Board of Directors

Manna Middleton, Chair
Manna Middleton

As 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. 

Nicki Dublenko, Vice-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 Council for Early Learning and Care 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.

Carol Sullivan, Treasurer

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.

Jennifer Usher, Secretary
Jennifer Usher

Since 2009, Jennifer has worked as the coordinator of the Medicine Hat & District Child Care Association. This is a non-profit organization that provides a support network for the child care centres, preschools, day home agencies and out of school cares operating in Southeast Alberta. In addition, she operates a program in a number of preschools across Medicine Hat teaching sign language to the children and Educators through a combination of games, activities, art, songs and rhymes. 

Jennifer believes that families deserve quality, accessible and affordable Early Learning and Child Care programs. Capable and knowledgeable Educators play a key role in the delivery of these services to our young ones. She is excited to serve on the AECEA board so she can encourage even more Educators to become involved with this important professional organization.

Joanne Keilty
Joanne Keilty

Joanne has been a member of the field of Early Childhood Education for 36 years. For the largest portion of her career she was an instructor at Lethbridge College in the Early Childhood Education program. Before, and during her tenure as an instructor at the College she was involved with group and family child care programs, kindergarten programs, and out-of-school programs. She is passionate in her belief that Early Learning Programs are foundational to our community and society. Joanne believes that educators have a significant role to play in children’s learning, family support and development and the health and well-being of our communities. As a board member of AECEA she believes it is important to work with government and communities to support educators and move the field of ECE forward as a necessary right for children and families.


Dawn Eagles

Dawn has worked in the field of Early Learning and Child Care for close to 30 years, primarily in School Age Care.  She is passionate about this age group of children, their families and their educators.  Dawn has presented at the AECEA Essential Pieces Conference as well as the MacEwan Child Care Conference on topics relevant to School Age Care. Through her work on the MacEwan conference committee she became familiar with topics of interest to the field of early learning and childcare in Alberta.  Dawn has worked with Flight: Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework in School Age Care and is grateful for the constant deepening of relationships that Flight provides.  Dawn is excited to have the opportunity to work  as an AECEA board member to encourage educators in education, membership and professionalism. 

Jasvinder Heran

Jasvinder has been in the field for 35 years, her journey started as an educator to owning and operating several private run childcare centres 1986 till 2013.
 Presently enrolled in school pursuing a Master’s in Business. Currently her position is the Executive Director of two not for profit childcare facilities downtown. She strongly believes in the mission of AECEA and see families, parent, educators as being partners in building equitable, quality, accessible, affordable Early Learning and Child Care programs. 


Christie Scarlett

Christie Scarlett has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 24 years. Her passion for children's advocacy and leadership for ECE Practitioners continues as she is in her 5th year of volunteering as a board director/treasurer for the National organization, the Canadian Child Care Federation. She has been honoured to work alongside children and families in a variety of capacities as well as several agencies and community groups such as AFCCA (Calgary region), AECEA, Public Interest Alberta, ECD Coalition, Healthy Eating Environment in Child Care provincial Advisory, and MRU Advisory. Christie intentionally focuses her participation on SACDA and YYC Plays ensuring play advocacy amongst Calgarians.  
For the past year, Christie has been striving to strengthen the standard for ECE and School Age training by providing professional development opportunities and empowering Early childhood educators to advocate for their profession by connecting with the ECE community. 
As much as Christie is passionately involved in the Early Childhood community in Alberta, she enjoys nothing more than spending time with her 2 beautiful daughters where she is actively involved in their community, schooling, activities, and own child care arrangements.


Lisa-Mae Hodges

Lisa has over 11 years of experience in the early learning field and has a true passion for the profession. She has worked with young children in a variety of different settings including early learning centres, preschools, elementary schools, and out of school care programs. She is a Child Development Supervisor with a Diploma in Early Learning and Child Care and a Certificate in Children's Mental Health from Mount Royal University. She is currently finishing her Bachelor of Child Studies at Mount Royal University. Lisa is the director of two programs; an early learning centre and out of school care program. As the director, she gets to explore her biggest passion of mentoring and inspiring other educators in this field. She is actively involved in her local COP in the Foothills area, and has a strong passion for the mental health of both children and educators. 

In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, horses, goats, dogs, and cats.