Board of Directors

The AzAEYC Board of Directors oversees the actions and promotes the mission and goals of NAEYC in Arizona. In working to advance the early childhood profession, the AzAEYC Board of Directors supports all who care for, educate and work on behalf of young children.

Kamaie Clark, M.Ed. | President 

Kamaie Clark, M.Ed., serves as the program manager of school readiness with Southwest Human Development in the Head Start/Early Head Start division which provides quality early learning experiences and comprehensive services for families. Kamaie’s roles include support for the program in the area of education, family services, and professional development.

Kamaie’s experience includes direct work with children and families, and facilitation of professional development through Maricopa County. She also served as the director of the Children and Youth program at Sojourner Center. With a heavy focus on assisting vulnerable populations, Kamaie’s work is centered around access and equity.

Poverty should not be a determining factor in the quality of care and services that a child and their family receive. Considering our children are the future and our most vulnerable citizens, we must advocate for the rights and well being of all children. As I continue through my journey on the AzAEYC board of directors, I look forward to growing as a professional, finding my voice, and having a positive impact the field.

Camille Lachar-Lofaro, M.A. | President-Elect

Camille Lachar-Lofaro, M.A. holds several part time positions including adjunct faculty in the Early Childhood Department at Central Arizona College and at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Professional Studies Early Childhood Division as well as working for Easterseals Blake Foundation as an Education Coordinator, supporting the two Early Learning Centers located on the Signal Peak and Superstition Mountain campuses of Central Arizona College through the NAEYC accreditation process.

Camille arrived in Arizona with almost 30 years of experience working with teachers and administrators, children, families and communities in New York State. She has fulfilled many roles including teacher, director, trainer, mentor, observer, speaker, advocate and board member.

As a founder and former principal of an early childhood training company she has experience in successfully running and growing a small business while serving the early childhood community. The company’s tag line “Mentoring early childhood professionals and organizations one relationship at a time” reflects her vision for the field.

Her 19 years of service on the local affiliate board of New York AEYC and four years on the state board has prepared her to serve as an AzAEYC board member. More from Camille on why early childhood programs should invest in NAEYC accreditation.

Service on the AzAEYC Board of Directors supports my passion for the early care and education field as it continues to grow around the core values of respect and relationships. By instilling those values not only in our youngest population but also in the adults who care for them is an investment in our future.


Dr. Victoria Damjanovic, Ph.D.  | Vice President, Advocacy & Public Policy

Victoria Damjanovic, Ph.D., has been in the early childhood education field for more than 30 years. She is currently an assistant professor in early childhood education and early childhood special education in  the  department of Teaching and Learning as well as Educational Specialties at Northern Arizona University.

Victoria served on the Florida chapter of NAEYC (FLAEYC) for 2 years prior to moving to Arizona.

I feel it is more important now than ever to support and advance the field of early childhood education. Teachers in the field need support and resources as we face a mass exodus of educators, especially in early childhood. Children and their families need access to quality care that is equitable and just.

These are the areas that I feel the most passionate about and I hope to serve on the Arizona AEYC board to advance our field in the state of Arizona.


Diane Salazar, M.Ed. | Vice President, Membership

Diane Salazar, M.Ed., currently serves as Principal of Faith North Early Childhood Learning Center in the Phoenix Elementary School District #1. As part of her role as Principal, Ms. Salazar oversees the district’s site-based preschool program and collaborates with local agencies to support the City of Phoenix Head Start programs located at Phoenix #1 K-8 campuses.

Diane is passionate about Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), and is currently leading a Phoenix #1 initiative to develop a shared understanding of DAP for leaders and kindergarten teachers.

Early care and education is critical not only for student long-term success in school, but also in building resilient communities. Child development is the focus of early learning, but also essential is supporting parents to understand their child’s development and learning. Students who participate in quality early learning programs are more ready for kindergarten, graduate from high school at higher rates, and are more likely to be successful after high school.

Children should have positive experiences in their early learning contexts, whether they attend private day care, preschool, or wherever their formal education begins.

Albert Murrieta, M.S.W., M.Ed. | Vice President, Professional Development

Albert Murrieta, MSW, M.Ed., serves as the Regional Director of Case Management with a local non-profit in Phoenix. In his previous position, Albert served as the Associate Director of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership with Child-Parent Centers, Inc., the southeastern Arizona Early Start
and Head Start grantee.

