United Way of Tucson & Southern Arizona

Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, and Families

Great Expectations Welcomes, Maurice Sykes, Early Childhood National Expert

Maurice Sykes, author of Doing the Right Thing for Children: Eight Qualities of Leadership, visited Tucson last week and met with principals, teachers, directors and members of the 9 Communities of Practice that are part of the Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, and Families grant. Sykes is the director of the Early Childhood Leadership Institute at the University of the District of Colombia’s National Center for Urban Education and is a top national advocate for high quality early education.

Bright and early Tuesday morning, 38 principals, superintendents and school administrators representing seven school districts across Pima County came together to discuss the importance of public school pre-kindergarten classes and how communities across the US are creating exemplary programs. The level of engagement and interest was visible as the group discussed topics like leadership and intentionality. One of the participants commented, “One thing I appreciated most about today’s workshop was Mr. Sykes’ depth of knowledge and his fun, interesting way of presenting”. Principals are very excited and are looking forward to his return in April when he will be visiting public school preschool classrooms and sharing his expertise with principals and teachers.

In the evening, Maurice joined a group of over 50 early childhood teachers to talk about what Doing the Right Thing for Children means for them. The diversity of early educators varying from public preschool, to center-based and in-home education settings gave the group a variety of perspectives and ideas. The group of teachers appreciated Maurice’s honesty and “the way he challenged us to think” as one teacher commented.

On Wednesday, Maurice spent the entire day with the Coordinators of the Communities of Practice as they learned about the Eight Qualities of Leadership. The Coordinators had the opportunity to spend the day learning and discussing about Theory of Change and how it can be used to improve early childhood professional development. More specifically, how to improve their work through Great Expectations for Teachers, Children and Families.

Mr. Sykes’ work in Tucson was made possible by an early childhood professional development grant from First Things First to United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

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