Some classes just turn everything on it's head. I just had one of those. Everyone of the Director Candidates was a self-starter.
The majority of students who come through Texas Director are employees. They have been hired to take on the position of Director. Not these ladies. They were all in the process of becoming both owner and Director for their centers. Because both Kate & I were owner/Directors we think this is great! If we had our way every owner or Board President would go through a Director's course. As the boss of the boss you need to know what they should be doing!
These ladies were motivated to get their centers up and running. Whether they were oping a brand new center or breathing new life into a center that had been around for more than 25 years, they saw the vision.
They knew the job will be hard. One of them had had a center a decade ago, so she REALLY knew. They also know Directors have the chance to make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of people every year.
One of the ladies in the class had enrolled because she is planning to open a center more than a year in the future. She has worked in the field for years, in a variety of types of programs and she is soaking it all in, learning and planning. She asked some amazingly deep questions, because she has been stewing. Now that she is moving forward. Her feet are in the starting blocks.
She was looking at what type of floor plan for a building would be the best. What type of program should she have? Montessori, play based, pre-school, it was all available. Given her history, she could make it happen. I suggested she go through the marketing section of the class and decide what type of parent she wants to work with, and set up the school based on who she wants to get paid by. Taking the class first, is setting her up for success.
Another new Director I have already alluded to; she was a Director before & left the field for a number of years, only to return. She has climbed many mountains in the time between, traveled the world and become an EMT. There are no flies on her.
Now she want to return to working with children. She sees the type of programs available to her children as they are raising the grandchildren & isn't exactly happy. There is something that is missing in her community. Her community is growing. It needs more quality childcare.
This powerhouse has approached her church with a proposal to have a stand alone program within the church facilities. So far the answer is yes, although there are still a few I's to dot & T's to cross. She saw a need, knew she had skills to meet it and made a plan to increase the odds of success.
The last piece of the puzzle was to find out what had changed in the industry in the past few years. How had DFPS regulations changed? How about technology, staff, parents? That was what she needed from us.
The Ring Master
The last of October's students I want to talk about was in the middle of balancing lots of activity. She has found her center. She is actually working there right now, but not as the Director.
She has the terms of the sale settled, has worked out her licensing schedule with DFPS and met with her service providers about the upcoming change. She is looking for areas where she can improve the center. She is forging relationships with parents & staff. She is preparing to sign on loans and do manual labor to get the changes in the property done as inexpensively as she can.
What she needed was help developing a marketing plan that played on the strengths of both the new management team & the existing program. We worked together, in the class, to come up with one that leveraged newspaper, core communities, social media & public speaking to make sure her larger community knows about the change & is excited about it. An added bonus is that the plan would cost less than $500.
When people ask what the in-person class offers, this type of class is what I think about. Different students with different needs, all sharing their knowledge and supporting each other. They built the beginnings of their support network in that class. They got what they needed for their situation and we were able to go into greater depth on the subjects they needed.