The administrative home for the Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry has a team of seven dedicated early childhood professionals available to help you and your staff learn and utilize the Registry and the First Things First College Scholarship program. The team is available by phone, email, webinar, and even face-to-face meetings and trainings. Please feel free to contact your Regional Outreach Coordinator for any assistance you may need.

AZ Registry Community Outreach Team - Gordon Brown

Gordon Freeman Brown

Areas Served: South Phoenix (South of Thomas Road), Maryvale, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Guadalupe, Chandler, Pinal County, Gila River Indian Community and Ak-Chin Indian Community

Gordon jumped into the field of early childhood when he became a single parent to two little girls, age 3 and 6. This challenging personal experience propelled him into a professional career working as an early childhood teacher, college lab instructor, parent educator, professional development trainer and workshop facilitator. In his work, he is a passionate advocate for young children and their families and for bridging the gap between research and practice. He also strives to inspire others to spread the message of authentic relationship-based, child-centered active learning experiences as the basis of resilience and healing for both children and adults.

Lisa Cobb

Areas Served: Scottsdale (West of the 101/Pima Road), Carefree, Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, North Phoenix (north of Thomas Road), Anthem, New River, Peoria, El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Wickenburg, Youngtown, Aguila, Morristown, Sun City, Sun City West, Waddell, Wittmann, Avondale, Buckeye, Gila Bend, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Tolleson and Tonopah

Lisa has more than 30 years of experience in early child care business administration and advocacy. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood and business administration from Western Illinois University. During her tenure as an early child care director, Iowa State Director of First Children’s Finance, and global leader for the Early Childhood World Forum, she advocated for early child care professionals to improve quality of their programs and reach their program goals. She has served as an early child care consultant for pre-schools, Head Start and Pre-Kindergarten programs and was selected as a global leader, representing the United States at the World Forum for Early Child Care in Ireland, Italy, and Hawaii. She is very passionate and dedicated to supporting the needs of the early childhood workforce, who she believes are the gatekeepers to quality and who serve our children and families.

Mike Gaffney

Areas Served: Navajo and Apache Counties, Navajo Nation, White Mountain Apache Tribe

After graduating with a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland, with a concentration in public policy, program management, and community organizing and development, Mike worked as a crew supervisor and youth mentor and coordinator at the East Bay Conservation Corps in Oakland, Calif., and the California Conservation Corps’ Backcountry Trails Program. He also served in Peace Corps in Panama as a health educator in a rural Ngobe community, where he lived with a family and learned much about the rich culture and language of Panama’s largest indigenous group. Upon returning to the United States from Panama, Mike worked as a youth leader, teacher and a program officer for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, managing several grant programs and heading the organization’s diversity initiatives. He has served on the First Things First White Mountain Apache Regional Partnership Council and is co-founder and current board member of the White Mountain Youth Corps. Mike and his wife, Emily, two children and dog enjoy living, biking, hiking, and camping in the White Mountains. 

Veronica Hernandez

Areas Served: Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale (east of the 101/Pima Road), Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Fountain Hills, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Graham County, Greenlee County, San Carlos/Apache Indian Reservation

Veronica received her master’s degree in psychology from Grand Canyon University and is currently working toward a doctorate in general psychology with an emphasis in cognition and instruction. She’s worked with Easter Seals Blake Foundation in Safford, Ariz., where she worked in early intervention, Early Head Start and preschool administration. Throughout her career, she has gravitated toward working with or on behalf of children in Arizona. She is married and the stepmother to two daughters.

AZ Registry Community Outreach Team - Tammy Lee

Tammy Lee ​

Areas Served: Coconino, Gila and Yavapai Counties

Tammy Lee has a master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction with an early childhood endorsement/special needs from the University of Wyoming, along with an Early Childhood Endorsement/Birth to Five. In addition to her current position, Tammy has 14 years of experience working on behalf of children ages birth to 5 years old. She has spent many years as a preschool teacher in quality child care centers. Tammy also serves as the council member on the First Things First Yavapai Regional Partnership Council.

Susan O’Brien

Areas Served: Yuma County, La Paz County and Mohave County

Susan has worked in the early childhood field for more than 32 years. She began in 1987 as a family child care provider during her husband’s service with the Marine Corps. Since 1999, she has been an adjunct faculty member with Arizona Western College (AWC) in Yuma, AZ, where she teaches and provides advisement for students in the child development associate (CDA) certificate and early childhood education degree programs. For 18 years, she has collaborated with Central Arizona College to oversee and maintain the early childhood education/professional career pathway project for AWC students. She currently serves as a CDA professional development specialist for the Council for Professional Recognition. Susan has been married for 36 years and has two sons and five grandchildren.

AZ Registry Community Outreach Team - Kristine Nishimura

Kristine Nishimura ​

Areas Served: Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz, Pasqua Yaqui Tribe and Tohono O’Odham

Kristine began working with preschool age children in the early 1990s while finishing her bachelor’s degree in education at San Jose State University in California. After moving to Tucson in 1996, she taught for ten years in preschool classrooms for ages 3 to 5 years old as well as three years in a kindergarten classroom. In addition to teaching preschool, she also worked in student services at Pima Community College. When she is not out in the community assisting early childhood providers with the Registry, Kristine can be found in her studio working on jewelry and fused glass art projects.

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