In our employee spotlight series, we highlight some of the wonderful people who make Child Care Services Association (CCSA) a success. Meet Amy Duffy, Senior Manager of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® NC Scholarship Program and learn about her perspective of CCSA and how it has changed over the years.
As we celebrate our 50th year, learn about the profound impact of our staff’s commitment to CCSA and everyone we serve.
What does your job entail?
T.E.A.C.H is the scholarship program that Child Care Services Association has operated for more than 30 years. My primary role is to oversee the program and supervise the staff that work under the T.E.A.C.H. umbrella. I’m also responsible for quality control and data management and I do all of our reporting, report writing and data analysis. I also work on special projects related to things that are going on in the workforce that T.E.A.C.H is supporting. Although we’re a scholarship program, our reach is a lot greater than that. We’re trying to not only increase education but to increase compensation as it’s related to that education and then reduce turnover, keeping quality teachers in the classroom and hopefully having better outcomes for children and families.
How long have you worked at Child Care Services Association?
I started in 1996.
What do you recall about the early days?
Well, when I first started, we did not have email, we did instant messaging on our computer. So technology was definitely a lot different. A lot of faxing. Since we were (and are) a nonprofit, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on extra things so everything was very primitive, I guess. But just seeing all the changes with technology and our organization’s growth with the expansion of our services has been so satisfying.
How has your job changed over the years?
When I joined CCSA in the late 1990s, T.E.A.C.H. was really starting to grow statewide. I came out of the classroom working as a preschool teacher and my first position with T.E.A.C.H. was as an administrative assistant. So starting in that role, I just really got to see that kind of the administrative framework of the program. Then I moved into a counselor position, what we call specialists now, but the counselor is the person who deals with the scholarship participants directly and I did that for some time. I’ve worked in other roles like coordinators, so I have really grown with our division. Back then, we were kind of just flying by the seat of our pants because it was such a fledgling program. Now, we have grown so much and are able to offer a high-quality level of service to staff in getting the supports they need to best serve our participants.
What has been your biggest achievement/success and CCSA’s greatest accomplishments?
It’s been helping the program grow in quality. Developing formal mechanisms to ensure the people are getting trained and getting the support that they need on an ongoing basis. So I feel like that has been a big accomplishment as being able to really grow in that area. Working here pushed me to go to grad school and finish my master’s degree so I feel that was always a big accomplishment personally. I would say our national reach with the T.E.A.C.H. program has been a great accomplishment for our organization and just really the innovativeness of the program. There are many ways that we help people pay for school but this goes beyond just helping people pay and get to school. It’s really just kind of that workforce initiative, to help address all the crisis points, low education obviously being one of them, but also how that links up to the low pay and high turnover. I’m happy to be still standing.
What’s your favorite part of the job? What excites you most?
My favorite part of the job is obviously helping people. When I look back on my life, this is not where I thought I would be; I thought I would be a teacher. But I love learning about the policy and the bigger picture and the impact. It’s pushed me to grow a lot in that way. When I feel overwhelmed with deadlines, I always come back to the idea of how we are helping people that would never have gone to school had it not been for T.E.A.C.H. or our words of encouragement. That’s the stuff that keeps me motivated. Also, there have been a few of us on staff that have worked together for 20-plus years so we’re kind of like family and it’s the camaraderie that makes this job exciting and keeps me going.