LPS panelists speak to many choices in early childhood profession

Jame Cartwright wants students who have chosen the Early Childhood and K-12 Education pathways at The Career Academy (TCA) – to see a bright future ahead with plenty of possible career options.

“I want them to see there is, and always will be, a future in the career field and that they can make a difference in the lives of many young children in their careers,” said Cartwright, an instructor in the Early Childhood Pathway at TCA.

That focus on career choices was one of the main goals for an April panel discussion at TCA that featured Lincoln Public Schools employees who work in a variety of early-childhood professions: occupational therapy, social work, psychology, hiring, teaching and more.

Cartwright described the purpose of the panel as showing students in early childhood education that there are more career options than working in a community-based preschool or as a childcare teacher.

“I want students to begin to identify with a career path and I also want to encourage students who are just exploring the field to see the array of careers available to them in the field of early childhood. Ideally we would use this as a recruitment tool to help prospective students see what all is out there.”

Cartwright continued: “I hope my current students saw themselves in one of the positions, but I also hope that they started to realize that there are more options than just child-care after graduation.  I hope they realized that the field of early childhood is a professional one, and one that is and should be valued. I want them to see that even if they start in one position that they should be open to what else might be out there, which the speakers did a great job of portraying.”

The panel discussion provided perspective and insight from a wide variety of early childhood professionals, according to Cara Lucas-Richt, director of Early Childhood at LPS. 

“It allowed them to ‘see’ into the field of early childhood education and shine a light on the important role that early childhood educators have in working with young children and their families.  It's also a way that we can support and contribute to our future educators as they prepare to begin their post-high school education and career path.”

Lucas-Richt said her hope is that TCA students learned about the rich possibilities in early childhood. “I also hope that an area of interest was further solidified or sparked because of the information shared by the panel participants.”

Panel participants included these LPS professionals:

  • Angie Battles, Early Childhood social worker
  • Angela Carlow, Early Childhood school psychologist
  • Erin Reier, Early Childhood occupational therapist
  • Molly Rakoczy, Early Childhood special education teacher 
  • Cara Lucas-Richt, director of Early Childhood
  • Marla Styles, Human Resources specialist

Published: April 29, 2022, Updated: April 29, 2022