President: Cynnamon Woodberry
Past President: Alicia DurbinAlicia Durbin has been in the early childhood education field since 2003— teaching, mentoring and working at St. Mark’s Preschool and Kindergarten. She began as an assistant teacher in an afternoon program, then taught 4 year olds for seven years, and was promoted to the director position at St. Mark’s in 2011. She has a Master’s degree in Education. She also has a 6 year old son and a 25 year old step-daughter. She continues to learn both as an educator and parent on a daily basis from her own children, the school children, and the teachers and volunteers she works with. Alicia is honored to be President for the SAZAEYC board, and she is proud to have worked alongside the other board members for the past few years. Alicia has worked closely with the planning committee for the annual SAZAEYC Conference for many years and is inspired by this work. Alicia truly believes in and supports the work of SAZAEYC and all of the educators involved with early childhood education. Back to Top
Executive Director : Kelly Ann LarkinKelly has spent over twenty five years working with young children, families and educators. Kelly holds a B.S. in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of Maine, Orono and a MA in Teacher and Teacher Education with Early Childhood Education emphasis from the University of Arizona. As director of Copper Creek ELC, she proudly led the school through NAEYC accreditation, receiving 100+ in all 10 required standards. Currently she works as a Coordinator for Las Familias and as Executive Director of SAZAEYC. Las Familias is one of the Community of Practices within the Great Expectations grant funded by First Things First.
In past roles, she served as the Co-Chair for the SAZAEYC Annual Conference, Member at Large and Vice President of Services for SAZAEYC; Co-Chair of Community Relations for the Copper Creek PTO and Co-Treasurer for Oro Valley Lacrosse League. She currently serves as a board member for Treasures for Teachers Tucson.
In her spare time, Kelly enjoys walking Lucy, the family dog, cooking, sewing and reading. She is the proud mother of Hannah, and Tim Jr., and has been married to her husband Tim for over 23 years.Email: Executive Director: Kelly Ann Larkin Back to Top
Co-VP of Membership: Lindsey ShotwellLindsey is an Alumni of The University of Arizona from the Early Childhood Education Program; she dual majored in Africana Studies from the University of Arizona. Lindsey is currently in her third year of teaching in the Marana Unified School District at the Play and Learn (PAL) Preschool Program which is a program for students with special needs. Lindsey is very excited about her role in the program as an Early Childhood Educator, as she feels she gets to help teach others about best teaching practices for young children as well as gaining so much in knowledge about advocating for students with special needs from her colleagues. She is excited to grow as an advocate for young children and to become a more active member in the Early Childhood Education Community. Lindsey is a lifelong learner and would love to gain perspective and insight not only from my students and colleagues, but from the larger professional community as well. Email: Co-VP Membership: Lindsey Shotwell Back to Top
Co-VP of Membership: Paula Buelna-GarzaPaula was born in California and raised in Tucson Arizona. She currently working for a local nonprofit organization supporting early education teachers and staff. She is studying Early Education at Pima Community College. She volunteers for many different community organizations including the YMCA of Southern Arizona’s Youth Sports and Preschool Program. Her work with Cholla High School includes Parent Liaison, Co-Founder of the Cholla High School Parent TEAM where she is currently Vice President/ Treasurer. She is also a Cholla High School Athletic Facilitator, a TUSD/ Cholla High School SCPC Representative and a TUSD Cholla High School Bond Committee Representative. She is passionate about supporting and advocating for teachers, families and children. Email: CO-VP Membership: Paula Buelna-Garza Back to Top
VP of Public Policy and Advocacy: Jennifer Argyros
VP OF Communications: Stephanie Castillo-LeonStephanie Castillo-Leon is a National Consultant/Trainer for the Nurturing Parenting Program. She is an advocate for early childhood and believes that supporting young children and their families is the best way to strengthen communities. She currently serves as the director of Tucson’s only parent-cooperative preschool & Kindergarten (Tucson Community School). Through her professional career, Stephanie has gained experience planning, facilitating, and managing quality early education programs. She has supported numerous early childhood professionals and has collaborated with many key community members in her journey in advocacy. She is (and always will be) a voice for Arizona’s youngest citizens. She passionately states that in whatever role she holds, she will continue to educate members about early childhood development, child abuse prevention, and building resilient families. Back to Top
Co-VP of Nominations and Awards: Erin AguilarErin Aguilar is the Inclusion Specialist and Educator for the Easter Seals Blake Foundation. She coordinates the Inspire Inclusion Community of Practice, part of the UWSA/FTF Great Expectations Professional Development Grant promoting and supporting inclusive practices in early childhood programs. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and is adjunct faculty at Pima Community College. Erin has worked as a Quality First Coach for ESBF and as a preschool teacher in California where she is from. She is passionate about advocating for children with special needs and supporting teachers in creating classrooms that provide the necessary access, participation and support for full inclusion. Erin and her husband have lived in Tucson for 12 years and have one son. Email:CO-VP Nominations & Awards: Erin Aguilar
Co-VP of Nominations and Awards: Renee HartjeRenee has over 20 years of experience in not for profit and Early Childhood. She has worked in closely related programs such as DES Home Recruitment, after school care, infant/toddler care, foster care, teen parent programs and various management positions. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Psychology and currently is the Program Manager for Project “Me Too” at the Easter Seals Blake Foundation. Email:CO-VP Nominations & Awards: Renee Hartje Back to Top
VP of Services: Sydney Lunsford
Sydney has been working in the early childhood education field in Tucson for 10+ years, most recently as the older 3’s teacher at St. Mark’s Preschool and Kindergarten. She enjoys being a part of the early childhood community and collaborating with other educators. She had her first child in April 2019 and decided to stay home with him for a little while and continue to serve on the SAZAEYC board as a parent voice and early childhood advocate. Sydney graduated with a B.S. in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona. She grew up in Yuma, AZ. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, baking, sewing, reading, traveling, and exploring natureEmail: VP Services: Sydney Lunsford Back to Top