Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port Richey preschool first to receive five-star honor from Early Learning Coalition

Deidra, from left, Hank and Betty Jowers display the inaugural five-star banner awarded by the Early Learning Coalition.

Courtesy of Audrey Stasko

Deidra, from left, Hank and Betty Jowers display the inaugural five-star banner awarded by the Early Learning Coalition.

PORT RICHEY — People often tell Betty Jowers she is "a natural" when it comes to caring for and educating children. She began her career in child care about 40 years ago, at one point even opening her own home as a day care.

"I started caring for children in my home because I wanted my daughter to have a playmate," Jowers said.

Twenty years ago, Jowers started Miss Betty's Childcare & Preschool in Port Richey. And on Nov. 24, the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties bestowed its first five-star rating for an early learning center on the school, at 6926 Ridge Road.

Coalition representatives Jim Farrelly, executive director; Joe Mascaro, program manager; June Franco, provider specialist, and Audrey Stasko, communications specialist, visited the school to present Jowers, her husband and co-owner Hank Jowers and daughter and school director Deidra Jowers with the inaugural five-star banner, part of the agency's Sunshine Stars program.

"We wanted to let parents know the best place to enroll their children," said Farrelly. "Miss Betty's is the best."

Miss Betty's is a licensed child care provider for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years and also offers a Voluntary Prekindergarten program. About 60 children are enrolled at the center.

"We didn't get into this for the money," said Hank Jowers, who celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with Betty on Nov. 27. "We just wanted to provide the best care possible."

And the best education possible, according to Deidra Jowers.

"We provide students with a well-rounded education based on a creative curriculum. Children learn through play," said Deidra Jowers. "We teach them literary, math, art, social/emotional and motor skills, real-life lessons. We want them to want to keep learning throughout their lives."

And the kids aren't the only ones learning at Miss Betty's. At the Nov. 24 presentation, Farrelly praised Betty Jowers for her frequent attendance at educational workshops and conferences and for encouraging her staff to seek higher education degrees. Teachers Megan Blaise, Tammy Hodge and Lela Jackson are among the Miss Betty's instructors who credit Jowers with encouraging them to advance their education.

"You're never too old to learn," Betty Jowers said.

Jowers also is credited with providing employees with a pleasant, nurturing place to work.

"I wake up every day so happy to come to work," said teacher Sullynet Montanez.

"We're like family here," teacher Heather Williams said.

And at the coalition's presentation, Betty Jowers insisted that her teaching staff — which includes Beth Mason, Cory Jowers, Alan Baumann, Tammy Hodge and Lilith Jowers — pose for photos with their honorary banner.

The formula has worked well for the school, Hank Jowers said.

"We don't have to do much advertising," he said. "We get our students through word of mouth."

In the eyes of Betty Jowers, the success of Miss Betty's comes down to a single simple theory:

"It's all for the children," she says.

Port Richey preschool first to receive five-star honor from Early Learning Coalition 12/03/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 3, 2015 9:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. President Trump: Nation's culture being 'ripped apart' by Civil War statue removals


    WASHINGTON — Showing his characteristic refusal to back down in the face of criticism, President Donald Trump deepened his defense of Confederate war memorials Thursday, sending out a series of messages on Twitter that adopted the language and arguments of white nationalists who have opposed their removal.

    President Donald Trump points to members of the media as he answers questions in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday. Republican leaders on Wednesday tiptoed around Trump's extraordinary comments on white supremacists.  [Associated Press]
  2. With election heating up, Bill Nelson floods Tampa Bay


    Sen. Bill Nelson seems to have set up a residency in Tampa Bay, a crucial area for his upcoming re-election campaign.

    Nelson campaigns with his wife in Orlando in 2012
  3. Martinez Middle School evacuated after bomb threat


    LUTZ — Bob Martinez Middle School has been evacuated after someone called in a bomb threat, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Another local Confederate display sparks division, this one over name of the war


    TAMPA — While the Hillsborough County commission was wrestling over the future of Confederate monument at the county courthouse, a lawsuit has been playing out in court over how best to represent the Civil War across town at Veterans Memorial Park.

    Supporters of a Civil War display at Veterans Memorial Park and Museum had a brochure made to attract donations. They argue in a lawsuit that their efforts were thwarted when the park's executive committee changed their plans.
  5. Myrtle Avenue closed, man hospitalized after Clearwater bike crash


    CLEARWATER — Myrtle Avenue is closed in both directions following a bicycle crash that hospitalized a man with serious injuries.