Our approach to higher education is centered on the needs of real-world students, taking into account the unique challenges they face and the positive impact they can make with the right support. With decades of experience both in and out of the ECE classroom setting, the team behind EDvance College is dedicated to eliminating traditional barriers in higher education and empowering students to reach their full potential.
Adriana Magaña (she, her, hers) is the Director of Student Success at EDvance College. She has held various positions within the education field through the years, including serving as a Jumpstart Corps Member, paraeducator, Early Interventionist, and Faculty Lecturer at San Francisco State University. Ms. Magaña’s work is fueled by fostering culturally responsive, individual and community partnerships and creating representation in higher education spaces. At the core, Ms. Magaña’s antiracist work centers on inclusivity and accessibility for marginalized groups.
Ms. Magaña has collaborated with EDvance through various projects, including the summer study abroad service-learning program in Vrygrond Township of Cape Town, South Africa, where she partnered with ECE educators in modifying their environment to be inclusive for all children. She also managed the lower division program, taught multiple courses about social-emotional learning and inclusive practices in the upper-division program, and supported San Francisco ECE educators to meet their GE requirements for transfer eligibility.
Ms. Magaña completed her M.A. in Special Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education and her Education Specialist Credential. Her thesis focused on Early Intervention Services from the Perspective of Rural Families in Stanislaus County, California. Ms. Magaña also holds a B.A. in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.
Leveraging her expertise and profound dedication to promoting inclusivity, Ms. Magaña is committed in her mission to cultivate an atmosphere that empowers EDvance College students, unlocking their boundless potential and thereby shaping a brighter future for both young children and the communities they touch.
Alisa Burton, M.A. (she/her) is an Adjunct Faculty with EDvance College. She has 30 years of experience in Head Start and she has held several leadership positions at the local, regional, and national levels. Her Head Start background includes working for the City of Oakland Head Start program as a Program Supervisor responsible for management systems and oversight for early care and education; and oversight for the program's comprehensive services (Health, Disabilities, Nutrition, and Family/Community Engagement). Currently she is leading workforce development initiatives for the City of Oakland where she is responsible for building and implementing a ECE career pipeline and registered apprenticeship program.
She previously served as a Senior Early Childhood Associate for Zero To Three, National Center for Infants and Toddlers and Families where she provided regional and national expert consultation to newly funded Early head Start infant programs, and provided training and technical assistance on a national scale.
At the national level, Alisa was one of ten individuals selected as a National Head Start Fellow which included a work placement for the Executive Branch of government focusing on national ECE policy for the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and Office of Head Start (Disabilities and Early Head Start Branch).
Alisa has extensive experience (over 20 years) as an Adjunct Faculty for Contra Costa College (San Pablo, CA and Merritt College (Oakland, CA). She provides child development instruction and evaluation for several ECE courses (e.g. Curriculum and Strategies for Children with Special Needs; Child, Family, and Community; Child Growth and Development; Infant Curriculum and Environments; Play Based Curriculum; and Infant Development.
She earned her Master of Arts in Early Childhood Special Education, with an Infant Specialist certification from San Francisco State University in SF, CA; and obtained her undergraduate degree from Spelman College, in Atlanta, GA.
Alisa was recently selected as a Bank Street Early Childhood Policy Fellow in 2022 where she received expert coaching, participated in learning opportunities to deepen her understanding of early childhood systems and policy design, and focus on equity anchored in the examination of systems change.
Alisa is passionate about infants and toddlers with special needs, family engagement, and realizing her vision of social justice through early childhood education.
Amy Crown (she, her, hers) is the Director of Outreach and Recruitment at EDvance College. With more than a decade of higher education experience, Amy brings her knowledge and tools to lead EDvance College's partner engagement and student recruitment efforts. Amy’s various roles in higher education include Director of Admissions, Community Relations Manager, Business Development and Strategic Partnership Executive. Her career has focused on developing and enhancing partner relationships to retain a strong workforce while growing student enrollment. During her time as the Director of Admissions, Amy focused on creating opportunities and pathways that directly benefited the diverse community, families and their children. Amy's true passion is providing access to higher education and discovering ways to support students. In addition, she is a representative on two local planning commission boards and a higher education consortium in the Greater Sacramento Region. Amy earned her Master of Arts in Business from the University of Massachusetts and her Bachelor of Arts in Business Marketing from Concordia University in Irvine, CA.
Outside of her professional life, Amy enjoys camping with her family, hiking in the beautiful Sierra Mountains and finding new local restaurants. She is committed to the mission and vision of EDvance College and is eager to expand program options and provide support to communities across the county.
Andrea Cruz (she/her/hers) is a Student Success Advocate at EDvance College. Andrea comes with eight years in the field of Early Childhood being a teacher with children birth to five. After seven years of being in the classroom setting, Andrea stepped out of the classroom and began her path withWorkforce Development where she began supporting staff with completing their degrees and courses needed for their Child Development Permits.
