Alumni Success – Director of Early Childhood, District 11

Alumni Success – Director of Early Childhood, District 11

Deborah L. Alford is the District 11 Director of Early Childhood Education. Before that, she worked at The James Mc Cune Smith Community School 200, in Harlem, as a Testing Coordinator, Pre-K Supervisor, AIS Liaison, Saturday Academy Instructor for the English Language Learners (ELLS), and Early Childhood Specialist.

Deborah graduated in 2008 from Cohort 18 in our College of St. Rose School Building Leader certification program

About the SBL Program, Deborah says…

If it was not for the St. Rose Leadership Program, I would not have this position. I just wanted to thank you all for the great training I received at the College of St. Rose.

She expands here:

I feel that each of the courses offered was covered well by my professors.  I had questions and they answered them fully.  Each course placed me in the “Day of the Life of a school administrator,” which allowed me to prepare myself to think and act as a successful leader.

We are grateful to have Deborah’s point of view, as a graduate of our SBL Program, and a leader in Early Childhood in NYC. We spoke with her about both here.

On opening new Pre-K For All Sites:

This year I opened three Pre-K For All Sites in the Bronx River Parkway section of the Bronx. They are located on Lydig Avenue, White Plains Road & Van Nest/ Matilda Avenue. I opened 8 classrooms in total.  The process was long and tiresome, but I was able to refer to my training to pull it off.

On staffing new sites:

I did not hire the entire staff. However,  I was able to hire one wonderful teacher, one fantastic gym teacher who is teaching tennis to our four year old scholars, and one well rounded paraprofessional. My issue was which one of these candidates would be best for our sites. With the help from my Site Coordinators we were able to select the best of the best!

On the daily life of a district supervisor in Early Childhood:

My job entails overseeing the three sites on a rotating basis, as needed. I can go to one, two or all three sites in one day. During these visits, I can do observations, modeling, and interacting with the scholars as well as the staff.  On Mondays we have PD for all staff members at one site and Tuesdays we have parent engagement which can range from a phone conference to a workshop for parents. For my professional development, I am part of the District 11 Superintendent’s Team which meets twice a month to discuss matters and concerns of the district. In addition to that meeting, I attend Principal’s Meetings once a month.  I am also in constant contact with the families within all my sites.

Major trends in Early Childhood:

It seems that the trends are going back heavily to learning through play, self-discovery and exploration. There is a big focus on the Social Emotional development of the child.  *Family Involvement is playing a huge part of the Pre-K experience.

*Parents play a crucial part in helping their children figure out how to navigate their world.

Is there anything you’d like new Early Childhood teachers to know? Advice?  Words of wisdom?

For new Early Childhood Teachers, remember you are the first teacher of these precious children after their parents.  Their minds are like sponges, have high-expectations for them, change them with love. Remember your job is to impact their lives or minds and open the world around them. Always be a good listener, weigh the situation before reacting and Always Be Fair!

What’s the impact you’ve seen in the Pre-K for all program?

The impact that I see from the Pre-K For All program is that the children are more prepared to undertake the challenges of Kindergarten.  Our children are aware of themselves and others, and are prepared to embrace the experiences that life has to offer.

Is there anything from your SBL/SDL program that still resonates with you? Anything you still use?

All my classes have played an important part in my now and past positions, especially, curriculum mapping, law, budgeting, writing, etc. Using the interpersonal skills on a daily basis with staff, parents and scholars. The way one communicates with others can make a so-so day to a GREAT DAY!

What would you like people to know about your district, and your schools?

District 11 is located in the East Side of the Bronx.  Even though we are contained in three different sites, we are a family team from the Superintendents, to the Site Coordinators, teachers parents and scholars. We all work as a team for the betterment of our scholars. In my opinion there is no better place than District 11!

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CITE is the Center for Integrated Training and Education. For over 25 years, CITE has and continues to train TEACHERS (Early ChildhoodProfessional CertificationSpecial Ed,Grad CoursesBilingual coursesDASA); COUNSELORS (SchoolMental Health MastersAdvanced Certificate); and ADMINISTRATORS (SBLSDLPublic AdminDoctorate) in all five boroughs of NYC, Yonkers, Westchester, and Long Island.

CITE PD offers CTLE-approved in-school professional development tailored to your school’s needs and your vision. Info:

We now also offer an undergraduate degree completion program in psychology.

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