A new Director of Early Childhood Education at Cleveland State Community College is stepping into the role after working in education for over four decades. Margaret Horten is taking over as director after Suzanne Wood. Ms. Wood is retiring after 20 years of service to the college.
“Suzanne Wood has been an inspirational leader for 21 years as the coordinator and then the director of Early Child Education, and many of her students are working and teaching in our community today,” stated Dr. Ryan Thompson, dean of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences at CSCC. “Margaret Horten was able to work with Suzanne for years, growing and developing this program, and we are very happy that she has accepted the role of director.
She has an excellent understanding of the program, and that has helped make a seamless transition for our students here at Cleveland State.”
Born in Marietta, Ga. and moving to Chattanooga at the age of seven, Ms. Horten calls the scenic city her home. She graduated from Chattanooga State Technical Community College with an A.A.S. in early childhood education then obtained her bachelors in business administration. She continued her education receiving her masters in early childhood education and curriculum and instruction. Ms. Horten has been working for CSCC for the past 11 years. She began as an adjunct instructor then transitioned into a faculty member who has taught education for students who want to work with children from birth to grade 12. Before working at CSCC, Ms. Horten held many educational professions since 1982.
Ms. Horten credits Ms. Wood for building the Early Child Education program at the college from the ground up. They both worked together to gain accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Now, Ms. Horten is working to build on what Ms. Wood started.
“We have an excellent Early Childhood Education program for students wanting to work with children from birth to third grade and want to share it with our entire service area,” stated Ms. Horten. “I want to continue to provide the best program for our college students so they continue to be well-prepared for the university programs as well as the workforce.”
Starting in her new role, Ms. Horten plans to focus on the third through 12th grade education majors and plan programs of study that are content-focused for the areas where students will be seeking licensure. She also plans to create more articulations with university partners. Even though her role at CSCC has changed, Ms. Horten always wants to stay connected to helping the students achieve their educational goals.
“I believe that 41 years in the field of education has given me many opportunities, but the thing that I am most proud of is the success of the children and employees that I have worked with, from the child who has a learning moment to an employee that earned a degree. Every time one of our students crosses the graduation stage, I feel like a proud parent.”
In her spare time, Ms. Horten loves spending time with family and friends and giving back to her community as a member of Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority.