Meet the Team – Sherry Howard

Sherry is the Project Director at Best Practices, the big kahuna, the boss lady. In addition to all the things a director is involved in on a day-to-day basis like budgets and paperwork, she travels with the BP team and conducts training, which she loves.  This year, you may meet Sherry at New Lead Teacher Training, where she facilitates a day about building classroom community and child guidance; at New Assistant Teacher Training; or at a few Work Sampling Online sessions. She also teaches a child guidance course to Georgia State University undergraduate students, a topic about which she is very passionate because she sees how much teachers struggle.

IMG_3170How long have you been with BP?
Forever! I was around when we first received the contract in 1996. The project has grown and changed so much over the years. People always ask me how I stay and do the same thing for so long, but the truth is, it is so different every single year.  The work challenges me to constantly learn new things and figure out better ways to do things.

What do you like most about working at BP or what drew you/attracted you to working at BP?
I guess I was the chosen one. I was in the department and working on a research project and was asked to split my time and work 50% on each project. Well that lasted only a matter of weeks. As you can imagine, the roll out was a huge undertaking. I remember the Olympics were in town, and Georgia State was pretty much shut down. We were all working together at different people’s houses to write content for the PreK resource book that would be used during trainings. We were charged with coming up with hundreds of developmentally appropriate activities across the learning domains.

Tell us about your background…education, experience with B-5, anything in the professional realm you want to share.
As a young child, I loved to babysit even before I was old enough. I charged 25 cents/hour to be a mother’s helper. I just loved being around children. I have always been passionate about working with the B-5 population and never really wanted to teach elementary school, so I got my undergrad degree in Child Development from the University of Georgia. I worked in childcare to put myself through grad school at GSU to obtain my Master’s degree in Educational Psychology.

What is your favorite children’s book?  What makes it most appealing to you?
Considering I could spend days reading children’s books, that is an extremely difficult question. I think I will cheat a bit and say any Dr. Seuss book. I still remember working at a childcare center and parents asking if they should read Dr. Seuss to their children because of the nonsense words. I guess they were nervous it might teach their children to use language incorrectly. The books are so fun, and we know how important they are to build phonological awareness skills at this young age. I guess they are my favorite, too, because I still have so many from my childhood that I have been able to pass down and read to my own children.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
A sense of direction. My fellow trainers make fun of me constantly about how I never know where I’m going. I have been to some of our training sites dozens of times and still get lost between the hotel and the conference center. Never tell me to just head north for a couple of miles.  How do people know what direction that is? I rely heavily on my GPS and am not sure what the heck I did before that. I’m pretty sure it was Suzanne sitting in the passenger seat telling me which way to turn.

Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?
Why would I tell something that was not very flattering and took years to go away? I was very tall even as a child and quite skinny so it had to do with that, I think people should try to guess…

How do you spend your free time?  Any hobbies?  What are they?
I really love to be outdoors, so anything I can do outside instead of inside is preferred. This can be as simple as eating on a deck, curling up on a lounge chair and reading a book or watching my kids swim. I also really love to be active when my schedule allows it. This includes long walks, riding bikes and playing competitive, fun tennis.

If you have to dress and leave in a hurry, what is the one thing you can easily cut out of your routine?
Honestly, I get ready so quickly that I am not sure what I could cut out. I am one of those people who wake up and immediately get busy with the day: unloading the dishwasher, on the computer, or cooking breakfast…even on a Saturday. I get ready in the morning in about 30 minutes, which is pretty fast. What slow me down are my kids and my husband, so I guess I would tell them they are on their own!  Is that mean?

Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?
I actually enjoy washing dishes, and if you invite me to your house for dinner, I will stay and wash dishes. I find it both calming and satisfying. I will do anything NOT to vacuum.

About

I train Georgia PreK teachers and dabble a bit in the art of blogging. Have an idea for a blog post? Email me at bestpractices@gsu.edu. On the web: www.bestpractices.gsu.edu Facebook: www.facebook.com/bestpracticespk Twitter: @bestpracticespk

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