Stephanie Herling

Stephanie Herling, NAEYC member for over 12 years, is a Resource Specialist for STAR NET Region IV, Prior to STAR NET Stephanie spent time as a preschool teacher in North Carolina and a later became a trainer with Children’s Home + Aid here in Illinois. Stephanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies and a minor in Sociology. Stephanie is currently the Illinois AEYC Governing Board President and was involved as a Regional Delegate for Illinois AEYC and the active Secretary/Treasurer for the Metro East Chapter of Illinois AEYC prior to serving her first term. Stephanie is also member of many state driven initiatives and continually holds a professional membership in CEC, DEC, NAEYC, and TASH.


Lisa White

Hello, my name is Lisa White. I am an Early Childhood Lead Teacher at Memorial Child Care. I have been at Memorial for almost 30 years. I serve as the secretary for Capital Area AEYC. I love what I do and my passion is Early Childhood. I want people to know that the Early Childhood profession is very important! My husband and I live in New Berlin. We have two children and two dogs.

Region 2 Delegate


My name is Aminah Weaver.  I have been an educator for over 20 years.  I have been a member of NAEYC/IlAEYC for a number of years.  I have been the Delegate for Region 2 and Board members of IlAEYC for the last 2 years.  I am the Regional Delegate Vice-President and a member of the Policy Committee.  I have attended the Public Policy Conference in Washington D.C. for the past 3 years, to advocate for continued funding in education.



Greetings! My name is Fouzia Khan. I come from a family that stands on the foundation of education. I chose to pursue my career in the field of Early Childhood Education, because educating young children is what I have done my entire life. I started my teaching career as a primary grade teacher; then quickly realized that the youngest learners of our society is whom I want to spend my professional career with. I hold a Bachelors in ECE and pursuing Masters in Leadership and Advocacy!

After working briefly at a couple of places like BH JCC and CCDC in Evanston, in mid 1990s, I accepted an Infant-Toddler Coordinator job with the Skokie Park District. Worked my way up and now I am the Childcare Services Manager for the district. I have the pleasure of working with young families from varied backgrounds; very diverse in all aspects of life. These experiences give me a wealth of knowledge and strategies to reach out to each one of them. I am constantly in touch with the local, state and national agencies from the field of early childhood education.

I am of Indian origin and proud to be a bilingual Indian-American. I am on the Board for the Indian Association of Niles Township. I am fortunate to have earned the recognition, love and respect from the community of Skokie and Chicagoland. I look forward to serving our community in enriching their lives.

I am a proud mother of four beautiful children that are now great, responsible adults. I bring with me vast knowledge, experience and dedication to serve the early childhood world and community of Illinois in general. I am ready for the challenge. Lets get to work!!!



Having been in the field of Early Care and Education for the past 25 years. I have fully experienced every aspect of the field of Early Care and Education. First as a student pursuing an Associate degree in Child Development and later a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education has helped me learn the foundations of quality caregiving. I have worked my way from a substitute teacher, to a part time teacher, and then to a full-time teacher at Illinois Central College Children’s Center. Eventually, I became the full time Assistant Manager of the program for about 14 years and am currently the Interim Manager of the program.

My association with the Illinois Central College Early Childhood Education Program, lends me a unique opportunity to reach a great number of early care and education professionals that may or may not be familiar with NAEYC, Illinois AEYC and our local and regional chapters. The ICC ECE Program is teaching the current and future educators in the field of Early Care and Education the skills, knowledge and experiences that they need to provide the best care and guidance for the children that our community serves. Having a close working relationship with the program as a lab school, myself and my staff have opportunities to communicate and collaborate with these students in order to provide them new ideas and strategies that they will need as they begin to put them into practice in their own classrooms. Being a NAEYC Accredited program, our staff can share the importance of the high-quality standards that we know are important in working with children and families. This is the future of our membership!

In addition to my work, I have been a member of NAEYC for most of my career and for the past several years I have been on the Board of the Heart of Illinois Chapter of Illinois AEYC in various positions – member at-large, technology committee (website, Facebook, communications), VP of Programming, President Elect, and now President. I have attended several Illinois AEYC State Board Meetings in the past and always look forward to working together for the continued best interest of all members of the Affiliate and Chapters I would represent.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve the Region 6 membership at the State level, as I believe that having a voice for our area is an important part of making Illinois AEYC as well as our local Chapters thrive. Additionally, I  believe in the importance of the work we do in Early Care and Education, and want to stay committed to working collaboratively in order to ensure the children of our state are afforded every opportunity to have access to high-quality caregiving and education.



