Maxwell alumna Phaedra Stewart ’91 finds it difficult to look at the world without seeing opportunities to connect with people, raise their spirits and empower them to make their lives better. A self-described serial entrepreneur (some might say a serial…
Burfoot-Rochford appointed director of Early Education and Child Care Center
Holley Burfoot-Rochford has been appointed director of Syracuse University’s Early Education and Child Care Center on South Campus. Former director Joan Supiro retired at the end of September, after 32 years of service.
Burfoot-Rochford comes to SU from the Children’s Center at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where she was the founding assistant director. It opened in 2008. Prior to that, she was executive director of the Magic Mountain Children’s Center in South Royalton, Vt.
Burfoot-Rochford grew up in Middlebury, Vt., where both her parents worked at Middlebury College. She knew children would be her life’s work from the time she was a babysitter. Her interest in childhood development and education led her to undergraduate studies in sociology and early childhood education at Northeastern University, then to a master’s in social work degree at Indiana University.
“When I came out of grad school, I knew I was coming out to be a director of a child care center,” Burfoot-Rochford says. Her experiences as a teacher, social worker and legal assistant, coupled with encounters with inspiring directors, led to her strong belief that a child care center must be a true “community of support” if children, families and staff are to thrive.
She says she is thrilled to be here at SU for a number of reasons: the long history and strong reputation of both the University and the center; the EECCC’s child-centered philosophy; and its mix of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers–six out of the 60 enrollees are infants, and she specializes in infants and toddlers.
“We are delighted to have Holley here,” says Kal Alston, senior vice president for human capital development, which includes the EECCC. “Her combination of energy and experience makes her the ideal person to lead the center into the future, building on its strengths and developing new initiatives to ensure it continues to be a vital part of University life.”
Burfoot-Rochford’s enthusiasm for Syracuse began with the interview process, in which parents, teachers, student teachers and administrators took part. She hopes to foster that kind of broad involvement, strengthen connections with departments and schools at SU and forge new relationships with the wider SU and Syracuse community. “I’m thinking about how we can be more a part of the University as a whole,” she says.
She is not overly concerned about stepping into a place where the prior director had a decades-long tenure. “I realize how strong the history is here and how long some of the teachers have been here, and I’m eager to tap into that knowledge and experience,” Burfoot-Rochford says. “I’m also excited about the challenge of introducing new ideas and helping people through change in order to come together as a community. It’s important that we are a place where best practices are happening, where we are supportive of children and families and really make a difference. That is the hope in my heart, in everything I do.”