Michelle Dingess 
School Leader, Parker-Chase Preschool Plano

Michelle Dingess, School Leader at Parker-Chase Preschool Plano, says she has always had a passion for education. “I thought elementary and special education is where I would end up after graduation, but soon realized that early childhood was my passion,” Michelle said.

When she moved to Texas after graduation, she started touring preschools in North Texas. “I walked into each preschool, waiting for that “feeling” of home,” Michelle said. “I walked into Parker-Chase and felt an immediate connection. Our previous owner used to laugh, because I was her one and only that visited the school and classroom at least 4 times before starting my journey there. I wanted to be confident in my commitment to this school!”

Initially, Michelle started her career at Parker-Chase as the Lead Preschool Teacher in the 3-year old classroom. “After 12 years of teaching in that classroom, I was trying to figure out the next steps,” Michelle said. “I made my way back to Parker-Chase as an Assistant Director once the acquisition with Endeavor took place. After a few short months, I became the new Director of PC!”

Michelle spoke about the most rewarding part of her transition into the School Leader position and how she implements her vision. “The most rewarding part has been setting and building up my vision of Parker-Chase that I was initially attracted to when searching for the right school…Parker-Chase 2.0, as I used to say! It’s taking a day at a time, finding those in your school that share your vision, and collaborating on what the days ahead can bring.”

Michelle also mentioned how one of Endeavor Schools’ leadership training seminars helped her during that transition. “The Mindfulness—School of Leaders Training I went through changed my direction as a first year Director. My transition into Directorship was a feeling of making sure everything was to be done the same as it always had been done through the history of the school (over 36 years). Initially, I felt at times that it would be easier going into a new school where that pressure of ‘staying the same’ for families and staff was most important.”

However, Michelle soon found out that her mindset needed to change. “Focusing on the vision for our school, my mindset became that of ‘let’s give it a try, if it doesn’t work, we will rework and try again,’” Michelle said. “It was very important to get the team on board, as well, because what didn’t work years ago…may work today!”

Michelle wanted her team members who share her aspirations to know this, “Focus on what’s most important to you as a leader, utilize the strengths of your teammates, and collaborate in your school together!”

Michelle also recognized how Endeavor Schools has supported her career growth. “Endeavor has the most positive support team!” Michelle exclaimed. “I learn something new absolutely every single day! There are Educators and Leaders to help support all aspects, which they know can be challenging at times with Directors. The collaboration is always there!”

Michelle said she is most proud of how her team has been able to build such a healthy school with a great reputation in the community. “I am most proud of all the hard work that our team put in the last year to build up the reputation of our school. It feels good to have a happy and successful school, with a great reputation, in which most of our families hear about us through word of mouth!”