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!

Step Up to Quality – Where do we fit in?

Did you know 90 percent of brain development occurs before age 5? This means the majority of skills a child needs to succeed in life are established before our children even enter kindergarten. Before they even enter kindergarten!

Here at Morning Star we know the value of high quality early education and we don’t take the opportunity to prepare our young students for the future lightly. In fact, we take it very seriously. Two years ago we were the first childcare center to apply to be part of a brand new Nebraska initiative called Step Up to Quality. Step Up to Quality is a quality rating system designed to help early child care providers and educators recognize and improve the quality of their programs, aiming to help them reach their full potential to be able to better serve Nebraska’s children and families.

We believe Quality Rating Systems (QRS) are valuable tools for early education centers for a couple of reasons:

  1. Centers should always strive to provide the HIGHEST quality of education for their students given what we know about their rapid brain development and their capacity to absorb and learn.
  2. Parents should have a consistent, valuable and concrete way to identify the quality of their children’s education; parents need to be well-informed to be able to make the most sound decisions on behalf of their children and their education. Step Up to Quality helps the Nebraska Department of Education and Health and Human Services assess, improve and communicate the level of quality in early childhood programs.

As a participating program, we were given access to valuable coaching and educational resources to assist us on our journey to higher quality. These resources enabled us to learn and grow as a team of educators and improve our educational program immensely. Our first year, one year ago, we received a two rating – three levels away from the top score of a five. This year was our opportunity for improvement and, in our eyes, redemption.

The renewal and evaluation process began with 24-hours notice and lasted two full weeks. We were put through seven observations:

  • Three observations to evaluated the room environment and analyze the interactions between our teachers and our students. These were rated on the Environment Ratings Scale (E.R.S.). The ERS assesses the quality of interactions between adults and children. Classroom schedules, materials and space support these interactions and are included in the ERS.
  • Three observations to solely analyze the interactions between teachers and students. These were rated on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ (CLASS™). CLASS is an observation tool that focuses on the effectiveness of classroom interactions among teachers and children. This includes emotional support, classroom organization and instructional support. These daily interactions promote children’s social and cognitive development.
  • One observation to evaluate and grade our administration’s record keeping systems as well as our staff’s professional development. This included an inventory of updated documentation, handbooks, policies and records, as well as training hours, credit hours, credentials and educational records of program teaching staff, directors, licensees or primary providers through the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Records System.

It was an arduous process and even though we had thoroughly prepared, utilized our provided resources, coached and mentored our staff – not to mention the extra training hours each and every dedicated staff member had put in – we were still nervous. Until yesterday when our results came in. As of yesterday morning we were the first and only Child Care Center (birth through PreK) in Nebraska to have earned a FIVE!

We are so proud of our staff, so lucky to have such a supportive family-base and so excited to be able to say we are doing everything we can for our students. We have big goals going into 2018 and we couldn’t be more excited about the potential of our classrooms, our program, our staff and children.

Happy new year! On to 2018!

Getting to Know Ms. Kathy W

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. Kathy W!

Ms. Kathy, an Omaha native, grew up in the Prairie Lane neighborhood when 132nd Street was about as far west as Omaha reached. She graduated from Westside High School just down the road and has been part of our Morning Star family for nearly two decades. She started at Morning star when her now-21-year old was in preschool and has been with us ever since. Today, Ms. Kathy is our Assistant Director and S.T.E.M. Specialist as well as our Preschool Coordinator, overseeing the preschool staff and program.

Looking back at her childhood, Ms. Kathy’s favorite memory is going camping with her family in Colorado and as a little girl she always dreamed of being a mom. Dreams do come true because today, she is a mom to not only her own children but also a mother figure to the preschoolers and preschool staff here at Morning Star.

Kathy is an alumna of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she received her bachelor’s degree. In addition to her bachelor’s, she has an associate’s degree in child development as well as 24+ years of experience as an educational provider in early childhood. When asked why she chose to teach, she says, “I love being with children and being able to guide them through their formative years.” When asked specifically about working with the children at Morning Star and what she loves the most, she gushes, “The children have such creative minds and give great hugs. They make me laugh every day.” Being our S.T.E.M. specialist, she adds, “S.T.E.M. classes are great because the children surprise me with how much they remember. They are brilliant!”

Ms. Kathy has learned a lot from working here at Morning Star but the most important lesson she’s learned is how to be flexible, noting no two days are the same; every day brings new challenges and joys. Being a part of the Monring Star family has also helped her realize she never wants to stop learning. Ms. Kathy’s motto to live by is, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and if she could give our students any advice, it would be to play outside as much as they can!

