In Memoriam: Paula Jorde Bloom (1947 – 2018)
Remembering a Life Well Lived
Paula Jorde Bloom felt that too little attention was given to the role that directors play in shaping the quality of early childhood programs, and she was determined to do something about it. It was the mid-1980s, and with the support of a $600 Membership Action Grant from NAEYC, Paula founded the Early Childhood Professional Development Project. That project resulted in A Great Place to Work: Addressing Adult Needs in Early Childhood Programs, published by NAEYC in 1988. Over the years, she went on to author and coauthor Workshop Essentials: Planning and Presenting Dynamic Workshops, seven books in The Director’s Toolbox, and much more.
Paula’s focus on organizational climate and leadership led her to establish what is now the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University. Paula not only defined the skills and characteristics of effective early childhood leadership and management but also exemplified them, as she blazed new professional pathways that so many others have followed.
A teacher, director, professor, author, and problem solver, Paula was always excited to tackle new challenges. She described her perspective in these inspiring remarks from her retirement celebration in 2014:
I’ve always been more excited about beginnings than endings. I love the hazy light of dawn welcoming a new day but hardly take notice when dusk settles in. I love the creative rush that comes in envisioning a new idea, the hoopla surrounding the launch of a new initiative, the hopeful expectations that accompany a new working relationship. For me, beginnings are filled with hope and optimism—a fresh opportunity to “get it right” or at least do it better than the last time.
Paula’s ingenuity, modesty, and dedication shine through in these words—just as her many accomplishments now shine through the thousands of children, teachers, and administrators whose lives she enriched.
To read Paula’s most recent Young Children article, “Expanding the Lens—Leadership as an Organizational Asset,” visit NAEYC.org/resources/pubs/yc/may2015/expanding-the-lens. To learn more about her work, visit http://mccormickcenter.nl.edu/rememberingpaulajordebloom/.