After 21 years on the job, one in all Craven County’s main advocates for early childhood education is stepping down Friday.
Pat Morrow will retire on April 29 after a profession with Craven Smart Start that spans greater than twenty years, with the final 12 years spent as govt director.
Morrow started her profession with Craven Smart Start as a contracted worker earlier than transferring on to work as a guardian supplier specialist. When former director Pat Purnell retired in 2010, Morrow was able to take over the management position.
“I’ve loved every minute of it. I never planned to be here this long. I just loved it, so I stayed,” Morrow stated.
According to Morrow, no choice has been made on who will substitute her as govt director.
“I’m sure the hiring committee will select a good choice and take care of everyone who works here,” she stated.
Morrow stated her impending retirement has given her an opportunity to mirror on the modifications Craven Smart Start has undergone over the past twenty years. When she started working with the group it was situated within the outdated Pinnix Drug Store on the nook of Hancock and Queen Street. Craven Smart Start would relocate to a website on Trent Road earlier than transferring to its present location at 2111 Neuse Blvd. in 2011.
“When I started I just had a little office in a corner by the bathroom. When we moved to Trent Road I thought we had hit the jackpot because we had all this space,” Morrow recalled. “Then before you knew it we outgrew that, we became a Region II lead agency and had five other counties under us.”
More:Craven Smart Start promotes youth literacy
Craven Smart Start administers Smart Start funds and packages in Craven County. Among the providers it affords are: childhood education and baby care referrals to households; a toddler care subsidy by way of the Department of Social Services; group outreach to offer education about Smart Start funded providers to attach households to these providers; the North Carolina Prekindergarten Program, and a Family Literacy Program that gives developmentally applicable early childhood providers for kids ages 0-5 whereas serving to mother and father work in the direction of their G.E.D., study ESL, or acquire job expertise.
“I believe our work has really made an impact in the community for our early childhood workforce and for families,” stated Morrow. “It’s been quite a journey and I’m excited to see who comes in and continues to lift it up and grow it even more.”
Morrow stated among the many work she’s most pleased with throughout her time at Smart Start is conducting the company’s transfer from an A rated license to Star rated licensing in 2000, securing grants for college kids to maneuver on to greater education, and overseeing the implementation of the $200,000 Save the Children grant, which enabled Craven Smart Start to help baby care suppliers who sustained extreme injury from Hurricane Florence.
In 2018, Morrow additionally oversaw the initiation of two packages—the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read—that considerably expanded Craven Smart Start’s early literacy packages for younger youngsters and their households.
More:Craven Smart Start begins new early literacy initiatives
But if she had to decide on only one accomplishment, Morrow stated it might be her position in creating the annual Building Brighter Futures Conference for early childhood educators in Craven County. Though the convention has not been held in individual just lately as a result of COVID-19, Morrow stated she is hopeful it will possibly resume in 2022.
“That was my baby, I brought that to life so I consider that my legacy,” Morrow commented. “It provides a chance for our early childhood workforce to have some camaraderie and learn from one another.”
Morrow stated throughout her time at Craven Smart Start she has seen modifications locally’s understanding and acceptance of early childhood points.
“Just their openness of learning about the importance of the early years, that’s been a huge change from the early-2000s until now and I just hope that continues to evolve and grow,” Morrow stated.
“This is a one of a kind agency,” she added. “You can’t duplicate it.”