CROWLEY – When Destiny Medows decided to pursue a master’s degree at LSUS this past fall, she was a fifth-grade teacher and a single mother to three daughters.

Medows added many other titles in the year she took to complete her Master of Education in Educational Leadership – early learning center director, lunch lady, janitor and trainer just to name a few.

The 29-year-old opened Sassy’s Childcare and Learning Center with her mother this July in Crowley, and with this facility nearly full within the first few months, the pair is planning on opening another location elsewhere in Acadia Parish.

“We have 40 kids and 10 staff members, five of which are teachers and two lead staff members,” said Medows, who has sole control of the day-to-day operations of the center. “I had no idea what I was doing when I started this journey a year ago, and opening a learning center wasn’t something I’ve always wanted to do.

“I’ve always been passionate about education, but working with toddlers and younger children? I was really nervous, but it’s been such an amazing experience. They are so little, but they are so much easier to teach and mold.”

The idea of opening Sassy’s Childcare and Learning Center, which is certified as a Type III Learning Center by the state, came from watching her sister attempt to find quality childcare in Acadia Parish.

“My sister stayed with us for a little while, and she had a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old,” Medows said. “All the places we visited didn’t seem like they had a healthy environment.

“We were looking for somewhere that’s going to teach them. At our center, we’re not just sitting around babysitting, we’re offering instruction and emotional support through play.”

The demand for a trustworthy early learning center in the area was high, which prompted Medows to explore opening a second location.

She slogged through the opening and certification process of her first center for eight months, including meeting everything from fire and health codes to state regulations.

In addition, Medows completed her graduate coursework while teaching fifth grade and raising her family.

“It was definitely challenging,” Medows said. “I did extracurricular activities with my daughters like competitive cheer, volleyball and track in the afternoon, then did my coursework and studying overnight and on the weekends.

“You have to be disciplined in your time management. I created a schedule and dedicated certain amounts of time, planning out those hours in increments for assignments and tasks.”

Medows completed her degree with a 4.0 GPA, adding that LSUS’s online platform made it possible to realize a dream that she didn’t know she had until recently.

“I was worried about the online platform at first because I wouldn’t have one-on-one face time, but I’m grateful that every professor made themselves readily available to their students,” Medows said. “They were there when I needed support late at night or on the weekend.

“The flexibility of the program was super convenient – I knew about all of my assignments one or two weeks ahead of time, which allowed me to plan them out. Most of us had full-time jobs and were parents, and the fact that LSUS acknowledged those things meant the world to me.”

Medows said she applies much of what she learned in the program to operating her learning center.

“The curriculum, the research and the techniques I’ve learned has truly benefitted me, especially in the Pre-K class,” Medows said. “I have a more in-depth knowledge of the curriculum, so I was able to train my staff.

“I use about half of the online platforms I learned about, like Canva and Nearpod, in running the center.”

Medows acquired her entrepreneurial spirit from her mother, Sassy, for whom the center is named.

Sassy owns and operates four businesses in the area, which means Destiny runs the center on her own.

“She is young and spunky – she doesn’t want to be a Maw Maw,” Medows said.

While Medows’ may have gone through many title changes over the last year, there’s one title that’s never changed – mother.

“To be at (LSUS graduation) and hear them yelling, ‘Go Mom’ – that’s a very emotional experience,” Medows said of her daughters Emma (12), Annsley (10) and Ivy (8). “They were there for all of it.

“They would tiptoe through the house when I was studying or fall asleep curled up beside me. It’s so awesome for them to see the end goal if you work hard and know that nothing good comes easy. It’s never too late for anyone to pursue a career they’ve always dreamt of.”