Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center – Heide Donalson
Heide Donalson has been named the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year for the Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center.
“When I was 14 years old, I was a babysitter for an amazing family,” Donalson said. “They didn’t believe in the children watching TV and taught me that children are capable of doing so many things in life. I put my trust in this family as they did me and we grew a wonderful long standing relationship of mutual trust. I eventually became a Nanny and went on family trips with them. I watched the children grow through my teen years. I was provided an opportunity to be in a brand new program with Flagler College. I started out in the Radiology program and quickly realized that I missed making a difference in children’s lives. I missed the fun and exciting things that they provided in my life. My first day in the Education Program was full of hands on exciting experiences that I was able to use in the classroom. It was at that moment I knew that I would love to teach.”
She loves to teach little children.
“Early Childhood is my jam!,” Donalson said “I was hired for my first ‘real’ teaching job as a fourth grade teacher. My principal came in to check on me Day 1 and laughed because I was teaching on the floor with the kids. After the 10-day count, I was asked to try kindergarten! I walked into the kindergarten classroom and cried tears of joy! Their smiles, their excitement to learn, their ideas, how amazing it was to see their hearts ready to accept me as their teacher. I have moved from the direct instruction world to the Reggio Approach for learning. The program that we are in allows children that need a head start in life an opportunity to learn. We give the children help where they need it, but then we can sit back and watch their minds work. I get to give a child the opportunity to use their imaginations!”
Donalson taught the year Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center opened in 2007. “We had 12 classrooms that year and around 12-15 students each. I taught there for four years and then we moved to Florida. I taught several years in Florida. Upon moving back to Tulsa in 2017, I returned to the Early Childhood Center and have been here for three years! This is my 18th year teaching!”
Donalson has her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Flagler College, as well as her early childhood certificate and her ESOL certification.