AECEO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
2019-2020 AECEO Provincial Board of Directors
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.
Brooke Richardson M.A., Ph.D., RECE
Brooke Richardson is a Post-Doctoral Fellow and adjunct faculty at Brock University, Department of Sociology. She completed her B.A. and M.A. in Early Childhood Studies and a Ph.D. in Policy Studies at Ryerson. Her current SSHRC-funded research problematizes the increasing privatization of the childcare sector from a feminist, ethics of care perspective. Brooke has published and presented in a nationally and internationally on topics including: the Canadian childcare advocacy movement, the role of early childhood education students in political mobilization, the systemic devaluation of care in neoliberal political climates and the representation of childcare in mainstream media. Brooke also is an early childhood music educator (certified in Suzuki, Orff, Kodaly and Dalcroze) and a mother of 4 young children. Brooke is motivated by her belief that high quality, affordable childcare, delivered by a well compensated professional workforce, is necessary to actualize women, children and family’s basic rights.
Shannon Sveda MA, RECE
Shannon Sveda has a diploma in early childhood education from Sheridan College. She also completed Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees 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 Master's 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, early intervention, and post-secondary education. Most recently Shannon has shifted her professional focus to engaging children and their families outdoors, through Nature Play experiences (suitedandbooted.ca). She is also involved in the ECE community as the alumni relations chair of the Ryerson Early Childhood Studies MA Alumni Association, and through social media as @CanadianECE.
Lyndsay Macdonald, RECE, B.A., MA ECS
Lyndsay Macdonald has an MA in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University. She has worked in a number of early childhood education and child care (ECEC) settings in Ontario, as well as in Australia. Previously the AECEO Coordinator, Lyndsay is currently a faculty member of Humber College, teaching ECE, and has also worked as a policy researcher at the Childcare Resource and Research Unit and as part-time coordinator for the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada. Lyndsay is a passionate leader who believes in the central role of ECEs in the broader ECEC advocacy movement. She believes that the AECEO plays an integral role in uniting and representing ECEs and is committed to promoting the recognition, support and remuneration of ECEs in Ontario.
Laura Coulman RECE, MSC, Ph.D. Candidate
Laura Coulman has been a proud ECE since graduating from Ryerson’s Early Childhood Education program in the early 1990s. She completed her MSc in Child Studies at the University of Guelph and is currently a PhD Candidate of the Faculty of Education, Western University. She knows that the AECEO can play an important role in unlocking the potential of early childhood education as a truly integrated entity of education; an entity in which RECEs are highly valued practitioners who design, lead, and deliver the system that serves young children in Ontario. Laura believes that moving early childhood education programs beyond their current format of being overly-privatized and often inadequately planned; tenuously funded; and inequitably delivered, to a totally new and completely remodeled system for all is not utopian thinking. For Laura, the system re-design that is still needed should be made by early childhood educators – and, for her, it just makes sense that the AECEO, as the professional association of RECEs in Ontario, continues to lead the way in carving out this path.
Nicole Cummings RECE, B.A.Sc.
Nicole Cummings is a RECE who graduated from Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology. After years of working in a variety of child care positions, her love for learning lead her to Guelph-Humber for a B.A.Sc. in Child Studies where she recently graduated. As she embarks on a new journey of learning in the OISE’s Masters of Child Studies program, she is confident that all of this learning will be beneficial to her role as an AECEO board member. As a workshop facilitator, she has been able to share information with parents on the importance of their role as their child’s first advocate, and she encourages their responsibility to join our fight for Universal Child Care in Ontario. As a board member she is also dedicated to reaching as many ECE’s with the many reasons why, ‘ECE’S ARE EXCELLENT!’ and why standing together to achieve professional pay will be the best way to get it!
Priscilla Dutt, BA (ECE), MAECS, RECE
Priscilla has a degree in Early Childhood Education with a Minor in Sociology (Ryerson University), a degree in Education Primary/Junior Division (OISE), a Certificate in Infant Mental Health (York University) and a Masters in Early Childhood Studies (Ryerson University). She has worked in multi-service community-based agencies for over 10 years. Priscilla is currently a Professor in the School of Early Childhood Education at Centennial College. Priscilla has developed a strong sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in the fields of early learning and family supports.
Ruth Houston RECE, AECEO.C, BCD, MA
Ruth Houston is the Program Manager for York Child Development & Family Services in Newmarket. YCD is a multi-service agency operating licensed childcare, EarlyOn and CAPC programs in York Region. Ruth graduated from Georgian College with an ECE diploma in the early 1980s and returned to school in 2009 obtaining an Honours Bachelor of Child Development from Seneca College followed by an MA in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University. She is a long standing certified member of the AECEO and an active member of the Early Learning community in York Region. 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 York Region 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 provides professional development and consulting services to early learning programs and has a solid understanding of the changes occurring in the early learning and care sector.
Shona Mills, RECE, BECL, MA ECS
Shona Mills is a professional RECE and recent graduate of Ryerson University Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies (MA ECS) program. Her work in the profession includes home and licensed early learning and care (ELC) program. During her Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership (BECL) through Sheridan College, Shona became a passionate advocate for RECE and universal ELC. Throughout both her BECL and MA ECS her research focused on pathways to advocacy from the perspective of RECE and other ELC advocates. Along with colleagues from Halton Region Shona established one of the AECEO Communities of Practice, the Halton Advocates for Quality Child Care. As a women and mother of five daughters she understands the importance of RECE in community. She continues to advocate through micro, meso, and macro levels to challenge the current market approach to ELC, with the hope to create meaningful change that puts RECE, children, families at the heart of our communities.
