Meet our Governing Board

The Idaho AEYC Governing Board serves to support, promote and facilitate the goals and objectives of Idaho AEYC. Members serve 2-year terms beginning July 1 of the year elected and extend to June 30 of the final year of the term.

LeAnn Simmons
President (Boise)
LeAnn recently retired as Executive Director of Idaho Voices for Children. She continues to be a strong advocate for quality early learning for Idaho’s children. LeAnn is an experienced leader through her past director positions held at United Way of Treasure Valley and Care Source. She is very skilled at fundraising, grant writing and developing coalitions and partnerships geared toward serving families and children.

LeAnn graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Recreation Administration, and achieved a Community Development Certification from Northwest Community Development Institute. She was also named an Idaho Business Review Women of the Year in 2009 and was recently involved with the Idaho Third Grade Reading Task Force and Governor’s Education Reform Task Force.

LeAnn is a long-time Boise resident who enjoys hiking, golfing and skiing.
Genie Sue Weppner
Past President (Boise)
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND Bachelor of Arts, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, Sociology Major, Education Minor Master of Fine Arts, University of Miami, Miami FL

Genie Sue worked for the Department of Health and Welfare since 1997 up until her recent retirement. She has been a Program Manager for regional operations in Southeastern Idaho responsible for delivery of Food Stamp, cash assistance, child care, Medicaid and services to the Adult, Aged, Blind and Disabled from 1997 through 2003. In 2003, she moved to Boise to manage the Idaho Child Care Program, Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho (TAFI) Program, and the Community Action Agency's programs which include Weatherization, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Temporary Food Assistance Program and Idaho State Telephone Assistance Program. Currently, she manages the Idaho Child Care Program and the Community Action Agency Programs.

Prior to that, she had 15 years of experience working in the private non-profit sector, working for the Southeastern Idaho Community Action Agency as the Deputy Director, the Director of the YWCA of Pocatello, and Director of a child care resource and referral agency known as All 'Bout Children Services in Pocatello.

She is a potter in her spare time and produces utilitarian ware such as plates, cups, bowls, and casseroles.
Chase Ropelato
President-Elect (Boise)
Chase is a Human Resource Specialist for Idaho Power in the Boise Corporate Headquarters. He has worked in the Human Resource field for over six years and hopes to use his experience in the for-profit sector to provide a new perspective on the board. Chase’s past volunteer work includes serving as Society for Human Resource (SHRM) President and Relay for Life Team Captain. He earned his B.S. in Management and Human Resources at the University of Idaho.
Danielle Jorgensen
Treasurer (Kuna)

Danielle Jorgensen is Assistant General Manager for YMC, Inc. in Meridian, ID. Previously, she worked for Oppenheimer Cos., in multiple positions spanning nine years with the most recent, Assistant Controller. Other positions were Oppenheimer Development Corp.'s Financial and Property Manager.


Danielle has excelled in financials, customer service and being a team player. She has a contagious attitude and a willingness to learn and strive to do her best at any project or task she is performing.  Danielle earned two Bachelors of Business Administration, one in International Business and one in Human Resource Management with minors in Economics and Business Spanish from Boise State University.  She is a member of the Leadership Boise Alumni Association and was in the graduating class of 2017.


Danielle has a daughter, Brielle, two dogs and enjoys family, friends, flower gardening and reading.

Cammra Wakagawa
Boise Representative (Boise)

Cammra Wakagawa is the Area Director for New Horizon Academy and has worked for the company for 15 years starting out as a teacher and moving up to management and administration.

Cammra’s passion is children and how to bring joy and knowledge into their lives. While working at New Horizon Academy, she has been blessed to be able to advocate on children’s behalf. Cammra has visited our leaders in Washington D.C. with IAEYC and is a member of Treasure Valley Education Partnership.

Cammra has successfully lead each of the four New Horizon Academy locations through the NAEYC Accreditation process as well as achieving star ratings with IdahoSTARS QRIS. New Horizon strives to do what is best for children and is proud that 100% of its eligible programs are NAEYC accredited.

Cammra and her husband, Kevin, have four children. She graduated with her degree in Early Childhood Education from Ashworth College and has over 120 training hours with IdahoSTARS since 2008.

