University League Nursery School has a new director
Princeton NJ -- The University League Nursery School has a new director, Cindy Williams, who took over this summer after Pam Betterton, the school's director for the last 14 years, retired.
"Cindy Williams has been one of the best-loved teachers at the school for many years," said Paul Prucnal, professor of electrical engineering and chair of the school's board of trustees. "She is upbeat and energetic. I am sure she will continue the nurturing and supportive atmosphere that has characterized the ULeague for many years."
"I'm excited about my new role," said Williams, who has been a teacher at the school for the last 13 years. Before that, Williams taught nursery school in Baltimore and seventh grade math and science in Jacksonville, Fla.
The University League school was founded in 1949 by a group of families affiliated with the University who wanted to create a school in which parents would participate in the classroom and help make decisions about how the school was governed. The school is a cooperative, founded on the belief that both child and parent benefit from direct parent involvement at the school.
The program focuses on social and emotional growth, and the children, aged 2 1/2 through 4, learn from playing, explained assistant director Lenore Denchak. The school shares its building on Broadmead Street with University-NOW Day Nursery, which provides care for children starting at three months old.
Currently the University League school has 112 students. Seventy-five percent of the parents are affiliated with the University; the rest live in the Princeton area. All of those parents take turns working in their child's classroom one morning a month.
"This community believes it's important to be actively involved in their children's education; there's not a parent here who doesn't appreciate and benefit from their cooperative time," Williams said. "On those days they see their children as the teachers see them, which nicely bridges the gap from parent to teacher."
In the coming year, Williams will offer on-site professional enrichment sessions for the teachers as well as numerous outings for the students to destinations that include a nature preserve and a pumpkin patch. She also is creating a program that brings Princeton undergraduates to the nursery school as volunteers to read stories or do musical performances for the children.
Kathleen Deignan, dean of undergraduate students, said Williams brings to the position of director the dynamism that the school needs.
"The board was very impressed with Cindy's knowledge of early childhood development and education and with her appreciation for the richly diverse backgrounds our children bring to the school," said Deignan, who sits on the school's board of trustees. "Her warmth, energy and her leadership qualities all augur well for her success in this position. I am confident that she will be an excellent steward of the school and its resources and that the children and the staff will thrive under her leadership."