Story by Megan Whitehead | Apr 26, 2017
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer

What do you do?  

Executive director of the Jefferson City Day Care Center. I was hired as a teacher in January, 1983, and then promoted to assistant director in 1989, and I became the executive director in 1994.

Tell us about your family: 

I’ve been married for 32 years to Tony. We live in Russellville in a house my uncle built. We have three daughters, two of whom are married and the third of whom is engaged. My daughters attended Jefferson City Day Care Center as children, and we have one granddaughter and one grandson, both of whom attend JCDCC.

Tell us about JCDCC: 

My favorite charity will always be JCDCC. I get to see so many good things here, and there are always success stories. We provide full-day child care and offer an accredited early childhood education program with a sliding fee scale based on family size and income. Our doors are open to all families as long as parents are working or going to school, but our main emphasis is on low-income working families. We also provide child care for up to 90 days for families searching for a job. Before I began working at JCDCC, I had no idea about the struggles low income working families had to deal with. I grew up in a middle-income family with parents and siblings and more family and friends close by. JCDCC really opened my eyes to the struggles poverty brings.

What are some of your goals for JCDCC? 

The center is celebrating our 50th birthday this year. We’ll have a birthday party in September, where we will announce our brand-new name. My long-term goals are to continue making improvements to the building, continue the successful programs we have, and promote the things that make us unique. 

How do you hope to impact the community with your role? 

By offering a quality early childhood education program, I hope to give young children a good start and a better chance for a bright future. I hope to improve the quality of life for the families in our care by enabling low-income working families to continue to work and hopefully advance in their place of employment. I also hope to impact the community by helping future parents get off public assistance and become self-supporting. 

Why you are passionate about your position?

What we do makes life better for a lot of people. I see teachers who brainstorm with parents about a concern with their child and it’s evident that both teachers and parents care deeply about the child. I walk into a classroom and children and staff are laughing and dancing together. I see a volunteer with a child in their lap giving comfort and letting that child know they are loved. I see parents who take time out of their very busy schedule to attend our monthly parent classes, simply because they want the best for their children. It’s wonderful to work with a team this positive and caring.

What led you to the field of childcare? 

When I was a teen, I wanted to be a flight attendant, but I loved working with children — I volunteered in our church nursery and babysat, which I always enjoyed. When I went to college, I majored in child development. I loved it and never looked back. I believe God steered me to this profession, and I’m thankful I listened.

What makes JCDCC unique from other childcare centers?  

I think each child care center offers something unique to parents, and I have a lot of respect for anyone who works in this business. JCDCC is a grassroots organization that started when parents wanting to get off welfare partnered with Church Women United. Parents are still a very active part of the center, as is CWW. Our center is run by a volunteer board of directors who volunteer several hours every month. We also have volunteers who work directly with the children and several local clubs and schools who volunteer. We’re a United Way agency, so we work closely with them as well.

Favorite place to spend an afternoon: 

At work, it’s on the playground with the children going down the slide. Outside of work, one of my favorite things to do is spend time with my granddaughter. I’ve played with Barbies more in the last three years than I ever did as a child.

Last book you read: 

I’m currently reading “Three Simple Rules” by Rueben Job. The first rule the book discusses is “do no harm.”  I’ve been trying to follow that, and I’ve found it isn’t always so simple.     Favorite TV show:  “The Voice.” It’s a show with a lot of singing, primarily about helping people and offering support.  Favorite comfort food:  I love fruit and chocolate, so I’d say chocolate covered strawberries.

Ideal vacation: 

Give me a beach, the sun, the warmth, and then let me search for shells and play in water.

Secret aspiration: 

I want to visit all the National Parks, or at least most of them. There are some I’ve been to several times, but each time I go I see and learn something new.

Source of inspiration:  

My source of inspiration is the people in this community. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by amazing people, and I’m uplifted by them every day.

What is a fun fact about you that most people don’t know? 

I like to sing. I’m a really bad singer, but that doesn’t bother me. As my family, friends, and co-workers can tell you, that doesn’t stop me.