Spotlight on … Jennifer Hopkins, the director of the Early Learning Center at MTCS
The Early Learning Center at MTCS is blessed with impressive, passionate teachers and staff. They’re also all very interesting, fun people we want you to get to know! So periodically our teachers and staff will be posting introductions of themselves to our blog as a look into the great lives and minds that make up ELC. But first, let me introduce myself.
Hello! My name is Jennifer Hopkins and I am the director of the Early Learning Center. I have been married to my husband, Thomas, for 17 years and we have a daughter that began her student career at MTCS in the school’s PK4 that I now oversee. We are members at Kingwood Church of Christ.
I am quickly approaching my one-year anniversary as director. I assumed this position in June of 2014. Every day brings something exciting, fun or challenging and I am often reminded of the verse “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it,” Proverbs 22:6. I see all of this a blessing and it reassures me that God is good and working in my life!
For you to truly get a sense of how I got to this point, let’s take a little trip back to 1976. I was 5 years old in kindergarten and loved every minute of it. I didn’t want to leave. I thought I had learned everything I needed to know and I was ready to take over! Back then, kindergarten was not mandatory, so I went to a private kindergarten that was part of a preschool. I cried many tears as my kindergarten year came to a close and as part of the graduation program, I said, “When I grow up I want to have my own preschool.” That night, I refused to leave with my parents, knowing that I would not return to the place I loved so much. Mrs. Nette, the director, took me by the hand and led me into her office and showed me all of the paperwork, budgets, payroll, schedules, curriculum, etc., that I needed to learn in order to take her job. Upon seeing all of that, I dried my tears and reluctantly agreed to go on to first grade.
Fast forward to 1995, I graduated from MTSU with a B.S. in Education. Then in 1999, I added a Master’s of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I have had experience teaching in the public schools and, with God’s guidance, I began teaching at MTCS in 2005.
For nine years, I taught kindergarten. It was a really difficult decision to leave the classroom because I loved everything about being a teacher. I cried for two weeks! As I prepared my students for their kindergarten graduation, I had a flashback to 1976 and my declaration of wanting to have my own preschool. Did God just bring me full circle? Is this what every minute of teaching hundreds of students had prepared me for? Should I take a leap of faith and just do it? I did it and here I am—director of the Early Learning Center at MTCS and blessed beyond measure.