Meet Dr. Valora Washington – the CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition

October 14, 2015
Valora photo October 2016 resizedHow would you like to find out about the life of an exceptional educator and the leader of the Council for Professional Recognition? This post recognizes our CEO, Dr. Valora Washington, who has been in charge of our organization since 2011. We sat down with Dr. Washington and asked her to share some fun facts about herself:
Who is Dr. Valora Washington? Most people in the field know me as a co-founder of several institutions, such as Michigan’s Children – a statewide advocacy group, the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, and The CAYL Institute. I am also an author of over fifty publications, and most recently, a book called “The New Early Childhood Professional: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Goliath.” I have a Ph.D. in Child Development/Education from Indiana University at Bloomington. I am originally from Columbus, Ohio. My most important value, next to my faith, is my family. And, I have many relatives! This includes my two adult children and a host of nieces and nephews.
What drew you to the Council for Professional Recognition? I am passionate about the people who work with and for young children – and the Council is, perhaps, the largest point of professional recognition for early educators in the United States. So, for me, working at the Council is deeply connected to the work I care most about: advancing and professionalizing the field of early childhood education. I am committed to action research and policy change, and being a leader of such an emblematic national organization gives me just the opportunity to do both. I had been involved with the Council for many years before I became the CEO. In the past, I served on the board, and I was a Commissioner for the Council’s highly regarded leadership of the Head Start Fellows program. Joining the Council was an opportunity to contribute to its enduring excellence as truly the “best first step” for early educators. It has been a privilege to work with so many people who enhance the credential’s effectiveness and relevancy in today’s world.
How did you find yourself in the field of Early Childhood Education? I was very curious about children. As an undergraduate, I studied anthropology and had an opportunity to spend a summer in four West African countries. The children there fascinated me. I wanted to know more, so I pursued a doctoral study at Indiana.
What is the most exciting thing about you being a CEO of the Council? Every day each staff person at the Council knows that we make a difference in the lives of other people. Did you know that we receive over 10,000 telephone calls from early educators every month? This is an enormous responsibility to support our workforce, and we are excited about it. We take it seriously, as we have a chance to make their lives better and build their capacity to provide high-quality early education for young children. Of course, it is a pleasure to sign the credentials of 25,0000 teachers of young children each year. But, also, we work to achieve broader systems change and encourage states and communities to respect and support teachers of young children.
What do you like to do for fun? I am a prolific reader. I am inspired by biographies and history, as well as historical fiction. I also like to read popular teen series – that is to help me keep up with my young relatives! Another one of my passions is movies and theater. I consider myself to be an amateur critic of almost any genre except horror films. And believe it or not, my other passion is roller-coasters! Together with my family, we have been to, probably, every major entertainment park in the country!
What would you like to say to our readers, who are new to our organization and our blog? There are so many examples of how earning a CDA changed people’s lives for the better professionally, personally and economically, and the story of our Board Member Calvin Moore, is the best illustration of that. Read these stories, get inspired and make your first step! Join us as we work together to strengthen professional development for early childhood educators! We welcome your ideas, your questions, and your concerns. We appreciate the opportunity to provide a forum for constructive debate and insight!

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