Getting to Know Ms. April

Getting to Know… is part of our new Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us. This week we are getting to know Ms. April!

Ms. April has been in Morning Star family for almost one year but it feels like much longer! As our Toddler and Preschool Coordinator, Ms. April has the unique opportunity to be in touch with most of our parents on a weekly basis via emails, while working behind the scenes to assist our teachers with lesson planning.

As the Toddler and Preschool Coordinator Ms. April uses the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines along with her knowledge of each teacher’s personality to design all Green Star, Purple Star, Red Star and Orange Star lesson plans. Each week, Ms. April meets with our lead teachers to plan and each day, she sets up all of our Green, Purple, Red and Orange Star classrooms with the children’s daily materials. She really is our teachers’ go-to person for every day needs and requests and our teachers who have nothing but great things to say about her addition to the Morning Star Family.

Ms. April is the fourth generation within her family to grow up in Bellevue, Nebraska. She is one of two children raised by a single mother and she’s still very close to her family. Growing up she loved taking family road trips and her favorite place to visit was the Black Hills. As a little girl, April dreamed of someday becoming President. Now, she can’t stand politics.

After high school, Ms. April received her Associate’s Degree in early childhood education from Metro and then attended Bellevue University. There, she earned her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Program Management as well as a Bachelor’s in Behavioral Science. When asked why she chooses to teach, April says, “I love the moment when children finally get a concept. That light bulb moment.” That’s one of our favorites, too.

We’re so lucky to have Ms. April, not only because of the education and experience she brings but the love she brings to work. When asked what she loves about Morning star, she credits the children — as most of our teachers do. “The bright smiles from the kids.” And even though she hasn’t been with us long, she does have a favorite memory. “Experiencing my first preschool graduation. It was a proud moment.”

Ms. April says being at Morning Star has taught her to be more flexible. “There are lots of different personalities to juggle.” But when asked what she admires most in her students, she says they all have one thing in common. “Their willingness to explore new things.” If she could give our students any advice she’d tell them to have no regrets, to take risks in life. And if she had to pick one motto she lives by, it’d be one day at a time.

In her spare time, you can find April scrapbooking, reading, taking trips to the dog park with her three fur babies or binge watching Netflix. And outside of teaching, if she could do anything now, April would love to open an animal rescue just to play with dogs all day. That’s not a day dream we can argue with!

We’re so lucky to have Ms. April as part of our staff and we can’t wait to watch her grow!

Getting to Know Ms. Kennady

Getting to Know… is part of our new Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us.

This week we are getting to know Ms. Kennady!

Ms. Kennady is new to the Morning Star family and we’re so happy to introduce her this week. She has been working with our Orange Stars for only a few months but has already had such a positive impact.

Kennady grew up in Valley, Nebraska as one of four children. Her parents were both teachers but as a young child Kennady dreamed of being a veterinarian…and a cat. Her favorite memories of growing up in Valley were playing outside until the street lights came on and teaching herself to ride her bike. Kennady graduated high school from Papillion La Vista and has since attended the University of Nebraska – Omaha as well as University of Nebraska – Lincoln in pursuance of a BA in Art Education. She starts classes at Metro this month!

Ms. Kennady has been a great addition to our staff. She loves being able to work with the same students every day, seeing their creativity and intelligence flourish. And even though she’s only been here a few months, the students are already wearing on her. “One time, when I had just started, a friend said, ‘Miss Kennady, I believe in you.’ And that really solidified my confidence that I was in the right field.”

Working at Morning Star has taught Kennady to humble herself and to take moments here and there to listen. And even though she’s the teacher, she notes the students are teaching her lessons in patience. They have also pushed her to realize that something can be learned from every walk of life.

We’re so happy Ms. Kennady chose to teach but we really have her parents to thank. “I choose to teach because I love to learn and the most influential people in my life have been teachers, so I would love to have the same impact.” If she could give the students any piece of advice, she would tell them to never stop learning or bettering themselves. “The greatest gift we are given is the availability of infinite knowledge.”

Outside of work, Kennady loves to paint (mainly acrylic) as well create art in other mediums. When she’s not busy with art, you can find her hiking and bike riding. She lives by words of wisdom from John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”

We’re so happy to have Ms. Kennady as part of the Morning Star family and can’t wait to watch her grow!

Getting to Know Ms. Taylor

Getting to Know… is part of our new Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us.

