Firelands Staffer Earns Credential

posted 1/23/24 -- Tina Showalter’s work advocating for children began in her own home when her daughter was a Head Start student. Tina has gone on to a long career with LCCAA Head Start and recently completed her Child Development Associate credential.

“As far back as I can remember, I realized that families didn’t always have the tools and resources they needed to succeed,” she said. “This became apparent when raising a child with special needs and needing to seek help when it wasn’t being offered.”

Tina started with LCCAA as a home visitor 16 years ago. She has worked at Hamilton in Elyria and currently serves as a family service assistant at Firelands Head Start. She also served as both vice president and president of Policy Council while her daughter was a student.

“I decided I wanted to be the person to help parents to advocate for and receive what they need, which is something Head Start works to do,” she said.

“She has put so much time and effort into learning how to be effective in the classroom,” said Firelands Site Administrator Pam Caruso. “We are all so impressed with all she has done.”

The CDA is considered the foundational credential for early childhood educators. It requires extensive coursework, classroom time and evaluations.

Tina said although adding the CDA work to her daily routine was challenging, she’s grateful for the new tools that allow her to do even more for LCCAA Head Start families.

“I am looking at things with a new lens,” she said. “I have a better understanding of child development which makes me feel like more of an asset in the classroom.”