Sharee Harris is a preschool teacher at our ECMHSP Fort Pierce Center in Florida. She attended our administrative self-assessment in Raleigh last week. She shares her experience in this interview.
What is your story at East Coast Migrant Head Start Project?
My cousin told me about the opportunities at East Coast Migrant Head Start Project, so I applied straight out of high school. I was hired nineteen years ago, in December 1999, as a substitute teacher for the ECMHSP Fort Pierce Center. Back then, you could start working with a high diploma. I have worked my way up from there, advancing to become a preschool teacher. I achieved my first degree in 2013 when I earned my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from River State College. In 2009, I transferred for one season to the ECMHSP Chandler Mountain Center, located in Alabama. It was difficult finding qualified teachers in Alabama, so ECMHSP started a program to transfer teachers from one center to the other. The season lasted from June to October. I remember the center served 140 children that season. Although it was tough being away from home, I knew they needed my help. My goal is to keep moving up in the program. I plan on going back to get my bachelor’s degree in the spring of next year, then I would love to run a center one day. That’s my long-term goal.
What is the favorite part of your work at East Coast Migrant Head Start Project?
My favorite part of working for East Coast Migrant Head Start Project is being able to educate our children by helping them develop the skills that they need to become a successful part of their communities and their families.
You recently had the opportunity to participate in ECMHSP’s self-assessment, could you describe what took place?
We reviewed the assessment results from the prior three years. This information allowed us to see trends of where our strengths and our weaknesses are within our program. This information will be used as an implement to our five-year strategic plan and goals for our program.
Is this the first time you attended a self-assessment?
Yes. This was a wonderful experience to be able assess the program as a whole and not just at the center level.
In your opinion, what is the most positive takeaway from the self-assessment? What are two things you learned about ECMHSP during the self-assessment?
My most positive takeaway from the self-assessment would have to be learning about how changes are made within the program. First, I learned that everyone in this program strives to make ECMHSP the best high-quality early learning program in Head Start. I also learned that good communication, teamwork, parent involvement, and being provided with daily support creates a positive learning environment for teachers and children.
Could you share one thing you learned from other ECMHSP staff members?
The one thing I’ve learned from other ECMHSP staff is everyone is here to do the same job. We prepare our children for success, advocate for our families, and provide high-quality early learning education to our children.