This week we are getting to know Ms. Taylor!

Ms. Taylor has been a friendly face in our hallways for the past four years. This school year, Taylor is excited to be leading the Red Star Adventurers!

Taylor is an Omaha native. She earned her high school diploma at Millard West and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Peru State College and we’re so happy she found her way into our classrooms. As an only child, Ms. Taylor spent her childhood wanting to be a veterinarian, spending her summers with her family at Lake of the Ozarks and playing card games at family gatherings (her favorite childhood memory). Growing up has really taught her how big of a role family plays and she’s so grateful to have had hers. And we’re so grateful she joined ours.

There are a lot of reasons to love Morning Star but when we asked what she loves about working here, Ms. Taylor said the kids and the activities make it fun. “I love that there are a lot of activities from waterplay, VBS, art and others that are brought in – like magicians. Waterplay is my favorite, when all of the kids and the teachers get wet and play together.” In teaching, we often learn our fair share of lessons as well. “I’ve learned children will be children by being silly, wanting to be praised at what they make but also wanting to be loved by hugs.” The kids have also taught her to be more carefree and patient — a lesson they’re very good at teaching.

Going beyond just Morning Star, we also asked Taylor why she chose to teach: “I want to help children grow and learn. Seeing the smiles on their faces when learning something new is great.” And if she could give the students one piece of advice to live by, she’d keep it simple: “Sharing is caring. It’s always nice to share.” But she’s not sure they’re the ones who need the advice, they have so many qualities to admire. “No matter what, they always get back up again.”

In her free time outside of Morning Star you can find Ms. Taylor traveling. She recently went to Italy and has trips to the Bahamas and Costa Rica on the docket. She also has plans to attend UNO for school psychology. When she’s staying local, she enjoys a fun card game, hanging out with her friends, catching up on her television shows and going shopping.

We’re so lucky to have Ms. Taylor as part of the Morning Star family and can’t wait to watch her grow!

Getting to Know Ms. Alex

Getting to Know… is part of our Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us.

This week we are getting to know Mrs. Alex!

If you have a little in the Green Star room, this week’s teacher in the spotlight is a familiar, always-smiling face. Ms. Alex, previously one of our fabulous teachers in the Green Star caterpillars room, is now joining the Red Star room with Ms. Courtney. 

Ms. Alex is an Omaha native and like many people we know, her favorite childhood memory is baking with her Grandma, who also raised her to be the woman she is today. As a small child, Alex recalls wanting to be a teacher, a nurse and Scar from The Lion King. Boy are we happy teaching won out!

Alex will receive her Child Development Association license this year and then plans to finish up her associate’s degree. When asked why she chose to teach, she says, “Early childhood is very important to me. This is the foundation of every kid’s learning.” We couldn’t agree more. We’re so lucky to have her as part of the Morning Star family.

Ms. Alex’s favorite Morning Star memory was playing Star Wars with the Caterpillars and having epic play battles with the kids. If she could give her students any piece of advice to live by she would tell them “mistakes happen – it’s what you learn from them”. We’d like to think that’s a byproduct of a lesson Ms. Alex says she learned here at Morning Star, “to go with the flow”.

When she’s not studying or working, you can find Alex watching anime and kdramas, sewing or exploring cool places to eat. And at all times, she’s living by one motto: You don’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes, you get what you need. We didn’t ask if she’s a Rolling Stones fan but something tells us she might be.

We’re so happy to have Alex as part of our Morning Star family and can’t wait to watch her grow!

Getting to Know Mr. Troy

Getting to Know… is part of our Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us.

This week we are getting to know Mr. Troy!

As one of two of Morning Star’s male teachers, Mr. Troy is hard to miss! While he’s only been at Morning Star for seven months, he is already making a big difference! You can find him currently leading the Orange Star Zebras with Ms. Stephanie and this fall, he’ll be taking over Fine Arts!

Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Mr. Troy is the youngest of three children. His favorite childhood memory is going out and riding dirt bikes with his dad and his friends. And like most kids, growing up he wanted to be everything from a fireman, to an artist, to a professional skateboarder. You name it, he probably wanted to do it!

After earning his bachelor’s degree in visual art from Seattle University, he found himself in Omaha — and luckily, right here at Morning Star choosing to teach because it gives him and his work purpose, to give everything he has to let children know they are loved.  When asked specifically why he loves Morning Star, he elaborates “It’s having the opportunity to have a positive impact on children’s live and to be able to show them love and compassion.”

