If I may speak frankly, the first three to five weeks at my fellowship were a bit chaotic. Including my position, there are a total of four administrative positions at the CELC. The Administrative Assistant began six weeks before I started, the Center Director began two weeks before me, and Gina, our new Executive Director, began two weeks after my start date. Considering this turnover it is probably easy to see how my first few weeks with the organization were a little crazy. However, this turnover extended beyond the administrative staff. Several teachers and a member of our support staff also left the organization during this period, I suspect worried about the abrupt departure of their supervisors. As a result, while those of us on the administrative team were trying to learn our roles within the organization and the directors were drowning in the work that was sitting on their desks when they arrived, we often found ourselves away from our desks filling in classrooms and in the kitchen.
Although incredibly stressed and working long hours, the new CELC administrative team was determined to set the organization back on the right track. However, things had to get worse before they could get better. Hiring new staff, which I discussed in a recent post, is a time consuming task. While I was screening candidates and scheduling interviews to fill the vacant positions and while our Center Director and Executive Director conducted interviews and made offers, we were taking time away from other work that our jobs demanded. However, we understood that to set the organization back on track, give ourselves and the teaching staff a break, and continue to provide high quality early childhood education and childcare, this additional work to hire new staff needed to be done.
Today, the state of the organization is strong. Under Gina’s leadership, the organization is operating under a higher level of efficiency and a very high level of transparency. Most importantly, as the morale of the teachers has increased, the quality of education that we are providing is increasing–and parents are noticing. Today, we have filled most of the open teaching positions and have filled the open support staff position. In addition, we have added an additional “floater” to give the teachers more time to plan and an additional member of the administrative team to help fill in as I go to part-time this autumn.
In addition, exciting things are beginning to happen at the Center. Every day we are getting closer to the opening of the first intergenerational center in Central Ohio, which the CELC is opening in partnership with The Ohio State University, National Church Residences and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority. We are also implementing Conscious Discipline in each of our classrooms, a project led by Stacy, our new Center Director. In addition, we have three volunteer days scheduled for this fall in which large groups are going to come in and have the opportunity to make a meaningful and visual impact on the organization.
Therefore, even though the first few weeks at my fellowship were a bit stressful, and not at all what I expected, it has given me the opportunity to witness an organization go through an dramatic transformation in a very short period of time. I am proud to have been a part of this transformation and am excited that I am going to have the opportunity to stay on as a part time Volunteer Coordinator through the school year.