Penny Smith loves the field of early childhood education and she has been in the field as an educator, director, counselor, trainer, instructor, and parent. She has a keen sense understanding since she has worked in the field in multiple capacities. That experience prompted Hazard Community and Technical College to hire Penny Smith as the Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator and faculty member.
Mrs. Smith is pleased the program can be completed online. “The job outlook is great. I do not see our country ever going back to a single wage earner in a two parent family. Child care, preschool, and head start are always going to be a part of our community. There are other fields that require an early childhood background: Credentialed trainer, First Steps Developmental Interventionist, CDA Specialists, Directors, Managers, plus more,” she said.
She has a favorite quote by Rita Pierson: “Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”
Mrs. Smith has served HCTC in the position on an interim basis since last year. Prior to that, she worked for the University of Kentucky as a Professional Development Counselor and Eastern Kentucky Child Care Coalition as a trainer out of London. She has worked for the Council for Professional Recognition out of Washington, D.C. For eight years, she was the Director at Sue Bennett College Early Childhood Education Center. And, she taught elementary school for the Fayette County School System.
She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education from UK. She holds 40 graduate hours above a master’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education Certification.
Mrs. Smith grew up in North Palm Beach, in south Florida. Her father is from Perry County and she always looked forward to visiting family in Perry and Leslie counties every summer. She made Kentucky her home in 1981 when she started school at UK.
She is married and has five children, which includes four grown sons and one nine-year-old daughter.