Denise Vazquez steps in as Kaibab Learning Center director
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Grand Canyon resident Denise Vazquez is excited for her new position as director of Kaibab Learning Center (KLC), a local daycare located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Vazquez worked at Kaibab Learning Center for seven and a half years before receiving the promotion in August.
The mother of two said she has watched her daughters grow up at the center and said moving into the director position allows her to offer help to other working parents.
“My daughters have attended the learning center since they were two and six weeks old, so they’ve pretty much grown up here with me and the center staff,” she said. “To me, it’s being able to provide services to families who live here… we are here to support them in any way we can. Obviously, it’s currently more educational based but they get so much more out of it — they become part of the center as well.”
Vazquez said the position has also helped her grow as a leader.
“My educational background is in early childhood (development) and I’m currently continuing my education as well. I’m looking forward to growing as a leader and helping the center grow as well,” she said.
Vazquez said providing quality education and care at the center is a priority for her.
“I’m quality first — it’s such an important thing for me. I really want to help our center get ahead in it and eventually be able to provide the best education to the children and the community and eventually maybe grow in the expansion of who we serve as well,” she said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, KLC closed its doors for three months, from mid-March to mid-July of 2020. During that time Vazquez said KLC had to get creative and decide how or if they could accommodate their staff.
“We worked with our staff, allowing them to bring their school age children to the center and work on distance learning here — that way we could be able to keep the center open for them,” she said. “It was one of those things we really had to think about how we were going to accommodate the staff as well as accommodate the families near here who were needing the childcare for their infants, toddlers and school age children.”
Since then, KLC has been able to re-open their doors for parents in need of childcare.
According to Vazquez, enrollment has fluctuated since the pandemic. The center currently has 35 students enrolled in its after-school age care. Before COVID-19 they had 45-50 students enrolled.
“Enrollment has had its ups and downs right now. Summer was great — we had a decent amount of enrollment. Now that the regular school year has started, we are seeing a dip,” she said. “But we are confident that we are able to get that back to normal numbers that we had pre-COVID.”
About Kaibab Learning Center
KLC is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 to provide quality daycare, preschool, and after school programs within a Montessori-inspired learning environment for children birth to age 12. It is the only licensed daycare facility in 50 miles and serves the families of Grand Canyon and neighboring communities, including Tusayan and Valle.