When she’s not in the office, bouncing from classroom to classroom or S.T.E.M. activity to S.T.E.M. activity, you can find Kathy sewing, reading, doing Sudoku puzzles or thrift store shopping. We are so LUCKY to have Ms. Kathy here to share all of her wisdom and knowledge, let alone her calm presence and dedication to our kids, our families and our staff. We couldn’t be any more proud of all the things she’s accomplished at Morning Star and are eager to watch that list grow.

Getting to Know Ms. Donna

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. Donna!

Ms. Donna has been part of the Morning Star family for three years! She is currently the lead teacher in the Blue Star room, caring for and snugglin’ our babies, after previously spending some time with our Green stars.

With a father in the military, Ms. Donna grew up all over the country. And even though she considers Omaha home now, her favorite childhood memories revolve around her family’s travels and all the sites she got to experience along the way. Today, one of Ms. Donna’s favorite hobbies is collecting spoons from different states.

Ever since she was 10 years old, Donna has dreamed of being a teacher and she followed through with that dream. She chose specifically to focus on Early Childhood Education, pursuing and earning an Associate’s Degree in the field. We’re so happy she did. After obtaining her degree, Donna worked in a corporate child care setting for close to 10 years before joining us at Morning Star.

When asked what she loves about working at Morning Star she shared her love for the cooperative teaching environment. “I love how the staff, for the most part, works together as a team…if you need help with anything, there’s always someone here that will help you.”

When asked what she loves about teaching Donna expressed her love for watching children learn new lessons and skills. “I love seeing the expressions on the kids’ faces when they learn something new. It’s the best feeling ever.” She admires their ability to learn so quickly and their endless determination to do so. If she could give her students one piece of advice, it would be to never stop learning and to expand on your dreams to make them come true.

Outside of work, you can find Donna reading, spending quality time with her husband and generally just living life to the fullest – an ode to the motto she lives by. We’re so happy Ms. Donna joined the Morning Star family and can’t wait to watch her grow.

Getting to Know Ms. Lucy

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. Lucy!

Lucy has been part of the Morning Star family for two years, though it feels like much longer than that! She has spent her two years here snuggling and caring for our White Stars.

Ms. Lucy grew up here in Omaha and is the oldest of four children, the big sister to three younger brothers. As you can imagine, her home was full of chaos – kids wrestling, running in circles around the house and Lucy constantly trying to convince her brothers to go along with her grander plans. She remembers how she’d try to convince them super heroes wore dresses and makeup so that she could dress them as she saw fit. And while some super heroes do wear dresses and makeup, but her brothers never gave in. The only child who played an instrument, Lucy also tried to convince her brothers to start playing something – anything – in hopes of starting a super family band. She was 0/2 as her brothers didn’t give in to that one either.

Lucy was very close to her bothers. In fact, her favorite memory as a child is when the three of them decided to turn the room underneath their stairs into a club house. They laid down carpet, moved in blow up furniture and their easy bake oven and made it official by scratching their name into the walls. It turned into more of a miniature apartment for kids when the four of them decided they were done with their bedrooms and spent nearly every waking moment there. But then they found a spider and vacated immediately.

As a little girl Lucy wanted to be either a paleontologist, a vet, a pilot or a musician. Not the best at math and science, she gave up on the first three dreams as soon as she realized all three of them required both. But as we know very well, today Lucy still plays the guitar and sings. She’s played here for us and all of our student’s in Kevin’s concert cove, at times she can be found playing songs for the babies in the baby room and just recently she’s formed a band she plays with. It doesn’t have a name yet, so if you have suggestions she’d love to hear them! Today, you can also find Lucy running or swimming – her go-to methods for clearing her mind.

Working at Morning Star, Lucy has realized she has another dream as well: teaching. A graduate of Westside high school and just one math class short of an audio/visual degree, Morning Star is currently sponsoring Lucy through the T.E.A.C.H program while she is enrolled at Metro pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education.  In regards to why she’s chosen to teach Lucy says, “I believe it is one of the most important jobs. More than anything, attitudes you instill in kids about life and content they are learning is very crucial, especially in their most formative years.” She loves being around kids all day long, noting their unending they energy and their aptness for weird ideas. “You help them grow as a person, but also they help you as well.”

Lucy loves working at Morning Star because of the community it provides. “It is a very family driven environment, which I love because it makes going to work feel a little less like going to work.” Her favorite memory from her time here was playing at Kevin’s Concert Cove for the kids. “Watching all of the kids dance and connect to music is extremely rewarding, and just goes to show that the love of music has no age limit.” She’s learned valuable lessons while working at Morning Star but the most valuable she says was really realizing how much her approach to a situation influences the outcome – what you give is what you get.

