A Day in the Life of a Center Manager
Melissa Fuss- Schodack Family Resource Center Manager
Melissa arrives at the Schodack Family Resource Center for the day. She’s the first one at the center and takes a moment to unpack her things in her office before doing a full center check. She walks through the classrooms, turning lights on, and checking the temperatures to make sure everything is safe for the staff and children.
The SFRC has two toddler classrooms and two Head Start classrooms, with just under 50 children enrolled.
The staff start arriving at 7:30, and everyone prepares to start welcoming families at 8am. There are eleven staff at the SFRC, and if any of them call out sick, Melissa will have already gone through her substitute list prior to arriving to secure coverage for the day.
Once families start arriving, Melissa positions herself at the front door to meet and greet the children and parents as they arrive. There are about 30 families that bring their children to the SFRC, with many siblings enrolled. It’s a close-knit community, and Melissa does a lot of work to stay connected with everyone.
Once the majority of the children have arrived, Melissa heads back to her office and checks emails, reviews things from the previous day, and plans out any staff meetings she needs to have. Breakfast is served at 8:30am across the center, and while their cook is in attendance today, on days that she is out, Melissa will help with getting breakfast ready.
Melissa and the family advocate, Dana, circulate through the center. With a staff of under twelve, everyone is fairly close. “I have a good team. I try to be very straight with them about expectations so they understand what I need from them. I try to give praise to my staff when they do well. It’s just easier when everyone understands where they stand and what the expectations are,” says Melissa.
Once everyone has had a quick break, Melissa heads back to her office to get some administrative work done. She responds to emails, and logs into CEO’s time and attendance website, ADP, to check attendance and hours that her staff have logged. This is also a time that she can use to review lesson plans for the next week, or review classrooms newsletters prior to teachers distributing them. She may also use this time to order supplies, or organize existing center supplies.
Melissa started in the SFRC this past September, and is still going through closets and rooms to inventory and organize. “I am called the binder queen. I try to be really organized,” Melissa says.
Melissa has spent 16 years with CEO prior to working at the SFRC. She started as a teacher in the Stepping Stones 2 Daycare working with three year olds, before moving on to the Hoosick Falls Family Resource Center in 2009, and the Rensselear Family Resource Center in 2011 as a manager in both. Eventually she came back to Stepping Stones 2 Daycare as a manager before moving on to the Universal Pre-K Coordinator position in 2015.
Melissa uses this time to check in the classrooms, and make sure everyone has what they need. The weather has been chilly lately, and there was some light snow this morning, so she uses this opportunity to quickly shovel off the sidewalks spread salt prior to pick up this afternoon.
Melissa receives a phone call from a parent with a classroom concern. She leaves the door to her office open, as the matter isn’t confidential and takes quick notes so she can address with the teachers later on.
Melissa takes her lunch break in her office.
After lunch, Melissa helps with quick breaks and checks in on each of the classrooms. In one of the Head Start classrooms, a child fell while playing and bumped their knee. Melissa reviews the incident report with the teacher, and since the accident was minor and the child is fine now, the parent will be notified at pick up.
Parents typically start picking up their children around 1:30, so Melissa helps to greet parents and say goodbye to kids by the front door.
All the children are gone for the day. Somedays there may be one or two that have a parent that’s running behind. If so, they get transitioned to play in the front office while the teachers call the child’s parents.
Today, Melissa uses the time after pickup to have a quick meeting with her staff. She usually has these informal meetings a couple of times a month and covers new policies, incident report needs, dress code, staff vacancies, timesheets and more. The center was painted over the weekend so she uses the time to talk about maintenance and what to hang/what not to hang now that everything is freshly painted.
Melissa turns off her computer, and does one last check throughout the center before turning off the lights and heading home for the day.
What do you like the most about what you do?
The people I work with! The center is such a great community with the staff, kids, and parents all contributing something. The kids are so great too! They are so honest and fun, and as staff we get the opportunity to make their days better.
What do you like about working for CEO’s early childhood services program?
The support. CEO is very receptive to staff training, and it feels like one big team. We also have a great support team of content area managers, with specific focus areas: education, nutrition, etc., and they are all a huge help.