I applied to this program because I thought one day, maybe, I might want to try my hand at being a preschool director. I had been working as the Director of Family Programs at Westside JCC since graduating from my first round of graduate school in 2011 (MSW from USC and Masters in Jewish Nonprofit management from HUC-JIR). First a bit of background – I am a graduate of Westside JCC’s preschool and began working in the preschool when I graduated high school, and continued through college and after. I also did my graduate internship at WJCC and didn’t leave until they hired me.
In my work with family programs, I found myself more and more involved with the day to day workings of the preschool. The more I contributed, the more I thought, “Hey, maybe I want to do this one day.” When I found out about the program at AJU, it all just seemed to come together. In the midst of our second semester, a big challenge was presented to me. The JCC was looking for a new preschool director and I was to act as Interim during the search, a search that would involve my candidacy. Flash forward to the present, I am now the Director of Early Childhood Education at Westside JCC. I can absolutely say without a shred of doubt that I would not have had the confidence, the knowledge, or the skills to even conceive of doing this job without the Early Childhood Education Masters at AJU. In our child development theory class, I wrote a paper which explored my own personal philosophy of early childhood education. This led to my leading my first ever professional development workshop for my teachers on the value of positive communication with preschoolers! The quality education, as well as the support of my professors, mentors, and classmates have been invaluable. They have helped me through times of frustration, tears, hopelessness, and simcha. I am so thrilled to have gone through this experience with them. It truly feels like it was b’sheret (meant to be).