When asked what Morning Star has taught her about herself, Lucy is extremely grateful because as she says,”Morning Star just affected my life a freakish amount, more than I would have ever expected, and I am super grateful for it. I definitely would not be the person I am today if I had not started working at Morning Star. she’s been impacted.” Before working at Morning Star, she didn’t think she wanted kids of her own, now she can’t wait. Namely crediting the families, “Seeing all of the families at Morning Star, and the way they balance their work and their kids, and make time to make sure their kids are loved no matter what, I can say with 100% certainty that I can’t wait to have a family of my own some day.” She says working at Morning Star has also helped her reconnect with God and religion, something she had thought just wasn’t for her anymore.

If she had to give her students one piece of advice it would sharing her life motto, a quote from Ram Dass, “You can treat it as a great weight, or you can treat it like its part of the dance.” She also says she’d tell them to give love and kindness as much as they can. And when asked what she admires most in her students, she gave an honestly hilarious answer. “I love working with the babies, they are filled with so much curiosity and everything is so new to them. I admire their drive to learn and to move. They have to start from scratch, and babies, in my opinion are the most driven humans. I also admire how they can fart extremely loud and act like nothing happened at all. That is a true talent.”

We are so happy to have Lucy as a member of the Morning Star family and can’t wait to watch her grow

Getting to Know Ms. Liz

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. Liz!

Working at Morning Star for the last 12 years, Ms. Liz is a very familiar face to our teachers, staff and our students at Morning Star thought she might not be such a familiar face to our families. As our resident play hard and eat smart teacher, Ms. Liz leads our FitKids and Healthy Cooking classes every week!

Growing up right here in Omaha and graduating from Westside, Liz always wanted to be a teacher. One of three girls, her favorite childhood memories revolve around playing Barbies with her sisters, Kate and Jessie. If you’re thinking those names sound familiar, it’s probably because you’ve heard a lot of childhood stories about Liz, Kate and Jessie from their mom, Ms. Susan.

Liz has over 20 years in in early childhood education and today, she is still living her childhood dream along with a few others. Outside of working with our students at Morning Star, Ms. Liz is a certified fitness instructor – founder of Fit Mama here in Omaha – as well as a fitness nutrition specialist. She continues to teach for a lot of reasons but says she loves the the amount of information young children absorb and she realizes the impact she can make. “They own the power to create healthy choices now and I believe those choices will follow them into adulthood.”

In her free time, you can find here cooking fun meals with her family (she has three kids all of whom are graduates of Morning Star), listening to country music and watching football (specifically, the Dallas Cowboys).

With strong ties to Morning Star, the school program as well as the church hold a special place in her heart. She says, “My babies went all the way through Morning Star.  It’s a very special place to me.” Her favorite memory from her time with Morning Star is getting to watch her kids make their first friends during their preschool days here. Being part of their daily activities and having them as part of her cooking classes was so special. And now that her kids are graduated she says, “It’s so cool to see how enthused all of the kids get about learning about new foods and healthy eating.”

If she could give her students one piece of advice it would be telling them to find their own self and own their happiness. Teaching has taught Liz that she truly does love working with kids this age and wouldn’t trade it for anything. She’s also learned that patience and having a heart full of love are must for any preschool teacher. We agree. When asked what she admires most in her students, she says, “They are fresh slates with so much eagerness to learn. It’s awesome!!”

Liz has made such a great contribution to Morning Star’s curriculum, not to mention to our kids’ view of the world and themselves. We are so happy she has chosen to share her passion with our students!

 

Getting to Know Ms. Cheyenne

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. Cheyenne!

If you have a White Star or a Red Star at Morning Star, this week’s teacher in the spotlight will definitely be a familiar face. Ms. Cheyenne has been part of the Morning Star family now for a year and a half. Today, she is a teacher in the White Star room after spending time last year with the Green Stars.

Ms. Cheyenne grew up in a small town in Connecticut, so small you could literally walk the entire town in a day – or less.  Cheyenne has two older sisters and one older brother, all of whom live in three different states: Connecticut, Oregon and California. Being so much younger than her siblings, five to eight years to be exact, was difficult but she had a best friend to share everything with who lived two houses down, and was very close with her mom. Her  favorite memory from her childhood was when her mom would make breakfast and sleep in her room the day before the first day of school, so she wouldn’t be nervous. Her mom would read her book by a night light. “It was the coziest and relaxing moment.”

As a little girl, Cheyenne wanted to own her own bakery (and still does). She started cooking when she was 12 or 13 for her family, because her mom worked late. Today, you can find her enjoying a great book – Stephen King is a favorite – or an interesting television show or baking something delicious. Cheyenne graduated high school in Connecticut and is currently pursuing an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education through the TEACH program here at Morning Star, through Metropolitan Community College.