The major issues Shona foresees facing the AECEO include (1) the Ford Administration, (2) low membership, and (3) no commitment to build a universal ELC system from the Trudeau Administration, and the 2019 Federal election. The Ford Administration holds a majority government that is creating ELC policy that stretches care and perpetuates a market approach with a focus on unlicensed home child care providers, grandparents, nanny’s etc. Additionally, the AECEO faces low membership, given the current political context it is vital to create a strategic plan that not only challenges governance but builds the voice of RECE through the AECEO. Finally, without a commitment to create a universal ELC system from the Trudeau Administration in the Federal budget the AECEO may find we are lobbying for universal ELC during and after the federal election.
Kesha Murray RECE, AECEO.C
Kesha is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and a proud graduate of Centennial College. She is also a graduate of George Brown College –Child Care Management program. Kesha has been working in the field over 20 years, 19 of which have been with the YMCA of Greater Toronto and the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region. In addition, she has also been a certified member with the AECEO for the majority of her career.
Kesha has worked directly with children for over 20 years, however, the past 14 years; she has been a Senior Program Coordinator. Most recently, she has been involved with training, mentoring and coaching Early Childhood Educators in providing quality child care programs.
Kesha’s first exposure to Advocacy was as a volunteer with the AECEO while she was a student at Centennial College. As a member of the Coalition for Better Child Care, she has seen first-hand the important work the coalition has done for Early Childhood Educators.
Kesha is a strong advocate for child care workers in achieving their Early Childhood Education diploma. She also believes that professionally trained and educated child care workers play a vital role in child development and quality programming.
Kesha is committed to using her skills and experience to further enhance change in the field for Early Childhood Educators, children and their families.
Amy O’Neil, B.A., RECE
Amy O'Neil has been involved with children and families for over 25 years in both Montreal and Toronto and is a passionate advocate for children and those who care for them. Through lived experience, Amy’s commitment to social and economic justice is both personal and political. A mother of four and a vocal advocate for childcare, Amy is often deputing on behalf of low income working parents on child care issues. She believes passionately in social justice and quality in early childhood settings and strongly supports decent work for RECE’s.
After receiving her B.A. in Educational Studies with Honors specializing in Child Studies from Concordia University she began practice directly with young children and their families as an Early Childhood Educator in Montreal. She understands the dynamic of the early childhood environment and has extensive experience in community development and capacity building. Amy aspires to work with the AECEO in strategic planning and collaborative leadership. Amy works as the Director of Treetop Children’s Centre where her focus, along with managing day-to-day operations, is to strengthen the quality of programming by incorporating the latest in educational methodology and pedagogy. She is a Board member of the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care, has served as a Director on a child care Board of Directors, and works in varying capacities in the early learning sector in Toronto including sitting on committees with Toronto Children’s Services and the TDSB. She is excited to share her commitment to child and family advocacy and her experience of successful, non-profit, front-line and management experience in child care with the AECEO.
Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, Ph.D (on leave of absence)
Veronica’s notable contributions to childhood studies (currently, as contributor to and principle investigator of Common World Childhoods Research Collective, Early Childhood Pedagogies Collaboratory, and Transforming Waste Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education; as co-director of the Ontario Centre of Excellence in Early Years and Child Care; as professor of Early Childhood Education in the Faculty of Education at Western University; and as author and co-editor of many publications in Early Childhood Education and pedagogy), and her demonstrated capacity for understanding the complex challenges of practice and provisions of early childhood education and care in Ontario are characteristics that make her an ideal candidate for the AECEO Board of Directors. As ECEs in Ontario continue to experience instability in their wages and working conditions, despite encouraging emphasis on practice and deepening interest in pedagogy; Veronica sees the major issues of the AECEO to be beginning conversations regarding how professional pay and decent work can be moved alongside pedagogical discourses.
Alana Powell RECE, HBA, MA-ECS
Alana Powell is an RECE and holds an HBA in Political Science from the University of Toronto and an MA in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University. Alana’s commitment to advocating for ECEs and childcare in Ontario was reinforced by her experiences working in the field at a non-profit community-based childcare centre and as the AECEO’s Interim Coordinator in 2018. 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 continuing to work with the ECE community across the province and supporting the important work of the AECEO.
Jenn Wallage, B.A.A., RECE, RC
Jenn Wallage has been an Early Childhood Educator since graduating from the ECE Diploma program at Conestoga College over 20 years ago. From Conestoga she went to Ryerson Polytechnic University, graduating with her Bachelor of Applied Arts in Early Childhood Education. While at Ryerson she earned her designation in Special Needs, as well as a minor in Public Administration. Regardless of where she worked (as a classroom educator, at the Ontario Early Years, as a Resource Consultant, to name a few), Jenn has always been a strong advocate for the profession of Early Childhood Education. She is currently employed with a school board as a Designated Early Childhood Educator, fulfilling a position outside of the Kindergarten classroom – as a Union Local President representing over 650 DECEs. Jenn is very involved at the Local and Provincial levels with her Union. This involvement is what led her to become involved with the AECEO, collaborating and advocating for the profession of Early Childhood Education. Jenn wholeheartedly believes that growing support from all areas will benefit the Early Childhood Education profession in the quest for professional pay and working conditions.