Board of Directors

    Don Giesbrecht

    Don Giesbrecht is CEO of the CCCF . Prior to adding the title of CEO, he was President of the CCCF since March 2006.  He was appointed to the Federal Government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Child Care Spaces in September 2007.  He has also been working with the CCCF on diversifying its funding and revenue base and as such, has been very active in its fund development work. Prior to his work at the CCCF, Don was President of the Manitoba Child Care Association, Canada’s largest provincial early childhood professional association.

    Graduating with a BA (Hons) from the University of Manitoba in 1990, Don first worked in early childhood programs in 1991 and became an Executive Director in 1996. He has been at ACC, which provides quality care and education for over 200 children ages 1 ½ to 12 years old, since 2005. His current work at the community level includes working on a broad-based community governance model for early learning programs in the St. James community in Winnipeg. Don is married with two very active children and actively volunteers as a coach of his children’s various sports teams.

    Marni Flaherty

    Marni is the C.E.O. of Today’s Family Early Learning and Child Care in Hamilton and Burlington. She is a recipient of the Ontario Premiers Award for her work and dedication in the social services sector. Marni is known locally, provincially and nationally for her commitment to early learning and child care.

    Marni is an active participant in numerous community initiatives designed to improve the lives of children. Her many professional and voluntary community activities include:  9 years on the board of United Way of Greater Burlington and Hamilton, former member of the McMaster Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Committee, board member of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton, member of the Best Start Network, co-chair of the Parent and Family Engagement Committee, board president of the Home Child Care Association of Ontario (HCCAO), member of the Ontario Early Years Centres Provincial Network, and member of the Quality Early Learning Network.

    Marni is also a Registered Early Childhood Educator. She has fashioned a remarkable career and a lasting legacy for families and children.

    Christie Scarlett

    Christie Scarlett officially began her career in Early Childhood over 20 years ago and had been dedicated to ensuring quality care and programming for children since. She has received most of her education through Mount Royal University where she obtained her Early Childhood Care and Education Diploma as well as her Children’s Mental Health Certificate. Christie’s background focused on Family Resource and was involved with Public Interest Alberta. For the last 11 years, she has worked with Churchill Park Family Care Society in Calgary, Alberta in a variety of settings. Currently, she is the Director of Operations overseeing the operations of Churchill Park’s programs. Since she has been in this role she has been driven to coach and mentor managers of Churchill Park’s programs, participated on School Age Care Directors Association (SACDA), Alberta Family Child Care Association (AFCCA), Alberta Child Care Association (ACCA), ACCA Conference Committee, Early Childhood Mapping Coalition, Healthy Eating Environments in Child Care Provincial Advisory.

    As much as Christie enjoys being 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 schooling, activities, and own child care arrangements.

    Taya Whitehead

    Taya Whitehead has been an Early Childhood Educator for the past 17 years.  She completed her initial ECE training in 1998 at Selkirk College in Castlegar, British Columbia.  Following her ECE training, she completed a Diploma in Human Services and a BA in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria.  Taya is currently completing a Master’s degree from Athabasca University.

    Her experience is broad, ranging from Group and Infant/Toddler Care to the Supported Child Development Program. For the past eight years, Taya has been an instructor in the ECCE program at Selkirk College.  She is the past-president of the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia and volunteers her time in a variety of other capacities locally and provincially.  Taya has also been an active member of the $10/day Child Care Plan Advisory Committee.

    Taya is a wife and mother of three children, she lives in the rural Kootenay region of British Columbia.  She feels that we are at a pivotal point in history where there is opportunity to make great strides in advancing our sector.  Taya is a passionate, “big picture” thinker that commits herself wholly to projects that I she is involved in.

    Joan Arruda,  BAA, RECE, AECEO.C

    Joan Arruda has been CEO of Family Day Care Services since 2004.  With 23 child care centres, 39 extended day and school age programs, 5 Ontario Early Years Centers, home child care and Special Needs Resourcing staff, Family Day is truly a multi-faceted organization which provides a broad range of services for children and their families living in the GTA, York Region and Peel Region.  The agency is committed to Family Centred Practice and works with the evidence based curriculum HighScope™ which is further supported by staff training in Hanen – Learning Language & Loving It™, High Five®, ABC and Beyond™ and ELECT/ELF.

    Joan has worked for many years as a Director and Teacher in the field of Early Learning and Care with experience in child care and family support programs, as a practitioner and as an administrator.  Joan’s background includes teaching the continuing education ECE diploma and post-diploma administration certificate program at Seneca College and working in the multi-service sector as an Executive Director of a community-based agency providing settlement and family support services.

    With her many years of experience in early learning and care, Joan has been an active contributor at several provincial and regional tables, most recently as a member of the Ministry of Education’s Early Years Implementation Advisory Group.  Joan Co-Chairs the Peel Children and Youth Initiative (PCYI) and the Quality Early Learning Network (QELN) and is a board member of the Home Child Care Association of Ontario.

