Name: Shira Kulok
Job: Director, Childhood Development Center
In 2017, Mason’s Childhood Development Center earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and it continues to grow. Center director Shira Kulok uses her creativity and passion for early childhood education to develop programs that will benefit all children while enhancing the center.
Finding Her Passion: Kulok started her career as an infant teacher with Bright Horizons, an internationally recognized childcare and early education company, where she rose through the ranks. At Bright Horizons, she learned how to cultivate partnerships with parents, provide quality customer service, and develop a team—but she found her passion in research and developing her own programs. After residing in Florida for 15 years, she moved to Washington, D.C., to direct the International Monetary Fund Child Care Center. Then she found Mason.
Choosing Mason: Kulok was initially attracted to Mason because of the opportunity to develop her own program in collaboration with the center’s team—but it was her first visit to campus during the interview process that sealed the deal for her. Not only did she love Mason’s Fairfax Campus and its focus on sustainability, but her encounters with the center’s team, parents, and human resources personnel made her feel welcome. “Mason offers a beautiful environment with vast opportunities for development and professional growth,” she says.
Focusing on the Whole Child: Kulok’s holistic focus on educating children is part of what drives her passion. “We believe in educating the whole child, helping each one reach their fullest potential.” Recently she added free yoga classes for participating students as part of a program to support children’s body awareness and self-regulation skills. The center was also awarded a grant from the Patriot Green Fund to enhance its sustainability programs, which include a garden and a greenhouse.
Future Endeavors: Kulok’s goal is to put the center on the map as one of the most innovative and effective early childhood programs in this area with an emphasis on social-emotional learning, best practices in sustainability and nutrition, and an overall focus on the well-being of participating families and staff.