On behalf of the Board of Regents, I am pleased to recognize Chelsea Bartling, Interim Director of the LaVonne Kopecky Plambeck Early Childhood Education Center. Located at UNK’s University Village, the 19,900-square-foot Center provides developmentally appropriate education for up to 176 children from infant to age 6, including those with special needs. It also serves as a lab were UNK and UNMC students prepare for future careers through experiential learning.
Chelsea is a native of Ruskin, Nebraska; a UNK alum; and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Education, also from UNK…she bleeds Loper blue. She was appointed as the Center’s Interim Director in July 2020 and brings 13 years of experience as a preschool early childhood specialist and teacher in the Grand Island and Kearney public school systems. In this role, Chelsea manages day-to-day operations; ensures maximum capacity is not exceeded and staff-to-child ratios are met; oversees the Center’s budget; monitors the Child and Adult Care Food Program; ensures licensing compliance; and provides orientation for new staff and continuing education for others.
Implementation of four new curriculum programs; conduct of a major assessment program; offering educational partnerships on campus and in the community; and facilitating 75% growth in Center staff and student enrollment are among Chelsea’s notable accomplishments. She also serves as President of the Kearney Area Chapter of the Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children. Vice Chancellor Jon Watts comments, “As childcare providers across the country struggled to keep doors open amid a pandemic, Chelsea successfully implemented strategies to grow enrollment and improve quality. She has gone above and beyond to serve Kearney’s young children and their families.”
Joining Chelsea today is her husband Tim, who serves as UNK’s Assistant Director of Digital Learning Spaces. Please join me in congratulating Chelsea for her important, impactful, and outstanding work!