During the time, Andrea saw the difficulties that many teachers faced when completing degrees, especially those pertaining to transfer courses. As Andrea recruited staff with a goal of being Transfer Ready for their bachelor's Degrees, she met Dr. Lygia Stebbing and learned what EDvance College had to offer the current workforce. As she worked through the Workforce Department in her previous role, Andrea began to connect with Adriana Magana and collaborated in bringing in a group of YMCA of the East Bay staff into EDvance College.
Andrea attended and graduated from California State University East Bay with her B.A. in Human Development with a concentration in Early Childhood Development. As a Student Success Advocate, Andrea aims to support students on an educational, professional, and personal level to make the best of their EDvance journey. Coming from the Early Childhood Field and the classroom setting, Andrea understands the needs that come from working full-time and being a full-time student and will support students to achieve their goals.
Anna Arambula-Gonzalez, M.A. (she/her/ella) is a full-time faculty, Regional Director of Practice at EDvance College, and co-founder of the Language Justice Institute. As the Regional Director of Practice at EDvance, Anna oversees instruction, curriculum design and development, faculty training and development, and other initiatives to create an inclusive learning environment that empowers both students and educators to thrive. At the Language Justice Institute, Anna leads professional development projects focused on creating a more equitable early childhood workforce that prioritizes racial and linguistic diversity. Before joining EDvance, she served as Project Director of the Language Justice Initiative at the Institute for Racial Equity and Excellence.
Anna has dedicated her career to championing quality education and equitable opportunities for all children, actively contributing to numerous state-level initiatives. She served as a member of the Early Childhood Credentialing Workgroup at the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing, where she made valuable contributions to the development of an ECE Specialist Credential. She co-authored and translated the Dual Language Instructor Guide for the California Department of Education's Dual Language Professional Development Grant. She created and presented webinars and keynote addresses for Educators and Administrators in collaboration with Early Edge California and the CA Department of Education, with a specific focus on addressing the needs of multilingual learners.
Anna helps ensure equitable and full access to quality classroom experiences for multilingual learners by sharing her knowledge with those who work with them. As the Child Development Instructor/Coordinator at Madera Community College, Anna not only instructed but also supervised and mentored aspiring educators, ensuring they were well-prepared to deliver culturally sensitive and linguistically and developmentally appropriate teaching experiences. Anna extended her impact as an adjunct professor at California State University Channel Islands, San Francisco State University (CSU Fresno), Fresno City College, EDvance College, and Madera Community College, where she taught and developed courses.
She has extensive experience developing and delivering professional development in dual language learning, family engagement, and Personalized Oral Language Learning strategies. She has co-developed two Multilingual Learner Teaching Certificates at two institutions of higher education. Additionally, Anna has co-authored several publications, including "Designing Preschool Programs that Foster Bilingualism" for preschool directors, "Teacher, Teacher, What Do You See? Understanding Classroom Behaviors with Dual Language Learners" for educators, "Ensuring Equitable and Full Access to Early Learning for Multilingual Learners" for leaders and educators, and “Fruit or Vegetable? Dual Language Strategies to Expand Learning During Spontaneous Interactions” for educators, and “Designing Preschool/Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Programs that Foster Bilingualism: A guide for PreK/TK Directors” for leaders.
Anna is a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies and a master's degree in early childhood education from CSU Fresno. Beyond her academic accomplishments, she is a devoted wife and a loving mother to two wonderful boys. Anna treasures quality family moments and finds joy in organizing gatherings that unite her siblings. Her life experiences as the daughter of Mexican immigrants, as a wife, mother, and as someone who has worked in the fields have deeply influenced her approach to multilingual learning and family engagement, shaping her practice in significant ways.
Anna's steadfast commitment to advancing equity and language justice in early childhood education serves as an inspiration, fostering a community of equity-driven educators and leaders dedicated to prioritizing justice, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Her belief in the pivotal role of culturally and linguistically competent educators highlights the importance of empowering diverse children, families, and communities to realize their fullest potential.
Anna Wolde-Yohannes (she, her, hers) is the Partnerships Manager at EDvance College. With over a decade of dedicated experience in Early Care and Education (ECE), she is passionately committed to tackling ECE issues, emphasizing teacher empowerment and unleashing the untapped potential of individuals and communities. Anna's educator journey began in 2014 with a discovery of her passion for preschool teaching at an international school abroad, leading her to teach in various private and public child care sites in San Francisco.
As an alum of the Surge Institute (2022 Fellow), Anna is dedicated to fostering collective impact and serves as a lead organizer for the SF ECE Advocacy Coalition (SF ECE AC) and an appointed member of the SF Black Early Educator Policy Council (BEEPC). Formerly, she was the Co-Director at Early Care Educators of San Francisco (ECESF), a nonprofit amplifying the voices of ECE educators to affect change.
Anna's commitment to equity in ECE is reflected in her multifaceted leadership roles, including board membership with the East Bay Chapter of CAAEYC, participation in SF Educators for Equity, leadership within the Bay Area Network for Diversity Training in Early Childhood (BANDTEC), and work as an ECE consultant since 2018 specializing in equity-focused trainings. She also co-created the educator-led podcast series "Lesson Up!" to amplify ECE voices.
