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

Our Strategic Plan

High-Performing Inclusive Organization Statement


The Valley of the Sun GOVERNING BOARD Members:


Mary Ann Biermeier holds a M.Ed. with distinction in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction.  She is an educational speaker, instructional designer, and author with over 20 years teaching in the early childhood field. Mary Ann is former chair of Valley of Sun Chapter AzAEYC, former chair for Communities in Schools of Arizona and All Star Kids Tutoring, supporting children at risk.  Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, she understands the transformative power of relationship driven teaching strategies.  Mary Ann reminds us, all children learn deeply through highly social, playful environments.

CHAIR – Lisa Cobb

Lisa Cobb is the Regional Coordinator for AZ PBS a division of ASU. She administrators 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 represented the U.S. as a Global Leader with the Child Care Information Exchange Magazine represented at the World forum on Early Care and Education.


Gloria McGinty has worked in the Early Childhood field for over 38 years as a teacher, a director, consultant /trainer with Candelen and an Early Childhood Development Instructor at Maricopa Community Colleges. Gloria has done extensive work on Enhancing Infant and Toddler Development and has implemented trauma-informed care curriculum for children birth to five.  She has a Master degree in Educational Leadership and a credential in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) which includes historical trauma related to multi-cultural experiences.  

SECRETARY – Veronica Brown Perrone

Veronica Brown Perrone has been working in the early childhood field for over 18 years, serving our youngest citizens directly in the classroom and indirectly by supporting fellow educators.  Veronica has facilitated teacher preparation programs at Rio Salado College and is an education coach and consultant with Alesi Group, designing and providing professional development for early childhood educators across the state.

TREASURER – Harry Clapeck

Harry Clapeck is the General Accounting Manager and Senior Accountant with the Chamberlain Group, Inc. (retired).  Harry managed the U.S., Mexican and international accounting departments.  He brings his deep skills in annual budgeting and auditing to our operations.  In addition, Harry has served on the Governing Board for the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District and Treasurer on the Desert Hills of Scottsdale HOA.

HONORARY CHAIR – Claire Schonaerts

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).


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 – Susan Cahalan

Susan Cahalan is a certified teacher teaching in the field for 35+ years.  She taught Disadvantaged, 1st Grade, 6th Grade Team Teaching and Learning Disabilities.  Susan volunteered at a Children’s Museum; worked with the Education Director at the Phoenix Arts Commission; through PV Jr. Women’s worked as a Literacy Volunteer for 1st Grade, RIF Chairman, Plan USA, and more.  Susan received the Phoenix One Hundred Award for work at the Arts Commission.

MEMBER AT LARGE – Paula Corbin

Paula Corbin has been in the education field for 19 years. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Missouri State University and her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Design from Arizona State University. She is currently the Early Childhood Education CTE instructor at EVIT and dual enrollment instructor at Mesa Community College. Paula is dedicated to helping students find their career path and helping them become future teachers.

MEMBER AT LARGE – Becky Johnson

Becky Johnson is the Professional Development System Specialist at First Things First and facilitates the Professional Development Workgroup, a community of professionals and advocates passionate about the progress of the early childhood profession in Arizona. Becky also oversees the Registry and College Scholarships strategy with First Things First. Becky holds Master’s degrees in Digital Education Leadership and Library and Informational Science.

MEMBER AT LARGE – Marcia Johnson-Howard

Marcia Johnson-Howard is Center Director at Catholic Charities Westside Head Start Peoria Child Development Center. Marcia brings over 25 years in the field of ECE she has a vast background in various curriculum and Head Start. Marcia is a strong advocate within the community for children and families to insure quality childcare is provided to all in need. Marcia is a proud mom of a 19 year daughter in college at GCU.

MEMBER AT LARGE – Catherine Kirk

Catherine Kirk serves on the Leadership Team with the City of Phoenix Head Start at the Alhambra Preschool Academy.  She has worked in the field for over 25 years, serving as Director of the ASU West Child Development and Family Resource and Executive Director of Phoenix Day.  She has been involved in 12 NAEYC accreditations and has spoken at national conferences on issues from parenting to curriculum design and collaboration with special education.  Catherine also teaches at Rio Salado College.

MEMBER AT LARGE – Pilar Kelley

Pilar Kelley is founder and CEO of Little Big Minds Preschool. She holds a Master degree in Early Childhood Education in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on bilingual education and a B.A. in business administration with a minor in human resources. Pilar began her career at ASU at the Teachers College Preschool and then went on to develop Tic-Talk Spanish as a Spanish Immersion curriculum to teach 2-6 year olds a second language through Visuals, Actions and Music.

MEMBER AT LARGE – Martha Picciao-Mazor

Martha Picciao-Mazor is the Founder/CEO of Whiz Kidz Preschools, establishing three locations in North Phoenix, Scottsdale and Mesa Arizona.  Graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Elementary Education.  She opened her first official childcare center in 2012 after operating a home program for 5 years. Martha is also passionate about serving on the A NEW LEAF board, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness, domestic violence, and other pressing community challenges.

MEMBER AT LARGE – Rico Raegina

Rico Raegina has worked in the child care industry for over 25 years and is the current operator and owner of an Arizona LLC Title 9 Child Care Licensing company.  Rico helps child care owners, investors and childcare center directors start and monitor their child care businesses, bringing healthy, safe and great quality childcare centers to the Arizona communities.  She encourages everyone to Stay Safe, Healthy and Compliant. Don’t forget to wash your hands!

MEMBER At LARGE – Shauna Winburn

Shauna Winburn is the Early Childhood Professional Development and Curriculum Specialist at Westside Head Start.  She is a former classroom teacher at a NAEYC accredited preschool and also served for 2 years as ECE adjunct faculty at Paradise Valley Community College. Shauna taught at Clarke School for the Deaf in Manhattan for 5 years before moving to the Valley of the Sun.