Jennifer Bator said she always knew she wanted to work with children.
She originally planned to be an elementary school teacher, said Bator.
However, once she spent a semester working in an elementary school, she had second thoughts about teaching that age group.
Bator then applied for a preschool teacher job and “I fell in love with this age group.”
Bator, 39, is the new preschool director at Presbyterian Day School on Third Street.
1. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?
My mom, Oprah, Esther from the Bible.
2. What job would you like to try/not try?
Try: Owning an ice cream shop. I’m not much of a cook but I would love to spend my day serving people something delicious.
Not try: Butcher. I almost want to plug my nose walking by the meat counters at grocery stores.
3. What was your first job?
J & P Video, here in Napa. I rotated between the four stores they had back when movies were rented not downloaded!
4. Where were you before Presbyterian Day School?
I was at a Place of My Own (preschool).
I’ve done family childcare, corporate, Head Start and private (child care programs). I’ve run the gamut. I wanted to try a church school. It’s the only thing I haven’t done.
5. Do you have children?
Yes, a 15-year-old stepson and an 8-year-old girl.
6. What is the biggest challenge your business/industry has faced?
It is incredibly challenging to find and keep great teachers. The pay is so low and the work can be physically and mentally exhausting. Over the years I have met many women that love the work but just can’t afford to continue teaching.
It’s a delicate balance between setting prices that parents can afford to pay and have enough money to pay qualified teachers.
7. What’s something unusual about your job?
Most kids don’t have any memory of preschool. They are such a huge part of my life but they often don’t remember me.
8. Who do you most admire in the business world?
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are the founders of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. They made a series of books based on the idea of cheering people up.
9. If you could change one thing about your business/industry, what would it be?
Change people’s perceptions about the work of early childhood teachers. It is not babysitting; we are teaching them how to be members of our community. There are days that are incredibly difficult and days that make it worth it.
10. What’s on your to-do list?
I would really love to see New York.