His favorite Morning Star memory was the class of 2018’s Orange Star graduation. “Orange Star graduation had an awesome impact on me. I saw the progress and maturing … made me proud to be a part of it.” Pride isn’t the only thing he’s gained here, he also admits he’s learned a few things. He’s learned to lead by example, that all it takes to earn respect is to give it and even if he’s simply showing compassion and recognizing each child’s uniqueness, he’s already making a positive impact.

Faith has played a big role in Mr. Troy’s life and the motto he lives by reflects that: “I have been saved by God’s grace, not to live for myself but for others.” And when asked what he could be if he could be ANYTHING, Mr. Troy says, “Many things. Not limited to a pastor, missionary and youth pastor.” In his free time you can find Troy serving at church, reading or watching movies.

We’re so happy to have Troy as part of our Morning Star family and can’t wait to watch him grow!

Getting to Know Ms. Teresa

Getting to Know… is part of our Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us.

This week we are getting to know Ms. Teresa! 

Ms. Teresa has been part of our Morning Star family for four and a half years, but it seems like much longer than that, doesn’t it?! Through her role as a floater assistant teacher, and a stint as the Red Star Explorer lead at the beginning of this school year, Ms. Teresa is probably a familiar face to most of our parents and to all of our students.

Growing up in Bellevue with one older sister, Mary, in the family home her parents still live in today, Ms. Teresa has a lot of fond memories but her favorites are her family’s weekly visits to her grandma and grandpas. She recalls fondly how her grandmother would make wonderful meals and then everyone would spend the evening together, playing cards or Farkel. Teresa also has warm memories of the in-home daycare she went to on the next block and she still keeps in touch with the family to this day!

As a small girl, Teresa always dreamed of being a news anchor. She remembers clearly sitting at a table at her babysitter’s house with a pen and paper in hand, pretending to report the news and write in cursive (AKA scribbles). When it came time to choose a career path after graduation in 2008, rather than the news, Teresa decided to obtain her CNA / Med Aide license – only to realize it wasn’t for her. That’s when she decided to teach and crossed paths with Morning Star! When asked why she chose to teach, she says, “I started not knowing how I’d feel. But when you first see a child learn something that YOU taught them, there is no greater feeling. That’s why I’ve been here so long; I love it!”

When asked why she loves Morning Star, Teresa said, “I love the kids! Watching the kids go from White Stars to Red Stars or Green Stars to Kindergarteners is such a heartwarming feeling and I love to be a part of it. It also feels like family!” Choosing one favorite memory from her time with us isn’t as easy. “There are so many! But I love the summer activities. Everyone can let their hair down and play in the mud on Mud Day, get wet during water play and just have a great time!”

Throughout her time here, Ms. Teresa has been taking early childhood courses at Metro here in Omaha, as well as taking advantage of every learning opportunity Morning Star has offered along the way. She says working at Morning Star has taught her it’s possible to make anything fun – whether it be singing a hand-washing song or dancing to lunch or even doing these things at home, anything can be fun. And she adds that she’s also learned and realized she has more patience than she ever thought.

When asked what advice she’d give her students, she says she’d tell them to always have fun and when asked what life motto she herself tries to live by, she had an all too relatable response: “I read a quote once that said, ‘Let me love you a little more, before you’re not little anymore.’ Being a mother and a teacher this really sunk in because grow up so fast, you don’t want to miss a beat.

And like all teachers will tell you, there’s always something they admire in their students. For Teresa, that quality is the love they have for one another. “Watching a child comfort a friend when they’re sad or willingly help someone who needs help or even share something. It’s heartwarming. You know the friendship and the love for each other is so genuine. I admire that in my students because compassion is a great trait to have and learning it early on is so important.”

In her free time, you can find Ms. Teresa spending time with her two boys, Bryce (9) and Tyler (3), practicing fonts with new calligraphy pens or playing board games with her family (their favorite is Monopoly)!

We are so happy Ms. Teresa found her passion and that it’s teaching; we’re so lucky to call her family and can’t wait to watch her grow!

Getting to Know Ms. Cindy

Getting to Know… is part of our new Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us.

This week we are getting to know Ms. Cindy as she says goodbye and heads into retirement.

Ms. Cindy, or as some call her, Ms. CiCi, is retiring this week.  Every child, every staff member’s life has been touched by this amazing woman. 

Cindy has blessed our hallways with her positivity, her bright smile and recognizable laughter for 12 years. Many of our current families know her as the Program Coordinator for the Green Star Caterpillars.  But, she has been a Blue Star, Red Star and Green Star teacher over the years.

Ms. Cindy is an Omaha native, growing up in the Holy Name area. When asked about her favorite childhood memory, it’s impossible to pick just one so she settles on the holidays – all of them. Her mom decorated for each and every one and her father was right there with her, they had a way of making every holiday special. This love of family has extended over to her love of the Morning Star families.  Growing up Cindy always loved babies, dancing and gymnastics and as you’ll learn, she was very blessed to have a life filled with all three.

Cindy began attending Holy Name when she was in first grade and remained there until graduation. Along the way she met her now husband, Marty, to whom she’s been married for 44 years! After graduation she went on to obtain her CDA in Education and then opened and owned her own dance studio for 25+ years. Later, after selling her business, CiCi nannied for her nieces and nephew (Mrs. Carmen, who was also part of the Morning Star family, Maria and Shane) and then, thankfully, joined our Morning Star family.

When asked why she chose to teach, she says, “It is so rewarding! I want children to know how to learn through play and love and be respectful to everyone.” And when asked ‘why morningstar?’, she adds, “I love that we can spread God’s word here. I have met so many wonderful people here and so many of my former dance students come each day with their children. I also get to see so many of my children’s friends now as parents. And most of all watching these infants grow and learn and become so loving as older children.”

Being part of our family for 12 years, Cindy has handfuls of memories she will cherish for a long time and too many to tell in one sitting but she specifically mentioned her early mornings with Marilyn and then told her funniest staff story. “The funniest staff memory was, we were open on Christmas Eve, but had minimal children and infants, so the staff did half-day shifts. Mine was the morning shift and I was in the Green Star room. Everyone came down to visit us, infants through school-age and staff, and my replacement was coming so we had all of the staff hide in the diaper changing room to make it look like I had 25+ children all by myself. Ms. Jessie, a former teacher, kept saying, ‘you can’t leave me like this. I can’t do this!’ I told her I couldn’t stay because I had company coming. Then finally the staff jumped out and yelled, ‘SURPRISE!’ Jessie was crying and laughing at the same time!”

She’s also learned a thing or two in her time with us. “This was the first job I have worked with co-workers since college. Before Morning Star, I owned my own business and then was a nanny, so I learned to work with people and understand many different personalities. It has been wonderful and I’ve made so many friends! … Ms. Susan has taught me that I can adapt to changes. It was very hard for me to move from one room to another. I also had trouble letting children do things for themselves, instead of me wanting to help them. Ironically, I think I may hold the record for moving the most time in twelve years!”

Ms. Cindy is to miss our students and she’s going to be missed sorely. When asked what she admires most in the children, she says, “I love their honesty, their independence, their energy and their quest for learning more and more!” If she could leave our students with one piece of advice, Cindy would tell them to always put God first and treat people the way you would like to be treated. The life motto she lives by is similar. “I thank God every morning for letting me be ‘alive and able’ – I want Him to know that I’m thankful for ALL of my blessings!”

In her 44 years of marriage, her and Marty have raised four children and been blessed with six grandchildren with one on the way. They have large families on both sides and are fortunate to have wonderful siblings and many nieces and nephews and greats. She plans to spend more time with her family during her retirement and doesn’t have any plans on slowing down. “I’m entering a new phase in my life because I will be retiring. I hope that I can always be a good wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend to as many people as possible. I also hope to do more volunteer work for people in need. … I’ve done a lot of ‘easy’ sewing in the past and I hope to get back to that hobby. I love to watch my sons play hockey or any hockey game, especially the Penguins, and I love to cook. And of course being with my grandchildren is my #1 favorite!”

Ms. Cici’s last day with Morning Star is tomorrow and while we are so sad we won’t get to see her giant smile every day, we are excited and so happy for her as she transitions into this next chapter of her life.

WE LOVE YOU, MS. CINDY!

Looking Ahead in 2018

We wrapped up 2017 in the best way possible, by becoming the first and ONLY child care center, infant through PreK, to qualify for a 5 rating by the Nebraska initiative Step Up to Quality. Where do you go when you’re a 5? Good question.

