Arizona Early Childhood Legislative Day 2018

Arizona Early Childhood Legislative Day 2018, sponsored by Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA) was held on Thursday, February 15 at the Arizona State Capitol.

AZECA is an alliance of 40 cross-sector partners (including AzAEYC) statewide. As Arizona’s shared and unified voice on early childhood, AZECA’s goal is to ensure all Arizona children are prepared for kindergarten and are on track to succeed by the end of third grade.

Over 200 early educators and advocates from around the state gathered in the Arizona State Capitol Rose Garden to network with friends and colleagues and to meet with members of the Arizona State Legislature.

Arizona Early Childhood Legislative Day began with delicious breakfast burritos and a coffee cart complete with custom beverages to power attendees throughout the morning.

AZECA planning committee members Barbie Prinster of Arizona Early Childhood Education Association and Catherine Freericks, Ed.D of Read On Arizona were part of the welcoming and serving crew.

Representatives from Central Arizona College Early Childhood Education Department in Coolidge, where AzAEYC Board President Melissa Larson Busby serves as Early Childhood Education Director. Left to right: Monica Krantzman, program assistant for the Professional Career Pathway Project (PCPP) scholarship grant, Aimee Manjarres, program coordinator for PCPP and Amanda Gonzales, a former preschool teacher who now serves as program assistant.

AzAEYC’s Vice President for Professional Development Stacia Emerson (back row, third from left) who serves as Clinical Assistant Professor in Teaching and Learning at Northern Arizona University, assembled a team of her ECE students. Arizona Early Childhood Legislative Day participants also attended committee hearings, learned how to track bills and took State House Tours.

Early Childhood advocates from the Grand Canyon State join forces. Power to the Profession!

From left to right: Dawn Wilkinson, Executive Director, AzAEYC; Melissa Larson Busby, AzAEYC Board President; Monica Brinkerhoff, SAzAEYC VP Public Policy and Awareness; Robin Katobbi, SAzAEYC VP of Membership; Alicia Durbin, SAzAEYC Board President; Erin Aguilar, SAzAEYC Co-VP of Nominations and Awards and Cynnamon Woodberry, SAzAEYC Board Secretary.

What can one individual do? It was standing room only for “Your Advocacy Journey- Next Steps” training and discussion facilitated by Dawn Wilkinson, Executive Director, AzAEYC, Melissa Larson Busby, AzAEYC Board President and Monica Brinkerhoff, SAzAEYC VP Public Policy and Awareness. Participants in Arizona Early Childhood Legislative Day learned about best strategies to connect with legislators on key issues at the local, state and national levels and advocate for the early learning profession and for young children.

After Arizona Early Childhood Legislative Day concluded, many attendees walked a few blocks over to Fiesta on the Patio! for an AzAEYC-sponsored scrumptious buffet lunch at La Canasta Capitolio.

AzAEYC members and long time supporters Dawn Craft and Kathy Evans, who work with Arizona PBS Educational Outreach, join AzAEYC VP of Policy and Advocacy Ben Alteneder at Fiesta on the Patio!

From left to right: Sharon Schneiderman, First Things First Scholar and a preschool teacher from Tucson; Gloria McGinty, ASSC statewide trainer and Patti Longman, ASSC statewide trainer.

From left to right: Janet Moreno, Marislea Salazar, Mary Aguilar, Yobana Rodriguez from Child and Family Resources in Tucson.

From left to right: Amanda Olivella, Leah Jimenez and Cindy Elias, Northern Arizona University ECE students.

AzAEYC’s Vice President for Professional Development Stacia Emerson with NAU ECE students Beatriz Lua and Judith Gutierrez.

Demi Lucero,Marilyn Avila and Payton Romero of NAU’s College of Education.

SAzAEYC Student Representative Serena Holmes lends her microphone skills to announce raffle prize winners at Fiesta on the Patio!

AzAEYC Business Manager Linda Pauley  who also serves as center director for NAEYC accredited Risen Savior Early Learning Center in Chandler with Olga Guerreo of Child Parent CENTERS Tucson.

Many thanks to all of the Early Childhood Professionals who participated in Arizona Early Childhood Legislative Day 2018 and to the AZECA team for making this event possible. Arizona’s advocacy on behalf of young children and the professionals who continue to make the Grand Canyon state a place where high-quality early learning occurs for every child, every day. And a special thanks to all who joined Team AzAEYC for Fiesta on the Patio!

All photos by Melissa Larson Busby and Dawn Wilkinson. Copyright AzAEYC, 2018.