She also holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a Minor in Politics from San Francisco State University, along with a CA Child Development Program Director Permit.
Anna's extensive travels to over 30 countries on six continents underscore her deep appreciation for learning from diverse cultures. Anna naturally makes others feel they belong and is happiest spending time with loved ones.
Dr. Carola Oliva-Olson (she/her/ella) is the Vice-President of Early Childhood and a full-time faculty at EDvance College. She has more than 30 years of experience in early childhood education, workforce development, technical assistance, and research. Carola’s work centers around advancing access, equity and quality education for all children, families, and educators. She is a leading expert on multilingualism, diversity, equity, early childhood programming, workforce development, and family engagement. Before joining EDvance, she was the Executive Director of Multilingual Education at the Institute for Racial Equity and Excellence and founder of the Language Justice Institute.
As an associate professor at California State University Channel Islands, Carola helped prepare future early childhood educators to work in settings serving young children from infancy to third grade. Carola also worked as the principal investigator for the California Department of Education’s Dual Language Learner Professional Development Grant and the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Early Initiatives Dual Language Learner Professional Development Grant. In 2020, she was appointed to the California Governor’s Early Childhood Policy Council and continues to serve on numerous state and national advisory groups. Her work has been instrumental to advancing equity in the field of early childhood education.
Carola earned a Ph.D. in Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a M.S. in preschool-primary education, a B.A in international studies and environmental planning, and a teaching credential from South America in early childhood education. Her doctoral research focused on dual language instruction in Head Start. She has worked as a bilingual teacher in toddler, preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1, 2, and 4. She also worked as the early learning/disabilities lead for the Migrant Head Start Project in Washington, D.C.
She is married, has a teenage daughter, three adult step-children, and a Jindo dog. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, eating out, and gardening.
Carola remains committed to working alongside her colleagues and students to establish a lasting tradition of excellence, empathy, and equity in early childhood education. She strongly believes that by fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion, educators can break down barriers and open doors to a world of possibilities for multilingual children, families, and communities. This conviction fuels her determination to help develop a community of educators, leaders, and change agents prioritizing equal access, fairness, and quality education for all children. For her, it is more than a job; it is a calling, a purpose, and a pledge to a greater cause.
Casey Federico (she, her, hers) is an Adjunct Faculty at EDvance College. Casey brings more than twenty years of experience in early childhood education to her work with EDvance College, having worked as a toddler and preschool teacher, director of a family support center, Head Start Associate Director, curriculum developer, trainer, and coach. Casey is an advocate for welcoming early childhood spaces for ALL families and educators, and specializes in supporting multilingual communities and classrooms. Over the last decade, Casey’s work has focused on engaging, relevant math and STEAM experiences for children and for adults. Currently a consultant to numerous Bay Area school districts, the San Francisco Department of Early Childhood, and the Exploratorium, Casey is deeply committed to equitable, meaningful, and accessible support for the early childhood workforce.
She is a graduate of Stanford University and the Bank Street College for Education in New York City, where her thesis explored the role of welcoming physical environments in supporting families with young children in diverse, multilingual programs. Through her work at EDvance, she hopes to share her passion for engaging, relevant STEAM education for children and adults. Casey is thrilled to work with the EDvance team and students in creating powerful learning experiences for young children and the incredible adults who care for them.
Chad Thompson (he, him, his) is the Chief Financial and Operations Officer at EDvance College. He has over 25 years as an experienced and highly qualified higher education finance professional and leader. For the past fifteen years, Chad has served as a CFO predominantly with time as a COO and two years as CEO as well helping a college system through a change of ownership. Chad's experience in higher ed finance includes large US college systems with publicly traded parent corporations, in addition to smaller family owned college systems. Chad has experience at both the strategic and operational level in addition to experience at both the campus and the corporate central office. Chad is known to be progressive, decisive, innovative and highly valued for his expertise interpreting corporate vision and strategy, translating objectives into actionable plans, and providing leadership where needed.
Chad is well versed in the accreditation process and has experience as a NECHE Team Evaluator. He served as the CFO of a regionally accredited(SACS-COC), research level, for profit university for seven years. Chad has experience with multiple national accreditors to include ACICS, ACCET and ACCST.
Chad has years of experience implementing strong control procedures in all finance related areas, managing all financial responsibilities within college and universities, and has managed direct reports in financial aid, human resources, facilities, and information technology. He is well versed in all operations of a college.
Chad has a passion for higher education and is particularly excited to be a part of the EDvance College team, delivering quality teachers and leaders within early childhood education.
Connie Hardison (she, her, hers) is the Controller at EDvance College and has over 22 years of experience working in higher education. She has a broad knowledge of the various aspects of education including the online component as an accounting professional and as a student.
Starting as a Business Office Manager at a for-profit college in 2000, Connie advanced into different positions including Staff Accountant, Controller, and Associate Vice President of Finance & Accounting during her 20-year career. She received the President’s Award, Key to Success Award and Chancellor’s Award (2 years) for exceptional leadership, service and contributions to students and the organization. Connie has implemented new systems, written policies and procedures and led a staff of twelve associates in accounting, facilities, and financial aid.
