(Tahlequah, Okla.)--Through her work, Northeastern State University alumna Caren Calhoun is helping hundreds of Tulsa children and their families receive early childhood education and care through Tulsa Educare, Inc.
Calhoun, the executive director of Tulsa Educare, was among 11 people recognized at the White House on June 18 for their efforts to fulfill the mission of the federal Head Start Program. They were acknowledged as part of President Obama's "Champions of Change" program, which identifies individuals working to strengthen their communities.
"I was truly amazed, delighted and humbled to be invited to the White House to share my passion with the other Head Start Champions of Change," Calhoun said. "I felt like this was an opportunity to represent our children, families, staff, partners, Educare, Head Start, as well as our local, state and national early childhood communities."
A 28-year veteran of early childhood education administration, Calhoun earned her master's degree in early childhood education from NSU in December 2006. She also hold's a bachelor's degree in business administration. She has served as director for a child care center and been senior level manager of a multisite not-for-profit Head Start program serving more than 1,800 children.
As Tulsa Educare's executive director, Calhoun oversees two early childhood education centers and will manage a third which opens in the fall. The three centers will serve more than 500 children.
Before assuming her current post, Calhoun completed a year-long National Head Start Fellowship in Washington, D.C.
"The fellowship was a life-changing experience that allowed me a leadership journey of great growth, both personally and professionally," she said. "Upon completion of my commitment, I was able to return to my community with a renewed passion in a different capacity. I believe that my experience and contacts at the Office of Head Start, as well as the national reputation that Educare has as leaders in the early childhood field, led to my selection as a Champion of Change."
Calhoun explained that Educare shares the mission of Head Start.
"It is a school for children, birth to kindergarten, that nurtures early learning and sends a bold message about the value of investing in the first five years of a child’s life," she said. "Head Start is the foundation of each Educare."
Calhoun was nominated by the Educare Learning Network and selected by the National Office of Head Start.
Though she expressed deep appreciation for the acknowledgment of the White House Champions for Change, Calhoun wished to thank others for their efforts to make Educare a success.
"I truly believe that the children, families, staff and partners whom I work with on a daily basis are really the change agents," she said. "One of the biggest lessons I have learned in the last decade is that we cannot do this work alone, and we don’t have all the answers. It truly does take a village to raise a child, and that begins with strong relationships and a shared commitment to the mission at all levels of an organization."
Tulsa Educare, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization. It was created through a partnership with Tulsa Public Schools, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Family and Children’s Services, the Tulsa Community Foundation, Community Action Project of Tulsa County, the University of Oklahoma and the Educare Learning Network. For more information visit the Tulsa Educare website.
For more information about the degree programs offered through the NSU College of Education, visit the Collge of Education site.
Published: 7/23/2012 9:24:14 AM