Meet Lisa

Learning New Skills for Work and Home

For Lisa Mullins, the decision to change direction in her career came when she realized she was only seeing her kids as they left the house to get on the bus each morning. In her 15-year career at a government-contracted company, Lisa spent a lot of time commuting to her job which was an hour away, on top of which she worked long hours which meant she was missing out on watching her children grow up. And while the impact on her salary was less than desirable after switching careers, the time she got back to spend with her children was priceless.

“It was a total lifestyle change for our family, but getting to see my children grow up is what pushed me in the direction of early childhood education” she says.

Lisa began her foray into the early childhood education field as an assistant pre-k teacher. She found that she really enjoyed her new role and while there, was given the opportunity to further her education and career in the ECE field by earning a career studies certificate at Virginia Western Community College, so she took it. Luckily, she also found that there were a lot of scholarships and financial aid available for her as a student of the program, which helped a lot, since they were reliant on her husband’s income to support their family after her career change.

As for emotional and educational support, she has that in spades from the faculty of the program. Speaking fondly of one staff member in particular, who acted as a mentor to Lisa, she says, “She has been a rock for us to stand on. She’s there to answer any of our questions, and she’s honest with us, too. She’s been the real support for me.”

Not only has the support from the faculty been instrumental in her pursuit of higher education and furthering her career, but what she’s also learned through the program has also been life-altering in the way she approaches her own relationship with her children at home.

“I was the mom, so it was my way or no way,” she says of her parenting style before entering the ECE field. “[The program] has just given me a whole other perspective on what kids need and how to make things better for them and in the long run, it makes it better for us, too. I learned new ways to help my kids cope and I’ve been more successful in my family and more successful with the children I work with.”

Lisa will soon earn her associate degree at Virginia Western Community College, after which she says she plans to go on to complete her bachelor’s degree at a four-year university.