2016 AzAEYC Governing Board

mmMartha Muñoz
AzAEYC President
Dr. Martha Muñoz is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education in Department of Teaching and Learning.  She brings over thirty years of experience in early childhood education that includes teaching preschool, Head Start and kindergarten.  Dr. Muñoz was a child care center director for eleven years at a campus laboratory school accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  She has also served as a Dean and faculty member at both the community college and university level. Dr. Muñoz earned a doctorate in educational leadership from The University of Texas at Austin in 2008.  She also earned MEd and BA degrees from Arizona State University with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. She was awarded an A.A.S. degree in Child Care Administration from Phoenix College. Learn more about Martha.

Melissa Busby
AzAEYC President Elect
Melissa has a background in mental health counseling and play therapy and has worked in the early childhood education field for over 13 years as a family counselor, Director of a NAEYC Accredited child care program, and Early Childhood Education faculty member, advisor, and administrator. She is currently the Director of the NAEYC ECADA Accredited Early Childhood Education program at Central Arizona College. Melissa's vision for AzAEYC is to be an inclusive group of professionals who are the leading voice in advocating for all young children, families, and early care and education professionals in Arizona. AzAEYC should support the early childhood workforce, foster collaborative relationships among systems, and respect the contributions of our diverse members as we work together to reach the strategic goals and mission of our organization.

LenaLena Malofeeva
AzAEYC Vice President of Membership and Communication
Lena is Vice President and Senior Director of Research at Evaluation Strategies
, a company that provides evaluation, grant writing, and technical assistance services (e.g. design, facilitation, and implementation of multi-stakeholder change initiatives, grant writing, program evaluation, evaluation of partnerships and collaborations, survey construction, administration, and analyses, focus groups, qualitative methodologies, statistical analyses, data collection and management, benchmarking, strategic planning, and other services).  She is also a licensed psychologist working at Tucson Counseling, Tucson, AZ. Learn more about Lena.

Michelle Saint Hilarie
AzAEYC Vice President of Policy and Advocacy
Michelle is Program Director of Child Care Resource & Referral, a program of Child & Family Resources, Inc. and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from NAU, with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Education.  Michelle has over 23 years in the Early Care and Education Field in various capacities from preschool teacher, school-age program administrator, Child Care Center Director, corporate and non-profit settings, so on and so forth.  She values being on the AzAEYC Board because early care and education is her passion and believes that it is time for her to serve in a role that will enable her to serve Arizona and the profession as a whole. Learn more about Michelle.

Eric Bucher
Vice President of Professional Development
Eric Bucher is an Early Childhood Program Specialist with Arizona Department of Education, specializing in early childhood science and STEM and is an early childhood adjunct faculty with Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC), a NAEYC-accredited A.A.S. program. He also serves as the Vice President of Professional Development on the AzAEYC board. Learn more about Eric.

Julia Butler
AzAEYC Treasurer
Julia currently serves as one of the coordinators of Las Familias, a community of practice of Great Expectations for Children, Families and Teachers (SAzAEYC) and has been responsible for the professional development planning and implementation, as well as the fiscal responsibilities associated with a grant-funded project. As the former owner and director of Second Street Children’s School in Tucson, Julia has managed a small business successfully while growing a competent group of educators, making SSCS a special place for children and their families. Additionally, she has worked as a consultant on NAEYC accreditation projects with the US Air Force; served as an adjunct faculty member at Central Arizona College; and is a member of the ECE Advisory Board at Pima Community College. Julia's vision for AzAEYC is that it will continue to serve educators, children and their families across the state and it will become an inclusive, dynamic, productive force in the early childhood field where every voice is heard, respected, and considered; where the value of membership is apparent resulting in high quality learning experiences for every child; and is the place educators and policy makers look to for guidance and direction.

