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Meet the OCAEYC Board

The OCAEYC Board is comprised of Executive Board Members and Board Members at Large. Board Meetings are open to the community and if you are interested in volunteering with one of our committees please reach out to that person or contact the Executive Director.

Nick Sherg

Executive Director

My name is Nick Sherg and I am proud to serve as the Executive Director for the Orange County Association for the Education of Young Children. My professional experience is in finance (primarily in the Healthcare Industry) and working with governmental agencies to help facilitate and execute program policies. My passion is to serve on Nonprofit Boards, and I am humbled by the experience and collaborative efforts of the Board Members with whom I have associated and OCAEYC is no different. Their strategic plan and their vision to serve this community is very inspiring. I am committed to their objectives of: Providing, enhancing, and promoting the professional development, training, and insightful information regarding public policy and initiatives that impact our early educators; supporting the economic and social development of OCAEYC through leadership in research, strategic partnerships, donations, grants, and sponsorships; Increasing inclusion of our members on every level of leadership; leveraging diversity for the growth of OCAEYC and the success of members and communities. On a personal note, I have been married for 35 years and have three adult children (one of whom is a teacher) who all attended PYLUSD public schools. As a family, we love the theater, Disneyland and traveling. I serve as a Deacon for the Diocese of Orange and am the Chaplain for the Orange County Boy Scouts of America. I welcome your comments and suggestions as we work together to serve those who we serve, in the best way possible – through education. Please feel free to contact me at: [email protected].


Executive Board Members

Cristina Blevins

President

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Ana Page

Past-President

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Marilee Cosgrove

Secretary

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Melissa Wheelahn

Treasurer

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Sarah Shawesh, M.A.

Vice President of Membership

Sarah is a founder and CEO of B.R.I.C.K. Consulting, is an adjunct professor, lecturer, early childhood educator and development specialist. She received a masters in Human Development where her graduate studies focused on authentic parent-child relationships. Ms. Shawesh has spent most of her career helping families, educators and children understand development in a way that allows everyone to find joy in the day-to-day. She strives to break down development in a way that makes sense and increases positive outcomes for all!

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Board Members At Large

Sandy Avzaradel, M.S. Ed.

Fund Development Chair

Sandy is the Director of Early Childhood OC, an organization which promotes Orange County’s Early Childhood Policy Framework, champions an increase in funding to early childhood programs and services, and supports initiatives which cultivate resilient families, ensure quality early learning and promote comprehensive health and development. In addition, Sandy designed and implemented the Early Childhood Mental Health and Wellness Program, a county-wide program where Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants work alongside preschool professionals to support social and emotional development and effectively work with children with challenging behaviors and / or mental health concerns. As a part-time adjunct faculty member at California State University, Fullerton in the Child and Adolescent Studies Department, Sandy enjoys sharing her early childhood passion and expertise with future educators. Sandy has provided numerous local, state, and national presentations with a focus on social / emotional development, mental health and challenging behavior, school readiness, child development, special education, parent education, and Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) for early childhood. Sandy is a former Board Member for Families Forward and is proud to serve as the Fund Development Chair for OCAEYC. When not advocating for early childhood, Sandy enjoys spending time with her husband, two young children, and her dogs.

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Beth M. Odom, M.A.

Communications Co-Chair

Beth worked as an early educator for seventeen years before joining Children’s Home Society of California (CHS). She has been with CHS for fifteen years, continuing to support the development of quality child care for children by contributing to the professional development of early educators and connecting families with the resources and tools they need to thrive. She has a child development teacher permit and a Master of Arts degree in Spanish from the California State University of Long Beach. She is passionate about promoting literacy and connecting children with nature, music, and art. This is what Beth believes about being an early educator: “Albert Einstein once said, ‘There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing were a miracle. The other is as if everything is.’ For me, this is a powerful reminder to see the world with the wonder of a child. To nourish the curiosity, compassion, and joy in children that will inspire them to care about the world and continue learning throughout their lives.”

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Kim Diaz

Communications Co-Chair

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Krista Murphy

Board Development Chair

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Hannah Thompson

Advocacy and Public Policy Chair / Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC)

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Melissa Dahlin, M.A.

Member Services Chair

Melissa Dahlin’s OCAEYC service is informed by her years of work as a preschool teacher, early childhood policy analyst, and early childhood technical assistance provider. She is a PhD Student in Education at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests include early childhood education policy and the role of educators and families in supporting young children’s mathematical development. Before her doctoral studies, Melissa worked in early childhood policy and program evaluation. As an Associate Project Director at the Education Development Center, where her portfolio included the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and several international education development projects. Previously, she was a program assistant at The Finance Project, where she conducted research and produced reports and tools for policy makers, and an intern at The Children’s Defense Fund, where she supported research to inform policy on full-day kindergarten. In all of her professional endeavors, Melissa has been guided by a deep commitment to ensuring that all young children and families can access the resources and support they need to thrive. She holds a B.A. in History from University of California, Irvine and an M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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Wendi Evans, B.A.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair

Wendi L. Evans is the Inclusion Director at A Child’s Place Learning Center, Inc. (ACP) and has her Bachelor of Arts in Child Development. She oversees the goals and progress of the children enrolled with various needs and behaviors. Wendi works staff providing training and support when there are concerns with students along with developing behavioral management plans to assist when challenges occur. She also works closely with any outside agencies or school districts that may also be supporting the child. Wendi is a member of the Orange County Child Care and Development Planning Council, representing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBTQ) Center OC. She is also a member of the Orange County Inclusion Collaborative. She is the Advocacy and Education Program Assistant and a volunteer on the Transgender Health and Wellness Committee and Transgender Community & Allies Together (TCAT) at the LGBTQ Center. Wendi helped develop the Youth Library Project which is committed to creating a library section (preschool – young adult) at the LGBT Center OC and promoting LGBT children’s literature events throughout Orange County. Wendi is often invited to speak at higher education classes on the subjects of Gender Development and LGBT issues.

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Nancy Dayne, Ed.D

Professional Development Chair

Dr. Dayne has been in the field of early childhood education for over 22 years. She has been an infant / preschool /  toddler teacher, assistant director, and center director. She is an assistant professor in Child Development and Family Studies at California State University Long Beach, where she has been teaching since 2004. Nancy is also a professional growth advisor for the child development permit. Her research interests include college student parents and their childcare options / well-being, father involvement / engagement, pre-service and in-service teacher training, and family dynamics. Outside of her professional life, she is a wife and mother of 2 girls. She loves to read, travel, and has recently added gardening as a new hobby! She is excited to be part of the OCAEYC board!

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Maria Isabel Michea

Interest Forum Facilitators Chair

Maria owns and operates a family child care home program called Michy's Reggio Family Childcare and she serves as Secretary to Concejo Asesor de Educadores y Cuidado Infantil (CAECI).

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