2022-2023 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.
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.
Jennifer Lewis RECE, M.A.
Jennifer Lewis is proud to have called herself an ECE for over 20 years when she graduated from Mothercraft College and later pursued an MA in Child Studies from ICS. As an ECE she has worked in FDK, toddler and school age child care, family resource, home child care and is currently working as a Professor at Seneca College. Through the pandemic, the AECEO has been a strong voice for Early Childhood Educators; ensuring that politicians and the general public understand the value of our work and the need for Universal Child Care that supports children, families and ECEs. Jennifer brings her strength and persistence to support that voice.
With previous work within her FDK Union, and as the Chair of the Board of an Early ON organization, Jennifer continues to bring a strong voice for advocacy to her students and faculty and believes that we need the strong advocacy of organizations like the AECEO to ensure that the voices of all ECEs are heard.
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 Community 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.
Lucy Angus, Ph.D., RECE
Lucy Angus is a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at York University and a registered ECE. Lucy’s teaching and research focuses on the ways complex interdisciplinary institutional histories of childhood and pedagogy have informed constructions of early years care and education. This work is motivated by the possibility of developing a more vibrant public imaginary of early childhood education. Lucy Angus’s work is committed to the importance of more vibrant public understandings of ECE in our current times, when frequent calls for more liveable and caring worlds signal a shift in awareness around labour conditions, frontline burnout, and the demands of relational networks of care. This shift has delivered the political incentive to finally respond to rising childcare costs for families. At the same time, childcare in Ontario and Canada continues to be viewed externally by policymakers and much of the wider public within a service model where educators are too often expected to be mere providers. Lucy is interested in joining the AECEO board after having observed the AECEO’s dedication to elevate both childcare work in Ontario and the concerns of families and practitioners. Lucy is motivated by the complex tensions that the AECEO seeks to represent by advocating for educators as both creative pedagogues oriented towards providing inclusive services and as professionals whose working conditions have often been taken for granted in public and private sectors.
Adam Davies PhD, OCT, RECE
Dr. Adam Davies (they/them) is a queer, white settler, nonbinary, neurodiverse Assistant Professor of Family Relations and Human Development at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. Adam holds a PhD in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development and Sexual Diversity Studies from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto and a MA in Child Studies in Education from the Jackman Institute of Child Study, OISE, University of Toronto. Adam teaches in the preservice Early Childhood Education (Child Studies) program at the University of Guelph and focuses their research on social justice and equity issues within Early Childhood Education and issues pertaining to the regulation of gender and sexuality within ECE. Adam’s current research projects are on the critical intersections of mental health and illness and professionalism within pre-service Early Childhood Education programs and men and masculinities within ECE in Ontario, which are both funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Adam is on the editorial board for eceLINK and has been published within eceLINK, as well as other journals, such as the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality and Gender and Education.
Priscilla Dutt, BA (ECE), MAECS, RECE
Priscilla Dutt is a RECE with a MA in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University where she also completed her BA in Early Childhood Education. For over 15 years she has worked with children and families in multiservice community-based agencies coordinating family support programs. She is currently a Professor, ECE at Centennial College and is committed to the work of the AECEO in uniting, and supporting the voices of RECE’s for decent work, recognition and professional compensation.
Olivia Faveri HBFA, RECE, BEd Candidate
Olivia Faveri is a RECE who works as a Toddler/Preschool Teacher at Carlington Community Health Centre’s Annavale Headstart Nursery School in Ottawa. She is also entering her final year of University of Ottawa’s Bachelor of Education (Primary-Junior) program, specializing in Comprehensive School Health. She graduated from Algonquin College’s Online Early Childhood Education program, and prior to her studies with Algonquin, she completed York University’s HBFA Dance program specializing in Dance Education. Throughout her post-secondary education, she worked in several early learning settings including Canada’s National Ballet School’s Sharing Dance program, The Macaulay Child Development Centre, Andrew Fleck Children’s Services, the OCDSB, the TDSB, and Mildenhall Montessori Schools. In addition to her work, she has volunteered with The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Young Dancers’ Program, SickKids, and Girl Guides of Canada. Additionally, she was an active member of many extracurricular activities in York University’s School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design, including managing and producing student and faculty productions, facilitating student events and workshops, and mentoring incoming first- year students. Olivia believes that advocating for professional pay and decent work is vital to our sector’s future. Through her active involvement as an AECEO Board Member over the last year, she has and continues to advocate for positive change in the sector. RECEs are professionals and deserve to be recognized as such by all sectors, all levels of government, and the public.
