Meghan Gowin: Candidate Statement
You are here
My belief in the importance of education is coupled with my resolute belief in its power. Through my firsthand experiences and those of my family members, I have witnessed the changes that education can make on one’s life. My first memories of learning as a young child in rural southwest Louisiana include the smell of freshly cut sugarcane wafting into the open windows of the large one room schoolhouse built by my great grandfather and other Black sharecroppers in 1921. Generations of my kin created the foundation for educational attainment and leadership in what is now the only surviving Rosenwald Foundation school in Louisiana. In tandem, my formal educational experiences have given me the chance to meet some of the greatest minds of our time. In August 2014, I earned a M. Ed. Degree in Early Childhood Education to deepen my professional knowledge. Currently, I am a third-year doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Early Childhood Education at Texas A & M University-Commerce (TAMUC).
My professional goals include working as an early childhood teacher educator at a rural college/university and an anti-bias trainer of early childhood professionals in rural communities. I believe that there is a need for more in-depth training and preparation of those who desire to work with young children and their families in rural communities. I seek to enhance my leadership skills to serve my community in the best way possible. My previous educational and professional experiences have shaped me into the woman that I am today. My favorite teachers were always those who challenged me to accomplish more than what I set out to accomplish. Those teachers also allowed me the chance to explore questions that even they may not have previously thought of. In my experiences with my own students, I strive to keep this tradition of elevated expectations and encouragement of questioning alive. For the past 10 years, I have worked as an early childhood educator in various settings. I have been afforded the opportunity to lead others through collaborative engagement and to co-construct knowledge with my peers
As an emerging early childhood leader, I strive to use the knowledge gained from serving in a leadership capacity as the lead co-facilitator of an NAEYC interest forum to advocate for children and families in my community. In June 2017, I volunteered to become the lead co- facilitator of NAEYC’s Diversity and Equity Education for Adults interest forum. This interest forum has built a compelling reputation as a source of community for early childhood educators who are committed to issues of diversity and equity with young children and their families. My responsibilities in this role include, but are not limited to, the following: facilitating dialogue among forum participants through semi-annual book clubs, promoting active participation and engagement among members within the online community (Hello) and face to face during the interest forum’s business meeting at the NAEYC Annual Conference, and leading recruitment efforts for NAEYC in traditionally underrepresented populations of early childhood professional communities. Since taking on this leadership position, I have gained valuable knowledge about the role of anti-bias education in early childhood settings.
I look forward to continuing the Diversity and Equity Education for Adults interest forum’s current initiatives, such as the virtual book club and our strong social media presence on Hello! and Facebook. I am also interested in creating new opportunities to engage current and potential NAEYC members in the work of anti-bias education. One of these initiatives includes an opportunity to engage early childhood professionals from historically marginalized groups at the Annual Conference. I also intend to create avenues for marginalized voices to be heard on regional and national platforms through a strategic plan of action that includes the development of a mentoring program. My vision includes activities such as (1) coaching webinars aimed at first time NAEYC presenters that help participants develop their proposal writing skills and (2) a mentoring program that matches seasoned anti-bias educators with those new to anti-bias education work in early childhood education. The Diversity and Equity Education for Adults’ mission statement revolves around the concept of community.
I strongly believe that I possess the experience and passion necessary to push forward several of NAEYC’s core beliefs as a high performing inclusive organization. Excellence and innovation: these words are not only a part of our organization’s core beliefs; they most aptly describe my journey thus far as an early childhood professional. I have demonstrated a willingness to think outside of the box and to critically examine my educational practices with children and communities. I am committed to the continued growth of our community of early childhood practitioners and stakeholders who value both diversity and equity. This can only be achieved through collaborative means in both action and deed.