Jess began her path toward becoming an educator at Illinois State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and an Endorsement in Special Education. Jess has taught Preschool, Kindergarten and 1st grade in her 9 years of teaching. In 2016 she was one of 14 individuals nationwide awarded the Lasting Legacy Scholarship to attend her first Annual National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference. She has co-presented at the Annual NAEYC Conference on the importance of risk-taking in early childhood, as well at NAEYC affiliate conferences in Arizona and Illinois.

Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and combined with inquiry-based learning, Jess guides her students through social-emotional and curricula challenges each day through hands-on, collaboration-encouraging projects and opportunities for building confidence and independence. Jess promotes natural play indoors and out during the school day. She creates supportive structure to ensure that students feel secure, yet free: free to ask questions, to be their authentic selves, to build positive relationships, to fail, to feel proud, to be intrinsically motivated, to create, and to build a love of learning.



My name is Amber Knight and I am an early childhood educator at Growing Sprout Schoolhouse, my in-home preschool in Tuscola, Illinois.  Since opening my program in 2016, I have focused on giving children the opportunity to explore the world around them by providing hands-on learning experiences and helping children develop a love for nature.

I have had the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful field in some way, shape, or form since 2005!  I received an Associates Degree in Child Development from Parkland Community College and a Bachelors Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from Easter Illinois University.  I hope to expand my network among the early childhood education community and learn from other like minded individuals!

I enjoy spending time with my family, reading a book with a nice cup of hot tea, and baking sweet treats.



Hello, I am Connie Sue Novotny.  I am a wife of Dennis, and a mother and stepmother to a total of 5 children.  I also have 8 grandchildren.  I began working with preschoolers back in the fall of 1985 in my church’s Mother’s Day Out program.  I started with the 18 months-3 years of age children.  I worked up to the 3rd year, I was asked to be my church’s Preschool Director, and I was in charge of the program.  We grew to a 4 day a week, 4 hours a day program that continued even after I left.  From there, I went to work in the local public- school preschool program for a year.  Then we moved from Louisville, KY to Chicago, IL in 1994.  I taught in 2 preschool/daycares before taking on the role of Assistant Director at first one, then another, daycare in Elgin, IL.  All along I was also going to school at night taking classes to get my early childhood degree.  In the fall of 2001, I left the field for about 5 years, But I could not get away from my love for children in the first 5-6 years of life.  In 2007, my husband’s job brought us to Keokuk, Iowa.  There, I resumed working in early childhood when I worked with an Infant/Toddler Early Head Start program there.  I also began a commute to  Hannibal-Lagrange University in Hannibal MO, to attend night school there for the next 22 months to complete my degree in early childhood development.  In 2009, my husband job took us to Hannibal.  I worked for the Douglass Community Services, as an assistant teacher in the Hannibal Head Start program for two years.   In May of 2010 I finally completed my undergraduate degree, graduating from Hannibal-Lagrange University.    From there I went to Palmyra R-1 Schools as a Parent Educator, working with families and children from birth to 6. I stayed there until May of last year.  We moved to Quincy, IL in March of 2018.  This past year  I taught  the Primary class (3-6 year- olds) in Quincy Montessori School.  This proved an interesting year, with my learning about remote learning on Zoom, as the Covid -19 virus took hold.  Due to the virus, the school chose not to reopen this schoolyear.  At present, I am currently looking for employment.  I am still working with my 3-6 year -old Sunday School class during all of these changes.

I first heard about NAEYC in my college days back in Elgin, IL.  But it was one of my Professors at Hannibal-Lagrange that got me to take out a membership back in 2008.   I have been a member since, 2008, but for IL AEYC, since 2018.  I am excited about the possibility of getting involved in the program here in IL, getting to know more early childhood workers, and do what I can to help our program grow in Region 12 and the whole state.


REGION 4 (JoDavies, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, Carroll, Ogle, De Kalb, Lee and Whiteside County) and REGION 14 (Fayette, Effingham, Jasper, Clay, Crawford, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Edwards, Wayne, Jefferson and Marion County) are both VACANT.  If you are interested in hearing more about the Regional Delegate Position for these two regions, please email Tonya Frehner @