AECEO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
2021-2022 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 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 is currently an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Sociology at Brock University and Instructor in the interdisciplinary Child and Youth Studies program at Carleton University. Her research and scholarly work focus on the privatization of childcare in Canada, political representations of the childcare policy “problem”, reconceptualizing and reasserting care in early childhood education, and reimaging child welfare systems through an ethics of care perspective. She has published and presented nationally and internationally on topics related to Canadian childcare policy and is currently working on 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) (http://demeterpress.org/books/mothering-on-the-edge-a-critical-examination-of-mothering-within-child-protection-systems.)
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.
May Maija Clarke M.Ed., RECE, B.Ed.
May Maija (Maya) McKrow-Clarke is an Early Years specialist with over 30 years of experience as an RECE in a variety of early years settings, family drop-in centres, schools and day cares. Maija combines front-line experience with academic credentials and a strong theoretical foundation to offer rich insights into early childhood education.
Maija has a MEd degree in ECE from OISE, University of Toronto, is a RECE and OCT. Her education background includes a BA in Child Studies from Brock University and a BEd degree from the University of Toronto. Her experience includes working as a FDK Educator, a Continuing Education instructor at Humber College, a Kids Help Phone counsellor, a Research Assistant at OISE and a Child and Youth Care Worker at a Women’s and Children’s shelter. Recently, Maija served on the writing team at Ontario College of Teachers as part of the Kindergarten Additional Qualification revision process. In the 1990’s she had a stint on the AECEO’s Equivalency committee and is a former union steward.
Maija is a fierce advocate for RECE’s professional recognition, accommodating working conditions and compensation worthy of this challenging work. RECEs are the life line and heart beat of society so that young children can flourish, and ultimately families can thrive. Maija believes RECEs need to raise their voices and unite to ensure universal child care becomes a reality in Ontario. Front-line RECEs “walk the talk” each and every day and are exemplars of best culturally responsive practices from infancy to school age.
Maija believes that RECEs are “…more powerful when we empower each other”.
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 multi-service 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 is a RECE who works as a Toddler/Preschool Teacher at Carlington Community Health Centre's Annavale Headstart Nursery School in Ottawa. She graduated from Algonquin College's Online Early Childhood Education program. 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 Centre for Child Development, 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 a plethora of 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 advocating for professional pay and decent work is vital to our sector’s future and is determined to make these things a reality. RECEs are professionals and deserve to be recognized as such by all sectors, all levels government, and the public.
Shailja Jain MEd, RECE
Shailja Jain is a registered early childhood educator who has experience working with children ages 0-6 years. Shailja is a second year PhD student 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, currently teaching 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 second year PhD student in Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies at the University of Western Ontario. Her research focuses on gender democracy and reconceptualizing care in early childhood education. She aims to problematize professionalism and accountability efforts in ECE that mitigate the aspects of care that produce possibilities for social responsibility, and further marginalize caregivers outside the regulated field. Michelle believes the AECEO, as the professional association of RECEs in Ontario, is well-positioned to take forward educators’ vision for a comprehensive system of childcare that provides decent work.
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.
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, holds certification from the Association of Early Childhood Education Ontario, and is qualified First Aid and CPR instructor. For the last 6 years Sherry has been an instructor for the Early Childhood Education program for Niagara College and the placement coordinator for the ECE students at Six Nations Polytechnic. 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 also was involved in Brantford baseball association and 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. Candidate
Nidhi Menon has an M.S in Early Childhood Education from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa and an M.Sc in Human Development 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 Care settings in India, the United States and Canada and is currently working as a contract lecturer in the school of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University, where she has been teaching in the undergraduate program for the last ten years.
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 is using marginalized feminist perspectives to understand the lived resettlement experiences of young refugee children and their families. She is currently working with refugee mothers to create and support an online space where they can connect to build a sense of belonging by sharing narratives of their lived experiences of mobility and displacement. She is also working with Early Childhood Educators who work with newcomer families, to create a community of practice where educators come together to reflect, mentor, support each other and learn to be advocates for themselves, families, and children.
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.
Adenike Ovundah Dip ECE, MLS, BSc, Dip BA
Adenike 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 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 850 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.