Shailja Jain MEd, RECE, PhD Candidate
Shailja Jain is a registered early childhood educator who has experience working with children ages 0-6 years. Shailja is currently a PhD candidate in Critical Policy, Equity and Leadership Studies in Education at the University of Western Ontario. Her research focuses on exploring gender creativity, gender justice and gender fluidity in the early childhood classroom. Shailja is also a part time faculty member in the School of Early Childhood at George Brown College. Shailja is committed to the sector of early childhood education. She is passionate about disrupting systemic barriers that early childhood educators face. She is also very passionate about the importance of gender inclusivity in early childhood education. The pandemic exacerbated the issues facing the sector and made visible the many ways that ECEs are often forgotten and left out of the narrative. Shailja believes that advocacy is so important and the AECEO does an amazing job of raising the voices of ECEs and fighting for decent working conditions and equity for educators, children, and their families.
Michelle Jones RECE, M.A.
Michelle Jones is a registered early childhood educator and teaches part-time in Conestoga College’s early childhood education diploma program. Michelle has experience working in kindergarten and school-age child care programs in Toronto. She has also worked as a research officer at the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. Michelle is a third year PhD student in Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies at the University of Western Ontario. Her research focuses on professionalism, gender, and the devaluation of care work. She aims to problematize professionalism and accountability efforts in ECE that devalue the aspects of care work that produce possibilities for social responsibility, and further marginalize caregivers outside the regulated field. Michelle believes the AECEO is well-positioned to take forward educators’ vision for decent work and a radical reimagining of early childhood education.
Olutayo Lewis RECE
Olutayo Lewis migrated from Jamaica in 2013 in order to pursue a practical nursing diploma program in Canada, and obtained her Registered Practical Nursing license. Working as a nurse with children with special needs confirmed her interest in a career working with children. This led her to the Early Childhood Education program at Seneca College where she graduated with high honours. She currently works as a Registered Early Childhood Educator at a Montessori School. Olutayo’s pedagogy is built on her personal philosophy statement which is “Children are like buds they just need time and a nurturing environment to bloom into beautiful flowers.” Olutayo is committed to fulfilling the mandate of the AECEO and believes that members of the Association are the voices that children, families and the community at large are depending on - that we need to be determined to build the profession for the children and families we care for. She believes that we have the responsibility to reform our current system by bringing positive changes through programs, policies, advocating, raising concerns, and finding solutions to arising issues and ongoing research. Olutayo hopes to work with her fellow Registered Early Childhood Educators for better working conditions, compensation, ongoing support and learning opportunities.
Sherry Lickers RECE, AECEO.C
Sherry Lickers is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and holds certification from the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario. Sherry has worked in the Early Childhood Field for 40 years and has held many positions as Room Teacher, Coordinator of Family Resource and Supervisor. Sherry was an instructor for the Early Childhood Education program for Niagara College and the placement coordinator for the ECE students at Six Nations Polytechnic for 6 years. She is currently working for Fire Fly as Indigenous Professional Learning Opportunities Coordinator. She is also an active participant with the (PEACE) network Progressive Early years Aboriginal Centres of Excellence in South Western Region. Sherry received the Conestoga College Alumni Distinction Award in 2015, and was also nominated by Conestoga College for the Outstanding College Graduates Premiers Award for Community in 2018. Sherry is single mom of 3 adult sons and a grandmother who enjoys skating and baseball, and has volunteered in many aspects of those sports as club president of the Six Nations Skating Club and judge for Skate Ontario. Sherry enjoys sewing and beading in her spare time. Sherry believes that major issues for the AECEO are the professional recognition that RECEs receive from the government and equal pay that RECE and early years workers receive across the province.
