VAIL — After decades of working with youth, nonprofits and researching early childhood development, Kathleen Brendza join the Children’s Garden of Learning as the preschool’s executive director.
“We are very excited to have such a talented, effective leader at the helm,” said Dana Addis, Children’s Garden of Learning board of directors president. “Kathleen brings an extraordinary amount of experience across several different types of educational and nonprofit organizations. Her early childhood education expertise and professionalism is not matched in the Vail Valley.”
Brendza brings more than 20 years of nonprofit experience specializing in development, collaboration, program creation and facilitation, and community relations. This includes leadership positions at The Youth Foundation, the New America High School, Head Start of Lake County and The Center, an early childhood education center in Leadville.
She has also served as an advisor and consultant to Yale University and the Colorado Governor’s Commission on Early Childhood.
FROM PLANNING TO IMPLEMENTING
Brendza said that after her work in planning early childhood development, she’s excited for the opportunity to implement it.
“Preschool is the critical time in a child’s life where a foundation for all future learning transpires. A recent article even called it the most important,” Brendza said. “When I heard about the executive director position, I got so exited because this is one of those exceptional places in the valley, one of the best and most innovative.”
A graduate of the master’s program at Regis University in nonprofit management, Brendza also holds a master’s degree in elementary educationally handicapped and a B.A. in special education and elementary education from Adams State College.
‘INNATE ABILITY TO BUILD TRUST’
“Kathy’s special gift is assuring that everyday people believe in the work of the organization,” said former Youth Foundation Board member Susie Davis. “Her strategic approach along with her innate ability to build trust and rapport set the tone from the start for a successful nonprofit organization.”
While the Children’s Garden of Learning already boasts a prestigious reputation, Brendza hopes to help the preschool become more of a leader among other community early childhood programs.
“I hope we become more community-oriented. I think we can be a role model for other aspiring early-childhood facilities,” she said. “I think we can collaborate and inspire. We need to give back and help all early childhood communities rise to an excellent level. Every child deserves that opportunity. Our community is really hungry to do great things for kids; we just need an avenue to facilitate that.”
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.
“Preschool is the critical time in a child’s life where a foundation for all future learning transpires. A recent article even called it the most important. When I heard about the executive director position, I got so exited because this is one of those exceptional places in the valley, one of the best and most innovative.”
New executive director of the Children’s Garden of Learning