To date, Dr. Harper’s work, as part of both her professional outreach and positions, has led her to have an intimate understanding of the unique needs of early care and education professionals. Further, her direct work with the workforce of early childhood education has provided a global perspective into the needs for a unified field of practice that builds support services for children and families.
Dr. Harper currently serves as Interim Executive Director for the Florida Association for the Education of Young Children. In this role, she serves as the administrator for the statewide professional association of 3000 members. This position serves as leader for the organization and includes budgetary, staffing, and business oversight for this midscale non-profit.
Prior, Dr. Harper served as Director of Learning Initiatives for the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County. This ELC services to a large urban, suburban, and rural community’s based CCDBG services. In this position, she worked to develop a comprehensive professional development system, which consists of registry components, large-scale learning management system, a professional development institute that provides training and technical assistance.
Previous to that, Dr. Harper was a tenured professor in a College of Education. In this role, she served as lead faculty for both Early Childhood Bachelors programs where she had the opportunity to develop all early childhood coursework for both tracks (birth to age four and pre-K through third grade certification), teach said courses, and mentor pre-service teachers in evidenced based instructional methods. Further, she was the sole faculty with oversight of 22 courses, all faculty and adjunct faculty that taught said courses, scheduling of courses, and budgetary needs of the department.
Prior to her position as a professor, her job responsibilities included administrative oversight of the nation’s seventh largest school district and its implementation of state and federally funded and monitored early childhood programs. This role specifically prepared her by supporting her growth in the areas of viable program services & products for clients/consumers, contract development and delivery, finance, budgeting and cost management, public relations, development of well implemented policies & procedures, and especially government regulations and relations. The programs under this administrative position included state-mandated Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten, School Readiness Programs for children and families, and Child Care Resource and Referral. Additionally, she worked in conjunction with two federally funded programs: Head Start and Early Exceptional Learning Programs (early education programs for children with special needs).
That position, and her role prior as a curriculum specialist, additionally afforded her the opportunity to work with both certified and non-certified educators in both public schools, private schools and childcare centers. Additionally, she has collaborated with numerous agencies including, but not limited to, the local research university, community colleges, early learning coalitions and boards, and other early intervention programs. All collaboration efforts have sought to develop comprehensive systems that emphasized professional development systems for early educators. It is clear that Dr. Harper’s passion is working with early childhood professionals to build better structures that provide children, families, and educator’s systemic change and prolonged outcomes for all involved.
Interim Executive Director