Connie has attended multiple conference trainings on various systems, leadership, and management. She is a lifelong learner and works to improve herself daily. Connie received a Bachelor of Science – Applied Management degree in 2007 from National American University.
Connie has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and All Blessings International. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter, is a volunteer for Kentucky Disaster Relief, Chosen Children’s Ministries (mission trips to Nicaragua) and her church. She is a member of Impact 100, a group of women that have issued grants of $4.2 million dollars back into her local community. She enjoys pickleball, reading and spending time with her three children (Ty, Alli & Kyle), her granddaughter Sophia, and two dogs (Angel and Franklin).
Connie has a heartfelt desire to help people especially in the education field which aligns with the mission of EDvance. She is very excited to be a part of the EDvance team in changing the trajectory of society by giving children the absolute best educational start possible.
Gretchen Ames (she, her, hers) who also goes by Chappy or Dr. Chappy is an Adjunct Faculty at EDvance College. She has had many roles within the early childhood field in the past three decades, including: years of teaching/providing direct care in several states as well as roles in organizing, administration, policy, coaching, teaching adults, and providing technical assistance at local, state, and national levels. Gretchen is returning to teach the course on Policy (she also taught CAD 625 and 510 when EDvance was still within San Francisco State University). While teaching at SFSU, she earned her Doctor of Education in Leadership (EdD) emphasis in early childhood at Mills College in Oakland.
Gretchen spent most of 2019-2023 working for the BUILD Initiative, a non-profit that partners with state and community leaders across the country to promote equitable, high-quality child- and family-serving systems that support young children thriving and learning. In September 2023 she returned to working with 4 and 5 year olds as a lead teacher at Pacific Primary, a preschool in San Francisco. She has also worked within several publicly funded preschool programs in San Francisco and can very much relate to the everyday joys and frustrations of our EDvance students.
Outside of her professional life, she loves hiking, camping, and being in nature as much as possible, and she seeks silliness and creative outlets whenever possible. She is very committed to the mission of EDvance College and am very grateful for the opportunities to engage with the students and faculty.
Jimin Seung (she, her, hers) is the Administrative Assistant at EDvance College.
She first began her work at EDvance College in February 2023 as an intern during her last semester at San Francisco State University (SFSU). During her internship, she was introduced to the early childhood education (ECE) field and how EDvance College works to address the needs of the members of the ECE community. Her internship helped put many of the public health concepts she learned in her classes into a real world perspective and showed her how an institution of higher education can make systemic changes to improve the lives of educators as well as the children they serve in their classrooms.
In her role at EDvance, Jimin uses her organizational skills to provide administrative support to her team members to help the college operate more smoothly. As a newer addition to the EDvance team, she hopes to embrace one of the virtues of EDvance’s Culture, growth mindset, to view every opportunity as a chance to learn and grow. With this mindset, Jimin is excited to continue her journey with EDvance and hopes her contributions will help the team better support the students and the overall ECE community.
Jocelyn (she, her, hers) is the Registrar at EDvance College. She has worked in early childhood and higher educational settings, serving children ages 0-5 and college students, as an educator and/or administrator. In addition, Jocelyn is an EDvance alumnus, and she has since held various positions with EDvance.
Jocelyn applies her early education experiences and knowledge to her advocacy and support of EDvance College's student-educators. She recruited early childhood educators in collaboration with the college departments, partner agencies, and local organizations. She also provided individualized services and support for current and prospective students. In these roles, Jocelyn routinely witnessed the systemic obstacles encountered by early childhood educators in their pursuit of higher education and credentials. Jocelyn recognizes the importance of providing college students with individualized wraparound services and resources. Thus, she is committed to delivering student success services that systematically dismantle these obstacles. Moreover, she believes that creating a welcoming and inclusive environment and developing positive and strong relationships promotes student success.
Jocelyn holds a B.A. degree in Child and Adolescent Development and M.A. degree in Education. She is excited to continue learning, collaborating, and growing alongside student-educators, staff members, and instructors who genuinely care for and love the ECE field.
Katie Mervin (she, her, hers) is a full-time faculty and a Regional Director of Practice at EDvance College. She had the opportunity to work in multiple early learning centers and with different ages, which offered a variety of experiences as a developing teacher. These experiences provided exposure to many philosophies, funding and structural models, that promoted her interest in how to promote best practices across the field. Her interest in supporting teachers in their own stages of development grew during this time, which led her to the work with the CA Early Childhood Mentor Program where she served as a mentor teacher, then one of first virtual mentor teachers in the state, and finally as a member of the steering committee.
In addition to her work in the classroom Katie worked with UCSB’s Koegel Autism Center as a behavioral therapist and followed that work as a Child Development and Behavioral Specialist in an early intervention program. Her interest in supporting children and families with differing needs blossomed and led to her involvement with the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center where she developed the day-to-day plans for Camp Expedition and served as camp director for many years. Her continued passion for this work has culminated in her fellowship in Early Relational Health at UMass Chan Medical School.
