Minnie Howell 404-366-3700 | Renaissance Child 404-875-9668 info@premier-academy.org

Starla BaileyBetween the hustle and bustle of ringing phone lines, children singing, and the movement of lunch carts headed down the hallway, the current Deputy Director of Premier, Starla Bailey sits down to reflect on her journey to this place.
“My time with Premier Academy began in 1994, as a part of the Summer Youth Employment Program. At that time, the organization was Bedford Pine Child and Family Resources Center. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to join the program, as my mother was a current member of the Board of Directors. The program was designed to give youth the opportunity to gain leadership skills, early childhood knowledge and professionalism, while earning a paycheck, also.
I continued working with the program for the next 3 summers, serving as a Teacher’s Aide in the classrooms at the Angier Avenue and David T. Howard Center. Before leaving to go to college, I used my final summer to learn the administrative side of the program. I worked with our Program Administrator, learning how to enroll families, accept payments and how to manage the front office. I returned during holiday breaks and each summer, learning more and more about the operations of childcare.
After graduation and a few years of teaching public school, the Program Administrator who trained me, was leaving the position and going into a different field. It was at that time that I decided I’d like to enter childcare full-time. I became the Program Administrator at the Angier Avenue location in 2007. I ultimately became the Center Director of that location. After several years, I left Premier Academy to become the Head Start/Early Head Start Deputy Director for a community action program, overseeing 16 childcare programs across 2 counties.
During this time, Premier Academy was still “home base” for me. I worked then as a consultant, providing training and technical assistance to the teachers and leaders and refining their practices. I used what I learned in the Head Start field to help Premier build its signature programs, partnership programs and staff development program. I returned to the organization full-time, as the Deputy Director in 2019, where I support the overall operations of the organization.
Premier Academy has been an amazing force in my life since I was 16 years old. I’m forever indebted to the organization for the skills that I have learned over the years. For many people, a career at Premier Academy is a life-time appointment – I’m blessed to be no exception. It’s here where I “cut my teeth” and learned about what it really means to be a quality program – it’s where my passion for this field was birthed. Premier has given me roots and wings and the journey has been a proud one.