There are now several thousand people working with groundWork to make early care and education a priority for Ohio¹s leaders. These volunteers are just a small sample of the thousands that wrote letters to the editor of their local paper (630), testified in Columbus (34), and called/wrote to their legislator during the state fiscal year 2008-2009 budget process. Thank you all for your contributions.
Lora Comichisto Mahoning Valley, OH
Lora Comichisto currently serves as the Administrative Coordinator for the Tru-Mah-Col Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) in Cortland, Ohio. Lora began her career by serving as the Childcare Program Manager for the YWCA of Youngstown. In that time, Lora directed and oversaw eight locations throughout Mahoning County, and successfully navigated the YWCA Discovery Place through NAEYC Accreditation.
In the last ten years Lora has served the field of early care and education, Lora has licensed and opened one preschool center on the west side of Youngstown as well as several after school programs throughout Mahoning County, primarily serving inner city Youngstown children and families. Lora has extensive experience in Head Start partnerships, the Early Learning Initiative (ELI), and special needs populations.
In 2007, Lora was fortunate to take the position as the first paid staff person for Tru-Mah-Col AEYC to conduct all administrative functions for the organization including grant writing, fund management, training and program coordination, membership work and representing the organization at the local and state levels. Lora also serves on the Administrator Core Knowledge Competencies writing team in Columbus.
Lora has served as a tireless advocate for the early childhood community. In 2005, Lora joined the Tru-Mah-Col AEYC Board of Directors as the Public Policy Chair and has since become the Mahoning Valley groundWork Coordinating Committee Chair. Some of Lora’s favorite moments advocating for early childhood include last year’s budget and the 2008 Mahoning Valley Candidate Forum. Last year’s successful forum attracted over 200 local early care and education professionals and 17 legislative candidates.
In her spare time, Lora enjoys spending time with her husband of 12 years, Christofer, and 2 1/2 year old son, Luca. Lora particularly enjoys visiting with family and friends and watching her son grow and learn every day.
Thank you, Lora, for the work that you do and the support for the early care and education community!
Representative Reinhard visits the Epworth Child Development and Daycare Center Marion, OH Representative Reinhard watches a young child draw at the Epworth Child Development and Daycare Center.
Maureen Boggs Athens, OH Maureen Boggs, wife, mother and grandmother, has served over 25 years in the Early Care and Education field, first as a mom and family child care provider, then as a preschool teacher. She was the child care center administrator for the Betsey Mills Club in Marietta, Ohio from 1986 to 1993. She entered the Child Care Resource and Referral system when it was established statewide in Ohio in 1993. She managed the Marietta office of the COAD Child Care Resource Network, before being promoted to Assistant ECE Division Director in 1995. She is currently the Early Care and Education Division Director for COAD in Athens, administering child care resource and referral services and related programming over 31 Ohio counties. She holds an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Washington State Community College. She serves on the Ohio Child Care Advisory Council, and the Ohio Family Child Care Workgroup, and is a member of the Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Association, serving on the Board of Directors. Ms. Boggs is a member of the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She is a graduate of the COAD Appalachian Leadership Academy, and participated in the Ohio University Executive Leadership Institute and the Leadership Laboratory of Vail Colorado. She currently is active in the Athens Coordinated Council for Groundwork, and participates in the Athens Community Child Care Partnership.
Maureen is a very active leader in the groundWork coordinating committee for Southeast Ohio. Due to her work, every legislator in Southeast Ohio has recieved a visit from a groundWork representative, a very successful candidates forum was held in 2006, and support for early care and edcuation greatly increased. Thank you Maureen!
Stephanie Byrd Cincinnati, OH Stephanie W. Byrd, Executive Director
Success By 6
Stephanie Byrd is a native of Indianapolis and has been a member of the Greater Cincinnati community for more than 20 years. Mrs. Byrd joined Success By 6 in August 2003 as Executive Director. She is responsible for implementing the Success By 6 action agenda including creating awareness and building demand, implementing kindergarten readiness assessment and health screens, improving early childhood health care and education, and improving coordination and service delivery. She oversees all efforts to identify community outcomes and measurement in support of the vision that By age 6, all children in our region are optimally safe, healthy and prepared to succeed.
Georgene Campbell Toledo, OH Georgene Campbell, Right From The Start Coordinator, joined the United Way of Greater Toledo in January 2002. She works with community members to build collaborations and develop an early childhood agenda for Lucas County. Georgene is responsible for the implementation of the Right From The Start agenda that includes, quality child care, child development, mental health, oral health and emergent literacy. Georgene is a registered nurse with a background in policy development and advocacy with a focus on children.
Lisa Cayard Warren County, OH Lisa Cayard, the director of Warren County Head Start, shows Representative- elect Jones around their center.
Marcia Egbert Cleveland, OH Marcia Egbert is the Senior Program Officer for Human Services at The George Gund Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. The docket places particular emphasis on the intersection of public policy and child and family well-being, particularly early childhood development.
Marcia is active in a number of local, state and national organizations of grantmakers including, the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative; Grantmakers Income Security Task Force (funders concerned about poverty and income issues), Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families; Funders Concerned About AIDS; Funders Network on Reproductive Health and Rights; Public Policy Committee of Ohio Grantmakers Forum; and the Community Vision Council of United Way.
Marcia currently serves as a founding board member and Secretary of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and on the board of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. From 2000-2003, Marcia was a founding Board member of the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation, charged with managing distribution of a significant portion of the state's tobacco settlement funds.
In real life, Marcia is married to Jeff Hagan and the happy mother of a busy eight year-old son, Will.
Berta Velilla Cincinnati, OH Since 1999 Berta Velilla has been the director Child Focus Inc./Clermont County Head Start. She is responsible for providing leadership to over 120 employees offering quality services to over 600 children ages 0-5 and their families to meet the comprehensive needs of our community with quality early childhood programs which include Head Start, Early Head Start, Even Start, Child Care services and substance abuse prevention. In addition, Ms. Velilla acts as chairperson for the Clermont County Early Intervention Collaborative, Child Care Connection, and Child Care Director's Network. She is also a member of the Ohio Strategic Future Head Start Leadership Group and Family and Children First.
Representative DeGeeter visits Cuyahoga County Department of Health Cleveland, OH Representative Tim DeGeeter vists with a home-visiting nurse at the Cuyahoga County Department of Health.
Representative Yuko visits Positive Education Program Lyndhurst, OH Representative Yuko visits with a parent coach at the Positive Education Program in Lyndhurst
Representative Brady visits Rocky River Presbyterian Church Nursery School Rocky River, OH Representative Brady watches young children play with playdough at the Rocky River Presbyterian Church Nursery School.