Our Center Is Like a Family

Crystal Doughty, Oklahoma

Connection with the community is the key for us. The Head Start Center that I lead is more like a family, where all employees stay together, check up on each other, share best practices, and network. There is no significant staff turnaround.

Pauls Valley, where the Center is located, has about 3,000 residents. The center currently serves 20 children. The work done at the center is done for local families; our mission is to be a resource for these families. The staff members realize it is important to be dependable and available.button

I have lived in Oklahoma my whole life. I was a stay-home mom. After the Head Start Center hired me, I developed the desire to further my career. My first step was to sign up for CDA classes at the Mid-America Technology Center. Last spring, I completed my AA degree in Early Childhood Education. I am also taking classes in American Sign Language, because few providers/teachers have that desired language skill. I attend conferences, and Head Start pays all expenses of my professional development. I take advantage of all opportunities to learn more.

After earning the CDA, I felt more professional. Parents had more confidence in me, and I had new knowledge to apply in the classroom and even at home with my own children. I feel working as a Center Director is not only about professionalism, but about showing the child, through your actions, that you care. Working with parents is a challenge, so it is important to know how to approach every new question, every new task. CDA training gave me the confidence to be more effective.

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