Mindy Samples embarked on her professional path by earning a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Pensacola Christian College in Brent, Florida, in 2003. Going on to join Foundation Academy from 2006 to 2014, she spent a year as a teacher with a nonprofit in Fort Worth, Texas, from 2014 to 2015 before deciding that she wanted to be more involved in education leadership. Having attained lifetime certification as a director in Texas, she achieved the position of director of the Early Education Center with the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth in 2015, a position she continues to excel in to this day.
Attributing much of her success to her passion for helping children succeed and grow, Ms. Samples is also driven by the sense that she is doing something meaningful, impactful and valuable for her community. It was this passion that drew her to the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth in the first place, as their education practices, mission and values aligned very closely with her own. Impressed with everything from their curriculum choices to their hiring practices, Ms. Samples was incredibly excited and proud to achieve the position of director. Today, she is responsible for managing the Early Education Center’s staff, which ranges from 25 to 45 people; aiding in curriculum development; setting yearly goals and managing annual events; and helping the center to maintain all the necessary standards and communications with their accreditation agency.
In an effort to remain up to date with developments in regard to program requirements and accreditation, among other things, Ms. Samples maintains affiliation with several professional organizations. These include the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the child development/early childhood education program at Tarrant County College, where she serves as a member of their advisory council. Additionally, she was involved in establishing an early childhood education program in Georgia that has now grown to reach hundreds of children through multiple locations. Ms. Samples feels very gratified to have been involved in that program from the very beginning.
Having accomplished much over the course of her career, Ms. Samples is particularly proud of growing the early childhood education program at the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth. When she first arrived, the program was incredibly disorganized, and developing and expanding the Early Education Center was almost like reinventing the wheel there was so much that needed to be done. She persevered, however, and was able to get the center officially accredited, which was an incredibly significant accomplishment for the church and for her. Above everything, Ms. Samples is proud of the relationships she has developed with the staff, families and children she has worked with over the years. Knowing that her contributions will impact children throughout their entire lifespan keeps her motivated and encouraged in all her work.
Holding considerable expertise in early childhood education, child and staff development, and curriculum evaluation and implementation, Ms. Samples has continued her education throughout her career with additional graduate coursework. She hopes to finish her master’s degree within the next five years and begin working towards a doctoral degree as well. With her life’s motto being “Forward momentum,” her ultimate goal is to move from being a director to becoming an educational consultant or teacher at the university level. She considers the most important lesson she has learned throughout her career to be the importance of taking your time to respond well instead of reacting on impulse. When she is not working, Ms. Samples enjoys spending her free time, reading, hiking, whitewater rafting, and spending time with her dog and her goddaughter.