Tonya Sears
Coeur d'Alene Representative (Post Falls)
Tonya is the Classroom Lead Teacher at the North Idaho College Head Start. She has been a teacher in the Head Start Program for the past 11 years. Tonya has also been employed at Fernan Elementary and the North Idaho Violence Prevention Center. She is a past Board member of the Idaho Epilepsy Foundation. Tonya received her A.S. from North Idaho College; her B.S. in Child, Family and Consumer Studies; her M.S. in Family and Consumer Studies; and Tonya is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Special Education at the University of Idaho.
Phyllis E. Vernon
Nampa/Caldwell Representative (Emmett)

Phyllis Vernon has been employed at Western Idaho Community Action Partnership Head Start in Payette since 1999. At WICAP, she is currently serving as the School Readiness Specialist and has served as a Home Base Specialist, Home Base Coordinator, Children Service Field Advisor, Child/Family Advocate and Teacher 1.

Phyllis has an Associate of Science in Elementary Education from Volunteer State Community College; and an Early Childhood Endorsement from Treasure Valley Community College, as well as completing Social Services Competency Based Training from WICAP Head Start. In 2011, she achieved Certificates of Completion in the Program for Infant/Toddler Care. Phyllis received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Walden University in 2010 and is currently working on her Master’s Degree.

Phyllis is currently serving as the AIM Early Idaho – President-Elect and is a Lifetime Girl Scout/Trainer for the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage. She enjoys camping, reading and spending time with her three dogs.

Betty McQuain
Idaho Falls/Rexburg Representative (Rexburg)

Betty McQuain has been teaching in the Child Development Program at BYU-Idaho since Fall of 2010. Prior to teaching at BYUI, she taught nine years at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. Before entering the academic world, she worked in various early childhood education settings, including Head Start, local school districts, and private and community preschool programs. In addition, she owned and directed a small preschool and spent 10 years operating a licensed childcare business in her home. She has worked for many years as a trainer for IdahoSTARS and has additionally served as an IdahoSTARS environmental rating scale assessor and mentor. She also worked for a short time as a volunteer accreditation assessor for NAEYC.

Megan Robison
Moscow/Lewiston Representative (Moscow)

Megan and her husband Brad recently moved to Moscow and have two boys—Brayden and Kaleb.

Nichole Moos, NBCT-EC
Member (Boise)

Nichole Moos has been a preschool/kindergarten teacher since 2005. She currently works as a Preschool Teacher in the Early Childhood Center at Community School in Ketchum. In 2009, she earned her M.A. in Early Childhood Education from West Virginia University and in 2005, a B.A. in Early Childhood Studies from Boise State University. She holds the following certifications: National Board Certified Early Childhood Generalist, Idaho Blended Early Childhood Certificate and Illinois Master Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood Teaching.

In addition to being a NAEYC member, she is a member of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance.

Ellen Neff
Twin Falls Representative (Twin Falls)

Ellen has 35 years of experience working with young children in various educational settings. She is a former board member for AIM Early Idaho. Ellen is an Associate Professor in the Early Childhood Education Program at the College of Southern Idaho and has her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Studies with an Infant Mental Health endorsement.

Katie Downs
Emerging Leader Representative (Moscow)

Bio coming soon!

Alicia Robertson
Member (Lewiston)

Alicia Robertson is the Assistant Professor and Program Director for the Early Childhood Program at Lewis-Clark State College. She has been working in the field of Early Childhood for over 18 years as a Parent Educator, Lead Teacher in a preschool classroom, trainer with IdahoSTARS, and as an adjunct with Walla Walla Community College. She earned her M.S. In Family and Consumer Sciences in 2005 from the University of Idaho, and a B.S.F.C.S. in Child Development and Family Relations in 1999 from the University of Idaho.

Anna Wolfenbarger
Member (Boise)

Anna is a Certified Public Accountant for Severn Winkle LLP in Boise. She has worked as a CPA for over thirty years and has assisted non-profit entities with their annual compliance returns and tax planning. Anna currently serves on the United Way Education Vision Council and as Treasurer for The Grapevine, Inc and has previously served as fundraiser in her son’s schools. She earned her BA in Accounting from Idaho State University. Anna enjoys playing golf and enjoys her one day a week caring for her new great-nephew.

Cristina Daccarett
Member (Boise)

Cristina Daccarett is a Senior Continuous Improvement Coach at St. Luke’s Health System and has been employed at St. Luke’s since 2013. She has a Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. She is a member of the Little Luke’s Parent Advisory Council.

