Early Childhood Council of Larimer County is lucky to have 19 volunteer board members who provide oversight and inspiration for our work. In this second month of ECCLC board spotlights, we’re featuring five of our amazing board members. To read our November Board spotlights, click here

Dr. Deborah Archer 

  • Dr. Archer wears many hats, but her favorite role is MOM. She has three children who she could not be prouder of.  
  • She is a multicultural African American Jewish pediatrician. As the product of one of the original 1963 Peace Corp volunteer groups, Dr. Archer’s parents instilled in her a passion for service. She wants to give back to the communities she serves. 
  • In addition to service, she’s passionate about education and pediatrics, and she has dedicated her life to both.
  • Dr. Archer joined the board this past summer. She did so to become more involved in early education and to be able to give back to her community through contributions based on her experience as a community health pediatrician. 
  • When asked what’s the biggest opportunity for ECCLC to tackle in the next year, Dr. Archer said, “to expand access for early childhood education along with recruiting the best and most talented teachers to lead the cause for Larimer County.” 
  • She loves animals and has two dogs that support her need for staying fit and filling up her empty nest now that her kids have moved out. She loves music and piano as well.

Maria Martin 

  • Maria is a wife and the mother of two children, Natalie (8) and Konnor (6). 
  • She is currently the Childcare Center Director at The Sunshine House.
  • Maria joined ECCLC’s board in 2020. She did so because she had always loved hearing updates from ECCLC and how to get involved. She took the position of the previous Sunshine House director’s role on the board. 
  • “I like how being on the board links me and my staff to information in the community and the surrounding early childhood education field,” she said. 
  • When asked what’s the biggest opportunity for ECCLC to tackle in the next year, Maria said, “The ability to find and retain staff. Our biggest hurdle is wages for staff. This would need to be done outside of parent tuition fees, some kind of subsidy (which the ECCLC team knows).” 
  • Maria enjoys reading (a lot) and playing outside. She also loves playing games with her children. 

Jane Stuart 

  • Jane and her husband moved from Arlington, Virginia to Estes Park, Colorado in December of 2011 because they love the outdoors, sunshine, wonder of the mountains, wildlife, and low humidity. 
  • She is a pediatric Occupational Therapist and has worked in Early Intervention through Foothills Gateway as well as in the Estes Park School District. 
  • Jane has been a board member and volunteer with Estes Valley Investment in Childhood Success (EVICS) since 2012. She joined the ECCLC board in 2014 as she wanted to expand her advocacy for families and young children to a county level. She also wanted to learn more about how a larger and very successful board worked since EVICS and ECCLC were her first non-profit board experiences other than church-related boards.
  • “I continue to bring information and understanding to and from ECCLC and EVICS, which is a great pleasure,” she said. 
  • When asked what’s the biggest opportunity for ECCLC to tackle in the next year, Jane shared, “I think the biggest opportunity for our wonderful staff and board is working with the county and state officials to bring funding to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and to get that funding to where it is needed. Creating ECCE work as a viable and respected job opportunity in our society and increasing the understanding of this important work is crucial. Accessibility and equal opportunity for ECCE for ALL children and their families is critical, giving all of our youngest members of society the start they deserve for everyone’s well being in the future.”
  • She is honored to be a part of the ECCLC Board of Directors and so very thankful for all that ECCLC is doing to advocate for and support ECCE staff and quality programs throughout the county.
  • In her free time, Jane enjoys hiking, singing, reading, volunteering in the community, and helping children and their families be the best they can be. Of course, her two sons and three young grandchildren take center stage!

Mims Harris 

  • Mims spent her paid professional career in higher education in campus activities, primarily at Colorado State University. 
  • She and two colleagues created a Multicultural Education Team (what diversity, equity, and inclusion was called in the 1980s and 1990s) and provided educational trainings for students, faculty, and staff. They expanded the work into the Fort Collins community when they hosted two-day retreats for community members. They’ve continued this work to the present time. 
  • In 2001, Mims was a member of a book club that read Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. The book club members were so moved by Barbara’s story that they decided to do something beyond discussing the book so they met with a Larimer County staff member and the director of ECCLC, and decided to focus on child care–education, advocacy, and fundraising. They created a grassroots organization called Nickels and Dimes for Larimer County Child Care Assistance. When United Way of Larimer County created WomenGive, it was clear the two organizations had similar goals, so they wrapped Nickels and Dimes into WomenGive. Meanwhile, Mims was “hooked” on early care and education and eventually joined the ECCLC Board in 2012. 
  • When asked what’s the biggest opportunity for ECCLC to tackle in the next year, Mims said, “To continue to work on the ballot initiative that would create a county-wide dedicated source of sales tax revenue for early care and education. We made significant progress during this year; it is critical for the health of children, their families and for the ECE workforce; and we believe the residents of Larimer County will support such an initiative.”
  • Mims also shared that, “ECCLC is a first-class organization in every way, and I am proud to be a member of the board of directors!”
  • Mims will be honored with the 2021 Human Relations Award by the City of Fort Collins Human Relations Commission on December 7th. The award “celebrates individuals and organizations in our community who work to advance equity, inclusion and social justice within Fort Collins.”  
  • Mims is the eldest of four daughters. Her sisters live in New York City; Picabo, Idaho; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has one niece who lives with her husband and two children in Berkeley, California.  “We’re a small family, yet we make up for quantity in quality,” she shared. 
  • She started playing the piano when she was five years old. Mims and her mom had some disagreements because Mims didn’t like to practice. Thankfully, she hung in there. She now has two pianos in her house and plays (except during COVID) with six other pianists for friends and colleagues. 
  • In addition to volunteering, spending time with her family, and playing the piano, Mims enjoys reading (both fiction and non-fiction), knitting (especially sweaters and hats for young ones), hiking, and taking walks, which all add to the variety of her life, she said.

Mary Ward 

  • Mary is a proud graduate of Poudre School District and Colorado State University. “I LOVE our community!” she said. 
  • Her experience includes serving children, youth, and families in nonprofit, private, government, and school district capacities. “Impacting and inspiring youth to become confident and capable contributors is my jam!” she said. “I also thoroughly enjoy working with and supporting the amazing individuals who work with youth everyday–the ECE workforce is a special club!”
  • Mary appreciates how the ECCLC board recognizes the value of having board members with a vast array of experience including those who have worked with children ages 0-8. As the former Program Director for BASE Camp, a local nonprofit serving school-aged children before and after school, Mary joined the board in January of 2018, bringing her  perspectives from the school-age and large-workforce lenses. She is proud to serve on the board. 
  • When asked what’s the biggest opportunity for ECCLC to tackle in the next year, Mary said, “Workforce challenges. Our community needs dedicated, talented, trained and compensated ECE professionals who will drive quality programming and successful starts for children. I am confident ECCLC can play a vital role in supporting schools, centers, and home-based child care settings with this endeavor.”
  • When she is not working or volunteering, Mary enjoys spending time with her family, riding her horses, and giving her dogs treats. She loves to cook for anyone who will eat, and someday, she hopes to be a better gardener.