Leadership Opportunities

DCAEYC needs vibrant leaders to guide the work of YOUR association

Get to know the candidates for the 2021 DCAEYC Board of Directors! All DCAEYC members who are "In Good Standing" will receive a ballot in their emails no later than November 10th, and will be able to submit their votes through November 30th.

Candidate for President

The Board President convenes the executive board and supervises the Executive Director, including oversight of organizational growth, finances, vision, mission, staffing, and long-term goal setting and assessment; participates in Public Awareness events. This position requires leadership experience, demonstrated success as a committee chair or board member, and a history of building capacity in the nonprofit sector.

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Berna Artis

Berna has a B.A. in  Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and an M.A. in Early Childhood Education. She taught children between the ages of two and 16 years old prior to transitioning to her first leadership role in Early Childhood Education in 2006. Berna has a strong passion to support and advocate for diversity and equity in education. She has many years of experience working in the District with a diverse population including family styles, ethnicities, socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Volunteering is a big part of her life which includes providing training for educators, supporting families and taking part in various workgroups such as QIRS and SECDCC Program Quality Committee. In addition, Berna served as VP for Programs on the DCAEYC Board and is actively involved in local early childhood advocacy work. She currently is the Head of School at a preschool in Washington, DC. 

Candidate for Vice President of Programming

The Vice President of Programming plans and evaluates with the Executive Director all DCAEYC programs and services; chairs the professional development committee;  helps to create program strategic priorities, and the integration of programs with the other executive functions of the organization; networks with other organizations for opportunities of collaboration; works to make programs inclusive and diverse; participates in Public Awareness events. 


Kalpana Kumar Sharma

In her nineteenth-year teaching at Brightwood Education Campus, Kalpana Kumar Sharma finds joy and happiness in working to shape the young minds in her classroom. To stay updated with the latest in the field of education she has acquired a Masters in early childhood special education from The George Washington University and has been conferred a fellowship by Leading Educators institution.  In the last five years Ms. Sharma has volunteered to serve DCPS and her school community on various positions such as Teacher Leadership Innovation Early Childhood Coach, Teacher Selection Ambassador, Grade Level Chair, Social Media Ambassador, Member of the School Equity Committee, LIFT Ambassador, Teaching In Action Consulting Teacher, Member of the Chancellor’s Teachers’ Cabinet and Chairperson of Staff Culture and Wellness Committee. 

For her efforts and contributions Ms. Sharma was recognized with the Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching, Wolf Trap Best Teacher Award and Values Award from Leading Educators, though her biggest reward is the great energy, curiosity, and excitement she sees in her students each day. Ms. Sharma believes that teaching gives the power to help a student realize his or her innate potential. 

Candidate for Vice President of Membership

The Vice President of Membership prepares an annual outreach plan; identifies strengths and areas to improve inclusion; reduce or eliminate barriers to membership or active participation. plan and distribute membership information packets; welcome new members by phone or letter; introduce them at meetings; maintain complete and accurate membership records and verify that all board members are current NAEYC members; participate in public awareness events.

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Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is a 27-year veteran of the District of Columbia Public Schools as well as a native Washingtonian. Her passion about the plight of our youngest stakeholders and the policies that propel them towards academic and social success, is what navigates her days. Ensuring that educators have the resources required, and a drive to deliver quality lessons, is the catalyst to the success of our scholars in the district. As a member of DCAEYC, Jennifer has benefitted and grown as an early educator from the abundance of training opportunities, webinars, conversations, and publications. It is her mission to ensure that more educators, and families alike, are aware of DCAEYC and the multitude of benefits that are to be gained with becoming members.

Candidate for Secretary

The Secretary is responsible for ensuring that accurate and sufficient documentation exists to meet legal requirements, and to enable authorized persons to determine when, how, and by whom the board's business was conducted. In order to fulfill these responsibilities, and subject to the organization's bylaws, the Secretary records minutes of meetings, ensures their accuracy, and availability. Wherein necessary fulfills any other requirements of a Director and Officer and performs other duties as the need arises and/or as defined in the bylaws. Participates in public events.

