Professor of Early Childhood Education, Linda Romero, always wanted to be a teacher. Her passion has taken her across the globe, most notably to Haiti and Honduras, and ultimately led her back to MassBay Community College, where she now holds other titles including Chair of the Education Department and Project Director for the Early Education and Care Career Pathways Grant.
“I think MassBay does a really good job of modeling the methods of teaching for our own students that we want them to demonstrate in the field with the children with whom they work. We have quite a bit of active learning and hands-on experiences with students.”
Romero has been at MassBay for nearly two decades. Currently, she spends a lot of her time working as the Project Director for the Early Education and Care Career Pathways Grant.
“My favorite part is bringing college courses to people who would otherwise have difficulty accessing college courses. The grant program, of which I am the director, is all about supporting people who currently work with young children and help them advance their career pathways with additional credentials and certifications to create new and better-prepared teachers in the early education and care workforce. It is a huge opportunity.”
Romero explains that it’s all part of a very important cycle. “The better the quality of early childhood services, the better the educational outcomes will be for those children as they grow and become productive members of society. By empowering future teachers with better teaching skills, and more knowledge, it’s really a big change initiative, designed to make people’s lives better.”
Romero designed these programs to help people obtain a nationally-recognized credential, the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. She knows this is a great stepping stone on the way to success and proudly emphasizes that the program is free and includes textbooks and tutoring. “We can even pay them to come to school. We design pathways that will help move them along. These pathways will improve the quality of their teaching, which will improve the quality of early childhood programs, and that will, in turn, improve the well-being of our future citizens, who eventually will be supporting our economy.”
Romero got her undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College. From there, she settled in Honduras to teach kindergarten and music for grades K-8. It was during this three-year period in Honduras that Romero met her husband and became, as she describes it, “more culturally competent.”
Romero returned home from Honduras to earn a master’s degree from Wheelock College, then continued her career at the organization, Head Start. She moved back to Honduras and then eventually started her first teaching stint at MassBay, working as a coordinator for a grant program that trained and prepared family childcare providers for CDA credentialing. Her journey continued with a decade teaching at Aquinas College in Newton and more work with Head Start. She made the jump back to MassBay in 2002 and has no plans of leaving any time soon. She boasts, “There is no place better than MassBay.”
As far as career achievements go, Romero points specifically to some of the courses she created, such as an online student teaching seminar and a course called “Gateway to Cultural Competence.” Romero also led a trip for MassBay and UMass Boston students to Haiti. She says that experience, coupled with her time in Honduras, has had a lasting impact on her career.
“Those two experiences have made me a more culturally competent teacher. And, since I teach teachers, that ability features large in all of my courses.”
Romero is excited to continue training future generations to become educators, and her top priority is seeing the early education program move to the new Framingham campus.
Romero is married with two children and identical twin granddaughters. When she is not teaching, she loves to read, sing, and play the guitar.