Interview with Dr. Calvin Moore, Jr.
CEO, The Council for Professional Recognition
Conducted by Carla S. Rogg, MSW
Founder and President, Care Solutions, Inc.
Carla Rogg: Thanks for joining us today, Dr. Moore. So, how did you start working with the CDA Council?
Dr. Calvin Moore: About six years ago I was invited to be a part of the board. I was at the NAEYC Professional Development Institute when Dr. Valora Washington and Dr. Ed Green had this brilliant idea for me to come on board. I’d been a big fan of the work of the Council. I think they knew that I had earned my CDA in 1992 and thought it would be a great perspective to bring onto the board. So, I accepted the challenge.
I learned a lot about the inner workings of the Council from the governance perspective. That's very different from the operational side and the credentialing process. After Dr. Washington resigned as CEO, two board members on the executive committee said, “Calvin, you're the only one in the room with the kind of experience to just walk right into that transition.” And so here I am.
Carla Rogg: I’ve had my ear to the ground, and all reports are very positive about your leadership and the work that you are doing.
Dr. Calvin Moore: That’s good to hear. I think I'm the first CEO to have earned my CDA. For that reason, I think my life has come full circle, and I really appreciate how the universe sort of bent in my direction at this time. I've been having a ball, so it's good to hear that folks are embracing my leadership.
Carla Rogg: Can you say a bit more about being the first CEO to earn your CDA? For years, I heard Dr. Washington say the CDA is the first best step.
Dr. Calvin Moore: For me, it was the best first step. I was coming into the field after having been in the military for four years. I wanted to be a teacher but wasn’t sure where to start. I became a teacher aide at a local Head Start program and was immediately enrolled in a CDA program as a result. And so, for me, it was the right first step.
For others, I would hope that they will tell you the same thing. I know people come to the CDA experience from different perspectives. For example, some have already earned a bachelor's degree.
Earning my CDA early on in my education career gave me the kind of onboarding into our field that I think a new teacher needs. I was able to really feel competent to work with young children and to speak to their parents. I knew exactly what I needed to do next. So for me, it was a great opportunity to learn about the field while also being introduced to it from the work perspective.
Carla Rogg: Currently there are eight CDA subject areas. What do you like about those eight areas and 120 training hours? Do you feel like that is a good place for us to be? And how does the CDA professional portfolio work into all of that?
Dr. Calvin Moore: I do believe that the eight subject areas are classic. You can look at the body of knowledge, skills and abilities that every early childhood teacher grapples with, and I think those eight subject areas capture all of the key perspectives of our work.
They also support the six core competencies and allow each candidate to demonstrate their knowledge across those six competencies.
I don't think we need to tinker with the eight areas. However, as we gain more knowledge about the field, there may be things that we need to focus on, like equity, for example. But those eight subject areas are classic in the sense that equity sort of lives and breathes throughout all of them.
The portfolio is unique. You have the 120 clock hours of training, and then you have all those different artifacts that are collected in the portfolio to help the candidate demonstrate their knowledge in those core areas. As the candidate collects evidence, they begin to demonstrate their capacity to think deeply about those subject areas and to connect the work to those core competencies.
I really enjoyed collecting my evidence when I was going through the CDA process because my portfolio was living and breathing. I could go back to it whenever I needed. I continued to collect evidence for my portfolio even after I had earned my CDA. My portfolio is not a portfolio in the classic sense, because I collected my evidence in one of those storage boxes. So things were a bit different back in 1992.
Carla Rogg: What do you think child care owners and directors see when they encounter someone with a CDA?
Dr. Calvin Moore: I think they see “qualified!” With a CDA, that person demonstrates competence, and they're qualified to be in that classroom on Day One. It's that core knowledge base that every teacher needs, whether they’re headed into a K-12 or preschool environment. The CDA lets the prospective employer be confident that they’re hiring someone with a certain level of qualifications to do the job.
Carla Rogg: I agree. So, there's been a lot of talk about COVID and how the early care and education community’s forward movement took a real step backward when parents took their kids out of ECE centers. As well, many parents have now learned that they can manage at home without sending their kids to an ECE center. And, employers are allowing them to do that. How do you see all of that impacting ECE in the next year or two?
Dr. Calvin Moore: Well, like other early childhood organizations, the Council was impacted by COVID. Our revenues, and even our reach into the field — everything really was different last year. Not so much now as we rebound from the pandemic.
But one impact that's probably going to be around for a while is finding a new way to do business in the sector. We have been grappling with virtual verification visits, for example. Even though we count that as an accommodation because of the pandemic, I don't think the pendulum will swing back to the way it was pre-COVID.
So I think the verification visit in a virtual modality is here to stay. We're seeing that people can still accomplish the kind of rich experience that is intended through the more traditional visit. In that regard, I think the pandemic has created this need to innovate, be flexible, and nimble. But it also pushes us to be as integral as possible. We want to ensure that the virtual and more traditional routes both provide very similar experiences, and that we're able to collect evidence of your competence in those two different modalities.
Carla Rogg: And where do you see the Council in the next five years?
Dr. Calvin Moore: I believe that the future of the Council is to think about a menu of options that early childhood professionals might pursue beyond the CDA. But certainly, the CDA continues to be our bread and butter, our flagship credential at the Council. We want to make sure that we're looking at the credentialing process, and how we can continue to raise the level of expertise in that area.
I'm focused on how we can reimagine the CDA credentialing program to be more in line with the field. We're going to look at everything from the application process to the tools that candidates use to upload their application to the PDS process. We're going to look at all of the different tools that we use to collect evidence of the candidate’s competencies: the portfolio, the written exam, how we observe the candidates. We know that what teachers do everyday matters - that they make critical decisions about children's development.
Carla Rogg: I know I’ve asked a lot about your work and professional life. What do you like to do for fun?
Dr. Calvin Moore: Believe it or not, I just recently released my first solo CD. Singing is one of my outlets! I call it message music because it's really upbeat. Every song has a message.
Carla Rogg: So, our last question is the signature question we like to ask everyone. If you could take a training course on anything outside of early care and education, what would it be?
Dr. Calvin Moore: I'm really interested in birds right now. I've been watching birds migrate. I've been really interested in how they make nests out of interesting products, and I've been on YouTube watching them build nests. So I would be interested in taking a course on bird watching and how to identify different kinds of birds.
Thank you Dr. Moore for your time and your commitment to the field!