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Staff Spotlight: Katie Adams

Meet Katie Adams (3rd from the left), Director of our Joliet Early Learning Center!

What is your job title & how long have you been an employee at OHU?

Center Director. I started at Joliet Early Learning Center in September 2016 as Assistant Director/Parent Educator for the program. In March of 2017, I was promoted to Center Director.

What sparked your interest in this career field?

For me, I knew working in early learning would be a field that I would be happy in and enjoy doing every day. I love hearing the voices of the children and seeing their faces light up each time they learn something new and it undoubtedly brings boundless joy. Having such an impact on the learning process of kids is a rare privilege.

Why is early childhood education so important?

The first years of children’s lives are crucial for setting the foundation of their learning experience. If children have a strong, quality experience with early learning, they grow up into adults that are lifelong learners.

Can you share a success story or something you are most proud of doing in your role?

I am most proud of the progress we have made in enrollment at the center and building the quality of our program. Less than two years ago, our enrollment was about 80 children and we had 8 of the 13 classrooms operating. Currently, all of our classrooms are open and our enrollment is up to 182 children. We also just finished our ExceleRate Illinois monitoring review in hopes to achieve the Gold Circle of Quality (child care state rating system) and reaching for better child development outcomes. As a team, we strengthen our relationships with the children and families that we serve everyday and have created partnerships with community organizations in our area.

What are you most excited about as far as the future of your role?

I am eager to begin the NAEYC accreditation process for the center. Accreditation ensures that programs are safe, well prepared, and intentional about ensuring children’s success. I am excited to continue working toward our center goal which is to be a high-quality early learning center and create positive long-term outcomes in life, including increased educational attainment and healthier lifestyles for the children and families we serve in our program.