Holding a CDA is the greatest feeling in the world – Tamra Merrill, Utah (CounciLINK, May 2013)

Tamra Merrill

Tamra Merrill has proven that not only is age just a number, but that you shouldn’t let life’s challenges get in the way of you accomplishing your goals.

In her middle 40’s, Tamra “had no intention of going back to school.” She along with her husband had raised four beautiful children and after leaving the field of nursing, she was ready to “stay at home and help raise the grandchildren.” When Tamra’s children began to move away due to military careers, she found that her plans of staying at home changed. Tamra says, “I found myself lonely and longing to be with children. (That’s when) I started working in the childcare field and loved it!”

Excelling in the classroom the owners of the child care center where Tamra worked, asked her to become the Assistant Director. Although Utah does not require credentials for an Assistant, Tamra quickly found that if she wanted to advance in her career she needed to get her CDA. The decision to start taking Child Development courses was not an easy one. Tamra worried of the challenges she might face as an adult living with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Tamra says, “Growing up with no medication for this, I had to learn to control it on my own, but school! I was scared!” Working with children is what gave Tamra the courage she needed to get started. Tamra stated, “seeing how they overcome every obstacle in their way encouraged me to push forth.”

After completing her Child Development courses, Tamra felt the classes gave her the needed skills to work daily with children. She stated, “The research and writings for my CDA competency goals really helped me to identify my strengths, and gave me the confidence to go (through) with the process. I recommend to all the teachers at (a school) or center that they get the classes and go after their CDA, what they will learn in the classes is so valuable and holding a CDA is the greatest feeling in the world.”

Tamra’s story does end there; she has continued her commitment to professional development and recently renewed her CDA credential. In response to the education requirements necessary to renew her CDA credential, Tamra says, “yes, I did the classes and am proud to say that I passed them with the highest scores I have ever received!”



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