Cheyenne remembers her first impression of Morning Star, “What made me want to accept the job at Morning Star was that everyone was happy. Susan was – and still is – a big part in sealing the deal. She continuously helps out everyone and makes sure she hears and understands you. And, of course, THE KIDS! I can be comfortable with my kids and they always can make me laugh at the silliest things.” One of Ms. Cheyenne’s favorite Morning Star memories is when she was a teaching in the Green Star classroom. The class was going over their songs for the Holiday play. She recalls the kids and teachers having so much fun, singing along and acting out the gestures. That memory sticks with her.

When it comes to teaching, Cheyenne chooses to teach so she can make an educational difference in her students’ lives. Whether it’s helping them with their ABC’s or teaching them how to roll over, she sees the positive impact she can have. If she could give one piece of advice to her students, it would be simple: Don’t overthink things. Just go out and do it. Overthinking will cost you too much time and you will regret waiting. 

Working at Morning Star has taught Cheyenne the importance of trusting who you work side-by-side with, no matter the situation. “Every little thing can fall apart if there is no trust or communication.” She says the kids have taught her to more care free and honest – more like them. And when asked what she admire most about the kids, she says, “They can answer so simply and honestly, and makes the greatest sense.”

We have loved having Cheyenne as part of the Morning Star family and can’t wait to watch her thrive!

 

Getting to Know Mr. Brian

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 Mr. Brian!

Everyone knows Mr. Brian, he’s been walking our halls and leaving impressions on our children for seven years! Today, Mr. Brian is the Orange Star Team Leader.

Mr. Brian grew up in South Omaha and remembers spending his childhood wanting to be a whip-carrying archaeologist just like Indiana Jones. Mr. Brian has three siblings – two brothers and one sister – saying, “we’re a tight knit family and super goofy.” Looking back, his favorite childhood memories were family vacations, all classic road trips. And it’s a tradition that stuck; today, he and his wife enjoy taking their four children on road trips.

Brian graduated high school from Omaha South High School and then spent time at Iowa Western and Peru State College. Brian loves teaching, saying it’s rewarding to watch and help the kids grow. He loves that it allows him to be himself, utilizing his creativity and valuing his youthful spirit.

Over the years, Brian has learned that children will always be children. No matter what part of the world or what town they live in, all children want is to be loved, congratulated and silly. All children want to be proud of themselves and told that someone cares for them. His time at Morning Star has taught him a lot, including patience, self control, compassion, how to listen and how to decipher a language of full mouths, yawns, giggles and coughs.

Brain loves his students’ ability to just be themselves – every little nuance and quirk is unique to them – it’s what makes them, them and he loves how fully they’re able to embrace it. If he could give any advice to his students it would be to just live saying, “Life should be a big adventure, full of surprises and curiosity. Be excited about what you do and how you live your life.” 

Outside of work, Brian can be found hiking, kayaking, playing music and singing with his band, having random dance parties, being silly, playing basketball or simply being a dad and a husband. He’d do anything once, but if he could be anything, he’d love to try his hand singing, coaching (sports and life), comedy, writing, photography, exploration and vacation blogging – just to name a few. It’s probably no surprise that Brian’s motto to live by is Today only happens once, make it amazing. 

We are so happy to have had Brian as part of the Morning Star family for the past seven years and can’t wait to watch him grow!

Getting to Know Ms. Lindsay

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. Lindsay!

Ms. Lindsay started with Morning Star in the Green Star room a little over a year ago. Since then, she has transitioned into the Purple Star classroom where she is now the lead teacher to our 2 – 3 year olds. Ever since she was a little girl, Ms. Lindsay knew she wanted to teach; today, she holds a masters degree in early childhood education. Lindsay grew up right here in Omaha but some of her favorite childhood memories center around family road trips up to Lake Okoboji.

Ms. Lindsay’s favorite part of working at Morning Star is interacting with the kids and hearing all of the hilarious things they say. While working here, Lindsay has given a lot of her time and herself to her students but she’s also learned valuable lessons from them, the most valuable being the importance of having fun. When asked what the most important lesson she’d learned working here was, she said, “to have fun with the kids.” And when asked what she admires most about her students, she says,”their ability to let loose and have fun!”

Outside of work, you can find Lindsay in her happy place: caring for, tending to and riding her horse, Joey, or spending time with her cat, Sierra.

If you see Ms. Lindsay in the hallways or if you’re lucky enough to have her as your child’s team lead, feel free to ask her more about her background, her time here or Joey and Sierra!

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