As we look ahead into 2018, the pressure is on but we have a lot of exciting plans and goals on the horizon. And we’re ready to embrace the challenge of being at the top.

This year, we will work to continue and improve upon the countless hours of hard work, additional training and attention to detail that went into obtaining a five. We will strive to maintain and build upon our close connections and relationships with our students, as well as aim to bring in more on-site learning experiences.

This year will also bring some wonderful building improvements from Morning Star Lutheran Church. We will be getting new windows, new electronic HV systems and a new roof! We are anxiously looking forward to these improvements since they  will without a doubt increase the quality and stability of our learning environment.

One of our goals in 2018 is to focus on the attributes that make Morning Star unique and determine how these could be stronger. One of those attributes is the fact that we design and create our own curriculum. Currently, our curriculum is individually designed for each classroom by our program coordinators (Marilyn, infants; Cindy, toddlers; April, PreSchool). As many of you know, our beloved Cindy will be retiring at the end of this month. As soon as she announced this last year we started looking for someone to carry the torch and later last year we hired April Mather.

Since April started with us she has been successfully designing and writing our curriculum. This month she began working with the Green Stars. She has a strong background with Westside Early Childhood and holds three different Early Childhood Degrees. April, while maybe not a familiar face yet, has been doing a great job and, as you may have noticed, been busy engaging with our parents via email. Communication is very important within our program. When it comes to teaching, recognizing individual interests, learning styles and effective methods of engagement are immensely important. It is now April’s job is to make sure we’re gauging these and implementing curriculum that successfully takes into account all three.

2018 is already underway and we’re excited to see where it takes us and our Morning Star families!

Getting to Know Ms. Susan

Getting to Know… is part of our new Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us.

This week we are getting to know Ms. Susan!

Everyone knows Ms. Susan and everyone loves her.

Ms. Susan started at Morning Star in 2005 as a sub for her daughter, Liz. In 2012, she became the Green Star lead teacher alongside Ms. Kathy Widdershoven. Then in 2013, Susan was named the interim Director of Morning Star and eventually Director. And as they say, the rest is history!

Early childhood education runs in Ms. Susan’s blood as she is the daughter of the first person to open a licensed child care center in Bellevue, Nebraska in 1962. Times were different then and watching her mother enter the workforce and encourage other women to do the same, despite the opposing efforts of the Bellevue City Council, left a strong impression on Susan. As a little girl Susan says, “I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be everything.”

In her eyes, anything was possible. It shows in her educational journey as well as throughout the duration of her professional life. When it came to pursuing an education, Susan first obtained a BSA in Art as a painter followed by a Graphic Communications degree, and then later, an associate’s degree in Early Childhood and a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood. When it came to pursuing a career, she’s built an impressive and eclectic resume.

By the time Susan had reached college, her mother was running three centers and Susan worked for her throughout high school and during college breaks and summer. After Susan’s first year of college, the FBI Director, J Edgar Hoover, died and the FBI began recruiting female agents. It was then that our very own Ms. Susan was selected to be part of the 2nd female agent class and moved to Washington D.C. to work the the beginning of the “Missing and Exploited” program. Susan resided in D.C. and worked for the bureau for three years, including during Watergate!

When Ms. Susan’s brother passed away she moved back to Omaha to help her mom with the centers. Susan was a teacher and a director until her mother retirement, when she became the executive Director for all three centers and remained as such until her second daughter was born. Even after resigning from her position as Executive Director, Susan remained on the board until the centers were sold in 1984 and continued working as a consultant with the DHHS writing State Regulations and advising other centers.

After this endeavor and throughout her journey of motherhood, Susan was a graphic designer for a catalog, the owner of a design company that created fabric items for special events (including a linen selected for a Martha Stewart wedding catalog and wedding!), an artist painting murals in Hawai’i and then a graphic design teacher at Metropolitan Community College, which eventually lead her back to early childhood education.

She started her life in the influence of a teacher, a leader and a Director and now with her tenure at Morning Star, her story comes full circle. When asking why she chose to teach, she says, “Because it is something I feel good about. I understand Child Care from so many levels – as a child of a child care teacher, as a teacher, as a parent and as a Director. It’s important to me that each child receive 100% of our love and care.”