Katie has also had the honor of being child development faculty at both Cerro Coso College and Cuesta College, as well as the Director of the Cuesta College Children's Center and Lab School where she obtained the CCAMPIS grant to provide financial support for student parents.
Katie’s most recent work has been with the Santa Barbara County Education Office and San Luis Obispo County Office of Education where she wrote successful CAI grant proposals to gain funding for the early care and education apprentice programs. She has become skilled at building non-traditional apprenticeship programs and implementing them while keeping students current and future work and education goals at the heart of the programs.
Katie attended Pacific Oaks College where she obtained her BA and MA in Human Development. As a single mother of an amazing son her time in school was strenuous but created such an appreciation for the sacrifices of the ECE workforce in order to learn and grow in order to support children and families.
Katie feels profoundly grateful for the opportunity to inspire and support EDvance students in their quest to enhance their knowledge and skills, ultimately elevating the standing and impact of the early care and education field.
Dr. Lygia Stebbing (she/her/hers), serves as the President and Founder of EDvance College. With an impressive career spanning over two decades, Dr. Stebbing has dedicated herself to creating and refining higher education programs that bolster the academic achievements and career advancement of the early childhood workforce.
Her notable contributions include the design and implementation of innovative Early Childhood Education (ECE) degree pathways, strategically crafted to enhance educational accessibility and ensure vocational stability for early childhood educators. At the core of her work lies a profound commitment to honoring, preserving, and nurturing the cultural and linguistic connections between highly skilled educators and families, with the aim of supporting child development and early learning.
Throughout her career, Dr. Stebbing has tirelessly served the educational interests of both domestic and international communities. In the United States, she has played a pivotal role as an instructor at higher education institutions, where she developed and taught courses in early childhood education and child development with a strong focus on principles of social justice, community engagement, professionalism, and practical experience. Additionally, Dr. Stebbing has held a mayoral appointment for the Office of Early Care and Education Citizens Advisory Committee and serves as the Higher Education representative for San Francisco's QRIS Local Planning Consortia.
On the international front, Dr. Stebbing's endeavors have included working with indigenous children in Oaxaca, Mexico, spearheading and leading a summer study abroad service-learning program in ECE within the Vrygrond Township of Cape Town, South Africa, and guiding an early childhood study tour through New Zealand.
Dr. Stebbing's educational journey culminated in the completion of her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at San Francisco State University. Her doctoral research delved into the critical academic and programmatic supports required to maintain diversity within the early childhood workforce. In addition to her doctorate, Dr. Stebbing holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Delaware and an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from San Francisco State University.
Dr. Stebbing's unwavering commitment remains steadfast in her quest to find solutions that ensure all early childhood educators have access to high-quality, accessible, and affordable education.
Michelle Banh, M.A., is an Adjunct Faculty and Writing Coach at EDvance College. In the early years of her career, Michelle taught infants, toddlers and preschoolers. About 15 years ago, she had the opportunity to support the QRIS initiatives in her local counties as a coach, trainer, ERS Anchor, and professional growth advisor. Around the same time, she began to teach in the higher education system. As a result of all her experiences, Michelle is deeply committed to supporting the work in improving teacher qualifications and retaining the early childhood workforce.
Nova San Diego (she, her, hers / they, them, theirs) is a Student Success Advocate at EDvance College. Nova draws from personal experience as a first-generation college graduate and an EDvance alumnus to fulfill their role. Nova is a member of EDvance’s 2021 Theta Cohort and earned their B.A. degree from San Francisco State University with a concentration in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Queer Ethnic Studies. Nova is a Filipinx-American, Bay Area native, and trans-femme, non-binary individual. Nova worked full-time as an early childhood educator in San Francisco while pursuing her B.A. degree. In this capacity, Nova served as an Emergency Childcare Provider and Preschool Teacher during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nova has worked as a Student Success Advocate with EDvance College since August 2022, serving the interests of our diverse ECE workforce and addressing the many human rights issues that intersect with the ECE field.
Nova is committed to the principle that everyone can succeed, and they are excited to play a critical role in guiding students through their EDvance College journey. Nova understands the importance of high-quality Early Childhood Education. She hopes that her work as a Student Success Advocate not only allows EDvance students the opportunity of achieving their personal goal, but in earning their BA degree, elevates the profession that is Early Childhood Education. As a non-traditional student herself, Nova recognizes the hardships many other college students are currently facing, and they aim to uplift these students to reach their potential and attain academic success.
Stephanie Moore (she/her/hers) serves as the Chief of Staff at EDvance College, where she brings a decade of invaluable experience in higher education, including a distinguished history of service within the EDvance community.
Stephanie embarked on her journey with EDvance back in 2013 as an intern, and over the years, she has embraced a multitude of roles within the organization. Her remarkable versatility and unwavering commitment have played pivotal roles in various capacities, ranging from providing comprehensive program and student support as a Program Assistant to skillfully managing essential functions such as budgeting, grant reporting, accounts payable, and human resources in her role as the Compliance Manager. Stephanie's relentless dedication to achieving excellence and her commitment to continuous improvement shine through her active participation in management training hosted by The Management Center. She has skillfully integrated the invaluable lessons from this training into EDvance's operational procedures, effectively aligning them with the organization's core values, which include Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Justice (JEDI+B).
