CCAoA Welcomes New Board Members and Officers

December 14, 2020

Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) welcomes five new Board members and four new Board officers who will assume their positions in January 2021.    

New Board members:    

  • Junlei Li, Ph.D., is the Saul Zaentz Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research and practice focus on understanding and supporting the work of helpers, those who serve children and families on the front lines of education and social services. Prior to coming to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Dr. Li served as the Co-Director and Rita M. McGinley Professor at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
  • Meredith Lozar is the Director of Military Spouse Programs for Hiring Our Heroes, an initiative of the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation. A leader in the field of military family support services, Lozar has dedicated her career to improving the lives and overall readiness of today’s military families. She has facilitated and/or directed both large- and small-scale military-affiliated nonprofit and for-profit programs, including the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society’s Quantico and Camp Pendleton offices, Blue Star Families’ nationwide communities, the National Military Family Association’s Military Family Programs, and the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program.

  • Patina Park was named Director of Tribal State Relations for the State of Minnesota in February 2020 by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. She is Mnicoujou Lakota. Her biological family comes from the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes, and her adoptive family is Osage. Because of her own experiences as an adoptee, Park is passionate about issues related to Native American children and families and has led trainings nationwide related to Federal Indian Law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, historical trauma and implementing trauma-informed, culturally-responsive programming. Prior to her current position, Park served as President/CEO of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center.
  • Robyn Lopez Melton is the Director of the Center on Early Learning at The Research Institute at Western Oregon University, where she oversees two components of Oregon's early learning system: Spark, Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System and the state coordination of Oregon’s Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R). Lopez Melton has worked in early learning for over 17 years. Her previous experience includes time at a local CCR&R agency and as the Bilingual Outreach Coordinator at a nonprofit child abuse prevention program, working with families with children ages 0-3.
  • Aaliyah Samuel, Ed.D., is the Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Partnerships at the Northwest Evaluation Association. Prior to NWEA, she was the Director of Education at the National Governors Association. Dr. Samuel’s experiences include program evaluation and evidence-based programs, data collection and disaggregation, policy development and implementation. She has informed state policy agendas and assisted with developing cross-systems approaches to develop policy solutions to support leading systems-level change. Dr. Samuel also serves as an appointed Fellow to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child.

“We’re honored to have such a distinguished group of early childhood experts and leaders join our Board,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware of America. “Along with our new Board officers and current Board members, they will guide our organization as we help create an equitable, transformed child care system in 2021 and beyond.   

New Board officers:   

  • President: Taran Schneider, Executive Director of Healthy Child Care Colorado 
  • Vice President: Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine 
  • Treasurer: Laurie Tarpey, CPA, Chief Financial Officer of Public Interest Registry 
  • Secretary: Dan Harris, Executive Director of the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies  


Topics: Press Release

Written by CCAoA