    Linda Cottes

    Linda Cottes is the Senior Vice President for the YMCA of Greater Toronto.  Linda provides strategic leadership to 290 child care centres offering more than 27,000 licenses spaces, as well as child & family support programs, supervised access and nutrition programs.  As a Registered Early Childhood Education professional, Linda was an elected member of council for the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educations for 7 years and served as the chair of complaints for the duration.  Linda is a board member for the Canadian Child Care Federation and is the Chair of the YMCA’s of Ontario Child Care Advisory Committee.  Additionally, Linda is a member of the Ontario Minister of Education Advisory Committee and the Assistant Deputy Ministers Advisory.  Linda has leveraged her 37 years of child care experience to inform the Ministry of Educations regulatory and legislative changes as child care modernizes in Ontario.

    Cathy Ramos

    Cathy has been working with children and families for more than 20 years.  She has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree and a degree in Child and Youth Study from Mount Saint Vincent University.  Currently she is working on completing the thesis requirement for her Master’s degree in Child and Youth Study from the Mount as well.

    Cathy is the director of Mawio’mi Child Care Centre, a lab school for the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education where she is also a part-time faculty and a practicum supervisor.  In the field, Cathy has also worked as a facilitator for the Orientation for Staff working in Licensed Child Care offered by the NS Department of Education and has facilitated many diverse workshops and seminars for Early Childhood Educators.

    Cathy has served on the Board of Directors of NSCECE and currently sits on the executive of the Non-Profit Directors Association of Nova Scotia.  She became a board member of CCCF in November of 2015 and is very much looking forward to the opportunity to support the child care field in Canada.

    Cathy and her husband, Reg, live in Halifax with their two sons Daniel and Diego.

    Cathy is a true advocate for children and families and is committed to working towards ensuring that children and families have access to quality, affordable and accessible childcare.  She is also very passionate about professional development and believes that lifelong learning and exploring interests and passions is the key to staying current and excited about working in the child care sector.

    Angie Stevenson

    Graduating from  SIAST Kelsey Campus in 2001 with my ECE Diploma., Angie has been a part of the Saskatchewan ELCC sector since then. She is currently the Executive Director of a 74 space child care program in the rural town of St. Brieux, SK, a job she has had since 2006.  She has been a member of the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association board since 2008 and the Chairperson since 2014. She is also the Chairperson of the North East Daycare Director’s Co-operative and a member of the CCCF’s Saskatchewan Early Learning Leader’s Caucus.

    Angie is proud to be a member of the CCCF board, working towards ELCC policy change with the federal government, knowing that it will impact policy and programs at the provincial level in Saskatchewan and across Canada.–building strength, capacity and quality for all children.

    Laura Fowler-Massie

    Laura began her career as an Early Childhood Educator in Ottawa, Ontario in 1986. She holds a diploma in ECE from Algonquin College, a B.A. in Psychology from Carleton University and a Masters of Education with a specialization in college teaching, from the University of Sherbrooke. With more than thirty years in the early childhood sector she has taught in licensed child care, co-op nursery schools, family resource programs, parent support programs and college ECE diploma programs.

    Laura is passionate about promoting and advocating for all aspects of early learning and child care with a particular interest in supporting ECE’s knowledge of First Peoples early learning practices. She has been involved in special projects on behalf of CEGEP Heritage College focused on strengthening reciprocal partnerships with First Nations family support and early learning organizations.

    Laura is very interested in early learning and child care on a global level. She has been involved in taking ECE students to remote villages in Guatemala, Kenya and Ecuador for the past seven years. The ECE students who accompany her on these humanitarian projects learn first-hand the challenges families and children face when living in extreme poverty. This kind of deep learning and subsequent reflection expands students’ world views and empowers them to excel in their own personal practice as educators of young children.

    Laura has held the position of Department Coordinator and Fieldwork Coordinator for many years at CEGEP Heritage College. Prior to her employment at the college she was an active member on many Ottawa area ECE related committees. In the past she held the Chair of the Ottawa Nursery School Network, Chair of Ottawa Family Resource Network and was a member of Ottawa Child Care Council. Currently Laura is Co-chair of the Pan-Canadian ECE Faculty Forum.

    Donna Stapleton

    Donna has a Diploma of Applied Arts in Early Childhood Education (1988); Management Development Certificate (2007); Management Development Certificate for Early Childhood Administrators (2007) and a Bachelor Degree in Human Services Administration (2017).

    Since 2001 she has been the Executive Director of Small World Learning Centre, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia—an award winning child care centre on the south shore of Nova Scotia nestled next to the town’s forest and trails offering a program that is Reggio Inspired with a focus on forest and nature play.

    Donna has contributed to Susan Stacey’s books “The Unscripted Classroom” (2011), “Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood” (2015) and Inquiry-Based Early Learning Environments (2018).

    She was a board member and co-chair of Directors of Child Care Connections Nova Scotia (2005 -2014). She is an active member with the Nova Scotia Non-Profit Early Learning Directors Group and co-founder and member of South Shore Director’s Group. Donna is a member of the Nova Scotia Child Care Association, Bridgewater & Area Chamber of Commerce; Nova Scotia Community College Early Childhood Education Program Advisory Committee and Town of Bridgewater Open Space Plan Advisory Committee and Energize Bridgewater Smart Cities Collaboration Group. She became a board member of CCCF in November 2017 with the interest of learning to become a stronger advocate for young children across Canada. Donna believes in community and working together to provide quality programs for children.