Nidhi Menon B.Sc. M.Sc, M.S, OCT, Ph.D Candidate
Nidhi Menon has an M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa and an M.Sc. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Madras, India. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto. Nidhi has worked in a variety of early childhood education and childcare settings in India, the United States and Canada. She is currently working as contract faculty in the school of Early Childhood Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University. As an immigrant and woman of colour, Nidhi is passionate about working with young children, families and educators who identify as marginalized. Her research interests have a social justice focus which she brings into her teaching, and community outreach activities. In her doctoral research Nidhi uses marginalized feminist perspectives to understand the lived resettlement experiences of young refugee children and families. She also leads a community of practice with Early Childhood Educators working with newcomer families and children to support and practice advocacy in the early childhood sector. She believes in the power of advocacy to bring about systemic change for and with Early Childhood Educators to receive the compensation they deserve for their professional work.
Adenike Ovundah Dip ECE, MLS, BSc, Dip BA
Adenike Ovundah is as an experienced Administrator, Librarian/Information Professional and Educator - who has had the privilege of working in different capacities at various higher educational institutions, private and government sectors in Jamaica. She has served in different capacities such as a member of faculty and board of directors, conveners and chairs of different committees and in the areas of general administration, planning, staff training and development, acquisition, collection development, records management, organizational techniques and used of a variety of modern educational technologies in each of these roles. Her deep love for child care and education provided the impetus to study Early Childhood Education (ECE) at Seneca so she could realize her long-conceived dream of becoming a certified educator. While at Seneca she was a peer mentor for two semesters and participated in the Virtual Leadership Institute in 2020 and 2021. She also served as the first Secretary of the Seneca Student Federation (SSF) Career Preparation Club and also provided academic guidance to a number of peers. Adenike brings a wealth of over 15 years of leadership, supervisory and administrative experience to the AECEO Board. She is very passionate about innovation and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in childhood education as well as advocacy as it relates to families and the broader social conditions that impact their lives. She hopes to see a proper balance in the ratios of qualified and unqualified staff in licensed child care centres, an increase in funding for child care centres, and a bridge in the wage gap between teachers and educators, among others.
Jenn Wallage, B.A.A., RECE, RC
Jenn Wallage has loved working with children and families, and has done so most of her life, even before graduating from the ECE Diploma program at Conestoga College, and then Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson Polytechnic University) with a Bachelor of Applied Arts, minoring in Public Administration and receiving her Special Needs designation. She has worked in many aspects of the field; from classroom educator, Early Years Program Facilitator, Resource Consultant, and for the past 12 years, Designated ECE within the Kindergarten classroom. Jenn has always been a strong advocate for the profession of Early Childhood Education. Currently, she is fulfilling a position outside of the Kindergarten classroom – as a Union Local President representing over 850 DECEs. She is very involved at the Local and Provincial levels with the Union, as well as with the Community of Practice Early Years Coalition | Waterloo Region, and her lifelong passion, Girl Guides of Canada as a Pathfinder Guider. Jenn wholeheartedly believes that fostering collaboration with key stakeholders will only benefit the Early Childhood Education profession in the quest for professional pay and working conditions.
Jess Woods RECE
Jess Woods has worked in the Early Years Sector in Ontario for a total of about 15 years. Jess has worked as a direct-service ECE for the University of Guelph Child Care and Learning Centre, and also for Macaulay Child Development Centre’s J.R. Wilcox Child Care Centre in Toronto. From there they went on to assist the Manager of Early Learning and Care at Macaulay as a Floating Supervisor and Pedagogical Leader for Macaulay’s child care centres. More recently Jess has helped develop pedagogy for Social Enterprise for Canada (York Region, EarlyON Child & Family Centres), and has taught ECE at Humber College, Toronto Metropolitan University, and Conestoga College, where she is currently employed as a full-time faculty member. Nice to meet you!
Brooke Richardson Ph.D., RECE
Brooke Richardson is a care activist and scholar motivated by the belief that good care is foundational to meaningful lives and a democratic society. She has published and presented nationally and internationally on topics related to caring for and with children at the interpersonal and political level. She has recently published two edited volumes: Feminisms and the Early Childhood Educator: Critical Conversations (Bloomsbury) and Mothering on the Edge: A Critical Examination of Mothering within Child Protection Systems (Demeter Press). Brooke has taught graduate and undergraduate social policy courses at Brock, Carleton and Toronto Metropolitan University over the past decade and is currently an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Sociology at Brock University (Canada).