My name is Debbie Aldridge and I work for the Samish Indian Nation. I am the Director of Head Start and Childcare for the Samish. I started my journey of caring for children as a co-op mom. I was part of the Anacortes Co-op Preschool for four years. My son Matthew attended as a three year old and four year old. My daughter attended as a toddler and three year old. I was immediately drawn to the unique qualities and opportunities of a co-op style preschool. I became part of the Board of Directors as the Secretary which helped me develop leadership skills. I loved being part of the process of my child's education and socialization. I am still great friends with many of the co-op families, even though my kids are now 15 and 11.
I took full advantage of the many parenting trainings and received early childhood education credits through the Family Life program at Skagit Valley College. The credits were very helpful as I decided to make early childhood education my second career. I founded a private preschool with another co-op mom in Anacortes called "Children's Cottage". It was a wonderful experience and was thriving when we decided to close the business after six years. Then I piloted the tuition based Pre-K program for the Anacortes School District that is housed in the Whitney Early Learning Center. Finally I became Head Start and Childcare Director. The enriching experience that my kids, and my entire family, received at the co-op was a huge factor in my decision to nurture children as a career. Thanks Co-op!