Janet Davis
Member (Boise)
Janet is the Co-Owner of Early Learning Children’s Center in Boise. She is a retired IdahoSTARS-approved trainer, mentor/coach and certified child care health consultant. Janet has over 28 years of quality early care and education in the profession. She has assessed several child care centers as an environmental assessor for Idaho AEYC and has worked for three NAEYC accredited programs. Janet has advanced graduate studies in Early Childhood Education and a B.A. in Elementary Education from Boise State University. She is a very active Treasure Valley AEYC member and has been involved with several other nonprofit organizations in the community.
Margaret Elkins
Member (Boise)
Margaret Elkins is the Director of Wesleyan Preschool and Kindergarten in Boise. As an early childhood educator for the past 27 years, she has participated in developing, maintaining and advocating for high-quality early childhood programs at the local, state and national level. Margaret has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the Idaho Early Learning Guidelines, the Idaho STARS Project, the Idaho Child Care Program and the Idaho Core Competencies for Early Care and Education.

Margaret has been directly involved with Idaho AEYC since 2010 having served as a Mentor/Coach, Mentor/Coach Coordinator and Idaho STARS Project Director. She currently serves as a Member-at-Large and Professional Development Leadership Chair on the Idaho AEYC Board.

Margaret received a B.A.S in Child Care and Development from Boise State University. She has served as an ex officio member on the Idaho Child Care Provider Advisory Board, and is a past member of the Idaho Early Childhood Coordinating Council and College of Western Idaho’s Early Childhood Education Technical Advisory Committee.
Margaret Ganyo
Member (Pocatello/Chubbuck)

Margaret Ganyo has been the CEO of the United Way of Southeastern Idaho for the past 14 years. Prior to that she served on the leadership team of Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services, now NeighborWorks Pocatello. There, Margaret helped secure Community Development Financial Institution status for PNHS to provide investment capital to neighborhoods in Pocatello.

Before moving to Pocatello, Margaret served as the Director of Pro Bono Services for Utah Legal Services. She is a licensed attorney in Utah, Washington and California and practiced law for six years.

Margaret and her husband Mike Denning have two sons and two granddaughters and they love calling Pocatello/Chubbuck their home.

Rebecca Lemmons
Member (Boise)

Rebecca Lemmons came to the Saint Alphonsus Health System in 2017 and serves as the Regional Manager of Community Health and Well-Being across Idaho and Oregon. She worked for more than ten years for the State of Idaho in both the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's Division of Public Health, and Central District Health Department's Division of Community and Environmental Health as a Policy Analyst. She also served as the Director of Community Impact at the United Way of Treasure Valley. Rebecca has a strong background leading community assessments, strategic planning, public health policy, and grant management. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and English from the College of Idaho, and a Masters in Health Sciences from Boise State University. She serves on the board of Idaho Voices for Children, and conducts policy scans and develops policy agendas for local nonprofit organizations with her volunteer time. When not advocating for policies, systems, and environmental changes, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children, and taking naps whenever they let her.

Bessie Katsilometes, PhD
Member (Meridian)

Bessie Katsilometes is a retired Associate Vice President/Dean from the Meridian Health Center at Idaho State University where she worked for thirty years in various capacities. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Humanities with a Concentration in Transformative Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies. In 1990, Bessie earned her Master in Public Administration from Idaho State University and in 1973, she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree/Social Work from Idaho State University. Throughout her life, Bessie has served on various committees and boards and was recently appointed to the Governor’s Higher Education Task Force.

Shawna A. Potter
Member (Boise)

Shawna Potter is an HR Professional in Development & Performance Improvement at Idaho Power Company where she has worked since 2015. She received her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology and with a minor in Spanish, from the University of Puget Sound in 2010. Shawna is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration at Boise State University and has a Professional in HR Certificate.

Ex Officio Members

Beth Oppenheimer
Ex Officio (Boise)

Beth Oppenheimer has served as the Executive Director of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho AEYC) since 2010. She has spent many years advocating for the needs of our children and families and is committed to advancing opportunities for all Idaho families. As a working mother of two children, she understands the challenges facing working families and their abilities to support their children’s early care and learning. Previously, Beth served as the Associate Director for the Student Union Building at Boise State University. She has also worked at the University of Idaho, and has worked on education, policy, and development issues for the Junior Achievement of the National Capital Area and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, DC.

Beth is very involved in her community and serves on several boards and committees which include the Treasure Valley YMCA, United Way Vision Council and is the newest member to the Boise School District Board of Trustees.

Beth and her husband, Jonathan reside in Boise and have two young daughters, Maddie and Annabelle.


Board Minutes

Click here to view board minutes from 2016-2018.


Board Resources

Click here to access board resources.