Holly Burns, Preschool Programs Coordinator, 13 years

I work with families and preschools in our community to facilitate placements and funding of preschool- aged children that are one or two years before Kindergarten.

I love finding just the right preschool spot for a child.  The right spot involves knowing available openings, locations, teachers, days and hours, as well as funding and enrollment. It can be tricky, and I like to help families make good decisions that work well for their family.

“People Focus” is my favorite Community Education value.  I think kids and parents are at the heart of all that I do. The world is full of regulations, rules, paper work and procedures and I like to treat each person like I would treat a good friend if they were seeking advice for their child and preschool.

I like to shop, cook, and create things with my hands.  My favorite thing to do is visit and play with my 15 month old granddaughter, Camden who lives in southern California. During her first year of life I managed to see her every 2 months.  She is my joy.  My husband John and I have been married for 36 years.  I have a daughter, Lindsay in California and a son, Nick who is getting married in September and lives in Denver.

I am a certified Parent Educator. One of the programs I support personally is PERIOD of PURPLE Crying, which is an educational program for parents of newborns. I knit little purple hats to donate to newborns through Blank Children’s Hospital that are then given out each November to help parents understand newborn crying. The hats each have a bookmark tag with the acronym “PURPLE” which has suggestions and info regarding newborn crying.  The program is aimed at not only educating parents so that they know what to expect, and eliminating shaken baby syndrome by educating frustrated and exhausted new parents.

Sonja LeSher, Brighter Beginnings Program Coordinator, 6 years

I coordinate and facilitate Brighter Beginnings, which is a free program for WDMCS parents of children ages 12 months to 5 years. Parents choose a class according to their child’s age and we meet once a week. This is a fun, relaxed environment to learn about basic child development and discuss and share parenting styles.

I love meeting new people! I enjoy making new friends and watching the families make new friends too! As each session progresses, parents are more at ease to share their joys and concerns about parenting during our discuss time. It’s great to hear them really support one another.

Of the Community Education values “People Focus” is the most important. We serve our community best when we have their needs in mind.

I love watching my kids participate in their activities!  I enjoy being outside in my garden or walking my dog, Lola.

Michelle Greenough, Early Childhood Iowa Preschool Quality Coach, 7 years

Since my position is unique and I serve all Polk County School districts, I see my role as an ambassador of and an advocate for WDMCS Community Education as I am out in the community.

I love getting to visit all of the different preschool environments and meeting teachers who love what they do. It is amazing how a quality preschool education can look so different from classroom to classroom and teacher to teacher.

I believe that that the strength of all six of the Community Education values combined is what makes us special. However, if I had to pick one above all the others, I would say that “People Focus” is the one that stands out.  It is the people of our community that make us relevant and it is the people of our community that we aim to please!

I love to spend time with my two girls in my free time!  Anything that involves them is fun!

I am in love with old houses!  My dream is to lovingly restore and live in a Queen Anne Victorian in order to give her another 100 years!