Beyond her professional endeavors, Stephanie leads a fulfilling personal life as a devoted wife and mother to a preschooler.
As a first-generation college student who personally benefited from a highly scaffolded and well-thought-out coursework, Stephanie carries a passionate commitment to ensuring that programming is offered to students in a manner that supports them in achieving their educational aspirations. She firmly believes in providing students with the necessary wrap-around support to thrive academically. In her current role, Stephanie channels her dedication to ensuring that all employee needs, both on an individual and organizational level, are met effectively. Her efforts are geared toward equipping every employee with the essential tools required to not only excel in their roles but also to better support our students in their educational journeys.
Sunny Martin (she, her, hers) is the Admission and Enrollment Manager at EDvance College. She has been a dedicated educator for more than a decade, serving the community as a K-12 administrator, Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Grant Program Director, and most recently as a counseling faculty in the California Community College system. As a community college counselor, she has consistently witnessed systemic barriers and limited access for early childhood educators who were working full-time and trying to further their careers. EDvance College’s value of elevating ECE educators and transforming access to higher education that meet their individual needs has drawn her to this position. Her role in EDvance College is to ensure that each and every student who is interested in obtaining their B.A. Degrees are welcomed and evaluated holistically, recognizing the value in competency-based experience. She is excited to continue to build and assess EDvance College’s admissions and student services policy that is equity-centered and designed to serve the diverse Early Childhood Education workforce.
Sunny has completed her M.A. in Counselor Education and also holds Pupil Personnel Services Credential. She also received a B.A. in Sociology and Linguistics from University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Tawnie King (she/her/hers) is a Writing Coach at EDvance College. She has been working in Early Childhood Education for the past 17 years. Her experiences as a Preschool Teacher (including Infants and Toddlers), Education Coordinator, Assistant Director, Child Development Specialist/Coach and ECE Program Specialist, have been instrumental in allowing her to develop and recognize the importance of relationships and what it means to advocate on behalf of preschool teachers, children, and families.
Since working in the field of Early Childhood Education, Dr. King has been acknowledged within Early Education work spaces through the following recognitions: Excellence in Care and Education Award (Bright Horizons Family Solutions Early Care and Education, 2010); Couldn't Do It Without You Award (Bright Horizons Family Solutions Early Care and Education, 2008); and Make a Difference Award (Bright Horizons Family Solutions Early Care and Education, 2008).
Dr. King's education and experience has afforded her the opportunity to teach college students as an Adjunct Professor at Santa Ana College in the Child Development and Education Studies Department. From this experience, she has come to understand the power of human connection. Her teaching philosophy is grounded in the idea that all students deserve to engage in an educational environment where their voices are heard, their perspectives are valued, and their needs are met both individually and collectively. She is passionate about strengthening each student's unique potential through meaningful interactions and intentional instruction and engagement. She is committed to the mission of EDvance College and seeks to demonstrate this through consistent collaboration with colleagues and continuous support that fosters each student's ability to positively impact the lives of children, families, and communities.
Dr. King earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from California State University, Long Beach. She also has a Masters in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood from California State University, Long Beach, and a B.A. in Communication from San Diego State University.
Dr. Victoria Quijano (she, her, hers) is the Co-founder and Chief Academic Officer at EDvance College. With over 27 years in higher education, Dr. Quijano brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to EDvance College. She recently retired from San Francisco State University where she served as full-time faculty and the Director of Undergraduate Community Practice. She designed and taught numerous public health courses and gravitated towards those that focused on writing and skill development. Her academic focus involves strengthening the integration of general education skills across the curriculum and within public health. She was instrumental in embedding writing support and skill development into disciplinary courses.
Dr. Quijano began working with EDvance in 2013 as a consultant, supporting curriculum development and leading the Faculty Learning Community. Dr. Quijano led the curriculum redesign process for EDvance's seamless transition into a standalone institution of higher education and was instrumental in . In this capacity, she directed the sequencing, aligning, and evaluation of EDvance College's signature curriculum in close collaboration with the College's leadership team and the Faculty Learning Community (FLC). Dr. Quijano’s ideological commitment to student-centered and experiential learning guides her teaching, coaching, and developmental practices. As a curriculum developer, she specializes in sequencing and scaffolding learning experiences and outcomes across the curriculum, with a particular focus on assessment, accreditation alignment, writing across the curriculum, and writing in the disciplines. Applying a liberation education framework and approach in her teaching drives Dr. Quijano’s mission as a professor, administrator, and educational designer.
Dr. Quijano earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from San Francisco State University. She also earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) from San Jose State University and a BS degree in Health Education from San Francisco State University.
