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Child and Family Studies

Marilyn Leraas
Residence: Barrett, Minnesota
Profession: Head Start Supervisor

I have been employed by Head Start for 18 years. I supervise 10 teaching staff; 5 working in center based services, 3 in combination programs, and 2 home visitors. Head Start is more than a job, it is a passion. Developing strong program services for the children and families of our communities is the heart and soul of the Head Start program.

From my first contact with the Concordia's positive and friendly staff I knew that it was the program for me. They were responsive to my every question from the initial application to financial aid to credit transfers. I liked the service delivery via the Internet immediately. We live in rural Minnesota, and the closest Early Childhood Program is 90 miles away.

Students create community with their cohort members during the 19-month program. One student described this relationship to me as a "lifeline." I know from my experience that my cohort is a circle of friends and support, who are just an email away. Learning occurs through coursework, the expanse of Internet information, and the experience and competency of my cohort members. I am able to work full time and put new learnings to use immediately. I can focus new learnings on topics of interest to me and useful in my work. This cooperative learning environment is perfect for the adult learner.

Concordia's Masters program is one the best experiences of my life! I highly recommend it.
 
Debbie Heck
Residence: Indiana
Profession: Kindergarten Teacher

I teach two half-day classes of kindergarten with approximately 20 students in each class. Concordia University?s distance education program was a convenient way for me to obtain a Masters Degree with an emphasis in early childhood, since other masters programs were quite a distance from my home. Concordia University?s program provided me with an opportunity to study within my field of interest, The Reggio Approach, while gaining invaluable knowledge in early childhood?all from my home. The cohort model gave me a group of life-long friends and colleagues who I can maintain contact with after completing the program. I would recommend this program to anyone in the field of early childhood education. It has been a most beneficial learning opportunity.
 
Mary Rolf
Residence: Brandon, Minnesota
Profession: Head Start Supervisor

I began as a home based teacher with Head Start in September of 1970. At that time, we were just developing home based services, so there were no rules to follow! What a great opportunity! In December of 1974 I became the Education Coordinator in the Head Start program. I have supervised Head Start staff in various positions ever since then. I have worked as an administrator in the Community Action Program while supervising Head Start staff, and am currently supervising 8 teachers and 1 Head Start Program Assistant, who is in charge of computer tracking.

I decided to enroll in Concordia's program after discussions over a year's period of time with co-workers about pursuing a Master's Degree. I did not think that I could invest as much time as would be necessary to commute to any institutions offering Master's degrees. The cost of obtaining a degree was reasonable when I thought about the fact that I did not need to commute. Now, after having been enrolled in the program for several months, I can also see the quality of learning offered through this program, and am enjoying the courses. I can use what I am learning every time I observe in a classroom.
 
Nicole Robbins
Residence: St. Paul, Minnesota
Profession: Owner, early childhood programs for children from birth to school-age

I own four child care centers, all right next door to one another in Woodbury, MN. I manage a staff of 45 people, and supervise the care of 250 children. We have infants, toddlers, pre-school, school-agers, and a private, full day kindergarten program. My undergraduate degree is in Business Entrepreneurship from the University of St. Thomas ? knowing that I would want to combine career and family (I am the mother of two small children). I ventured into the wonderful world of early childhood seven years ago, and absolutely love what I do!
 
Bob Stevens
Residence: Lynchburg, Ohio
Profession: Preschool director/College instructor/Minister

After nearly thirty years in the ministry, I helped start a preschool at the church where I have now been serving for 17 years. To prepare myself to direct the preschool I enrolled in a nearby community college where I have been teaching part-time for the past four years. When the head of the early childhood department suggested that I might be hired full time if I had a master?s degree, I began searching for programs. After a little over a year I narrowed my search to two programs - Nova Southeastern in Florida and Concordia. Two aspects of Concordia's program especially attracted me - a residency to become acquainted with other cohort members at the beginning rather than in the middle of the program and the cost. Having been through the residency and almost 18 months of classes, I am certainly happy about the choice I made to enroll at Concordia. The program at Concordia has helped provide a deeper understanding of young children and how to meet their needs whether in the church, preschool or care center.