CCDAA Fall Technical Assistance
November 15, 2016
November 18, 2016
Member of the Month
Lennox School District State Preschool Program
Nellie Ríos-Parra operates with a servant leader approach and paradigm. Since 2001, she serves as the Director of the Lennox School District State Preschool Program. In 2013, she was asked to also serve as the Director of the School Readiness Centers. She is dedicated to serving children, families and educators with the goal of ensuring high academic student success, starting from cradle and continuing through college and career. She enjoys contributing to and creating a climate of care while ensuring a high quality program and services are extended to all. Ms Rios-Parras kindly answered our questions
Congratulations Nellie Rios-Parra October 2016 CCDAA Member of the Month!
1. What has been most rewarding about your career in early education so far?
The most rewarding aspect of my career in early education has been partnering with parents and staff to ensure that students brains are wired for positive and critical thinking, that children are provided with the ability to learn more than one language, and that parents remain active participants in their child's educational career. Embracing parents as a child's first teacher, sharing resources with them and inviting them to take an active role in the educational realm has led parents to stay engaged many years later. Some parents have pursued an ECE permit as a result of their volunteerism. Teachers whom welcome parents into the classroom and foster collaborative working relationships report that parents continue to seek them out in times of joy, need and success. Every one of us has the potential to transform a life by simply taking an interest in cultivating a cohesive unit of support for a child. It starts with a smile and friendly greeting and builds daily into a conversation about a child's and family's success. Every parent wants their child to succeed academically in life; it's our job to help them navigate that path to success.
2. If you could give advice to someone who is new in the administrative role, what would it be?
If I could give advice to someone who is new in the administrative role, it would be the alphabet (soup) list below! I would also tell the individual to only listen to the advice that resonates with them and that they are ready to embrace, that their intuition will always guide them well.
A. State daily self affirmations
B. Begin with the end in mind
C. Make a checklist
D. Delegate when possible
F. If it's not fun, make it fun
G. Live by the Golden Rule
H. Have a plan
I. Laugh often, it gets oxygen to the brain
J. Just do it!
K. Balance the budget
L. Lean in (a la Sheryl Sandberg)
M. Find a mentor
N. Nod when listening to others
O. Self-care (sleep, exercise, and eat healthy)
P. Pareto Principle (look it up!)
Q. Quality matters, aim for excellence
R. Read professional resources
S. Smile, it's contagious
T. Think before you speak
U. Actions speak louder than words
V. Be humble
W. Water the flowers, figuratively it means to praise and acknowledge others to help them thrive
X. Highlight the positive and catch staff being good
Y. Tap into the strengths of your team
Z. Show up
3. What is your proudest accomplishment in your career?
My proudest accomplishment in my career is an ongoing one. When I see others succeed as a result of our conversations and/or interactions, I feel like a proud parent. When I hear from former students, parents or staff members that the lessons learned paid off for them, I am extremely gratified and humbled to know that I made a positive difference in that person's life. Two years ago, at the end of an 8th grade promotion ceremony, a former preschool student whom had impacted needs and received early intervention, earned honors as an 8th grader and his family came over to thank me and share their successful outcome. This past year, I met the future President of the United States, he's only 5 years old so I need to wait 35 years. A parent of a former student emailed me last year to share that her son is now pursuing a doctorate degree at Harvard. These stories fill me with joy and I feel honored and humbled to be included in their families’ history. Making a difference in the life of another person is always a stirring emotion that is priceless.