I recently sat down with Deb Swartout, early learning professional and longtime director, to see what contributes to her success. Here is what she had to say.
Question: What is the hardest part of being a director?
Deb: Staffing and time management. Keeping quality at the forefront of operations. Understanding all different regulations from all sources: DHS, STARS/ERS, NAEYC
Question: What advice would you give a new director?
Deb: Prioritize your day. You cannot do it all. Delegate to those around you. Build people up around you so that together you can operate your program
Question: What advice would you give to a director moving her program up to a Star 3 or 4?
Deb: Use the worksheet as a checklist. Ask for help.
Question: Who has made the most impact on your career and why?
Deb: Mary Clarke, my former Regional Manager. She led by example. She put her integrity before any decision she ever made. She was thorough and fair.
Question: What was one of your funniest moments as a director?
Deb: The time we were in the middle of an ERS visit and someone from another department in the building burned popcorn and set the fire alarm off. We needed to wait for the fire department to come and clear the building.
Question: What is the key to a successful budget?
Deb: Fill your center 🙂
Question: What qualities do you look for when hiring for a teaching position?
Deb: Motivated, experienced, positive
Question: How do you stay up to date on the changes within the field?
Deb: Reading all emails, attending trainings, talking to colleagues
Deb Swartout is the director at The University of Scranton Early Learning Center. She has been a director for 20 years. The program employs 31 staff and currently has 165 children enrolled.