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Seeds of change, and a great night on the town

Lynne Bridges, executive director at Seeds of Learning Early Care and Education Center, is pleased to announce the election of new board officers and directors for 2011.

At the annual meeting of the board held on Jan. 18, the following individuals were elected: Julie Simmons, president; Pam Barsanti, vice president; Mike Beckel, treasurer; Susan Thorpe, director and Christina Lucero, director. Seeds of Learning is currently seeking two additional board members. If you are interested, please call Lynne Bridges at 264-5513.

Julie Simmons is a Colorado native and has dedicated her life to building stronger rural communities. Along with a degree in business from Fort Lewis College, Julie brings a lot of experience that will benefit the children and families at Seeds. She has worked on a wide range of projects including infrastructure development, community planning, policy, human resources and economic development. She is currently working as a business owner with her husband at Pagosa Brewing Company.

Pam Barsanti’s master’s degree in Early Childhood Education fits right in at Seeds of Learning. Pam has years of experience teaching preschool and kindergarten. Her experience in education and public relations is a definite asset to the Seeds of Learning program. Pam has lived in Pagosa Springs since 1985. She currently works at Jim Smith Realty and is a board member for the Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Beckel is fairly new to Pagosa Springs. He has a B.S. degree in accounting, is a licensed CPA with over 22 years of experience and is an owner in the Wilson, Rea and Beckel and Associates accounting firm. As treasurer, Mike brings his expertise of both audit and tax disciplines experience to the board.

Susan Sheehy Thorpe is an early childhood education specialist with 36 years of experience instructing at colleges and universities as well as working with and for non-profit agencies serving children and families. She recently taught early childhood education for Pueblo Community College and served on the advisory board for Head Start Southwest Region.

Christina Lucero was born and raised in Pagosa Springs and graduated from Pagosa Springs High School. She’s been married to her husband, Bernie, for 35 years, has three wonderful children ages 32, 26 and 19. As an added bonus, she has two granddaughters, ages 10 and 9 months, and she loves being with her family. She started a career in banking in 1992 and is currently employed at Bank of Colorado as the Branch Manager.

Seeds of Learning was accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in August of 2011. Accreditation status is the highest mark of excellence an early care and education center can achieve. Less than eight percent of centers in America are accredited and Pagosa Springs has one of their very own! As a community based facility, Seeds strives to meet the needs of all children and their families regardless of income or family structure.

Angie Dach is the new Family Involvement Advocate and has lots of plans to include parents even more in their child’s education. Decades of research has shown us that children achieve more, exhibit more positive behavior and feel more comfortable and safe at school when their parents are actively involved. The Family Involvement Board partners with the Seeds Board of Directors in fund-raising events as well as helping with the Little Black Dress event coming up March 3.

The board and staff at Seeds of Learning invite you to, “A Little Black Dress Affair — Kick Up Your Heels,” an elegant evening of fashion and fun for women only. This “Affair” will be held Saturday, March 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center in Pagosa Springs. Ladies will enjoy a high energy magical musical dance production featuring professional Pagosa performers, a silent auction for items women love, elegant appetizers by the Alley House Grille and cash bar. Entertainment will be provided by Mary McKeehan, as only Mary can do! And … the party will continue at Nello’s Bistro after the event at the community center.

Tickets for “A Little Black Dress Affair — Kick Up Your Heels” can be purchased at Seeds of Learning. Single tickets are $40 and a reserved front table of eight can be purchased for $360. Just think, you can get dressed up, watch a magical musical production, eat “out-of-this-world” food, have a couple glasses of wine and support the educational programming at Seeds of Learning. What’s not to love?

Any questions about the event or the program at Seeds of Learning can be answered by Lynne Bridges or Michelle Carroll at 264-5513.

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