Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education
Tomi Barragan was born and raised in Yakima, WA and graduated from Davis High School in 2009. That fall she married the love of her life, Fortunato, and the couple welcomed their first child in 2010. She spent the next year as a stay-at-home mom. She got a job working at West Valley Fitness in the kid’s clubroom and also coached volleyball for Team Yakima. In 2013 she began working at Epic Head Start as an assistant teacher. In just six months’ time, she was promoted to lead teacher, but the promotion required her to earn early childhood education credentials. To gain the skills needed to qualify for the promotion, Barragan began taking courses in YVC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE). The ECE stackable certificates are designed to meet Washington State requirements in ECE professional development.
In 2016 with the encouragement of her husband, Barragan decided to return to school to pursue an associate of applied science degree in early childhood education. “I’ve always had a passion for working with children,” stated Barragan. “I spent some time working as a visitation supervisor for Caring Hearts Social Services. This position gave me the opportunity to do some social work and helped me realize that my true passion was early childhood education. YVC’s program was great. The instructors were always available to help and encouraged me to continue when things got tough and I felt like quitting. The flexibility of classes was also important because it allowed me to work full-time, go to school full-time, and spent time with my family,” she continued. When she became pregnant with her second child, she again took a break from her education first due to medical conditions that required her to be on bedrest and later to provide care to her newborn.
Re-enrolling, she made herself a promise that she would finish her degree. The road to a degree wasn’t always easy, but Barragan was successful at balancing a full-time job, full-time course work, and her family. She is also proud to have graduated with honors. As part of her final coursework, she observed Easter Seal’s Jane’s House, YVC’s Early Learning Center. Following her observations, she was offered a job as a Lead Teacher for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). ECEAP is a state-funded program that is offered full day to students and taught by state-certified early childhood teachers. ECEAP focuses on the well-being of the whole child by providing comprehensive nutrition, health, education and family support services to at-risk students. She graduated in the Spring 2018 with a degree and a new teaching position.
In December 2018 she was promoted to Assistant Director & ECEAP Family Support Specialist at Jane’s House. “Something I like about my new role is having the opportunity to work more with the families and assisting them in getting any resources they may need to improve themselves and home life for the entire family. I also enjoy being able to work closely with the teachers and supporting them to be more successful,” she concluded. Continuing to look ahead, Barragan is hoping to enroll in YVC’s BAS in Teacher Education degree program in the fall. In addition, she’s encouraged her husband to begin taking coursework in YVC’s Information Technology program.