2023-2024 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.

PRESIDENT

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 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. Shailja is the Assistant Editor of the peer reviewed section of the eceLINK.

PAST-PRESIDENT

Lyndsay MacKay RECE, B.A., MA ECS

Lyndsay MacKay 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.

TREASURER

Jose Barbosa RECE

Jose Barbosa is an experienced Registered Early Childhood Educator with a deep passion for the field of Early Childhood Education. Graduating from George Brown College in 2007, Jose has dedicated the past 16 years to providing quality care for children and advocating for the rights and well-being of childcare workers.

Jose's career began on the floor as an ECE, where he honed his skills and expertise for the first 11 years. During this time, he spent 9 years at Ferncliff Daycare and After School Group, a non-profit childcare center in Toronto. His commitment to creating a nurturing and inclusive environment for children made him a valued member of the Ferncliff team.

Presently and for the past five years, Jose has served as the Assistant Director at Ferncliff Daycare, consistently making a positive impact. In addition to his administrative duties, he has demonstrated unwavering dedication in fostering a welcoming and supportive work environment for his staff daily.

In addition to his work at Ferncliff, Jose has actively participated in the Early Childhood Education community. He served on the Executive Board of CUPE 2484 for five years as the Secretary Treasurer, gaining valuable skills in budgeting and financial management within a non-profit organization. Jose has also collaborated with the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) on various campaigns, advocating for quality, non-profit care for all children and fair working conditions and pay for childcare workers across the province and country.

Jose's passion for the field is rooted in his belief in providing the best possible care and education for children. He strongly emphasizes the importance of non-profit childcare and advocates for decent working conditions and fair compensation for all childcare workers. His dedication to this cause drives him to continue working towards creating a system that prioritizes the well-being of both children and those who care for them.

SECRETARY

Olivia Faveri HBFA, RECE, OCT

Olivia Faveri works as an Occasional Teacher with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, and as a Registered Early Childhood Educator at Carlington Community Health Centre’s Annavale Headstart Nursery School in Ottawa, ON. She holds a Bachelor of Education (Primary/Junior) from University of Ottawa, a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Algonquin College, and an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, specializing in Dance Education, from York University. She is also a certified DanceAbility® Teacher.

Throughout her post-secondary education, she worked in several early learning settings including the Dovercourt Recreation Association, 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 CHEO School, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Young Dancers’ Program, SickKids, and Girl Guides of Canada.

Olivia believes that advocating for professional pay and decent work is vital to the early learning and childcare sector’s future. Through her active involvement as an AECEO Board Member over the last two years, she has and continues to advocate for positive change in the sector. Early Childhood Educators are professionals and deserve to be recognized as such by all sectors, each level of government, and the general public.

MEMBERS-AT-LARGE

Joy .O. Adeola B.S.C Accounting, A.T,S.(I.C.A.N), RECE

I'm a registered early childhood educator with a diploma from Seneca College, a Bachelor's degree from Ambrose Ali University Nigeria and A.T.S member of Institute of chartered accountants of Nigeria.

I've been working with children and families in formal settings for over 15years. Initially when I joined the field in Canada my philosophy was, “I believe children in their early stages of development need positive guidance. Young children have potential and they need parents, caregivers and educators that will help bring out those potentials. I believe I can make a positive contribution by being a good role model and by guiding them. My goal is to listen, observe, interact with children, teachers and families. To understand their world and be able to acquire more skills to work with them and bring out the best in them.”

Over the years with my experience in working with the field and how much I've come to realize that educators are not valued as they should. I've added advocacy for people that care for children to my philosophy "because only valued and healthy educators can nurture and bring out the best in children.'' I believe ECE is an evolving field and if I'm given the opportunity to serve I will give my support to the board in any positive way in moving AECEO forward as it continues to make a better place for people that care for children and for the children

My quest for spreading the word to the government and people that can bring change has led me into different forms of public speaking with the media.  Some of which are;
1.  "Raising the floor" (CUPE2484) https://youtu.be/PICVq540zvY  2. Press Conference at Queens Park aired on CTV, November 2022 in collaboration with ( OBCC,CUPE.AECEO & MPP Bhutila Karpoche)https://youtu.be/5YQfX1V9hoI  3.The Federal Childcare Plan: Is It Working For Ontario? (Television Ontario) https://youtu.be/1thpvGifCuA  4.  "Lifting everyone up" with the Canadian Labour Congress Conference aired in Montreal. (a) https://liftingeveryoneup.ca/ (b)https://youtu.be/7OwwCbnSQAM 5. Being a part of conversations with government personnel, families, employees and employers both online and in person in fighting for positive changes in our sector. 6. I've also walked with AECEO in telephone outreach and centre visits in supporting educators.

Jane Cervi B.A., RECE

I have been a Registered Early Childhood Educator since graduating from Niagara College in 1998 and also a member of the AECEO since graduating from the Early Childhood Education program. I felt it was important as a young educator to stay “in the loop” through membership about Early Childhood Education, and I am so glad I did. It is important to encourage fresh graduates to also become members, and that is exactly what I do.

Not only was I working full-time as a RECE, I also made the decision to finally go back to school in 2020 to pursue my bachelor's degree with a major in Early Childhood Studies from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), so that I might have a better voice about the importance of early learning and childcare (ELCC) in Ontario and become a macro advocate for Educators, children and families.

Currently I am enrolled in the Master of Arts program-Early Childhood Studies at TMU beginning Fall 2023. I am very excited about this and cannot wait for which path this leads me onto in the field of the Early Learning and Childcare Sector (ELCCS).

