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My name is Elsa Bonilla, I have three children Stefany 20 years old, Nicky 18 and my son Ruben 16 years old. I was born in Nogales Arizona. I currently live in Tucson AZ.
I have been a preschool teacher for 13 years, Ten of those years were spent in Child Parent Centers Head Start working in Nogales, Rio-Rico and Tucson. I was also part of Sunshine Private Preschool and the last preschool I worked was Outerlimits Preschool in Tucson.
I have had an opportunity to work with and incorporate programs into a preschool curriculum like, High Scope, The Reggio- Emilia Approach, Emergent Learning Curriculum and Project Based Learning. I have been able to be a part of pioneer programs like the incorporation of Teaching Strategies GOLD. I have worked very close with Quality First. I am familiar with much type of observations tools.
At this moment I am working on improving teachers’ strategies for smooth kindergarten transitions for tribal preschool children at the Tohono O’odham Nation. I work for the Tohono O’odham Community College and I currently work with Head Start, Child Care Program and Home base programs.
I believe and fight for the Power to the Profession because I have lived the issues that we are currently facing in this field. I feel that I have enough experience to understand Arizona’s need toward High Quality Education for children through support for Higher Education and professional development. I understand the financial struggle we are facing when it comes to having decent pay for our professionals. I know of the importance of advocating towards having The Early childhood career turn into a profession. Living here so close to the border I am seeing the impact that the current president has with our families. I am also seeing the impact it has on The Tohono O’odham nation and how all this is affecting our families and our children. I am currently a supporter with an initiative in Tucson called Strong Start Tucson.
I also have an understanding of the Mexican/American Border issues and how this is affecting our programs. I am also aware of Native American issues we have in the nation.
I am bilingual I speak English and I also speak read and write Spanish. I am currently working on learning the O’odham language by taking a language class . I have taken a Tohono O’odham History and Culture Class to better understand the people. I am also working on strategies on how to incorporate the Himdag (culture) into the curriculum.
Erin Aguilar is passionate about advocating for children with special needs and supporting teachers in creating classrooms that provide the necessary access, participation and support for full inclusion. This passion comes from advocating for her own son who went through the early intervention process at age two. Erin is married to Krisant Aguilar, a supportive and loving husband who pushes her to follow her dreams. Their son Jackson (10) is an avid soccer player and loves to travel, explore and go on adventures. Together they live in Tucson and enjoy cooking, gardening, and planning adventures to escape the heat of Arizona summers.
Erin is an Inclusion Specialist and Educator for the Easterseals Blake Foundation. She coordinates the Inspire Inclusion Community of Practice, part of the UWTSA/FTF Great Expectations Professional Development Grant, promoting and supporting inclusive practices in early childhood programs. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and is adjunct faculty at Pima Community College and Tohono O’odham Community College.
She sits on the Task Force for Inclusion for the Arizona Department of Education, Early Childhood Program and is a board member for the Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children. She has presented at the National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute and provided professional development throughout the state of Arizona. Erin has worked as a Quality First Coach in Tucson and as a preschool teacher in California where she is from.