True leaders don’t create followers… they create more leaders.


Valley of the Sun is seeking additional board members.  Nominations are being accepted for the 2020-2022 term.  LEARN MORE HERE

Our Strategic Plan

High-Performing Inclusive Organization Statement

The Valley of the Sun GOVERNING BOARD Members:

CHAIR Mary Ann Biermeier is Director of Professional Development and the INSPIRE Early Childhood Leadership Series at Pinnacle Presbyterian Preschool, a NAEYC accredited learning community. Mary Ann brings her passion for technology and teaching with over 19 years as an early childhood educator and 20 years in software design and development. She is also an academic teaching associate with ASU’s Fulton Teachers College, former Board Chair for Communities in Schools of Arizona and All Star Kids Tutoring, supporting children at risk. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach she reminds us, all children learn deeply through highly social, playful environments.

HONORARY CHAIR Claire Schonaerts is a champion educator, teaching 35 years in the PreK-12 school setting and served in the area of school administration before teaching in higher education.  Claire is retired associate clinical professor at Northern Arizona University supporting pre-service teachers in knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions.  Claire is a contributing author of the Sage Guide to Educational Leadership and Management and Social Justice Instruction (Springer Publication).

HONORARY CHAIR Andrea Benkel is Director of Early Childhood Education at Summit School.   Andrea has over twenty years of experience teaching in preschool, kindergarten and Gymboree Play/Music/Art classes. Under her leadership Summit has received its third national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, NAEYC.

SECRETARY Gayle Green has been instrumental in helping her school gain NAEYC accreditation and re-accreditation. Having experience with physical and digital documentation for this process, she brings her talents as a source of support for programs seeking accreditation.

VICE CHAIR –  Lisa Cobb is the Regional Coordinator for AZ PBS a division of ASU. She administrators of the Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry and First Things First College scholarships.  She has over 30 years in the field of early care and education. Former administrator, consultant and state director for First Children’s Finance.   She is a Global Leader for Early Childhood representing the U.S. with the Child Care Information Exchange Magazine represented at the World forum on Early Care and Education.

CHAIR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT – Gloria McGinty has been in the Early Childhood field for over 36 years as a teacher assistant, lead teacher, consultant, director, child development specialist, trainer and an Early Childhood Development Instructor at Maricopa Community Colleges.  Gloria has demonstrated her leadership skills providing technical assistance, coaching and adjunct teaching in both the private and not-profit sectors in settings such as Head Start, Phoenix College Family Care Center, Maricopa Community Colleges Adjunct Faculty, Child Crisis Arizona and Association for Supportive Child Care.

MEMBER At LARGE – Judy Basham is the Program Director and Faculty for ECE at Glendale Community College. She has been teaching for the Maricopa Community College District for over 10 years.  Under her direction, Glendale Community College is currently going through the self-study program for the NAEYC accreditation.  Judy has been instrumental in developing a model quality preschool and toddler lab at GCC in collaboration with Peoria Unified School District. 

MEMBER At LARGE – Shauna Winburn is a teacher at Pinnacle Presbyterian Preschool, A Reggio Emilia inspired practice.  She also serves as the Referral Specialist (conducting developmental observations, assessments, meeting with families, and referring students who may need additional services), social media coordinator and blog writer. Shauna taught at Clarke School for the Deaf in Manhattan for 5 years before taking 7 years off to raise her 2 daughters. Last year, she began teaching “Mainstreaming Children with a Disability” at Paradise Valley Community College.