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Everyone Has a First Year

by Alissa Mwenelupembe
November/December 2016
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/everyone-has-a-first-year/5023219/

While every new leadership position is unique, most directors (past and present) would agree that your first position as an early childhood administrator is the most difficult. There are many reasons why this is true. Often, when a program is searching for a new leader, they look internally. Unfortunately, most early childhood teachers, no matter how fantastic in the classroom, are not equipped to handle the role of director. College early childhood programs often give students a firm foundation in theory and practice, but many programs do not focus heavily on skills like financial management, human resources, and marketing — all of which are essential for a director’s success.

As a trainer and coach of early childhood teachers and directors (and a past director myself,) I have spent countless hours discussing and debating what makes one program succeed and another struggle. Why do some directors stay in their position for decades while others don’t make it past one year? As I pondered those questions I kept going back to the idea, “If I’d only known…” There are many things that I wished I’d known as a new director that might have saved me some stress and heartache in the long run. I ...

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