Sharon Woods, a 2012 recipient of the Child Care Council of Westchester's Joey Award, is the perfect example of a hands-on administrator. As Director of the Leake & Watts Ames Early Childhood Learning Center in Yonkers, Ms. Woods takes the time to greet her students every morning. "My favorite thing about my job is being with the kids, watching them learn and grow every day," says Ms. Woods. "It's amazing how they're like little sponges."
Every year, the Joey Award is presented to a select number of child care professionals who have made a significant difference in the lives of Westchester County's children and families. Ms. Woods has a distinguished history of working for the Yonkers Public School system and had spent a large portion of her career designing curriculum and developing assessments. She missed being in the classroom, though. "I retired after 30 years of service, but I wanted to be face-to-face with kids again," says Ms. Woods. "Now I'm in the classrooms every day and I make sure to get to know the families. I love it."
Ms. Woods is glad that her years of experience can benefit not only the young students at the Ames Center, which serves both typically developing children and children with special education needs, but the teachers as well. "I have an outstanding staff," says Ms. Woods. "They are the heart of the Ames Center, and they work hard to meet the high standards that we set for teachers in order to help the children learn and grow."
According to Linda Rosenthal, Leake & Watts' Assistant Executive Director of Early Childhood Services, Ms. Woods is very deserving of the Joey Award. "Ms. Woods has had an extremely positive and empowering influence on her staff," explains Ms. Rosenthal, "and having devoted her professional career to working with families and teachers, she has touched the lives of thousands of children. We're so lucky to have her leading the Ames Center."