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.
Executive Board Members
Sarah Shawesh, M.A.
Sarah is a founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Building Resilience In Communities and Kids (B.R.I.C.K) Consulting, an adjunct professor, lecturer, early childhood educator, and development specialist. She received a masters degree 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!
Cristina Blevins, M.A.
With nearly two decades of experience in early childhood education, Cristina Blevins has touched the lives of countless teachers and children. Cristina has a true heart for the education of young children, and goes above and beyond to support teachers in making a difference in the lives of those children. Cristina’s experience in the education field ranges from being a classroom teacher for PK-Grade 1, to being a program director for various programs including; Head Start, State Preschool, dual immersion, and fee-based early education. Cristina also has experience as a coach utilizing Cognitive Coaching and was an adaptive schools facilitator. In addition, Cristina is bilingual and bi-literate in English and Spanish. Her expertise is supporting not only the development of English learners, but the teachers who serve them. Cristina has been able to utilize her extensive experience and knowledge to lead participants through engaging professional development that reflects current research, promotes equity of education and includes meaningful, hands-on learning practices. Dedicated to ensuring that children have a strong foundation for successful lifelong learning and development, Cristina holds both a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Education. In addition, Cristina is a Trainer of Trainers in CLASS and CSEFEL. She is certified in a variety of classroom-quality assessments, including CLASS (PK), ECERS and ITERS. Cristina’s expertise in facilitating change in the classroom has proven highly effective across the country.
Deanna Parga, M. Ed.
Vice President of Membership
Deanna Parga is a Help Me Grow Community Liaison with Help Me Grow, a program of Children’s Hospital of Orange County. She is responsible for providing outreach to families, providers and physicians throughout Orange County. She provides professional development to Early Childhood Educators and helps promote training in developmental screening for all children 0-5. She serves on several collaborative efforts in addressing the needs and concerns of families with young children and community work in improving children’s readiness for school. Deanna is also an appointed member of the Orange County Child Care & Development Planning Council and is an adjunct professor teaching Child Development and Special Education. Previously, Deanna has worked as a preschool teacher, an assistant director of a childcare center, an early intervention teacher, an infant specialist and a religious education teacher. For over 10 years, she was also the Director of Children’s Services, to a department that included overseeing all early intervention programs, therapy services and a childcare center. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development with a minor in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education, both from California State University, Fullerton. Deanna also earned a Teaching Credential in Early Childhood Special Education. Deanna is passionate about supporting Early Childhood professionals and families with young children especially those with special needs.
Raissa Lee, M.S. Ed
Raissa Lee is a committed early childhood educator who is passionate about honoring and serving the diverse children, families, and early childhood educators of our communities. In addition to teaching and caring for children and families in her dual language (Mandarin & English) STEM family child care program, Raissa also serves as an adjunct human development professor at Irvine Valley College. Raissa earned her multiple subject teaching credential with a BCLAD (Mandarin) emphasis in 2002 and a Master of Science degree in Education with an emphasis in early education in 2020. Raissa holds a California Child Development Site Supervisor Permit and is also a Certified CLASS (Toddler) Observer. Furthermore, Raissa has worked as a Mandarin translator and live interpreter for the Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC). She believes that the brief season of early childhood is full of joy and adventure and is honored to journey with children, families, and educators through this spectacular season of life.
Megan Pritchard, M.S.
Megan is currently a stay at home mom of two children (ages 1 and 4). Prior to becoming a mother, she spent a decade teaching elementary school in a variety of settings in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2020, she received her masters in Early Childhood Education with a Social-Emotional Learning Concentration. She has been a member of the OC Child Care and Development Planning Council (LPC) since 2020.
Board Members At Large
Susan V. McClintic
Board Development Chair
As a beginning teacher in kindergarten, first and second grades, Susan sought and received priceless mentor-ship from supportive colleagues within her school communities. Her own education as a child felt detached and routine, and she was determined to find ways to bring literacy, math, and science concepts to life in playful and child-initiated ways. This collaborative reflection, analysis and brainstorming enhanced her teaching skills and helped her make meaningful differences within her own classroom. When Susan became a parent, her curiosity about infant and toddler development (and the lack of child care options for her very young children) led her to work as a toddler teacher and a child care center director where she could bring her children with her to work and benefit from employee tuition subsidies. Susan learned so much from the challenges and joys of the early childhood workforce that she never returned to public school settings. Susan’s desire to pay it forward in supporting the future early childhood workforce led her to community college teaching as a founding member of Irvine Valley College’s part-time faculty where over the next 25 years she taught a wide variety of courses and mentored a very diverse community of students. She also directed Orange Coast College’s Early Childhood Lab School and was administrator for the Irvine Child Care Project. Susan continues advocating for children, families, and the early childhood workforce as a volunteer in retirement. She is pleased to rejoin the OCAEYC board and continue seeking ways to better support educators and administrators serving children and families in our community.
Advocacy and Public Policy Chair
Lana has over eight years in the field of early childhood education. She is currently a director at a private school and dedicates a significant amount of her time to teacher training and professional development. Lana traveled to many countries to study their education systems, and through these experiences, she learned that other nations value and invest greatly in the field of ECE. She was inspired to bring the same value and shed more light on the importance of ECE to her work. She is a devoted professional who believes in the importance of quality, anti-bias education for the youth. Lana continuously works with ECE teachers to promote the most optimal learning environment for children.
Vanessa (Nessie) Sener, BA
Social Media Chair
Vanessa holds a BA in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College. She is the Director of ENC Nature Preschool and brings over twenty years of experience as an inclusive Early Years Educator. Vanessa is an Orange County native who loves traveling and spending time in nature. She is a dedicated and passionate advocate for children who has spent her career teaching sharing her compassion, love, and respect for all living things nurturing a connection with the natural world. Vanessa has constructed lasting, impactful relationships with children by helping them build a strong sense of self and offering unconditional acceptance, inspirational learning experiences, independence, and reflective engagement developed through a play-based, child-led philosophy.