These words ring especially true in relation to the efforts and initiatives she’s accomplished in her time here at Morning Star. In 2015, Susan’s proactive approach to life and her desire to make a lasting impact helped Morning Star become the first child care center to qualify for the Nebraska State Initiative, Step Up to Quality, two years ago. And this year, Morning Star became the first and ONLY childcare center, birth through preK, in Nebraska to qualify for a five, the highest rating an early childhood program can obtain.

In 2017, her knowledge and experience gave Susan the ability to lobby on behalf of her teachers and staff when she was asked to testify at a Senate hearing in Lincoln, representing Child Care Centers’ needs for a QRS (Quality Ratings System) and incentives for quality programs and staff. Thanks to her testimony, tax incentives for qualifying staff was included in the state budget. Susan said, “a consistent, quality staff is essential to an effective early childhood program.” Adding, Our teachers are the best, they motivate me daily.”

When asked what she loves most about Morning Star, she says,  “The people, the love and especially the hugs. … when former students come back to visit, or even send a Christmas Card.  It validates the significance that we played in a child’s life.”

If she could give all of her kids one piece of advice, she says “be happy and believe in yourself.”  And when asked what
she’d be if she could be anything, her answer reiterates that advice. “If I could be anything, I’d be me. I’m content being me.  It’s taken me a long time to establish my personal contentment.” Be happy, believe in yourself and be happy with yourself.

In her free time, you can find Ms. Susan painting and spending time with her three daughters and four grandchildren. We are so lucky to have such a creative and versatile director and we’re so excited to see what we can accomplish in 2018 with her continued leadership! 

Getting to Know Ms. Hilary

Getting to Know… is part of our new Teacher and Staff Spotlight series. Each week we will shine the spotlight one of our classroom teachers, allowing them to share some of their stories, their interests and their favorites with us. We hope our teacher spotlights will help our Morning Star parents and families further engage with our teachers, as well as give them a more personal idea of who is teaching and caring for their children during their days with us.

This week we are getting to know Ms. Hilary!

Ms. Hilary, the Orange Star classroom lead, is a Nebraska native. Hailing from a small town of approximately 1,000 people in western Nebraska, she was so close to Colorado she grew up loving the Rocky Mountains. Her favorite childhood memories were the summer months she got to spend on her grandparents’ farm. Her mom was an elementary school teacher and with her summers off she would pack up the car, drive the family 19 hours to her parents’ farm in Montana and they’d spend a month visiting. Hilary loved waking up and getting to see the piglets every morning!

Growing up, it’s probably no surprise Ms. Hilary wanted to be a teacher just like her mom. She remembers lining up her stuffed animals and her dolls, pretending they were her students and teaching them anything and everything. Eventually, she went on to pursue and obtain her bachelor’s degree in family studies coupled with a minor in early childhood education before landing at Morning Star.

Teaching is special to Ms. Hilary: “Teaching is true gift. And if you have that gift, I feel you need to share with your students! Making an impact on a young child’s life can make a ripple of positive effects in the world and I believe we need more of that today!” We couldn’t agree more.

When asked what she loves about working at Morning Star, Hilary speaks highly of everyone. “All of the families are so amazing to work with. I also love all of my awesome co-workers and the incredible ladies in the office! I love that I get to have fun at work and I truly enjoy my job.” Her favorite Morning Star memories revolve around some her favorite events at the center: Mud Day, Orange Star Graduation and the annual nativity play. Each are fun and special in their own ways.

Our teachers love learning and most have learned great lessons working here at Morning Star, Ms. Hilary is one of them. “Education is important for all ages but especially when they are young. I love being a part of my student’s educational foundation and future.” Hilary says she’s she blessed to do a job she loves because not everyone gets so lucky also noting that she’s blessed to have such incredible students who make her want to be the best teacher she can be.

Ms. Hilary loves and admires her students, she admires their energy and loves how much they make her laugh. If she could give them one piece of advice it would be to enjoy their childhood, to try new things, to make friends and to just enjoy it because it goes by way too quickly. As far as words she tries to live by, it’s very similar: “Life goes by quick and you only get one, so make it the life you want and do something you love every day!”

Outside of work you can find Hilary at Creighton Basketball games, spending time with friends and family, catching a movie with her husband or relishing in her role as an aunt!

We’re so lucky to have Ms. Hilary as part of our staff and can’t wait to watch her grow!