Charlotte Miranda – Preschool Director and More
Charlotte Miranda is one of the newest members of our FIRM staff, having joined us last summer as our preschool director. However, she immediately made herself valuable navigating us through the changing waters of funding and programming that were thrust upon us as an organization. She quickly became a member of the family at FIRM and a constant source of encouraging words, smiles, and advice.
Recently, I asked Charlotte some questions that I will let her answer in her own words so that you can know her.
Tom: Tell us a little us a little about your background and about your family.
Charlotte: I was born in Gainesville, Florida and before I was a year old my parents moved us to Amarillo, Texas. I was raised there until we moved to Fresno when I was 12 years old. My parents have 7 children, 2 sons and 5 daughters, in addition to raising their granddaughter, who I consider my sister. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. However, that experience made me a stronger person because I had to get to know new people all the time.
I have been with the love of my life for almost 24 years. We have two wonderful sons together. The oldest turned 21 this year and my little guy is 10 years old. Being their mom was the best thing that ever happened in my life.
Tom: What about your life, do you believe, prepared you for a career in early childhood education?
Charlotte:I graduated from Fowler High School in 1990. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with my life, not unlike most kids starting out. I tried out cosmetology school but found that it really didn’t interest me as much as I thought it would. So, I entered a nursing program because I really wanted to help people. After going to the classes and working with the patients, the work was just too depressing for me. I broke my heart to see people in pain. In 1992, soon after the birth of my oldest son, I began taking child development classes. I started working as a preschool teacher because I have always loved children. And I came from a very large family, being in a classroom just feels like home. Another reason I decided to join the early childhood education profession was because I wanted to be able to teach and work with my own child in the best possible way. Little did I know at that time that this choice would turn into a lifelong career for me.
I worked as a preschool teacher for about 6 years before I was promoted into the Director’s position. I have been working in that capacity for 14 years now. I really love working with the children and their families. Being able to build relationships and help the families I serve is really the most rewarding part of my job. Well, this is aside from the wonderful children I get to spend time with and grow to love as the years go by. I know that even in a small way I am able to touch the lives each child I work with.
Tom: What are three things you’d like for our readers to know about you?
Charlotte: (1) , I am a very dedicated and hard working individual. When I set goals I can’t wait to accomplish them. Sometimes this makes me a little impatient because I want to complete my goals quickly. (2) I would also say that I am very family oriented. My family means everything to me and I work hard every day for them. The best part of my day is being able to go home and spend time with my family. (3) I am a believer in Jesus Christ and I feel that my life would not be anything without him. I thank God everyday for every minute he gives me because he has seen me and my family through tough times. But the Lord continues to bless us when times are good.
Tom: What attracted you to FIRM?
Charlotte: As was at a point in my life where I was seeking change and wanted to expand my help to the community when the FIRM came into my life. A good friend told me about the work FIRM does to benefit families in the community and that the preschool program needed a Director. After going through the interview process and meeting the wonderful people of FIRM, I knew that God was calling me to work here.
Tom: What has been most rewarding about your work at FIRM?
Charlotte: The most rewarding part of working with FIRM has been being able to work with the people that make the organization what it is. There are so many programs at FIRM and it amazes me that each of them impacts the community in a positive way each and every day. FIRM is all about the community and what we can do to better the lives of the people who live in it.
Tom: What has been most challenging about your work at FIRM?
Charlotte: The most challenging aspect of my job this past year is continuously finding options to keep our services going to benefit the children. We want to be able to continue our work that serves low income families but because of funding issues this has been a real challenge for the preschool. However, in the fall we will be able to offer families our “Family Literacy Program” which will benefit everyone in our community.
Tom: What is your vision for the work with which you are involved?
Charlotte: My vision for my work here at FIRM is to continue serving our community by offering a high quality preschool program for all children, in addition to our family literacy program. My goal is for every child to leave our programs happy, healthy, confident and ready to start Kindergarten.
Tom: Thank you, Charlotte.
It is people like Charlotte Miranda who inspire, equip, and empower us to fulfill the mission of FIRM to share Christ love, indeed, to build communities of hope with New Americans. All of our staff, volunteers, community members, and board members are valuable to this team and this vision. FIRM is no stronger than its people and because of its people, it truly is strong and continues to make a difference in the lives of many.