Dr. Quijano’s passion for teaching and learning stems from her experience as a first-generation, single-parenting college student who wouldn’t have succeeded without mentors, student support services, financial aid, and pedagogical experts who inspired her love of reading, writing, teaching, and learning.
Ashley C. Williams, Ed.D. is the Vice President of Programs where she leads the organization’s workforce strategy to expand the pipeline of qualified, diverse talent pursuing careers in early education. Dr. Williams lends decades of experience to her role as her work over the years is situated in the nexus of early learning, family engagement, higher education, and policy with a specific focus on early educators.
She has worked in several roles in early care and education, including serving as a Jumpstart Corps Member and team leader where she started her ECE journey. She continued on to become a preschool teacher, Head Start center director, and early childhood teacher educator at the undergraduate and master’s levels at SF State. She is the former Associate Director of EDvance and served as the Senior Quality and Workforce Analyst for the San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education. Prior to returning to Jumpstart as a part of the organization’s leadership team, Dr. Williams was the Director of California Policy and Educator Engagement Programs for the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. Her professional work extends internationally as she co-led a study abroad service-learning program in ECE settings in South Africa and New Zealand. Dr. Williams is also a Policy Fellow at the National Black Child Development Institute.
Overall, Dr. Williams’ daily work is rooted in contributing to early learning systems in ways that explicitly reveal, dissolve, and resolve systemic inequities that cause harm to children, families, and the educators that work with them- especially when they are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
Dr. Williams earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership at SF State where she also earned her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development and an M.A.Ed. with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education.
Dr. Carlton Underwood has filled a wide range of administrative, finance, and leadership positions with the Northern Arapaho Tribe for over two decades. Carlton is a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe and was raised on the Wind River Indian Reservation in the community of Ethete, Wyoming. Carlton has remained in Ethete, a vital center of Arapaho culture, for most of his life.
Dr. Underwood currently serves as the Fiduciary Officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Carlton was also the former Administration and Finance Officer for Akiptan, Inc., a Native American Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that serves Native American agriculture producers. Before assuming this position, Carlton served in various leadership capacities for the Northern Arapaho Tribe, including the Executive Director of Social Services, Tribal Health Director, Chief Compliance Officer for the healthcare system, and Chief Executive Officer.
Carlton started work with the Northern Arapaho Tribe in January 2000 in their Accounting Department, working with federally funded grant programs documenting the financial reports as required. He then worked as the Controller for the Tribe before seeking election to the Northern Arapaho Business Council in 2002. Carlton served two years on the Council, serving as the Co-Chair of the Tribe. He then served in various accounting capacities with the Shoshone & Arapaho Tribes, Wind River Tribal College, and as Chief Financial Officer for the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
Dr. Underwood began his higher education endeavors at Central Wyoming College, where he attained an Associate of Science degree in accounting in 1997. He has served as a Central Wyoming College board member since 2012. Carlton continued his studies at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, graduating with his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in 1999. He then pursued his Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, graduating in 2010. Carlton started his online studies in the Organizational Change and Leadership program with the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 2018, graduating with his Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Change and Leadership in 2022.
For more than 25 years, Dr. Cheryl Polk has promoted healthy child development, especially for children at risk of school failure and their families, through her work as a psychologist, academic, and civic volunteer. She is the former Chief Program Officer for the San Francisco not-for-profit organization, Safe & Sound. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Cheryl established and implemented the overall programmatic vision of Safe & Sound, including family and community advocacy, holistic and strength-based family services, and educational programs. As a San Francisco Early Head Start Board member, Cheryl helped increase access to care for minority children from under-represented immigrant families. She has also served as the Executive Director for the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund and the LSP Family Foundation. Her insight into early childhood development and philanthropy helped create innovative intervention programs for children exposed to community and interpersonal trauma. Finally, Cheryl served on the board of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families (ZTT) from 2001-2018, including as Board President from 2009-2011. During her time at ZTT and, previously, while a therapist for UCSF's Infant-Parent Program, Cheryl learned that "how you are is as important as what you do." Her supervisor and mentor, the late Dr. Jeree Pawl, another former ZTT Board President, frequently instilled this proverbial saying into Cheryl and her colleagues when they trained to practice infant-parent psychotherapy. Cheryl has carried Dr. Pawl’s words with her throughout her distinguished career in Behavioral Health, Philanthropy, and Nonprofit Management.
Dr. Diane Carnahan served as President of Teachers College of San Joaquin (TCSJ) from 2015-2022. Established in 2009, Teachers College of San Joaquin is the first graduate school of education founded by a county office of education and has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior Colleges and Universities Commission (WSCUC) and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). Diane played a formative role in the College’s establishment, overseeing the creation of a unique and innovative space to grow quality educators from the local communities. She was responsible for the college’s fiscal and strategic planning, oversaw all master’s degree offerings, as well as the credentialing of teachers and administrators. Diane has taught K-5th grades and worked with teachers, students, and community members over the last 40 years. She has been a consultant on a variety of California Department of Education committees; Regional Director for WestEd's K-12 Alliance organization, provided professional development activities in math and science and served as a teacher consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project. Particular areas of interest include integration of academics and career technical education, project-based learning, creating 21st Century learning environments, and teaching practices that prepare students for college and career readiness. Dr. Carnahan has a BA from San Jose State University, a M.Ed. in Integrated Mathematics and Science from Fresno Pacific University and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of the Pacific.