Shanna Kukla
AzAEYC Secretary
Shanna is the Program Manager of the Center for Early Childhood Studies at Pima Community College in Tucson, AZ. She has been in the field of early education and care for 31 years, working in California, Massachusetts and now Arizona.  Shanna spent the first 24 years of her carrer as an assistant teacher, a teacher, and as a director.  She has worked in for-profit, non-profit, parent cooperative and religious programs.  This diversity of perspective informs her belief that there are many roads to high quality experiences for young children.  Since 2007 she has worked in the zone where higher education and early education meet, supporting early childhood college students in completing associate degrees and transferring to bachelor's degree programs. Learn more about Shanna.

Stacia Emerson
AzAEYC Member-at-Large
Stacia holds a PhD in Early Childhood Education and has 30 years of experience in the field.  This experience is broad – ranging from teaching young children (4’s are her favorites), being a standing columnist for an Early Childhood magazine (a decade of child development articles), and teaching and supervising at the University level (approximately 10 years).  Currently, she is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Teaching and Learning at NAU. She teaches a variety of Early Childhood courses and supervises practicum students, which keeps her focused on the early learner and attuned to the current educational environment in Arizona.  These experiences and knowledge are magnified by her excitement to share with other educators the joy of teaching with heart.  Stacia wants to join forces with leaders in the early childhood profession to raise a voice on behalf of all young children and their families. She has benefitted greatly as a professional from my association with NAEYC and affiliates. At this point in her career, Stacia desires to give back by serving on this Board.

Terry Doolan
AzAEYC Member-at-Large
Terry Doolan is Director for Early Childhood Education with the Arizona Department of Education.  Terry has been with the department for ten years. As part of the Early Childhood Education Administrative team, she participates in monitoring, analyzing of data, and decision making. She assists in overseeing the Preschool Development Grant, collaborate with Early Childhood Education partners, as well as direct, supervise, and coordinate Early Childhood Program Specialists. Learn more about Terry.

Jonathon Adam H. Gonzales
AzAEYC Member-at-Large

Jenny Douglas
SAzAEYC Affiliate Representative
Jenny started working at a pre-school when she was still in high school, setting her on the path to a career teaching and supporting young children, their families and educators ever since. Jenny is the director of Second Street Children’s School, a program she started teaching in, when it first opened 25 years ago. Jenny first joined SAzAEYC in 1991 and has been involved ever since. She has served on the board of SAzAEYC for three years and is currently the president. Jenny was the 2012 recipient of the SAzAEYC Francis Miller Community Action on Behalf of Young Children Award. Learn more about Jenny.

Elizabeth Taylor
NAzAEYC Affiliate Representative
Elizabeth currently works 40 hours per week as the Executive Director of four nationally accredited preschool sites in Flagstaff, AZ.  Elizabeth also teaches preschool every day at one of the sites.  She has been with this parent cooperative, multi-age preschool for 23 years.  During the evenings, Elizabeth teaches at Northern Arizona University in the Early Childhood Department and has done so for 18 years.  She is the 6-year president of the Northern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (NAzAEYC) and the 10-year adviser of the Northern Arizona University NAzAEYC student chapter. Learn more about Elizabeth.

Ana Bribiesca
YCAzAEYC Affiliate Representative
Ana currently serves as the Education Specialist for Chicanos Por La Causa Early Childhood Development Program (Migrant Head Start Program) for the Western Region.  Ana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development from Northern Arizona University.  She has 21 years of experience in Early Childhood Development (preschool teacher; education specialist working with Infants and Toddlers, Preschool and Family Child Care Providers). Learn more about Ana.

Andrea Benkel
VSAEYC Affiliate Representative
Andrea Benkel is the Director of Early Childhood Education at the Summit School of Ahwatukee which is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). She brings over twenty five years of experience in early childhood education that includes teaching preschool, kindergarten as well as being a center director and developing programs for Gymboree Play and Music.  Andrea earned her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and her master’s from the University of Phoenix. Learn more about Andrea.