Embracing Early Childhood
Welcome to Nebraska’s NAESP PreK-3 Leadership Academy blog! We will be bringing you updates and perspectives from the advisors who are leading the 25 members of cohort 2 through the leadership academy coursework. This month we are featuring Amy Kroll, Director of School Improvement and Special Education at Weeping Water Public Schools.
Why did you want to be a part of the leadership academy?
I was asked by Melody Hobson to consider being an advisor for the first cohort — I jumped at the chance. I enjoyed it so much and was thrilled to be asked again. I didn’t have a background in early childhood when I accepted the position of special education director in Auburn 9 years ago. Part of that position was managing the early childhood/PreK programs. I learned everything on the job and was able to successfully expand PreK, start a Sixpence and Childcare Partnership Grant. I give credit to the fantastic early childhood staff I was blessed with. Since I am somewhat new to early childhood, I thought that my perspective was one that others could understand. You don’t need years of early childhood experience to lead successful programs — embracing early childhood can happen regardless of educational experience and background.
Which communities/school districts are represented in your group?
- Blue Valley Community Action
- Adams Central Early Learning Center
- Kearney Public Schools
- Educational Service Unit 1
- Valentine Community Schools
In the past month, what topic has caused the most discussion among the group?
How to engage colleagues (other administrators), teachers, families, and community members in supporting early childhood initiatives in their communities and emphasizing that play-based learning is learning.
What big ideas resonated with the group most?
Highly trained staff and strong administrative leadership is essential in the development of high-quality PreK-3 programs.
What are you most looking forward to gaining through the leadership academy?
I love learning from others and having conversations about real-life situations we are all facing. It’s fun to problem solve with a team! I also love reading about the latest research that supports our efforts in schools.