New Smart Start director is experienced teacher

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An educator with more than 15 years’ experience has been hired as the new executive director of Smart Start Rowan.

Cam Downing worked for 10 years at Salisbury Academy, serving as a teacher, the Lower School director and curriculum and programs coordinator during her tenure. She is returning to Salisbury after serving as dean of faculty and curriculum at Charlotte Preparatory School.

Downing said she is excited about leading Smart Start Rowan’s efforts to ensure quality early child care in Rowan County.

“Being familiar with the expectations that exist for our kindergartners when they enter the classroom,” she said, “I am very excited about and committed to the work of Smart Start Rowan in helping every child have the opportunity to receive a quality early childhood education.”

Smart Start is a public/private partnership launched by the state in 1993 to ensure high quality, affordable and available child care and health and family support services for families and children ages 0-5. The early childhood initiative is designed to ensure that every child arrives at kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed.

Downing said, “The services for children and their families that are made possible through Smart Start dollars along with private donations and the volunteer hours provided here in Rowan County are invaluable in terms of the positive impact they make for the future of our children as well as our community.”

The vision of Smart Start Rowan is: “The entire community will join with its families to ensure that every child grows up in a healthy, safe, supportive and nurturing environment with hopes instilled, dreams encouraged and individuality valued.”

Smart Start Rowan helps fund and collaborates with many community agencies to help provide services that positively impact the lives of Rowan children. Some of these services include: Child Care Resource and Referral services; Professional Development Incentives for early childhood care providers; the “More At Four” program in collaboration with Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Kannapolis City Schools and private child care facilities; Parent Education Programs through the Adolescent and Family Enrichment Council;

Health Services for Children, a Child Care Health Consultant; and “Health Link” services through the Rowan County Health Department; “Stories to Go” library services, materials and storytelling through the Rowan Public Library; the Star Licensing program through the Department of Social Services; and the “Include Me” program provided by Partners in Learning Child Development Center, which offers training and modeling of best practices for working with young children with special needs.