2021-22 CAFRA Board of Directors

Congratulations and welcome to those members elected to serve on the 2021-22 CAFRA Board of Directors! The election was held at the AGM on March 18, 2021. Executive officers were elected by the Board following the AGM.

Get to know our Board members by reading about them below!

Shea Wicks
Southside Mothers’ Day Out

Shea has had the privilege of working with children and families in a variety of roles for over 20 years.  Throughout her career, she has sought out the opportunity for training and development, with a focus on leadership.  In her current role as the Executive Director of Southside Mothers’ Day Out, she culminates her past experiences and training together into a parallel practice model to lead a team of practitioners in values-based programming. 

Shea has been a participant on the CAFRA Leadership team since 2017 and has facilitated our membership in several direction-setting conversations, including the re-working of our Mission and Objective statements.  She believes that well supported, visionary leadership is the key to the professionalization of the ELCC field and sees participation as a CAFRA board member as a pathway for fulfilling that future. She is particularly interested in developing playful, resilient leaders and will offer CAFRA an ear skilled at listening for what is possible and the ability to collaboratively create and implement structures that will have what is possible become realized.

Kristy Thomas
Vice Chair
McKernan Child Development Centre

Kristy has been the director of McKernan Child Development Centre for the past 14 years. Prior to entering this role, her early childhood experience (20+ yrs)  has spanned various roles such as: a day home consultant, early childhood educator supporting teen moms, working in the Early Childhood department of Lethbridge College, and in the role of developmental specialist with GRIT for many years.

Kristy has been an active member of CAFRA for the past 13 years and most recently has been participating as a part of the leadership committee this past year.  In addition to her role as director, she is currently pursuing her associate status with the Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE®) foundation to aid in forwarding the work of founder Magda Gerber here in Alberta.  She is an active member of Public Interest Alberta’s Child Care Task Force and also maintain connections with GRIT ASaP and Lethbridge College as a distance learning practicum supervisor.

Kristy has enjoyed her time on the CAFRA leadership team and is personally passionate about professional development and advocacy for our profession.  She has felt privileged to participate in this past year’s work focusing closely on CAFRA’s objectives and intentions. She looks forward to further opportunities to collaborate and help inform the work we are committed to as a society.

Irene St. Savard
Edmonton Talmud Torah Society Early Childhood Development Centre

Irene has been in the field for 18 years, the last 6.5 at her current centre and three in her role as director. She has been involved with CAFRA for about three years. This past January, she was invited to join the leadership team as treasurer. She is still in a learning curve with her role as director and treasurer and is eager to gain new skills and information, as well as to make an impact in both her immediate and broader communities. Being involved with CAFRA has connected her with an amazingly supportive and knowledgeable network that she is able to rely on for current information, best practices, and encouragement, while fostering her own leadership skills and abilities.

Irene looks forward to continuing on the leadership team as we navigate our way through the new and exciting directions we are heading towards.

Brittany Aamot

Early Learning at MacEwan (ELM)

Brittany has been learning alongside children, families and educators at MacEwan University for ten years. She became the Senior Manager of Early Learning at MacEwan (ELM) shortly after she completed a degree in Human Service Administration. Over the past few years, Brittany’s passion for leadership has grown into an understanding of leadership advocacy.  She believes those in administrative positions should have access to supports and professional development that can be implemented into their programs; thus, creating quality engaged early learning communities. Becoming the newest member of the CAFRA board is an exciting opportunity, one Brittany will meet with enthusiasm.

Brittany has extensive experience with Alberta’s Early Learning and Child Care Framework FLIGHT. From sitting on the advisory committee to hosting FLIGHT professional development for ECEs, she values curriculum meaning-making. Brittany aims to share her experience and knowledge of the framework from an administrative standpoint to support others with blending, management, leadership, and early learning pedagogy in early learning programs.

Louise Booker
University and Community Early Learning Centre

Louise has been in the field for 30 years; 29 of those years at her current Centre. She has been the Executive Director there since 2001 which ties her to CAFRA at the same time. She has been a mentor for ARCQE and a validator for AELCS.  She was part of the committee that did strategic planning for AELCS before it was established. She sits on the MacEwan childcare conference committee, and recently went to New Zealand for a study tour.

Louise served as Chair at CAFRA for a number of years. However, she feels it has only been in the last couple that our strategic plan has taken CAFRA in a new and exciting direction. She has lead the group in S.W.A.T. analysis and strategic planning sessions and is very interested in continuing on the Board to see where we are heading. She thinks CAFRA is in an important transition period and looks forward to providing continuity, experience, history, creative thinking, and so much more in our next year.

Tracey Findlay
1000 Women Child Care Centre

Tracey has worked in child care for 25 years and been a member of CAFRA for the past 5 years.  She joined the leadership committee 2 years ago and has been very active in advocating for the field of ECE.  She ran the Paula McLean leadership sessions with Kristy Thomas and served on the AECEA membership committee for 2 years.

As well as working full-time as a program director at 1000 Women Child Care in Norquest College, Tracey has nearly completed her Child and Youth Care Degree. Three years ago she participated in the ARQUE New Zealand study tour and has implemented many of the practices from that trip into her program.  She is passionate about our field and looks forward to representing the members of CAFRA by continuing her ongoing commitment to the leadership team.

Melissa Taylor
Edmonton Hospital Workers Child Care Society

Melissa is the Assistant Director at Edmonton Hospital Workers Child Care Society. She has officially been in this role since September, but has served as the Designate/alternate director/de facto assistant director since 2012. She became involved with CAFRA in 2013, and has been excited to see the organization’s growth over the past 6 years. When it became apparent that CAFRA needed a web presence, she arranged for web hosting from EHW, and set up our website and the members’ email list.

Melissa’s background is diverse, with training in special education, infant and toddler care, business administration, information technology, and the arts. She is currently in her third year sitting on the board of directors for Edmonton Vocal Alchemy Society, and serves as their casino chair. She has experience with policy development and governance in the charitable sector.

When a committee was formed to look at CAFRA’s recent actions, match them with our newly adopted objectives, and begin brainstorming next steps, the question was posed “Who feels the need to be part of that conversation?” Melissa enthusiastically volunteered, knowing that the work undertaken would be profoundly important to the future of CAFRA and possibly of early learning and care in general. She has been honoured to participate in the Leadership Committee this past year, and is excited for the opportunity to continue providing herskills, insights, and passion as we move forward through this transformative period and into the future.

Leah Tolman
City West Childcare and Community Support Society

After receiving a Bachelor of Educational Psychology Degree from the University of Alberta, Leah began her work with children as an elementary school teacher, which included working at a Canadian International School in China. Her interest in early childhood development pushed her toward a career in Early Learning and Childcare, a field she joined in 2007.

Leah has become very passionate about Early Learning and Childcare in our province, and thinks that the work CAFRA does is invaluable to the field. When she joined City West Childcare & Community Support Society as Executive Director in 2012, she emphasized the importance of a strongly supported and educated team of early childhood educators, and also the importance of policy, advocacy and collaboration. The work that CAFRA does has influenced all of these areas for City West, and will continue to have an important role for many centres in the years to come.

With the progress that is being made in the Early Learning and Childcare field in Alberta, Leah wants to do her part to ensure that any change in government does not put our momentum in jeopardy. She sees CAFRA as an organization with a strong voice in our Province, and looks forward to lending her time, experience and perspective to ensuring that voice continues to build on its strength..