Children's Council accreditation

From left to right: Paula Hicks, Christian Cook, Abigail Swanger, Moriah Stegall, Julia Sisbarro, Caroline Phillips, Brandie Peede, Alex Neofotis, April Rominger, Carrie Hagaman and Elizabeth Hutelymer.

BOONE – Eight local early childhood care and education programs received recognition for providing a higher standard of quality care to young children in Watauga County. These centers are part of the Children’s Council of Watauga County’s Pathways to Accreditation Program and have worked diligently for the past three years to achieve higher standards of quality care.

The Children’s Council, in partnership with PBS NC, celebrated these providers with a dinner at Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock and also offered a training in Cultural Connections giving educators ideas for the classroom and resources for their students and families, offering important continuing education credits required by their profession on April 5.

The following centers and teachers received accreditation:

  • Western TLC Head Start – April Rominger and Carrie Hagaman
  • Watauga County Schools’ Pre-Kindergarten Classroom at Hardin Park Elementary –Elizabeth Hutelmyer and Trish Horton
  • Mabel Elementary Developmental Day – Kathy Abi-Haydar and Elizabeth Rodden
  • Appalachian State University’s Lucy Brock Collaborative Pre-Kindergarten Classroom at Parkway Elementary School – Julia Sisbarro and Shanda Richards
  • Appalachian State University’s Lucy Brock Collaborative Pre-Kindergarten Classroom at Blowing Rock Elementary – Caroline Phillips and Victoria Gaither
  • Appalachian State University’s Lucy Brock Collaborative Pre-Kindergarten Classroom at Cove Creek Elementary – Jordan Myers and Molly Russell.
  • Appalachian State University’s Child Development Center – Moriah Stegall, Director and Abigail Swanger received accreditation for themselves and all their teaching staff.
  • Watauga County Schools’ Pre-Kindergarten Classroom at Valle Crucis Elementary – Erin Rice and Leonie Gill.

The Pathways to Accreditation program was launched in 2019 by the Children’s Council and is based on the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards for early childhood care and education programs. The program focuses on eight standards: Early Childhood Education Standard, Physical Environment, Health and Safety, Relationships, Staff Development, Family Partnership, Curriculum and Assessment, and Behavioral Support.

A total of 19 local early care and education programs are participating in the Pathways to Accreditation program and are diligently working to achieve high standards of care in the classroom. The Directors of the centers also benefit from a Director’s Leadership Collaborative where they can learn together and support one another in their profession.

The Children’s Council of Watauga County, Inc. is a nonprofit serving young children, parents, and early childhood professionals. The agency administers the State’s early childhood funding as the local Smart Start partnership and the administrator of NC Pre-K funding. Additionally, the agency offers a range of parenting programs and family support services that benefit young children and their families. This year, the Children’s Council will celebrate its 45th anniversary.

To learn more about the programs and upcoming celebration events contact the Children’s Council at (828) 262-5424, or visit the website

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