Staff Spotlight

Tess Benham
Well-Being Coach

Please give a warm welcome to Tess.
We are so glad to have her on our team!

Who inspires you professionally or personally?  And why?
I would say that the answer to both would have to be my parents. They have both demonstrated such passion and work ethic throughout their careers that is truly inspiring and something I strive to achieve in my own career path. They are also incredibly kind and thoughtful people who have always been there to support my sister and me.

What are some of your hobbies?
We have a 3-year-old yellow lab who keeps us on our toes. I really enjoy going for walks through our neighborhood and local parks with him. I really enjoy working out and have found a wonderful gym community in Fayetteville at Clubhaus Fitness (and have finally been able to return after a long COVID hiatus).

What is your most treasured accomplishment?
I would have to say one of my most treasured accomplishments was studying abroad in Northern Ireland during my Junior year at Hendrix. I had such a wonderful time learning more about the culture and history and experiencing such a truly beautiful country. I was able to make lifelong friendships and was lucky enough to go back in 2018 and reconnect with my friends and former roommates.

What do you do to treat yourself?
I really love practicing self-care and try to do that in a multitude of ways. But one specific thing is my love for skincare and taking time for a routine whenever possible. I love a good face mask.

What is one thing you cannot do without?
Friends and family of course! But one particular item I cannot do without is a comfy blanket for relaxing on the couch watching TV or movies.

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

Wellness Corner

When we find ourselves needing to make changes or add habits the first step is to make a plan. This goes for any area of our life, including emotional wellness. Developing a mental health wellness plan is a vital part of building and maintaining the new habits you want to incorporate into your life. Without a set plan it can be hard to find the proper direction to ensure you build up the skills you need to maintain mental health wellness. has some great resources for creating a mental health wellness plan and so much more.  Follow the links below for guidance on developing a plan and for more resources to help you make emotional wellness part of your daily life.

Resources for Your Wellness Journey

When: February 2 at 12:30 pm
Where: Facebook Live!

Join us for Well-Being Wednesday next month hosted by Susanna Creed!  For more details and the event itself, be sure to like and follow our Facebook page!


The Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) is seeking nominations for the next Arkansas Outstanding Early Childhood Professional. This award, first established in 1988, honors an early childhood professional who makes significant contributions to the early care and education field in Arkansas. “The eligibility and qualification requirements to be nominated for this prestigious award demonstrate the rigorous standards that are now in place for professionals who choose to serve in the early childhood profession,” said Letha Hassen, education and instruction analyst at DCCECE.

To qualify for the award, nominees must:
  • Meet minimum licensing requirements for child care staff.
  • Be employed by a licensed provider in good standing.
  • Have taught an early childhood classroom for at least three years.
  • Plan to remain in early childhood for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
  • Be willing and able to serve as an early childhood ambassador.

The winning professional will serve on committees, represent early childhood educators in the media as needed and be featured on media and social media outlets.

The nomination packet is available on the Better Beginnings website. The deadline to submit a nomination is 5 p.m. Friday, January 21, 2022. See the nomination packet for submission details. For more information on finding quality child care in Arkansas or to learn more about Better Beginnings, follow their social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or


Curricula Concepts Inc. is offering trainings online via Zoom for families and educators.  

Go to our TRAINING CALENDAR to sign up!   

Pre-registration is required.  If the participant must cancel for any reason, please let us know as soon as possible. Spots are limited and there may be a waiting list.

Training is provided at no cost to the participants and PDR credit is available.
Information to consider:
  • Credit for the training cannot be guaranteed for late arrivals or for participants who leave early.
  • This is an online training and the expectation is that participants will have the capability to interact and participate using video as well as audio.

Have questions or problems with registering for trainings?
Please contact Deborah at!

Zoom Call with the
Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE)

To provide you with information about the COVID-19 public health crisis and to answer child care questions, join the informational Zoom meetings occurring the first Tuesday of the month at 12:00 pm.

  • Join via phone: 301-715-8592   ID: 959 5436 3354
  • Join by computer: Click Here    ID: 959 5436 3354

"Enter this new year with a gratitude for this new chance to create your dreams."
Avina Celeste

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