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.
Vice President of
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.
Kamren Rollins has dedicated his life to servant leadership and creating pathways to ensure
underserved communities have opportunities and access to high-quality education and holistic
support. Kamren attended Morehouse College, where he served as the President of the Student
Government Association, a member of the Board of Trustees of the college, and co-founder and
President of LYTEhouse, a mentoring and community engagement organization.
Since moving back to Washington, DC, Kamren has hosted and planned workshops around
financial literacy, career development, black masculinity, and academic success at local schools
featuring hundreds of students. In July 2019, Kamren began his role as Chief Operating Officer
of Southeast Children’s Fund. He recently became the President of the Black Child Development
Institute – District of Columbia and a co-convener of DC Men in Early Childhood Education. He
is eager to continue to change and impact communities of color through his passion for writing,
education, policy, mentorship, and storytelling. Kamren has a great love for education and
believes that it is the key to Black liberation. In the future, he plans to open additional schools
worldwide and write novels and short stories. He lives by a quote from Maya Angelou, “If one is
lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities,” which reminds Kamren to
accomplish goals while simultaneously changing lives.
Arshad Ali is a highly accomplished professional with a strong background in program
management, technical consulting, and community engagement. Holding a Bachelor of
Science in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics from Morehouse College, he has
cultivated a versatile skill set that combines technical expertise with a deep commitment to
social impact. Driven by a passion for improving early childhood education and fostering
positive outcomes for children and families, Ali currently serves as Deputy Operating Officer at
Southeast Children’s Fund. Ali also actively contributes to various organizations that support
child development and education as a member and contributor to the Black Child Development
Institute - District of Columbia (BCDI-DC) and as a founding member of the District of Columbia
Men in Early Childhood Education (DC Men in ECE). Ali is elated to now serve as a board
member and treasurer of the District of Columbia Association for the Education of Young
Children (DCAEYC), championing equity in education and ensuring financial accuracy within
the early childhood education landscape.
Rahshita Lowe-Watson is a committed, child-focused early childhood educator for the District of Columbia Public Schools. She has been an educator and advocate for children and their families for over 16 years. Rahshita is dedicated to enthusiastic and progressive education to create and nurture a lifelong love of knowledge in all children. She firmly believes in helping children overcome barriers that impact their learning. She also believes in the power of the educators' voice to revamp education. As a result, she has served as a member of several education committees and participated in initiatives that provided instructional support for teachers. Rahshita is currently serving as Chair for the Washington Teacher's Union and DCAEYC Early Childhood Task Force and the DC Chancellor's Teachers' Cabinet for the school year 2021-22. In addition, she was selected for the inaugural National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) President's Emerging Leaders Circle in March of 2021.
Rahshita holds a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. She has also earned a Master of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education specializing in Bilingual/ESL from Erikson Institute in Chicago, IL. Rahshita resides in Maryland and enjoys the visual arts, design, and writing.
Early Childhood Public School Educator Representative
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.
Retired Early Childhood Educator Representative
Jacqueline Hines received a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education from Bowie State College. She has extensive experience working in the Wilson County, North Carolina school system, DC Public Schools system, and numerous community-based organizations including both residential and child care programs. She has been an Infant/Toddler Coordinator in worksite centers and a Lead Preschool Teacher with Bright Horizons. In 2000, she began her work as a Washington Teachers’ Union Building Representative as well as a Board of Trustee member of the Executive Board. She has skills in union organizing and program development and has served as a field staff community liaison for the past 2 years.
Jacqueline is a member of the WTU and DCAEYC ECE Task Force and serves as a Trustee with the WTU VEBA Board. She chairs the William “Bill” Simons Scholarship Committee and is a member of the National Black Child Development Institute, Delta Kappa Gamma International Society and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Jacqueline is the mother of Jon and three exceptional grandchildren, Jon the Second, Autumn, and Harmony.
Community-Based Early Childhood Educator Representative
Shannon Marie Mara is the Assistant Director of the Infant Program at the House of Representatives, the NAEYC-accredited, Child Development Center that serves families of the House and legislative community. 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.
Family and Home Early Childhood Educator Representative
De Lancey, also known as Bonnie, is an Accredited 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, the DC Family Child Care Association, as well as the DC Early Learning Collaborative. Lastly, she is a member of the Washington Association of Child Care Centers. 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.