This journey began when my husband suggested that I put in a proposal to the Wyndham developers to provide the first childcare center in their planned community. At that time, my experience was as a computer programmer using the Cobal and Assembler languages, which really dates me. With a degree in Business from Virginia Tech, I knew that this endeavor needed individuals with Early Childhood experience to set up a school that would truly be creative and educational. My husband’s business, Atlantic Constructors which was then known as Hungerford Mechanical, was in commercial construction which was a huge benefit when putting together a proposal and then implementing it. Back in 1995, our building was surrounded by beautiful farms and trees. There were no stop lights between 295 and Shady Grove Road. The only businesses were a McDonalds and a gas station. With a marketing study by Roundtree recommending that we only build 50% of the building we designed, we opened on September 25, 1995 with 105 children.
I have had the privilege of working with many incredible women who had the experience necessary to create something truly different. In 2003 after our afterschool program outgrew our first building, we decided to build the “Avenues” building. The concept of creating an enhancement to our preschool program in the morning and then use it for an afterschool program in the afternoon was very successful. It gave us that extra piece to set us apart from other childcare centers.
As a parent of two young children, I always wondered how to have the best of both worlds. A challenging and rewarding career but also more time to spend with my family. When I started CDCW, my daughters were 8 and 4 years old. They grew up here and thought of the teachers as their second family. My oldest daughter decided to go into Education and has joined me here at CDCW to carry on the family tradition. My other daughter went into the technology field and got her MBA at the University of Chicago - Booth. One of my favorite things to tell people on tours is that we have had many of our students come back and work for us during the summers. I have families come back and visit long after they are gone and their children’s teachers are still here. CDCW has become more than just a place to work and a school for children to attend. It has become a place where hundreds of relationships have formed and permanent friendships have been made while helping young children develop, learn and grow.