Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Colleen Teran Preschool Director. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Colleen Teran, appreciate you joining us today. Talk to us about building your team? What was it like? What were some of the key challenges and what was your process like?
I have been in the field of early education for many years. I directed a center with 251 kids and 40 employees when I was invited to start a new center in a different location. We opened with five kids and four employees 10 years ago. Within one year we had over 100 kids and had started a waiting list. We now have two locations and by September we should be at 250 kids.
One of the keys to our success is the understanding that the the director is the front door to the program but the teachers are the back door. The key is hiring quality people, pay them well, treat them with respect and offer the most benefits you can manage. It is important to communicate a thankful attitude for their loyalty and job skills. Our teachers are not babysitters but rather early educators!
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I started out teaching junior high and high school kids. Our church started a preschool and after one year the director was very discouraged and quit on the spot. There were very few kids and not enough income to cover payroll. At that crucial point, I stepped in, became the administrator, enrolled in early education classes to qualify as a director. Within one year we had 75 kids enrolled. I had found my calling. Over the years I have consulted with faith-based centers, helped others start a program, taken a school through accreditation, taught seminars at early education conventions and advised churches on if and how to start a center in their church. My passion is faith-based centers.
It is true. Find your passion and you never have to go to work. Our center serves kids ages 2 through 5 and I adore these kids and parents. Parents are the primary educators and we try to design our program around the needs of parents. Our heart is to serve. We are also a non-profit center so parents understand our basis of operation.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
Covid has challenged us all. When our country went into lock down in March, 2020, our center took only a six-week break to figure out how to re-open while maintaining protocols. On May 1, 2020 we re-opened to serve families of essential works. Within a couple of months we were serving about 35 families. Community Care Licensing commented that we had one of the largest programs operating under Covid conditions. Since that time we have only had about 4 cases of child-related covid cases. In addition, although income was low (or non-existent) our teachers never missed a paycheck. Ever.
Also, parents have been extremely generous of pay their tuition regardless of any quarantine. Our center has truly been blessed and at this time, thriving.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
I have never invested in any kind of advertising. Happy parents are the best advertisement on the planet. Parents telling parents. In the beginning of this newest center, I have offered “Tell a Friend” to parents. If you tell your friend and we enroll your friend, you will receive one week free tuition. In the beginning that was very successful.
Also, we are a strong faith-based center. We do not teach religion. Our families come from all different religious backgrounds. We focus on five aspects of faith. Number one, we introduce kids to the fact that there is a God, number two, God’s Word (the Bible) is true, number three Jesus is alive today, number four, this is how we can talk to God and number five the happy way is to obey.
Parents are very happy with this approach and love what we teach.
- Website: gracekidspreschool.com
- Instagram: gracekidspreschoolsd