While working with CPC, Albert centered on building the agency’s EHS-CCP grant alongside 25 Spanish speaking Family Child Care Providers in Santa Cruz and Pima County.

Albert’s experience in early childhood began immediately after attaining his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education where he focused on bilingual methods courses. He began his career as a novice preschool teacher and later as a Children’s Services Specialist. Albert quickly discovered his interest and
motivations are working closely with in-service and preservice teachers facilitating quality professional development, training, and technical assistance.

As a bilingual Latino one thing became very clear growing up – change is the only constant and education is key. During my time of service on the AZAEYC board, I hope to bring a diverse perspective that represents marginalized communities within our state. I hope to strive for excellence in expanding access for young children and their families through the investment of quality professional development, opportunities for novice professionals, and advancements in the field through policy,  advocacy, and leadership. “Si, se puede! (Yes, you can!)”

Susan Randolph | Treasurer

Penni Case, M.Ed. | Secretary

penni case

Penni Case, M.Ed. has served as an early childhood special education teacher for over 16 years. Currently, she is the early childhood special education program director in Page Unified School District serving the small, rural community of on the Utah border, surrounded by national forest land and the vast Navajo Reservation.

In her role, she works closely with the community’s local Head Start, the tribal Head Start, and with community members to improve access to early childhood care and education.

Penni often collaborates with healthcare professionals to increase early childhood developmental screenings and advocates for increased access through a project coordination system that aims to make the community members aware and access available resources. 

My goal is to help to make the state of Arizona a better place for children and families. The program I oversee is an inclusive preschool that serves as an example of how to provide a high-quality program that services all neuro-diverse students.  It is composed of students who are diverse in terms of racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is my passion to keep this program inclusive. I have worked to do so by advocating for funding at the district, community, state, and federal levels. by advocating for quality care and education. Young children are our future, and we need to invest in them intentionally and wisely.


Lynn Hockenberger, B.A. | Member-at-Large

Lynn Hockenberger, B.A., serves as Director of Children of Hope Child Development Center, a 5-Star Quality First preschool located on the campus of Esperanza Lutheran Church in the Ahwatukee Foothills.  An early childhood educator for more than 20 years, Lynn is passionate about providing a high-quality early learning experience for her students and families, and committed to implementing developmentally appropriate practices that nurture the cognitive, social-emotional, spiritual, and physical growth of the students. 

Lynn’s work extends beyond the classroom as she holds the Faith Seat on the First Things First East Maricopa Regional Council where she participates in a sub-committee focused on the effects of trauma on a child’s developing brain. Lynn was recently awarded the Early Childhood Director of the Year from the Evangelical Lutheran Education Association and she holds an Early Childhood Director’s Credential from National Louis University. 

It is an honor to serve as Member-at-Large on the AzAEYC Board. Having been an NAEYC member since 2017 I believe in the work of this board and have seen firsthand the difference that high quality early childhood education can make on the trajectory of a child’s life, and consequently strengthening our communities. I will work hard as a board member to promote awareness and access to early learning and care, and will advocate for all of Arizona’s students, families, and workforce.

Molly McGavock  | Member-at-Large

Molly McGavock is an early childhood educator and owner of This Little Light Preschool in Show Low, AZ. She is currently working towards an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education before applying for the new Bachelor of Applied Science program at Northland Pioneer College in Fall 2024.

She enjoys serving her community through her work on the First Things First Regional Partnership Council for Navajo and Apache Counties. In addition, Molly works as a grant coordinator overseeing a federal- and foundation-funded project to address racial and health equity via the design and build of a high-quality, low-cost child development center serving residents in rural, northeast Arizona.

Molly is a wife and mother of three.

I love working with young children and serving the families of the White Mountains. I plan to bring my passion for community engagement and service to AzAEYC by serving this statewide board.


Lauren Hardy | Member-at-Large, Student

Lauren Hardy is a Pre-K teacher and assistant director at Standing Stones Christian Academy. She has over 8 years experience working with children in early childcare centers around the Valley.

Lauren holds an associate degree in Early Learning and Development from Rio Salado and recently started attending Grand Canyon University where she’s working towards a degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. 

Every child is unique and development is not linear. With continued education, research, and advocacy we are able to implement developmentally appropriate practices while supporting the whole child.

