“I believe in family first. One of the most important things in my role at The PREP Schools is to provide love, care and nurturing for children, while partnering with parents to provide tools and resources so they can be the best parents possible.” — Heather White
That’s a key facet of Heather White’s belief system – and she’s putting it into action as the Operational Owner of The PREP Schools – a new private preschool that’s launched in Austin to give children a jump start on their future.
In this capacity, Heather is deeply involved in curriculum development, as well as staff hiring and training. She’s also the “go to” person for parents and personnel on all issues, and she serves as the school’s “brand ambassador” – hosting facility tours and serving as the PREP representative within the local community.
“I’m very big on working hand-and-hand with parents – especially first-time parents,” said Heather, who earned her Childcare Director Certification in 2000. “I’ll be incorporating a lot of parental education into our offerings – including classes, workshops and on-site resources.”
Heather brings significant experience to her current role – having served in a similar capacity over a 10-year period for two nationally recognized preschools in Houston – facilities that grew under her direction to serve a total of 400 children and their families, and employed 60 staff members.
In commenting on how she got into the business, Heather says becoming a first-time mom and facing the prospect of being separated from her child for a typical “workday” forced the issue. As a result, Heather joined a preschool as one of its classroom teachers — and simultaneously enrolled her child in that very same school – a facility with an emphasis on education.
“In exploring various alternatives, I found that when it comes to preschools – having a focus on education was the exception – and not the rule. I wanted nothing but ‘the exception’ for my child,” said Heather.
Heather says she found being a classroom teacher of three-year-olds to be extremely satisfying. “There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a child grow and learn – especially when they begin to recognize colors, shapes and letters for the very first time.”
It didn’t take long for others to see what she describes as her tendency to “take charge, be responsible, and go above and beyond” in the classroom. Within four months, Heather was promoted into the preschool’s management ranks – where her leadership skills continued to get noticed. The two facilities she eventually managed earned nothing but top accreditation ratings, company excellence awards and A+ scores with the health-licensing agency.
When asked what she’s most proud of in terms of her childcare career accomplishments, Heather says, “I’m proud that I’ve had an impact on young lives – and that I was able to play a role in teaching them some basic fundamentals.”
“I’m also proud that we were doing what we were telling the parents we were doing,” Heather continued. “Parents expected us to deliver excellent childcare and education — and we exceeded that expectation each and every day.”
Last, but not least, Heather says she takes pride in the fact that the staff trusted her – and her preschools experienced some of the lowest staff turnover rates in the entire system – rates that became a benchmark for other facilities within the franchise company. One of Heather’s core beliefs is to go above and beyond for the parents at The PREP Schools everyday and she ensures the high standard she set for her staff and Leadership Team previously will be evident daily.
In summarizing what she hopes parents will come to understand about The PREP Schools down the line, Heather says, “I want them to know we’re in this together – and we’re in a partnership to see that their children get an exceptional and personalized preschool education that they won’t find anywhere else.”