Multitasking is part of any job, but San Jacinto College's Dr. Albert Talley has taken it up a notch.
The department chair of child development, education, and psychology runs the Central Campus children's center/lab school. He's added more responsibilities recently.
"Daily operations have involved everything from working the front desk, helping in the kitchen, grocery store runs, assisting with break and lunch rotations, helping manage contracts, and making sure the teachers in the center have the support they need," Talley said.
Treating his assigned and volunteer duties with equal vigor, Talley has helped get lab school operations back to normal following altered pandemic operations.
"I can't say enough great things about our teachers and the job they have done," Talley said. "They come to work every day with a smile on their faces."
Teachers must be in their classrooms at specific times, so lunches are strategically scheduled to accommodate this.
"Dr. Talley stepped into the pre-K classroom with a suit, sat down on the floor, and started patting children to sleep so that the teacher could go to lunch," said Natalia Atkins, lead children's center teacher. "He is always willing to help out in the back, even when wearing a nice suit."
Along with his administrative assistant Kaitlen Turner, Talley completed a food manager's certificate to help in the kitchen and make sure the school stays in compliance with the Texas Department of State Health Services. Turner calls it a team effort.
"I'm very appreciative that Albert and I work together as a team," she said. "And it's great to see the respect he has for those who report to him. I believe that speaks a lot about his leadership and character."
Both were happy to help where they could.
"There have been several times where we've been short in the kitchen, and I've worked with our teachers to make sure food or snacks are getting where they need to," Talley said. "The teachers haven't kicked me out of the kitchen yet."
Love of the job
"I stop by every classroom at least every other day," Talley said. "It gives me the chance to interact with the children and say hello."
Talley often helps with story time and other activities but avoids distracting from learning, although the kids enjoy when he stops by to "roar like a lion." Teachers work on language development, literacy, math, science, and technology daily with the children to prepare them for school after they graduate from the children's center.
"I feel very blessed and enjoy knowing that I have the chance to see education come full circle, beginning with children at 6 weeks old and one day coming back as San Jac students," Talley said.
In his previous role as a basketball coach, Talley worked with college students aged 18 to 24. Although he felt he made an impact through sports, he never understood how early childhood education prepared children for the future.
Talley has met current students who once attended San Jac's children's center, and he is "pleased to know" the center continues to impact students and their families.
Outside of work
When he's not at work, Talley enjoys exercising, cooking, and spending time with his wife, 2-year-old daughter, and their Weimaraner. When he was a basketball coach at San Jac, he also taught yoga.
Talley believes student success is a common goal. He has enjoyed working at San Jac for the last decade and helps everyone he can.
Learn more about on-campus early childhood education.