Jennifer Kinkel, M.A.
Professional Development Chair
Jenn has been working with children and families for over 26 years in a multitude of roles. Just prior to teaching full time at Fullerton College beginning in the fall of 2016, she worked at the Huntington Beach City School District as their Director of Early Childhood Education. In this role, she coordinated all of the district's early learning programs for children between the ages of 0-5 and their families. She has taught numerous Child Development courses at Fullerton College, Irvine Valley College, and Brandman University and continues to be quite passionate about assisting students who are interested in investigating, exploring, and wondering about young children and their growth and development. She completed her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine, and earned her Master of Arts degree in Human Development at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. She also holds a Montessori certification and has traveled to Reggio Emilia, Italy, to study the educational techniques and pedagogy stemming from that area. She has specific expertise in program administration, observation and assessment and emergent curriculum tied to the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education. Personally, she spends her time outside exploring the world with her four year old daughter Hope. They love going on adventures together and are often out and about, making memories.
Marilee Cosgrove, M.A.
Member Services Chair
Marilee started her career at the City of Irvine as a Supervisor in Community Services opening the completed community parks and later as an administrator in the newly established Child Care Coordination Office. The purpose of the office was to increase the number of child care spaces for infants through school age in a high quality environment. With the growth in Irvine and the addition of Irvine Valley College, Marilee became part of the founding Faculty in the Department of Human Development. She has 28 years of experience teaching courses in Child Development and Adolescent studies at Irvine Valley College, other Community Colleges, and the California State University system. Marilee has been a consultant providing professional development and program analysis for public and nonprofit organizations and was a lead researcher in measuring the benefits of recreation and social services programs. Marilee served as a past Chair of the Orange County Planning Council, first President of the Tri-County Chapter of the newly formed California School age Consortium, and has actively participated in other countywide and State committees as well as professional organizations. Marilee is a retired Director of Child Development Services for the Fullerton School District. This was a comprehensive Reggio inspired social constructivist program that encompasses a myriad of services for children and parents, infants through eighth grade. These include tuition and grant funded preschool, after school programs, and Early Learning Studios serving up to 4,000 children and their families daily.
Cheryl Sosa, Ed.D
Interest Groups Co-Chair
Dr. Cheryl Sosa is currently the Early Childhood Education Coordinator for Orange Unified School District. She is responsible for the district’s Learning Links, State Preschool and Fee for Service programs. In her current role she is able to impact social and emotional learning in young children, provide inclusive, high quality education and align systems. Dr. Sosa’s education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Teaching and Learning in a Global Society, and a Doctorate in Education, with a focus on Organizational Leadership. She also holds a Program Director permit, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Clear Administrative Services Credential. In addition to her work with Orange Unified, she continues to grow the early learning workforce by serving as a professional growth advisor for the Orange County Department of Education’s Workforce Pathway’s grant. In her spare time, Dr. Sosa enjoys watching her daughter play water polo, going to Disneyland and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Maria Isabel Michea
Interest Groups Co-Chair
Maria Isabel Michea graduated from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile where she studied Early Childhood Education. She has been working as an early educator for over thirty years. Maria is currently a student in the Child Development Department of Fullerton College and has completed sixty units in Child Development so far. She currently owns and operates Michy's Reggio Family Childcare, is a member of the organization Educators for Peaceful Classrooms and Communities (EPCC), and serves as secretary to the Concejo Asesor de Educadores y Cuidado Infantil (CAECI). Maria is passionate about collaborating with other educators to share knowledge and experiences that will improve the quality of early learning programs in our county.
Bobbie Chavez, M.S.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Chair
Bobbie has over 35 years of experience in the ECE field, working in home, private, faith based, HeadStart, and state funded programs. She has also owned her own business (Tumble Tots) where she traveled to various preschools teaching tumbling and dance. Most recently she retired from a program where she spent over 14 years serving as the Lead Preschool Teacher and Program Director for a district run state preschool program at Cucamonga School District. For the last 10 years she has been a Mentor with California Early Childhood Mentor Program Foothill Region. For 12 years, she served as a Professional Growth Advisor and is currently listed as a Professional Growth Advisor Mentor with San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Workforce Registry. She holds both a BS and MS in Child Development from the University of La Verne. She has also provided service as a coach and trainer. She is passionate about advocating for equality by promoting DEI and systemic change. She practices mindful meditation, and has given trainings on mindfulness.
OCAEYC Support Staff
Shana Chance, M.A.
Fund Development Officer
During her twenty years as a fundraising professional, Shana Chance has raised tens of millions of dollars for a variety of initiatives including, but not limited to: education, health disparities; professional development; scholarship support; leadership development for high-school and college students; and social justice training for young women.
Shana is also a dedicated community volunteer, giving her time to nonprofit organizations such as 100 Black Women of Orange County (where she was the Vice President of Membership). Ms. Chance was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her B.S. in Communication from Boston University and her M.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Georgia.
Laura Herrera, B.A.
Laura has over 14 years of experience working in education administration roles for various school districts in Orange County. She started her career as an administrative assistant, then later on as a bilingual office manager for a Title 1 school. Her English and Spanish skills proved to be an invaluable asset in supporting students, teachers, and parents. She later graduated from National University, earning a B.A. in Business Management with a concentration in Human Resources. She periodically works as an HR Consultant with a firm specializing in California and Federal Employment regulations. She is also a TESOL certified online ESL instructor specializing in English as a second language for Chinese students. In her spare time, Laura enjoys spending time with her husband and two young kids ages 7 and 9.
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