Board of Directors

Nicki Dublenko, Chair
Nicki Dublenko

Nicki has been honored to work with the AECEA over the past few years to work toward a future of well educated and recognized early childhood educators in Alberta. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Master’s of Education in Early Learning in 2013 and is currently enrolled in the flex Early Learning and Care PhD program at the University of Toronto. Nicki serves as the Executive Director for Child Development Dayhomes, Edmonton and Fort McMurray, and is a member of the Alberta Early Learning and Care Leaders Caucus, a member of the End Poverty Edmonton - Early Learning and Child Care Steering Committee and the program advisory for the MacEwan ELCC program and has served on many boards and committees including the Alberta Family Child Care Association and the Success by Six Council of Partners. She believes in a strong professional association for early childhood educators and value the professionals working with young children for the very important work we all do.

Manna Middleton, Vice Chair
Manna Middleton

As Vice Chair, Manna believes in the future success for Alberta’s children and wants to ensure the best opportunities for children and educators are happening in our province. She believes in the mission set by AECEA and its national partners at CCCF and will adhere to all it stands for. Her prior experience in running Bee Hive Child Care Centre alongside drawing from her experience working on projects and boards in rural Alberta such as the Child Care Directors' Association of Southwest Alberta and County of Lethbridge Early Child Mapping Project is what drives her passion to be involved in the AECEA. 

Patricia MacDonald, Treasurer
Patricia MacDonald

As treasurer, Pat brings over 30 years of early childhood experience to the position. Pat has worked in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta as a front line staff as well as serving a program manager role for Family Day Home Agency and working as a Day Care and Early Intervention consultant. Pat has been employed with the Alberta Association for the Accreditation of Early Learning and Care Services as Accreditation Consultant/Moderation Coordinator since 2007. Pat has also participated in the Curriculum Framework Project Phase III Leaders Learning Community and the Community Learning Series.

Susan Garrow-Oliver, Secretary
Susan Garrow-Oliver

Susan is an Associate Professor at Mount Royal University teaching in the Bachelor of Child Studies and has been active in the ECE profession in Alberta for over 25 years. Susan's research for her MA looked at childcare directors' critically reflective communities of practice, while her recent PhD research explored ECE Directors' understanding of leadership. Her key interests are in leadership, social justice advocacy, ethical practice, critically reflective practice and communities of learning and strengthening the ECE profession.

MaryAnn Farebrother
MaryAnn Farebrother

MaryAnn Farebrother (M.Ed.) has had extensive experience working with early learning students and educators in Alberta's early learning and child care sector. She is the co-ordinator of the Mount Royal University pilot for the Alberta Early Learning Curriculum Framework Project and the Project Manager for the Mount Royal University/AB Health Services CHEERS Project. MaryAnn teaches in the ELCC Major in the Bachelor of Child Studies at Mount Royal University and was the recipient of the 2014 AECEA Award of Distinction. MaryAnn has been a life-long learner and a strong advocate for quality care for young children throughout her career and believes that an educated and supported workforce is required to provide quality programs for young children to support young families.

Liz Simmons
Liz Simmons

Liz is an independent Early Learning and Child Care Consultant who has been involved in the early childhood field for over forty years. She also volunteers with the local ECD Coalition in Calgary Northwest and is a strong advocate for quality early learning and child care. As a retired member of the AECEA Board, Liz still keeps involved in the sector by working as a moderator for AELCS and intends to continue to encourage other members to actively participate in their professional association to further enhance the profile of Early Learning and Child Care in Alberta.

Paxton Bruce

Paxton Bruce is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Child Studies degree at Mount Royal University. Completing her leadership practicum at the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta sparked her passions towards professionalism and advancement of the early learning sector. Paxton has worked front line with infants and is currently working with Calgary Reads and the First 2000 Days Network. Paxton has extremely enjoyed her first year as an ACECA board member and will continue her work on the membership committee. Connecting with students who will become the next professionals in the field has been a great component to the board and membership committee. Paxton expresses her experiences with the AECEA board have been incredible. The opportunities and learning that has come from being part of the conversations with like-minded professionals has shaped her professional identity.

Carol Sullivan

Bringing over 30 years of experience in the field to AECEA, Carol has logged extensive frontline time with children and their families, coordinated and managed various early childhood and family support programs, taught part time with MacEwan University, Early Childhood Development Program and worked in a mentoring capacity with the Alberta Resource Centre for Quality Enhancement. Carol believes that high quality child care can improve the quality of life for children and families and has the potential to play a significant role as part of a strong social infrastructure that enhances the overall quality of community life, education and care.