Professional Development

Brent Ayers

Associate Executive Director
of Childcare & Family Services

Photo Strip

Diagnosed as a second grader with dyslexia, Brent Ayers worked hard to overcome his learning disability. When a teacher in middle school said he'd never graduate from high school, Brent took that as a personal challenge. It drove him to succeed. At Scott Community College, he was selected as the grand marshal and speaker for his graduating class. As the Associate Executive Director of Childcare & Family Services at the Scott County Family Y, he now oversees the Learning Center and Kids Club. More than 290 children are enrolled in various programs at six sites.

 

Video Interview

 

Interview Q&A

How did you decide to enter the childcare field?

My mother ran an in-home child care center, and I was her helper. I often assisted her with the arts and crafts. We played lots of games, and I enjoyed it. But I had dyslexia. Although my family was supportive, and I received extra assistance, the schools didn't really know what to do with kids like me at that time. To this day, I never want a child to feel the way I did back then. I know how important it is to reach out to every child, and my mother was a great example.

 

What is your philosophy of teaching?

Each child learns differently, and, as teachers, we must learn to adapt our teaching styles to help each child. Our staff knows that it may mean more work and more time, but if we can't reach a child one way, we must try another. We should all want to be here for the children.

 

Why is quality early child care and education so essential for a child's future?

Early education helps children be the best they can be. At the Y, for instance, we instill 4 core values: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. The earlier we can help a child develop as a great individual, the better for society. In addition, with families spending less and less time as a unit, so many little things are being lost. From using eating utensils correctly to expressing good manners, there are a lot of practical skills they need to learn and we as a TEAM are here to help instill these skills.

 

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your job?

We don't turn down families if they can't pay the childcare fees. Since our center has some families that receive some sort of scholarship, we have to seek the resources to offset these costs. That pushes me since we must find the funds to help every family that needs our help and support.

 

How have you taken a leadership role in the profession?

Working cohesively with the staff as a "team" is the foundation. I think my role is to be a facilitator, to give my team a "voice" so we all learn and continue to grow. There's always a new research study, and we keep up through training, the internet or magazines. It's also important to be inventive and to have as much fun as the children. We're particularly proud that the Learning Center has earned a QRS (Quality Rating System) level 4 certificate. We are always looking for ways to improve. Our goal is to become a level 5 center, but we may have some obstacles that are out of our control and may prevent us from obtaining this goal.

 

What traits do you feel are important for working with young children and their parents?

In a classroom full of children where each of them would like your attention, patience is essential. I also recommend strong listening and communication skills since we work with both children and parents. Understanding and compassion are also on my list. I feel joy when I see those smiling faces every morning. It's awesome to me that I can make a big impact. But if it's not in someone's heart, then it won't—you won't—make a difference.

 

What has been the biggest surprise about working in your position?

Every day, every hour is different. As an administrator, I have to switch gears quickly if a child or teacher or parent needs my attention. They're all my priority—and sometimes all at the same time! I love that I wear so many hats rolled into one and would not change it for anything!