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Our Staff

Colette Adams, Contract and Finance Manager

Colette has been with Child Care Aware of Washington since September 2005. She works closely with CCA's seven regional programs and other subcontractors and vendors to manage, oversee and monitor all contracts. Also, she assists with the accounting and finance functions of CCA internally. Previously she was the Scholarship Counselor for the WA Scholarships for Child Care Professionals program. With more than 17 years experience in the non-profit sector, Colette has a keen eye for detail, is a problem solver and enjoys the daily challenges of this position. She recently completed a Contract Design & Management Certificate program through the University of Washington.

Karin Anderson, Program Manager - Quality Improvement

Karin joined our team in January 2017. She has 27 years of experience working in the early learning field, including family child care, early intervention services and consultation services to early learning professionals. She has been supporting Child Care Aware’s mission at the regional level since 2011, most recently as an Early Achievers Regional Lead. Karin is passionate about ensuring kindergarten readiness for all children, and supporting the dedicated regional staff working to achieve this mission.

Tulay Crosbie, Executive Assistant

Tulay recently joined Child Care Aware of Washington. She has 17 years of executive assistant experience interacting with wide variety of chief executive officers, directors and board executives. She is a self-directed individual with a strong work ethic and commitment to quality and customer service. She completed two years of Business Administration at the Aegean University in Turkey. She speaks English, Turkish and some German. She currently is taking Spanish at the University of Washington. She is very passionate about her community and has volunteered with several organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the Tacoma Humane Society.

Jonathan Farris, IT Systems and Database Administrator Jonathan Farris

After joining the team in August 2017, Jonathan immediately began preparations to move CCA of WA's entire IT infrastructure down the street the following month, to our new office building. He suffers from a mild case of perfectionism; highlighted by occasional episodes of over-analyzing everything! He is an incurable problem-solver, even for issues that no one else sees as a problem. Jonathan also is a dedicated father of two toddlers and is passionate about supporting and enabling the CCA of WA mission to improve children’s lives and future potential. Jonathan is a recent graduate of the University of Washington’s Masters of Cybersecurity Leadership program, holds multiple industry certifications and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Marcia Jacobs, Communications and Marketing Manager/Web Design

Marcia enjoys working with staff and our partners to achieve the mission of ensuring access to high-quality child care and early learning programs for all WA families. She coordinates our communications and marketing efforts as well as designs and administers our website. She brings to CCA of WA a wide range of skills and experience including communication skills gleaned from her work as a journalist, as well as volunteer and community service experience involving many varied organizations such as The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity and Seattle Children’s Hospital. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies, with a minor in Journalism, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Cameron Joy-Kurtz, Engagement Specialist Cameron

Now in his fourth year with Child Care Aware of Washington, Cameron is passionate about improving quality, access and choice for the parents and children of Washington State. He believes that access to high-quality child care has a multi-generational impact on our communities and our economy. As Engagement Specialist, Cameron enjoys developing innovative outreach strategies to cultivate partnerships between the private, public and non-profit sectors to improve child care services for Washington’s children. Cameron studied at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and completed his Bachelor's Degree in English at the University of Colorado.

Sarah Kelley, Data and Program Evaluation Analyst

Sarah is passionate about increasing quality, access and professionalism in early childhood education. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development Early Childhood Education and Care from Washington State University and a Master’s Degree in Policy Studies from University of Washington. She has experience in resource and referral, family advocacy and teaching in Head Start/ECEAP and child care centers. In her graduate research she focused on early learning quality and child outcomes. In her role at CCA she supports data collection, analysis and reporting to inform our work and communicate program impacts to internal and external stakeholders.

Tiffany Khanphongphane, Office Coordinator Tiffany Khanphongphane

Tiffany recently joined Child Care Aware of Washington, bringing with her seven years of office coordinator experience. She has a strong work ethic, is always looking for improvements and provides great customer service. Tiffany studied at Renton Technical College where she received her Accounting Clerk Degree. Tiffany enjoys spending lots of quality time with her family and pets.

Robin Lester, Chief Executive Officer Robin Lester

Robin joined Child Care Aware of Washington as CEO in August 2015 after leading Courage360 (formerly known as WWEE, Washington Women’s Employment & Education) for 14 years. She is a leader for creating positive changes for families in Washington and brings to us years of experience in both the non-profit and legal fields. During the past 24 years, Robin has served on numerous community-based boards, commissions and task forces in the Puget Sound area. She currently serves on the Early Childhood Education Workforce Council and is chair of the Compensation Committee, and the Starting Strong Advisory team. She holds a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of the Pacific - McGeorge School of Law and a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Accounting and Marketing from National University.

Christa Murray, Program Specialist

Christa started at Child Care Aware of Washington as a Scholarships Coordinator helping providers achieve their educational goals. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services and a Master's in Adult and Higher Education, both from Western Washington University. This has given her a strong background in both nonprofit and adult training practices. She and her husband recently became licensed foster parents; Christa is using her knowledge of early childhood education to provide the best support for the children in her care. Check out Christa’s article on foster children in child care published on the NAEYC blog.

