Eric Bucher | Executive Director

Eric Bucher, Ed.D. (he, him, his) leads Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (AzAEYC) as the CEO and has 6 years of AzAEYC board service experience. Dr. Bucher also works as an assistant research professor with the Children’s Equity Project (CEP) at Arizona State University and serves on the First Things First Phoenix North Regional Partnership Council, the Special Education Advisory Panel for the Arizona State Board of Education, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Affiliate Advisory Council. Dr. Bucher collaborates to develop strong early childhood leaders, dismantle inequitable systems, and build new anti-racist and anti-bias systems.

Dr. Bucher’s 16 years of early childhood experience includes teaching children (birth to age 8), developing content for preschool programs at a science museum, designing professional development, managing local/national early childhood grants, and leading in state and government agencies.

Eric is a first generation college graduate and holds a Doctorate of Education in Leadership & Innovation from Arizona State University. His research focused on early childhood professional development and infant-toddler Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Eric is the co-author of “Beyond Bouncing the Ball: Toddlers and Teachers Investigate Physics” and “Infant and Toddler STEAM: Supporting Interdisciplinary Experiences with Our Youngest Learners” both published in NAEYC’s peer-reviewed journal Young Children.

“Our focus as a Board is to coordinate advocacy support with our partners and promote a vibrant and diverse membership that represents the strengths and values the voices of early childhood professionals across the state. As we look towards AzAEYC’s future, I am confident that, together in collaboration with our members and partners, we will be a powerful voice for quality early childhood education in Arizona.”

 Linda Pauley | Business Administrator

Linda (she, her, hers) handles the bookkeeping, reporting, and back office tasks that support the work of the organization. She thrives on supporting NAEYC’s mission of promoting quality early learning by connecting practice, policy, and research and enjoys working with AzAEYC to further those goals at the state level. Linda has a Business degree from Arizona State University and an MA Ed. from Concordia University.
She is the Director of an NAEYC-accredited early learning center, Risen Savior Preschool and Kindergarten in Chandler.

“One of my favorite stories for young children is called A Teacher’s Promise by Rachel Robertson. The book celebrates the relationship children and their teacher. The promise is that an infinite journey awaits every child that has a caring teacher providing support and guidance. I was so moved the first time I read it, I bought a copy for each of our teachers to read their students on the first day of school. This book tells children what they can expect on a daily basis in our school – to discover, dream, and grow together!”

Jo Chavez | Media/Communications Specialist

Jo (she, her, hers) assists with the development and publishing of content for social media, the AzAEYC website, press releases and other marketing and communications outreach for the organization. She has a journalism degree from Colorado State University and an MBA in organizational leadership and change management from Southern New Hampshire University.

“Early childhood care providers had such a positive impact on me when I was growing up. Then when I was a single parent raising my son in the Phoenix area, we were so fortunate to have educators who saw my son’s potential and encouraged his curiosity and hunger for knowledge. Those experiences make me proud to work for AzAEYC and on behalf of early childhood educators.”

Julie Capistran | Administrative Support

Julie (she, her, hers) was a teacher of young children for 10 years at Risen Savior Preschool and Kindergarten, an NAEYC-accredited early learning center in Chandler. What she most enjoyed were those “Ah HA!” moments: seeing the look on a child’s face when he or she figured out how to do something independently.

For the past 5 years, Julie has served as office manager for Risen Savior. She began working with AzAEYC in September, and is proud and excited to be a part of the team. She helps provide back office support for AzAEYC Board members.

Julie has a 20-year-old daughter who is a sophomore at Northern Arizona University, and an 18-year-old son who will graduate from Hamilton High School this spring. “They’ve grown up so fast and I have cherished every moment with them. They are my world! My favorite book from those early years is Love you Forever by Robert Munsch.”