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Rahshita Lowe-Watson

Rahshita Lowe-Watson is a committed and passionate early childhood educator for the District of Columbia Public Schools. With more than 16 years of teaching pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first-grade, Rahshita has developed a deep sense of what it takes to strengthen the District's early care and education system. Rahshita has served as a member of several education committees. She is currently serving as Chair for the Washington Teacher's Union and DCAEYC Early Childhood Task Force. Rahshita is now serving and running for Secretary for the DCAEYC Board of Directors.

Candidates for At-Large Positions

DCAEYC's At-Large Board positions include:

Family Child Care Representative

Community-Based Representative

Public School Representative

Parent Representative 

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Amy Beard

Amy Beard has been an Early Childhood teacher for the last 25 years. She started her journey with working in local day care facilities including the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center and the World Bank Children's Center. She started working for DCPS in 2003 as a Kindergarten teacher and then a Head Start Pre-K 3 teacher.  She has served in the Grade Level Chair position for the Early Childhood teachers at her school, assisting other teachers to uphold the Head Start guidelines. Amy serves as the Washington Teacher's Union building representative at her school,  supporting the teachers with important union matters. She is also a member of the Washington Teacher's Union and DCAEYC Early Childhood Task Force.  Amy has a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. She earned a Master's in Art Degree in Early Childhood/Special Education from The Catholic University of America. Amy lives in Washington, DC and enjoys gardening and teaching ESL students online in her free time. 

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Jackie Hines

Jackie Hines is a retired DCPS ECE Educator. She has worked in the community programs, corporate childcare and home based programs for many years. She served on the DCAEYC Board of Directors,  as a Member at Large and  currently as the Vice President of Membership.  She chairs the DCAEYC Month of the Young Child committee and Election committee. It is her pleasure to seek to continue to serve the Washington DC ECE community as an advocate for the city's youngest children. As a Member at Large she will continue to forge and support collaborative relationships with ECE public, charter, and community based programs in D.C. 

Shannon Mara

Shannon Marie Mara is the Center Director of Senate Employees’ Child Care Center, the NAEYC-accredited, non for profit child development center serving families employed by the United States Senate. Shannon brings with her knowledge of current trends in the field of early childhood education along with experience at the ground level overseeing day to day operations of a child development center.   She has experience in the classroom and as an administrator in various DC wards. 


Shannon is active in the local DC Center Director’s Group and is uniquely aware of the current state of early care and education in DC.  She works to collaborate with families, faculty and stakeholders to consistently deliver a quality experience for children and foster a community grounded in equity. 


Shannon is originally from New England and attended college in the Midwest.  She is a wife and mother of two young boys in DCPS. 

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Yvonne Stewart-DeLancey

Yvonne Stewart - De Lancey, also known as Bonnie, is an Family Child Care Provider that has been serving the Capitol Hill area for 23 years. Graduating from Southeastern University, Yvonne received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Early Childcare Education. She is the owner and founder of Bre Bre’s Child Development Home and former executive director of Footsteps of Children Child Development Center, where she continues to give the best possible learning experiences that will help prepare and develop young children. Yvonne Stewart – De Lancey is a big believer in service where she serves many boards and committees that address Early Childhood Education. She was the former mentor of the Washington Child Development Council, former observer of the National Association of Family Child Care, and the former correspondent secretary for New Family Child Care Providers Association. Currently she sits on the board of the DC National Association for the Education of Young Children and the DC Family Child Care Association, as well as the DC Early Learning Collaborative. Furthermore it is Yvonne’s philosophy to ensure that her program is developmentally appropriate, as well as, spiritually and emotionally supportive for children from birth to age three.


The District of Columbia Association for the Education of Young Children (DCAEYC) is the DC Affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).


NAEYC is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.

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