Michel Nelson, Director of Community Engagement

Michel joined Child Care Aware of Washington in the fall of 2016 in a new position to expand support for child care and early learning from businesses and diverse community partners. She believes that quality child care choices and child development resources for caregivers are critical elements to workforce and economic development. In addition, Michel coordinates Child Care Aware of Washington’s Family Center with the organization’s regional staff. With a background in marketing, membership and communications, Michel has led efforts in the non-profit and public sectors that resulted in innovative partnerships and statewide public awareness campaigns. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Washington State University.

Ivonne Pereira, Scholarships Coordinator

Ivonne joined Child Care Aware of Washington as the Scholarship Coordinator in January 2017. She has previous experience working in the fields of education, social work and advocacy with refugee and immigrant children and adults from various cultural backgrounds. She believes in empowering those who need it most, as it is her belief every person deserves the opportunity to flourish. Ivonne is bilingual in English and Spanish and has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies from the University of North Texas.

Ryan Pricco, Director of Policy and AdvocacyRyan

Ryan keeps our organization moving forward on initiatives in the public policy realm. Ryan coordinates all advocacy efforts for Child Care Aware of Washington and is an effective voice in Olympia for children, families and caregivers during the state legislative session. When the Legislature is not in session Ryan focuses on grassroots mobilization, system messaging, representing us at key meetings with state-level partners, staffing the Board of Trustees meetings, and assisting the Executive Director. Ryan’s favorite memory working at CCA of WA has been watching the Department of Early Learning and Thrive by Five come together as a public-private partnership charged with moving early learning forward in Washington State. Ryan holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Washington.

Meka Riggins, Program Manager, Scholarships and Professional DevelopmentMeka

A strong believer in the power of higher education, Meka is responsible for managing our scholarship program. Her work directly touches the lives of every scholar we serve by ensuring the program runs smoothly and efficiently for everyone. She joined Child Care Aware of Washington the fall of 2011. Prior to that Meka was the Development and Scholarship Coordinator at Tacoma Community College.

Marianna Ross, Program Manager - Quality Improvement Marianna Ross

Marianna has worked with children for more than 10 years. She has taught Pre-K, 1st grade and Title I.  She worked as a Training and Curriculum Specialist with Army Child Development Centers; first at Fort Bliss, TX and most recently at Fort Meade, MD. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Human Communication from Southern Oregon University and Master's in Teaching from George Fox University. Most recently she was CCA of WA's Program Specialist for Early Achievers, Washington's quality rating and improvement system. Marianna is passionate about ensuring that all families have access to high-quality child care programs and all providers have opportunities for professional development. She spends her spare time sewing and reading.

Karen Sampson, Director of Data and Evaluation

Karen came to Child Care Aware of Washington in November 2011. Karen leads the organization’s efforts to collect and analyze meaningful information about our work, child care providers, and the families we serve. This information supports the organization and local regions in managing our work and demonstrating our impact on child care providers, quality of care and children in Washington. Prior to joining CCA of WA, Karen was an analyst on the Accountability & Performance team in the Washington State Governor’s Office, where she helped state agencies measure their performance to inform data-based management and public accountability.  Karen holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Political Science from Wake Forest University and a Master's in Policy Studies from the University of Washington.

Ashley Stillmaker, Program Support Assistant Ashley Stillmaker

Ashley came to Child Care Aware of Washington in September 2016 as the new Program Support Assistant. She has previous experience as a Pre-K educator and recently worked with Comprehensive Life Resources, a non-profit organization for mental health, primarily in the children’s facility. Ashley studied at Tacoma Community College where she received her Associates Degree in Elementary Education and is currently working toward her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Ashworth University.

Alan Strand, Director of Finance and Accountability Alan Strand

Alan is passionate about supporting Child Care Aware of Washington’s mission by making sure finance and accounting tasks happen smoothly. Alan has more than 15 years of accounting, finance and business management experience with nonprofit organizations in Washington and California. His extensive experience in nonprofit accounting, coupled with an ability to communicate affably and effectively about the topic, led to his role at the University of Washington, Tacoma, as faculty in their Nonprofit Management Certificate Program.  Alan most recently ran his own consulting business, focused on supporting nonprofits who used his expertise and background to help strengthen their financial practices.

Nannette Ward, Finance Specialist

Nannette believes in the mission and goals of Child Care Aware of Washington and is a dedicated individual supporting the overall accounting process of CCA. Nannette previously worked for the University of Washington (Seattle & Tacoma). She is currently working to earn her Bachelor's Degree from the Academy of Art University so that she may pursue a career in photography. Nannette enjoys spending quality time with her immediate family and her grandparents, as well as snowboarding. Nannette thrives on building positive changes in the lives of children and parents alike, and since becoming a part of CCA, has helped foster exciting interactions with staff and community partners.

Christine Zumwalt, Scholarships Coordinator

Christine has been administering scholarships since 2008 and joined Child Care Aware of Washington’s Scholarships team in 2015. She enjoys working in a position that supports people of all ages to have access to a quality education. Christine previously worked at the Seattle Central College Foundation and the Institute of International Education, where she worked with a wide variety of students. She holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Communication and Spanish from Washington State University and a Master’s of Education from the University of Houston. In her free time, Christine enjoys being outdoors with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

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