‘It’s Not Enough to Get Students in the Door’ — Reimagining the Role of Community Colleges

Jamie Higginbotham has been involved in child care since she was 18 — first as a nanny, then the owner of an in-home child care business, and now the director of a preschool in Wilkesboro. Despite her 20-plus years in early education, she says she couldn’t support herself and her family on her wage alone.

“As a preschool director, my wage itself just with this one job, I would not be able to survive,” she said.

Higginbotham is a graduate of Wilkes Community College. She went back to school in 2016 to get her associate degree in early childhood education. This degree allowed her to move from preschool teacher to director, and she considers herself fortunate to be doing a job she loves. But still, she knows she and many of the teachers she hires wouldn’t be able to do this job if they were single parents.

“That is what is so disheartening,” she said, “because I know how cliché this sounds, but we are helping to raise our future.”

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