Althea Penn is committed to unlocking all children’s potential.
Knowledge of child development theories and instructional best practices will help children bloom, as she tells the educators she’s trained for 13 years at Shepherd’s Academy for Teaching Excellence, a nonprofit vocational program here. The academy provides many courses for the state’s department of education.
As a teacher, she shares proven strategies that enhance teachers’ performance and let them give the best possible service to children, especially those who are underserved. Her target audience mainly consists of new program directors who work with students from economically disadvantaged areas, she explained.
“We have found that outcomes among these students are hurt by high educator turnover, increased political pressure and intensified government pressure without appropriate credentialing,” Penn said.
So she helps her students get the qualifications they need. Since 2005, she has trained numerous candidates for the Child Development Associate (CDA®) credential. She has taken thousands of directors and their programs through the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning licensing process, as well as the NAEYC accreditation procedure.
And in addition, she provides technical assistance for program directors and feels “honored” to serve as a Professional Development Specialist for CDA candidates each month.
These varied endeavors are part of a long-term agenda to improve her profession.
“I am a lifelong learner,” she said, “who is committed to cultivating the potential of early educators and the children they serve.”
So her future goals are to conduct research on ECE, publish training curricula and open model classrooms based on the best practices she knows so well. They’re all plans geared toward a single goal: to bring out the best that’s inside every child.