For some people, their direction in life is obscured like a piece of opaque glass. For Laura Greenwood, newly appointed Director of Programs at the Child and Family Network Centers, it was clear as day. “Social advocacy is something I’ve always been interested in,” says Ms. Greenwood, “There is so much suffering as a result of intercommunity tensions. I think through education, we can promote a social unity that could quell these tensions and promote an understanding.”
Ms. Greenwood received her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the Minnesota State University Moorhead, and worked in the Minnesota Autism Center for behavior and family therapy.
She moved to Tanzania to work in an International Baccalaureate school for English language learning. While there, she started a scholarship program and was able to secure four Tanzanian students with scholarships to the school, which helped bridge the local Tanzanian community and the international students. She also worked on developing girl empowerment programs and served on the scholarship committee.
After returning to the states, she enrolled in the School for International Training, getting her master’s degree in “Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management.” While enrolled at SIT, she came to Alexandria to do research on the experiences of families living in the Chirilagua area. She worked a year as a lead preschool teacher at the CFNC. She now works as the Director of Programs for CFNC.
What brought Ms. Greenwood originally to CFNC? “It was the beginnings of the school. I was touched by the fact that a group of mothers came together to provide high quality education to those who in the community that needed it most,” says Greenwood. “That sort of dedication still holds true 32 years later- many of our staff members and teachers have worked here for over 10 years. That dedication and care shows up in our students.”
As the Director of Programs, some of her duties include supporting education and family services, advocacy within the community, and managing inter-educational programs with the teachers and staff. Her most important job though, is providing support to the teachers. This includes workshops, classes, and even something as personal as emotional support. Her goals for this year are to expand the reach of the school in order to serve as many students as possible and to promote community citizenry.
“It is amazing how passionate the teachers and staff are at CFNC. That passion and dedication translates into really effective education,” says Ms. Greenwood. “That’s largely in part to the experiences and commitment our teachers have for the children, and how our teachers will go above and beyond. I want to ensure that this continues for years to come.”