Meet Amy Loyd, a current student in the College of Education (COE) with a focus on Early Childhood Education. Loyd said she has always been interested in the education field and came to the University with a seasoned career of more than 20 years owning and operating a home daycare called Smarty Britches Home Daycare/Early Head Start located in Cullman County.
“It seemed that every great teacher I knew had attended Athens,” Loyd stated about her choice to continue her education at Athens State.
In 2004, Loyd began the journey of opening Smarty Britches Home Daycare. Loyd was confident she would provide the highest level of service for young children and their families because she recalled the impact of the small and personal environment at the home daycare her children attended when they were babies. Loyd knew it was time for her to offer that same service to families in Cullman County. The flexibility of working from home, following the school calendar that her children were on, and using her skills to pour into the youngest generation created a fulfillment in Loyd’s professional life that led her to where she is today.
“I love the family aspect of home daycare,” stated Loyd. “The children and families that I serve are my family.”
Upon opening Smarty Britches in 2004, Loyd joined the Family Child Care Partnership (FCCP) of Auburn University. In 2015, Auburn University implemented a pilot of the Early Head Start (EHS) program for home daycares. Loyd signed on with the program and has been in a contract with EHS for eight years.
Loyd is the only home EHS in Cullman County and collaborates with organizations like EHS, the Department of Early Childhood Education, Alabama Partnership for Children, Challenging Behaviors, Healthy Kids Nutrition Program, FCCP, the Department of Human Resources, Early Intervention, and many more. Additionally, Loyd is partnered with Teacher Education and Compensation Helps to increase the level of education and effectiveness of the teachers she employs.
“I feel that the education I have received by attending Athens has greatly benefitted me, my family, the children I serve, and those children’s families as well,” said Loyd. “Receiving an education at Athens State has taken me to a higher level of professionalism.”
Loyd strives to be the best in her field and has attained the highest honor by receiving national accreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) for Smarty Britches Home Daycare/Early Head Start. The NAFCC administers the only national system accreditation designed for family child care providers. In February of 2023, Loyd was awarded this honor and was recognized for her high-quality family childcare program. To earn the NAFCC accreditation, Loyd embarked on an extensive process of thorough self-study, training, and quality improvement.
Athens State holds a proud tradition of serving as one of Alabama’s leading teacher education colleges, and Amy Loyd is certainly a leading teacher. Loyd graduated in May of 2023 with a degree in Educational Studies and a concentration in Early Childhood Education. She plans to continue her work through Smarty Britches Home Daycare/Early Head Start.
Loyd believes the work of investing in the youngest generation is a high calling and a career path she was always meant to pursue. Her education at Athens State helped her realize her potential and achieve the highest level of accreditation for her field.
“I pray that I always stay focused on the purpose that I was made for and that I will always be the person to young children that I needed when I was a child,” Loyd shared.
About the College of Education
The mission of the College of Education (COE) at Athens State University is to prepare teacher candidates to become reflective practitioners who are knowledgeable and collaborative professionals. The COE provides quality programs that meet the educational needs of ever-changing student populations. The COE’s goal is to provide rigorous yet flexible programs for students that encourage wider skill sets with multiple credentials. Learn more about the College of Education.