A graduate of the EDvance program, Jessica Campos is the Community Engagement and Outreach Specialist for San Francisco's Office of Racial Equity (ORE). In her role, Jessica meaningfully connects ORE's work with San Francisco's culturally diverse multi-racial and multilingual communities to support its mission of rooting out racial disparities in employment, housing, criminal justice, economic advancement, health, transit, education, homelessness, and achieving equitable social outcomes. Before joining the ORE, Jessica served as the Head Start/Early Head Start program manager in District 10, serving San Francisco's most vulnerable populations. Jessica has filled mentorship and advocacy roles at different community levels, from being a youth mentor with City of Dreams to serving on the board of Early Care Educators of San Francisco. She led the pilot for SF Inclusion Network, which highlighted the inequitable access to programs and services for children of color, children with disabilities, and trauma-exposed children.
John is the CEO of Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC) in Los Angeles County. Prior to joining MMCC, John served as Chief Development and Communications Officer and interim Program Officer at The Marine Mammal Center in the San Francisco Bay Area. John’s professional background includes senior development, program, and executive management positions for local, regional, and national non-profit organizations and foundations. In addition to his professional career, John has served on various non-profit boards and raised significant funds for causes he supports. John holds a BA from the University of San Francisco and an MPA from San Francisco State University.
Linda began her career as a civil litigation attorney in Washington D.C. She cultivated her passion for non-profit governance throughout her 19-years as an executive of the YMCA of San Francisco. In that time, Linda filled various executive positions, including Vice President of Risk Management and Legal Affairs, General Counsel, and Secretary. In addition to a career encompassing non-profit strategic planning and financial management, Linda has been a committed advocate of youth empowerment, child abuse prevention, and the application of restorative and trauma-informed practices. She has served as a thought leader for social welfare issues as a YMCA executive and through her work with the San Francisco Homeless Prenatal Program. Linda has filled the positions of Director, Former Board President, Secretary and ED Transition Committee Member throughout 12 years of service to the SF Homeless Prenatal Program.
Michael Limosana, CPA inactive, Treasurer is a Managing Partner of Triton Property Investments LLC, based in Woodside, California. He has enjoyed a long-standing career in the for-profit sector. Michael began his career in public accounting; he manages funds exceeding 50 million dollars. As the Managing Partner of Triton, Michael oversees daily operations in developing single-family and multifamily homes throughout the Midwest and California. In addition, Michael has volunteered with the Red Cross, where he helped support refugees with access to housing and services in Akron, Ohio. His experiences with the Red Cross emphasized that access to resources is a determining factor in lifespan developmental outcomes. These experiences inspired Michael to apply his professional skills to the non-profit sector to help enact structural changes that support equitable access to resources. Michael is deeply committed to improving educational access for the multicultural and multilingual Early Childhood workforce and the young children they serve.
Dr. Richard Winn's impactful career in higher education leadership and accreditation spans over three decades. He recently retired as the President of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) where he served a three-year term. Prior to his appointment as President, Dr. Winn filled the roles of ACCJC Interim President and Vice President of Operations. Dr. Winn joined ACCJC after serving in senior leadership positions for 12 years at Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
As WSCUC Senior Vice President and Vice President, Dr. Winn implemented policies, managed operations, and strengthened government relations to uphold the Commission's commitment to continuous institutional improvement in service of the public good. As WSCUC Vice President, Dr. Winn counseled over 100 institutions seeking WSCUC accreditation, including actively supporting international institutions in India, United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, Turkey, Prague, Peru, and Fiji. To this end, Dr. Winn facilitated the development of policies and procedures for WSCUC’s international initiatives.
Dr. Winn has held faculty and educational leadership roles at Pacific Union College and a variety of other institutions and college systems. He has also served three terms as a Member, Board of Examiners, for the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence in the U.S. business, healthcare, education and non-profit sectors. Dr. Winn earned his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of La Verne, his M.A. degree from Theology and Philosophy from Andrews University, and his B.A. in Theology and Secondary Education from Pacific Union College.
Dr Myers's experience as a professional in higher education spans over four decades. In that time, she has filled a wide range of administrative and teaching positions in academic institutions throughout the United States. Dr Myers provided vision and leadership as Foothill College's Vice President of Student Development and Instruction for over a decade. She previously served as Foothill College's Dean of the Middlefield and Evening Campuses. During her sixteen-year tenure at Foothill College, Dr Myers led initiatives to improve student services and provide representative educational experiences for diverse and underrepresented students. Dr Myers also cultivated a culture of academic diversity and inclusion at Salem Community College in New Jersey as Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity/Affirmative Action. After retiring from Foothill College, Dr Myers accepted the position of part-time lecturer at San Francisco State University, where she teaches Public Health and Social Justice courses in the Metro Program.
Dr. Carla Bryant