canada, as well as private sector and government officials, to create an enabling policy environment for non profit organizations. Cathy’s roots are in the environmental movement and she has been active in municipal politics. She holds a degree in political studies and history from Queen’s University, and attended the Maytree-York University Executive Directors Leadership program. Outside of work, she enjoys time with her family and her garden in Erin, Ontario.


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