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Starting Strong with New Support

Part of preparing for the new school year involved restructuring our leadership team and adding a few new supporting roles. These changes were inspired by our recent work with a pro-bono consulting team from Compass which involved a thoughtful review of their findings and recommendations to make just the right moves to start 2022-23 strong.

Meet our Deputy Director - Dominique Spencer

"Year 13 will be a great year at JJS! I'm excited to work with this new administrative team. It's full of good energy that is pushing us forward. I'm looking forward to welcoming new families and I am so proud of JJS! I know our program can change early childhood education for the better even beyond our walls."

With the departure of our longtime program director and forever friend, Barbara Brooks-Gumes, we've promoted our Director of Education Services, Dominique Spencer to Deputy Director. In this role, she oversees the organization's internal affairs from day-to-day operations, program planning and management, family engagement, budget oversight, and more. This shift in our senior management team enables our Executive Director to place greater focus on securing resources and partnerships that support expansion and greater community impact.

Dominique joined Jubilee JumpStart in its first year as a classroom teacher. Since then she has held several leadership positions prior to accepting the Deputy Director position. She is already thinking about what impact she will have on helping Jubilee JumpStart strengthen its mission and capacity to serve families in need of high-quality early childcare in the nation's capital.

Meet our Operations Manager - Patty Hernandez

"I learned so much about how to advocate for my children and being there for them in school and life when they were enrolled at Jubilee JumpStart. I wanted to help empower other parents like that. I loved creating safe spaces for them to connect and learn from each other. I am super excited about being able to work with families on a different level now building deeper connections from the beginning of their contact with us - from their introduction to JJS, through the application and enrollment process, and welcoming them into our center and community."

Patty joined the Jubilee JumpStart community first as a parent when her daughter and youngest son were enrolled at Jubilee JumpStart about six years ago. Jubilee JumpStart helped her reflect on the kind of parent she wanted to be and helped her find the confidence to show up and speak up for her children. She soon joined our team professionally as the Family Engagement Coordinator, then Family and Community Engagement Manager. In this role, she helped connect families to much-needed community resources. She also led parents through programs like Parenting Journey so they could become the parents and advocates they want to be for their children.

In her new role, Patty looks forward to developing her office administration skills and growing in her knowledge of early childhood development. She plans to enroll in college this year. She is already streamlining front office operations in a way that has helped classroom transitions and enrollment flow smoothly while helping to make sure teachers have the tools they need to show up on the first day of school ready to teach and provide care.

"Something I wish people knew about me is that I love to help others," says Patty. "I'm a good listener and I good problem-solver." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Meet our Mentor Teacher - Nancy Martinez

"I love it! I am so excited and I feel very positive about the year ahead. I'm building relationships with all of the children and their parents, not just the ones [that were] in my classroom. I'm getting to know the teachers better because I'm now working directly with all of them. And I get to hold babies."

In May, Nancy Martinez celebrated her 10th year as our bilingual lead teacher of Jubilee JumpStart's older two-year-olds (Toucans). She followed that up by graduating in June with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education, a program she started over a decade ago in her home country of El Salvador.

Being a naturally gifted educator with an insatiable appetite for learning and growth, she is already planning her next moves. "I am hoping to start graduate school in the spring. I am motivated to learn all I can to help the teachers learn all they can. Right now I'm starting by spending time observing in the classrooms, taking notes, and developing action plans with my coach. But, I want the teachers to know that I am available for them to help where they need it."

Nancy is also a beloved member of the Adams Morgan community, where she also lives, because of her warm and compassionate nature. Her friendliness and heart for the little ones have earned her much love and respect from children, families, and colleagues. She's been quietly leading and inspiring those around her for years. So it's only fitting that she officially has the title and role that matches who she's been all along.

Congratulations, Nancy, on your new role as Mentor Teacher! We're grateful for who you are and have grown to be, and that you're part of the fabric of who we are and what we're becoming at Jubilee JumpStart.

Meet our Program Assistant - Ana Fuentes

"I am grateful for the experience I'm getting here, including the challenges, because I am growing and this will help me on my career journey. It has already opened doors for me. And I can see the amount of opportunity [for growth] here."

Ana came to Jubilee JumpStart through DC's Mayor Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). We could tell by her appetite for knowledge along with her eagerness to jump right in and learn while helping made this recent high school graduate a good fit for this place where everyone grows. Her calm and friendly spirit was also a perfect match for this little corner of Adams Morgan that strives to make everyone who enters feel welcome. So we made her an offer, and in early August, Ana made the seamless transition from SYEP to bilingual Program Assistant supporting all aspects of our program over these transitional months.

Her short time at Jubilee JumpStart has inspired her to enroll part-time in college classes toward earning a degree in psychology. She already knows that she will use that degree to serve young children and their families.

We're proud to be the place to help launch your career and future self, Ana! We are grateful that you have chosen to grow with Jubilee JumpStart.

With this kind of talent and motivation driving our mission and team, we're moving forward into 2022-23 confident that we will be everything our children, families, staff, and community needs.

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