At the GAYC Town Hall Meeting on Sept. 23, we heard campaign speeches from two candidates for GAYC President-Elect. All GAYC members are encouraged to vote in our upcoming officer election; details about voting will be coming soon. In the meantime, take a few minutes to hear what these two excellent candidates have to say.
When educational settings are safe, high quality, and inclusive, children can thrive, learn, and develop. This is the philosophy that supports my values for the early childhood profession. I have attended and presented at the Georgia Association on Young Children (GAYC) conferences since moving to Georgia in 2005. My enthusiasm for GAYC has grown since joining the board in 2014, first as membership chair and more recently as Vice President of Administration and Organizational Development. I have been impressed with the dedication of this hard-working, nonprofit board operating without full time staff.
Within my service with GAYC, I have taken a leadership role in examining our alignment with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). I have been involved in using membership data to assess our current member needs and population base.
There is much GAYC can do to grow our visibility in the state. My goals if elected to President of GAYC include spreading the messages of GAYC to a wider audience so all early childhood professionals in Georgia are familiar with our work and want to join the organization. Further, I want to ensure that the board listens to the needs of the current membership to provide them with the best professional development opportunities. Finally I hope to grow our communication with the membership and use GAYC as amplifier to update Georgia’s hardest working professionals on the current trends in early childhood.
I am currently an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator in Child and Family Development at Georgia Southern University. I teach courses in Birth to Five Education, Children with Disabilities, and supervise student field placements. I focus my research, consulting and training endeavors on social emotional development, prevention of challenging behaviors, and inclusive early childhood education. My doctorate and master’s degrees are in Child and Family Development with an emphasis in disability studies from the University of Georgia. I have background in early intervention supporting the youngest children with disabilities and delays. In the past year, I have also taken on a new role of “Mom.” My one year old, Marley, has given me even more strength to continue the fight for quality care for all children and quality and viable employment options for all early childhood professionals.
Thank you for your consideration of this nomination and I would be honored to represent you in this capacity.
Ayanna Hawkins is a Regional Manager at Kids ‘R’ Kids International, Inc. Overseeing 40 Learning Academies across 12 states. She has worked for more than eighteen years with children and families, including fourteen years in teaching; quality assurance; consulting and corporate management positions in the early childhood industry. Ayanna holds a B.A. in Sociology, a Master of Social Work (MSW) and certification in Gerontology. Ayanna has actively served as a Board Member of The Georgia Association on Young Children (GAYC) and is currently the Vice President of Program and Professional Development overseeing five Board Chair positions. Ayanna is extremely honored to be nominated for President-Elect and she looks forward to supporting the mission, vision and strategic goals of NAEYC, SECA and GAYC in this leadership capacity.