4C Empowers Early Childhood Leaders

November 10, 2017

June Sciarra Cindy

Cindy Wooten sees the potential not only in children she serves as director of the YMCA Early Learning Center in Roselawn, but also in the teachers she supervises.

“We have a responsibility as leaders to inspire and encourage our future leaders,” she says. Cindy believes that there is always room for growth and learning—whether someone has been in the field of early childhood for one year or for 30 years as she has.

Cindy recently seized the opportunity to apply for 4C’s Developing Early Childhood Leaders (DECL) seminar to “refresh some of my old skills and blend them with new skills.” She also wanted to become part of a support network of other early childhood leaders.

DECL offers in-depth professional development for early childhood professionals. This year the seminar included 35 participants who took part in monthly sessions throughout the course of the year to develop and strengthen their leadership skills.

She remembers an African proverb that one of the DECL presenters shared: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That’s how she has approached her role as a director over the past 10 years. As she learns, she’s passing along the knowledge and skills to her staff.

“At the end of the day,” she says, “I have the responsibility to help my staff develop into early childhood leaders who are inspiring our future leaders: our children.”

Cindy’s humble leadership has earned her a special recognition: she received this year’s June Sciarra Early Childhood Leadership Award after being nominated for the honor by her coworkers.

This annual award is presented by 4C to a child care program director and honors leaders who exemplify the principles Dorothy June Sciarra championed throughout her esteemed early childhood education career including vision and inspiration, relationship building and commitment to excellence.

Cindy received the award on Oct. 27 during a luncheon at the 2017 4C for Children Leadership and Early Childhood Conference, an event that gathered more than 500 early childhood professionals for professional development and networking.

Cindy’s nomination form described her as an expert relationship-builder. “She always engages her staff and the families she works with day in and day out. She facilitates thinking, engages minds, listens, encourages, supports and learns herself as she does all of this.”

Cindy and many early childhood professionals like her have been able to take advantage of opportunities like DECL thanks to 4C supporters who have made scholarship opportunities possible.

Pictured above: 2017 June Sciarra Award Recipient Cindy Wooten (middle) was joined at the 4C Leadership and Early Childhood Conference by previous award recipients Clara Vorbrocker (left) and Kathy Haders (right).