CARLSBAD — Cindy Cesena has dedicated the last 36 years to the field of early childhood education. It’s her passion. So, it was only natural for her to recently step into her new position as president-elect of the San Diego and Imperial Valley counties’ professional chapter of NAEYC (National Association For The Education of Young Children.)
Cesena, the executive director of La Costa Valley Preschool and Kindergarten in Carlsbad, has both vision and expertise when it comes to educating the young, dovetailing it into her new role as president-elect.
In the early years of her career, her proficiency also came from teaching high school and college courses in early education, while training and administering university, federal and state educational programs.
“My goal was to one day open a school in my childhood community,” said Cesena, a La Costa resident. “In 1991, this dream was realized when our school opened and our name at that time was Los Ninos Preschool and Kindergarten and we were located in La Costa Plaza where Albertson’s now is in La Costa. When we moved in 1998 to La Costa Valley, we changed our name to La Costa Valley Preschool and Kindergarten to help families find us by name and location.”
In addition to the day-to-day operations, Cesena incorporated another responsibility called Happiness Team Leader. Cesena pointed out that it’s not a formal title one often hears, but it’s actually her most important task.
“Happy children are more eager to learn, explore and conquer new challenges,” she said. “A happy faculty and staff members want to come to campus each day to share in a new day of discovery with tomorrow’s future leaders and each other.”
Cesena has been part of San Diego Association For The Education of Young Children, or SDAEYC, since 1976, which was around the time she embarked on her childhood educational studies. Since then, she has served in an array of roles, such as their professional chapter’s committee chair for early childhood administrators and directors.
On many levels, the organization has impressed her over the years because of its diverse volunteer group of early childhood education advocates from all kinds of programs and all walks of life.
“From new members considering a career in early childhood education like I was in 1976, to university professors, we are a passionate group committed to supporting educators and future generations to the best of our collective ability,” she said.
Past SDAEYC President Sandy Jenkins describes Cesena as an exceptional treasure because she has a high level of commitment, dedication and passion.
“She has demonstrated an ability to provide new ideas that address the specific needs of our membership; one example is the development of an online discussion forum, designed to allow directors and administrators with opportunities to discuss their specific needs and interests,” Jenkins said. “It will be exciting to learn of the new ideas she will provide us with in her future term of office.”
Current SDAEYC board President Berta Harris is thrilled with Cesena’s upcoming position.
“I was one of the board members ever so gently twisting her arm to convince her that the time was right to run for this position,” Harris said. “SDAEYC will continue to grow and flourish as Cindy expands her board role beyond the directors and administrators chair work she has done over the years to this new position.”