My name is Eric, and I am excited to lead the AzAEYC Governing Board as President. I strongly believe that all young children and families deserve quality early education experiences to reach their full potential. Therefore, it is my pleasure to support AzAEYC’s efforts to advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate and work on behalf of young children.
My focus as President 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.
I will bring my 12 years of early childhood dedication to the AzAEYC Board. My experience includes serving as a teacher for children infant to age 8 at an early learning program, developing science workshops and enhancing family programs at a science museum, and providing professional development around early childhood standards at a statewide level.
As a child growing up with a speech impairment, I recognize the value of educators for their potentials as professionals who can advocate on behalf of young children and families. My early childhood special education teacher supported my strengths rather focusing on deficits. She messaged that I mattered and that I was capable. My dad, who became a single father early in my life, strived to work for our family to have a better life than he had. He messaged that I mattered and I was capable.
When I got to my very first early childhood college class trying to balance full-time work as a preschool teacher and full-time courses, my professors messaged that I mattered and that I was capable. Now, I am the first person in my family to attend college and am finishing my doctoral work studying early childhood science professional development!
My goal is to ensure that same messaging with our early childhood workforce: your voice matters, you are capable. AzAEYC is a resource for continuous professional development and advocacy support as we strive to elevate our profession in Arizona.
A special thanks to Melissa Larson Busby for her efforts to strengthen the foundation for AzAEYC to serve our members. She’ll step in to the role of Past President on our board, sharing her knowledge and facilitating a smooth transition so that AzAEYC will continue to be a strong leader for early childhood advocacy efforts in Arizona.
We have some terrific events on the calendar for this year, including the Arizona Public Policy Forum, the Week of the Young Child, an opportunity for students to apply for the Rhian Evans Allvin and Joshua J. Allen Scholarship, and our Annual Meeting next fall. Stay tuned!
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.
Eric Bucher is a doctoral candidate studying job-embedded early childhood science professional development with Early Head Start teachers. He also serves as Part-Time ECE Faculty, Paradise Valley Community College, an NAEYC-accredited A.A.S. program.