Happy Women’s History Month! 🥳️

The theme for AECA this year is Linking Hearts and Minds: Early Childhood Connections

This month we will be celebrating stories from our past presidents about women who who helped shape their experience as early childhood professionals. They were able to help grow our early childhood field here in Arkansas and I hope that continues to happen today with the women in YOUR life.

Today’s share comes from Joanna Grymes, AECA’s Secretary.

‘I can’t identify one woman; I can’t identify all the women who influenced me on my ECE journey. I’d start with Dr. Janet Sawyers and Ms. Jean Vogler of the Virginia Tech Lab School who mentored me as an early childhood professional and supported a small group of college students in the Virginia Tech Association for Children Under Six to present at a Virginia state conference – my first professional presentation. Skip ahead to coming to Arkansas, and meeting Nancy Bacot, Mildred Vance, Beverly Boals (Gilbert), Jo Ann Nalley, and Dianne Lawler; each had a profound impact on who I am today. They helped me to learn about Arkansas and its traditions and culture as related to children and families and allowed me opportunities to provide professional development all over our state (once I was vetted by the discerning eye of Jo Ann Nalley). As a group these women encouraged (demanded) me to take a professional role in what was then still AACUS and SACUS. Jo Ann Nalley and Kathy Stegall supported me in helping develop a plan to help ABC teachers learn how to implement Work Sampling when I just thought I was stringing random ideas together; how did that change my life? AACUS/AECA members like those mentioned above but also people like (and I say like because I KNOW I am leaving individuals out!) Suanne Walker, Kathy Pillow Price, Dot Brown, Trudi Puckett, Vicky Shelby, Diana Courson, Sharon Crockett, Barbara Gilkey, Jackie Govan, Deniece Honeycutt, and Jamie Ward supported me as I participated in board work for both AACUS/AECA and SECA. I think of friendships that have also supported me and challenged me to be move outside my comfort zone – Geania Dickey and Brenda Leger certainly are added to the list of influences. Each of these women have left handprints not only on my professional self, but more importantly, on my heart. Thank you is not nearly sufficient.’    

Who are the women in your circles who have inspired you to become a better early childhood professional? Email president@arkansasearlychildhood.org with your stories.

Be sure to keep coming back to our socials to find more stories throughout this month and I look forward to reading yours.

Looking forward to connecting!

Natasha Kile
AECA President

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This