I hope to represent and encourage the future generation of educators by serving on the board and continuing to engage in educational and professional growth.

Katherine Kicey, M.Ed | Appointed Member-at-Large, Higher Education

Katherine Kicey, M.Ed, has an extensive background in teaching young children, spanning from toddlers to first graders, in various educational settings, including school districts, and the Arizona State University Child Development Lab. Her teaching experience encompasses working with Title One schools, second language learners, home visiting programs, and inclusive classrooms.

Katherine has also dedicated her time and expertise to non-profit organizations, with a focus on enhancing the lives of children aged from birth to five years. She has actively contributed to the First Things First grant initiative, collaborating with and training early childhood infant, toddler, and preschool providers in play and relationship-based teaching practices. This work has involved conducting observations and coaching in childcare and HeadStart centers across Arizona.

 Currently, she is actively engaged in the Early Childhood Studies program, where her primary focus is elevating the early childhood profession. Her approach centers on empowering online students as they engage in coursework and gain practical experience in the field, working with young children aged 0-5 years who have not yet entered kindergarten. Katherine’s teaching philosophy emphasizes relationship and play-based methods while fostering strong connections with both her students and the wider community to advance the field of early childhood education.


Jini Maxwell, M.Ed. | Northern Chapter Representative

Jini Maxwell, M.Ed., has spent the last 20 years teaching young children in early childhood classrooms throughout Flagstaff, AZ.  Specifically, she has been a lead teacher in a 3–5-year-old non-profit preschool, Kindergarten with FUSD (Flagstaff Unified School District), and a 2–3-year-old NAEYC accredited private preschool. 

Jini now facilitates early childhood college level courses in Early Childhood Education at NAU (Northern Arizona University).  She also provides coaching support and professional development for infant, toddler, and preschool aged classrooms, through Candelen, a non-profit aimed at advancing early childhood opportunities for families and communities in Arizona. 

Jini has been a board member with AzAEYC for 2 years.  She loves working with colleges and college-aged students at NAU (Northern Arizona University) to support and advocate for the importance of fair wages and professional acceptance for Early Childcare Programs, Teachers, and Providers in Arizona. 

As a AzAEYC board member, Jini looks forward to learning more about, changing Early Childhood adversity and supporting advocacy in Arizona for the many diverse populations and unique Early Childhood Education needs specific to Northern Arizona. 

Sonia Elizabeth Soto, B.A.  | Chair, Pinal/Gila Chapter of AzAEYC

Sonia Elizabeth Soto, B.A., is the Bilingual Family Childcare Specialist within the Family, Friend, and Neighbor program at United Way of Pinal County. With over 25 years of experience in the family and child services sector, she has also owned and operated her own in-home preschool. Originally from Ciudad Juárez, México, Sonia pursued her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Centro Teresiano de Estudios Superiores before relocating to Arizona. There, she obtained her Early Childhood Education certificate from Central Arizona College.

She has been a member of AzAEYC/NAEYC since 2019, and previously held the position of member at large for AzAEYC from 2021 to 2023.

Sonia takes pride in being a member of organizations such as AzAEYC that actively strive to promote equity, racial equality, and social justice in early childhood. “It’s crucial to have individuals who can advocate for and amplify the voices of families in shaping decisions within our state. My goal is to leverage my expertise in this field, along with my proficiency in two languages, to effectively represent the Hispanic community.”

Organizations like AzAEYC/NAEYC offer ECE professionals the opportunity to apply their skills for social good, expand their professional network, and find personal fulfillment by making a meaningful impact on society.

I’ve had the privilege of being a member at large at AZAEYC for the last two years, and I’m excited about taking on the role of representing the Pinal/Gila Chapter. My aim is to increase membership in those counties and establish a supportive environment that values the early childhood education (ECE) workforce, offering a secure platform for collaboration and networking.


Gordon Brown  | Chair, Valley of the Sun Chapter of AzAEYC

Patricia Miranda, M.Ed.  | Chair, Yuma Chapter of AzAEYC

Patricia Miranda, M.Ed., is the Education Specialist Statewide for Chicanos por la Causa, Yuma Chapter, and leads the Wee of the Young Child committee.

Patricia hold’s a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, is a CPR/FA instructor, and is also a lead instructor for the Arizona Workforce Registry.

She has been married for 25 years and is the mother of 4 and grandmother to 3. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family.


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