“My dream is for teachers to make a decent living as educators, without having to find extra work for more money. Keeping quality teachers is difficult in early childhood education. Low wages can create added stress in personal lives of teachers. Early childhood teachers deserve a living wage.”
Paul Kenneth Frison, Center Owner/After Care Teacher, NAEYC member since 2015
Tell us about your work with young children:
I started working with children in 1999 as a camp counselor and noticed an absence of African American males working with children. I’ve since worked as a substitute teacher, an Advanced Placement Teacher, and an Emotional Support Special Education floating teacher. After noticing the same absence of African American males in early childhood education, I partnered with my mother and opened Funny Face Family Daycare and Learning Center.
Why did you become an NAEYC member?
I recently became a member of NAEYC to network and meet others who are passionate about early childhood education. I realized in college that your “network is your net worth” and that this doesn't only apply to finances.
What does your NAEYC membership mean to you? How has it impacted your career and influenced your work with young children?
The networking opportunities and discussions I’ve had with experienced educators, owners and parents have made me feel comfortable in my daily practice with children and their families. The information NAEYC provides is enlightening and I have adapted some techniques I use as a result. Attending NAEYC’s Public Policy Forum, while it was a financial stretch, was worth attending because it showed me that many owners across America are faced with the same issues I face: struggles with finances, working with families, and best practices teaching children with special needs. Visiting the various state representatives’ offices was also eye opening and motivating. I would definitely attend again and bring a fellow staff member with me.
What is your favorite NAEYC member benefit?
The NAEYC e-Newsletter highlights innovative information that encourages me to step outside of my comfort zone and address issues pertaining to children, parents and my staff in alternative ways.
Young children are so inspiring. That's why many of us are early childhood educators. Share one way a child has inspired you.
I love how young children are so willing to learn. I’ve noticed that children are sponges who absorb the information shared with them. I’ve learned that, like young children, I too need to be open to learning new things and taking in new information. The world is changing in respects to technology, economy, family structure, and more. No teacher can teach if he or she is unwilling to learn and adapt to the ever changing world we live in.
What is your dream for the future of early-childhood education?
My dream is for teachers to make a decent living as educators, without having to find extra work for more money. Keeping quality teachers is difficult in early childhood education. Low wages can create added stress in personal lives of teachers. Early childhood teachers deserve a living wage.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Hugs from the children! I am a man in a world of maternal figures who works with inner city children. Some of the children don’t have fathers, so it’s a big deal for me to be a positive, supportive, and loving male role model for the children in the program as well as the children who live in the surrounding neighborhood.
What three accomplishments, personal and/or professional you are most proud of?
Graduating from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania in 2004 was one of my proudest moments because I am the first college graduate on my mother's side of the family. Getting on stage and performing stand-up comedy in 2011 was another major personal accomplishment. Additionally, opening up Funny Face Family Daycare and Learning Center is another proud accomplishment of mine. I'm blessed to live the life I’m living.
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to discuss?
Currently, I would like to meet the District of Columbia Mayor Elect Muriel Bowser to discuss her plans for the District's Early Care and Education programs. I would like to tell her that Early Childhood Education is vital in solving society's problems, and that resources, time, and people-power in early education are important investments.
What is your favorite book (children's book or books for adults) and why?
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell. When I realized I wanted to start a business that would benefit the children in the city of Philadelphia, I knew I needed to learn more about being a productive and positive leader.