Khatira Amn
Member at Large

Khatira is an Early Childhood Education Policy Advocate with the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning. She emigrated from Afghanistan where she worked as a civil rights lawyer to promote equality for women. She now serves to improve the lives of dual language learning children and families by influencing legislators' and policymakers' opinions and activities.

Meghan Leclerc
Member at Large / Teacher Seat

Meghan Lerclerc is a preschool teacher at the CSU Early Childhood Center in Fort Collins. She has an M.A. in Education and Human Development (Early Childhood Education), and is currently a graduate fellow in the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program. Her goal is to advance the field of Early Childhood through policy, advocacy, and legislation, and to use her position on COAEYC’s board as a way to raise her voice for teachers all over Colorado.

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Erin Ellis
Member at Large

Erin is a former preschool paraprofessional in a mixed age classroom from 2014-2017 in Denver Public Schools and is very passionate about always doing what is best for the children and their families. She also has extensive experience in Head Start through an Aurora, CO program from 2001-2014.  During this time, she served as a Family Development Intern and Administrative Assistant for the five Early Education centers that the program operated.  She is a proud member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children & the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children since 2018 and has focused on Policy/Advocacy work for Early Education at the Colorado level.  

Her current role within the Denver Public Schools Early Education Department is Office Support where she focuses on purchasing, community sites support, and family communications for all preschool and Kindergarten families who are requesting more information about the overall enrollment process.  

Erin’s areas of interest for Early Education are Family/Community Engagement and recognizing families as the students’ first teachers.  Second, how to further highlight the importance of  equity and inclusiveness.  Finally, how to continually elevate the essential role that Early Education serves as the foundation for all of a child’s future learning and development.  Erin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the University of Colorado Denver & a Master of Science in Teaching & Learning from Colorado State University Global Campus. 

MEET OUR GOVERNING BOARD & STAFF

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Jennifer Spires
Chair

Jennifer is an early childhood policy advocate and former early childhood educator. She has over fifteen years of experience in family child care, nannying, Title I elementary school, and Reggio Emilia inspired preschool, and understands firsthand the experience of early childhood educators. Upon relocating to Colorado, Jennifer shifted her focus to advocating for children, families, and educators at the Colorado and US Capitols. She is the Denver Legislative Volunteer Leader for Save the Children Action Network and represents COAEYC in several statewide policy committees.

 

Jennifer is passionate about affordable, accessible child care, giving early childhood educators valuable tools to advocate for children, and as the descendant of a Native American Residential School survivor, ensuring equitable practices and policies in early childhood. Jennifer holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Oklahoma.

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David Walz, Ed.S.
Treasurer

David earned his Bachelor's degree in family studies and human services from Kansas State University in 2009. He is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer where he served the beautiful country of El Salvador between 2010 and 2013. There he worked as a distinguished volunteer with the children and youth in schools teaching reading, math, environmental sustainability, and educational professional development. He also spent time working with the Ministry of Education in El Salvador as well, where he collaborated with education specialists to develop and pilot a youth volunteer program for the entire country called El Voluntariado. 

David returned from the Peace Corps and spent two years working as a bilingual family educator and home visitor through the University of Kansas Medical Center and Project EAGLE where he became heavily involved in screening children and collaborating with other professionals for equitable education for families and their children. 

David then went back to graduate school at the University of Missouri - Columbia, where he studied school psychology and earned his masters in education as well as his education specialist degree. During his time at the University of Missouri, he worked alongside early childhood educators at the Child Development Lab. Once he graduated from the University of Missouri, he and his family moved to Denver Colorado where he began his beginning three years as a bilingual school psychologist with Denver Public Schools and currently works for Adams 12 fulfilling the same role. David is a current member of the National Association of School Psychologists as well as the Colorado Association of School Psychologists, the National Peace Corps Association, and the National and Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children.

He currently resides in the city of Thornton Colorado with his wife Allison and his daughter Evelynn. 

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Nicole Lamb
Secretary / Student Seat

Nicole Lamb is an Educator with extensive experience in early childhood both in the public and private sector and is also a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Education: Equity and transformation from Colorado State University. She serves as an advocate volunteer with Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) and the Colorado Montessori Association (CMA). Committee work includes the Bylaws/Policy committee with the Kiwanis Club and the steering committee with The Women's Foundation of Colorado (WFCO). She proudly serves on the Alaska Montessori Association (AMA) board and most recently on the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children (COAEYC) supporting educators, families, and local agencies all working to improve the lives and education of our young children.

Heather Blanco
Member at Large

Originally from Sonoma County, California,Heather moved to Colorado in 1996. Her professional career has included teaching elementary school, corporate training and development, and quote analysis. But it was working as a Lead Teacher in a preschool for 10 years that cemented her love for early childhood education. She feels very grateful to be working in such a rewarding field that makes an important impact on our future. Heather joined the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County in July of 2019 as a Early Childhood Coach and is currently the EArly Care and Education Director.  Heather has her Bachelor of Science in Human Development from UC Davis and her Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education from CU Denver.

 

Outside of work, Heather’s favorite thing to do is spend time with her husband Ruben and daughter Sofi. Some other favorite activities include being with friends, camping, paddle boarding, kayaking, traveling, throwing the ball endlessly for her dog, listening to podcasts, playing tennis, and going to see live music.

Meri Nofzinger
Member at Large

Meri is the Preschool Coordinator/Lead Teacher for Garfield 16 School District in Parachute, Colorado. Meri worked for Mesa County School District for 20 years; more than half of those years were spent as the principal of Lincoln Orchard Mesa Elementary School. After leaving Mesa County, Meri served as principal of the Center for Family Learning, a Garfield 16 School District PK-1st grade school, in Parachute for seven years. After “retiring” as principal in November of 2020, Meri now is dedicated to Garfield 16 preschoolers.

 

Meri has a BA in Psychology, a MA in Educational Technology, and is a Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program Fellow. Meri also serves as a board member for the Early Childhood Network in Glenwood Springs and is a member of the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Coalition. 

Roman Hollowell
Member at Large

Roman J. Hollowell is currently the Owner/Director at Kids 4 Real Inc. He has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Leadership of Organizational Change from the University of Denver. After working on a college campus for seven years, Roman transitioned into early child care in 2012 when his mother passed away. His mother created her passion (child care center) in September of 1993. It was important to him to continue her legacy but it was most essential to him that her creation continued impacting the northeast community and the future leaders of tomorrow. Roman’s life and career changing decision in 2012 has been one of his best yet.

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Enola Garland

Interim Executive Director

Enola is the part-time Interim Executive Director at COAEYC, and the only member of staff (so be patient, please!). Enola has been an early educator since 2013 and currently teaches preschool in a Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) classroom in Fort Collins, CO. Enola is also a mentor teacher, CLASS Pre-K Observer, and a fierce advocate for early childhood education and educators.

You can reach her at enola@coloradoaeyc.org.

APPLICATION FOR 2021 BOARD ELECTIONS WILL OPEN SOON.