I started my adventure in Early Childhood Education about five years ago. It was never something I thought I wanted to do when I started, it was simply just a job to help take care of my children. My mother was the Director of a preschool earning her degree in Early Childhood Development later in her life, however, she passed away when I was young. I was raised by my brother-in- law and my older sister. Although they did a great job raising me, I was never sure of what I wanted to do in life. School was not really my “thing.” I had always achieved good grades, but I was just bored.  I had children shortly after high school, married my high school sweetheart, and put my dreams of getting a higher education on hold. I completed my cosmetology license and worked as a hairstylist for a few years, but during that time, I knew that was not something I wanted to do all the time. I then found myself raising two young ladies being a single mom. My job required long hours away from my children and I was not willing to sacrifice that while they were so young. I continued working for home health for my sister until she passed away. I completely pulled away from everything and did not have a lot of gumption to do much of anything.

Awhile later, I fell into my job at the YMCA. I moved quickly up the career ladder from a lead teacher in toddlers to lead in preschool and onto a position they created for me, Preschool Coordinator. I fell in love with my life and my job all over again. There was a passion in me to help children develop and grow through learning. During my time at the YMCA, I received a scholarship through the United Way to get my CDA credential in Preschool. As I received my CDA, my passion for the Early Childhood field continued to grow. Everything I learned had me intrigued; my instructor made me want to learn more. She challenged me. She made me see things from a different perspective. It lit a fire in me to make sure everything I was doing in my classroom was best practice for children. I then learned of the program at the North Belt Center with North Central Missouri College after completing the opportunity from the United Way. I knew I had to continue my education in the Early Childhood field. After a series of conversations with my family and my daughters, I enrolled at NCMC. We knew there may be some sacrifices along the way but the rewards I began to feel within myself, with the children I taught, and the families I served, would be ten times greater.

During the time I was finishing my CDA, my instructor had encouraged me to apply at Head Start where she worked. I applied and before I had my CDA credential back, I was hired for that following school year. I moved quickly up the career ladder in my short time with them as well. I went from being an Assistant Teacher to a Director in one year of being with the company and now I am the Director over our largest Head Start Center. I would not have been able to achieve these goals without NCMC. I have even had the honor of becoming part of a pilot program through the state and Youth Alliance to be an Infant Toddler Coach. My children are older now, we have a blended family of five, and they will see me graduate in May with my Associates Degree. I have plans of attending Missouri Western in the Fall for my bachelor’s degree, and my family could not be any happier. My children tell me how proud they are of my accomplishments and of my decision to attend NCMC all the time.

Enrolling at NCMC was one of the most life-altering steps I have ever had to take, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have managed to be on the Dean’s or President’s List every semester I have attended NCMC and recently became a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. My goal position within the Head Start company is to become the Head Start Education Director. The instructors at NCMC pushed me to become a better version of myself and now I can share that with other teachers. I even implement what I have learned in classes with my own children and family and the basketball team I created for the youth girls in my community.

My time at NCMC has been amazing. The flexibility and support I have received from staff and peers have been beyond what I could have imagined. I am now and will forever be proud to be a Pirate!

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