My experience would be an asset on the Board of Directors, A little about my career in the ELCCS: I provided home child care out of my home and led the Niagara West Home Childcare network group on a monthly basis. I worked as a DECE in full day Kindergarten and worked in many licensed child care centers since 1998. I have so much to bring to the Board of Directors as far as my knowledge, experience in the field and what it takes to advocate for fellow RECE’s. Through a Policies in Early Childhood Education and Care course at TMU I learned so much about advocacy, research and policies in the ELCCS. It was very clear to me, we need a better child care system in Canada and being the voice needed to help make this happen is my goal.

For my senior internship at TMU I developed a project which focused on educating families, educators and children about what a quality childcare system could and should look like in Ontario. The 175 hours put into this extensive project was very successful and through this I was able to speak and educate the MPP of Niagara south (Vance Badawey). I made a pamphlet which focused on accessibility, educator retainment and recruitment, and affordable childcare (if not free).

I feel as though the government went about how to better our childcare system backwards. I want to keep the ball rolling and focus on what our childcare system should and could look like in Canada. Our province is leading the way as far as what the early years should look like.

Please consider me as part of the Board of Directors.

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.

Simone Haughton, RECE 

Simone Haughton is entering her 10th year as an RECE in the field, currently working with preschool aged children. Simone holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Conestoga College. She is a member of the Early Years Coalition Waterloo Region AECEO Community of Practice and was a member of the AECEO Conference Committee, helping to organize, plan, and execute the 2023 Provincial Conference We Raise Each Other Up. Simone had the great honor of being invited to participate in the opening panel of the conference as a keynote speaker. Simone has three great passions in life; gardening, a deep love of Disney, and being an RECE. She has learned so much in the classroom over the years, not only from coworkers and children, but also from parents and community partners. She has been mentored by some truly great people, who combined have over 200 years of experience in the early years field. Simone has the ability to see the end of any project, recognizing both the great possibilities, as well as possible stumbling blocks along the way. She sees the incredible strengths of educators she works with, and is very passionate about empowering ECEs to see their worth, and encouraging them to advocate for their needs by having conversations and understanding that we will all change and evolve along our journey. Simone also wants to help others recognize the importance of the years 0-12, to influence policy decisions that will better our overall education system. Simone hopes to continue her work with the AECEO as a member of the Board, sharing her experiences and values of decent work as necessary to educator success.

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.

Nicola Maguire RECE, B.A., MA ECS   

Nicola has been an Educator for over 30 years and is currently the Director of Research & Pedagogical Leadership, at the Learning Enrichment Foundation. In addition to being a RECE, Nicola also completed an Hon. BA in Early Childhood Leadership and a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Nicola has held many roles in the sector throughout her career, including more than 13 years as a direct-contact RECE and Centre Supervisor. More recently, she worked at George Brown College in the School of Early Childhood as part time faculty, field liaison, research assistant, and supporting the lab schools with digital technology. Working with others while connecting children to the Land and the arts have been consistent foci of her work and research throughout her career. Through this work, Nicola has appreciated opportunities to share her knowledge with audiences spanning from local to international levels and a variety of stakeholders. Drawing on these experiences and others, enables her to consider multiple perspectives when approaching key issues impacting Educators today. These different views also inform her leadership style and approach to empowering others through shared leadership opportunities. She believes advocacy is a key component of leadership and is grateful to the AECEO for equipping ECEs with the strategies and tools to participate and be informed when it comes to their professional work in the sector.  

Nicola continues to take inspiration from her own early childhood experiences on the Land and with the arts and weaves these into her daily work. When away from work, she enjoys spending time outdoors with family, friends, and animals, hiking and enjoying music. 

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.

Charlotte Prince R.E.C.E.

Charlotte is a Centre Director working in a large child care organization in London Ontario. As a Pedagogical Leader, Charlotte spends her days studying and rethinking traditional practices alongside Educators and young children. She enjoys mentoring Educators and focuses her work on supporting others in their pedagogical growth. Charlotte also has a deep passion for advocacy work within the Early Childhood Education sector. She enjoys bringing her two passions of pedagogical work and advocacy together, using this as an opportunity to highlight the important and complex work that Educators engage in on a daily basis. As a professional learning facilitator and AECEO 2023 Conference Committee Member, Charlotte has experienced firsthand how pedagogically driven advocacy positively impacts Educators, families, and children. Charlotte stands steadfast in her support for Educators and is eager to continue to make change across the field of Early Childhood Education.

Amy Williams (she/her), RECE, B.A., M.A.

Amy Williams is a proud Registered Early Childhood Educator. She graduated from Fanshawe College's Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program and graduated with an M.A. in the Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies program at Western University. Her research in her undergraduate degree focused on the co-design of an early years policy framework prototype based in London and its surrounding area. Her master's thesis investigated Ontario early years professionals' perspectives regarding anti-racist practices in licensed child care settings and how whiteness impacts their ability to engage in anti-racist work. Her research and teaching interests include early years advocacy and policy, anti-racist and anti-oppressive policies and practices in early years settings, and equity and social justice education. She currently works as a part-time professor at Fanshawe College in the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership degree program and Early Childhood Education diploma program. She also works full-time as an EarlyON Facilitator in London's Family Centre Service System and has a breadth of experience working in non-profit organizations, child care, and other early years settings. Amy believes that the AECEO serves as a catalyst for change in Ontario's early years' sector, as it works to amplify early years professionals' voices. Amy continues to advocate alongside her fellow RECEs regarding the importance of reconceptualizing the field of early childhood education and care as one that is not only publicly funded, high quality, anti-racist, and inclusive, but also supports professional wages and better working conditions for its workforce.

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