How many years have you worked with children? Off and on, children of different ages (from toddlers to 5th grade) for 23 years

What brought you to work with children?  Have you always wanted to or did it just happen?

Totally just happened. During one summer that I was home from college, I got a job working in a toddler room at a local preschool and really enjoyed it. But it wasn’t for another year or so that I changed my major to elementary education.  Even then I was planning to use the classroom as a stepping stone to a master’s degree in counseling. It wasn’t until I got into the elementary classroom during my last couple years of college that I thought maybe teaching was something I could enjoy in and of itself. During the same time, I was teaching a 4-and 5-year-old class at a local preschool and began to realize how important the relationship building aspect of education was. After graduation from college, I taught 5th grade for 4 years before staying home with my children. It was during those years in the elementary classroom that I began thinking about someday moving out of the classroom and into administration. When my oldest child started preschool, I began subbing in her classroom. Two years later there was an opening to teach the part-time 3-year-old class. After my second year in that position, there was an opening for the Director’s position. This position coincided with the pregnancy of my youngest. Switching from the classroom to the Director’s office allowed the flexibility I needed when he was born. That was over 6 years ago.

What are some of your hobbies?

I love to read and travel and read while traveling. I also enjoy playing games with family and friends, camping, and photography.

What is your most treasured accomplishment?

Raising 3 amazing human beings (still a work in progress!! 😊)

What is your favorite thing about working with children?

Knowing that through them I am touching the future. Seeing a kiddo who has been struggling with something finally have that a-ha moment is absolutely priceless.

What has been the most significant or memorable moment in your job?

Being able to open our classrooms in August of 2020 and create a little slice of normal for our children.

Do you have any dreams or aspirations you want to share?

I guess I dream of being the best I can be at my current role and growing our program into one that is known in our area for being a really high-quality program. To this end, I am currently working on my MS in Early Childhood Services through A-State. I am also working on the professional development needed to reinstate my Arkansas teaching license and am enrolled in the Arkansas Children’s Program Administrator Certificate program

If you are an educator and want to share your story, contact Deborah at!

Arkansas School Grant Garden Program
Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the annual Arkansas School Garden Grant Program AND the annual Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program! Both grant
programs are available to public and private K-12 schools, early childhood education facilities, and alternative learning environments hoping to start or expand farm to school activities.

More information about the grant programs
can be found at:

Apply by December 15, 2022

Apply Here!

Wellness Corner

Toy Safety

We want the holidays to be all about laughter and fun with the family. Here are a few tips on toy safety to make sure everything is all smiles!

  • Check out the instructions, warning labels, and recommended ages before buying any toy.
  • Watch out for any small, loose pieces that may be a choking hazard for younger children.
  • Don't forget a helmet for riding toys.
  • Sign up for product recalls. has handouts for families on not only toy safety but home safety as well. They even have resources in English and Spanish!

Highlights from the DCCECE Provider Call
December 6, 2022

If you missed the Provider Call on December 6, here are a few of the highlights that were covered:
Information for Medicaid clients
Contact: Gavin Lesnick (

Child Care Retention
Donna Massengill (donna
Dr. Amber Ellis ( (Works for ARCare)- Compassion Fatigue- Burnout- Secondary Trauma
Dr. Ellis used a survey to gather information about the needs of her staff.

Camp Alliance - Military Funded Child Care Assistance for Military Families
Camp Alliance (501C3)- Supports the military and connects military families with resources in the community.
In September 2022, the DOD approved to waive the National Accreditation component for child care providers in Arkansas who are Better Beginnings level 3.
Contact: Jennifer McCroddan ( 479-640-5940 (text only)

INS Casper Group (Disinfecting Company)
Casper disinfectant
Contact: Scott Yerby (
Phone #: 337-316-3434
Appx cost: 60 to 90 cents per square foot

CACFP (Child and Adult Food Care Program) and Summer Feeding Program
Contact: Raven Smith (
Contact: DeKelton Lester (

Bonus Grant Update
DCCECE is recalculating the funding before awarding grants due to receiving more grants applications than anticipated. An update should be released in January.

Next DCCECE Provider Call: January 3, 2023

If you'd like to learn more, you can watch the meeting on the DCCECE DHS Youtube Channel.


Save the Date for Well-being Wednesdays! Join us for Well-Being Wednesday January 4, 2023 hosted by Susanna Creed!  For more details and the event itself, be sure to like and follow our Facebook page!

Curricula Concepts Inc. is offering trainings online via Zoom for families and educators!
Go to our Training Calendar to sign up! Have questions or problems with registering for trainings? Contact Deborah at!

“Joy is increased by spreading it to others.”
-Robert Murray McCheyne

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