January 25, 2024

Kimberly Cannata has worked as the assistant director of The New England Center for Children’s (NECC) Michael F. Downey Center for Child Development for a year and a half. She was nominated by her colleagues because of her leadership, hard work, and compassion. One colleague shared that she “goes above and beyond for us teachers, as well as the children and families we serve. Kim always makes sure we are getting breaks and have time to plan, and she checks in daily to make sure we aren’t getting burnt out. She has been such a wonderful addition to the Center and we are so lucky to have her!” Another stated that “Kim has gone above and beyond to help all staff and families with their daily needs; is always making sure staff is comfortable and feeling supported; and is always ready to lend a helping hand!”

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part is getting to know the kids, families, and staff. Also, I love watching a child achieve a milestone or goal they have been working on and the sense of pride they have in themselves when they finally “get it.”

Why did you choose a career in working with children?

I have always loved working with kids. In college, I worked for a summer camp, and being there solidified my desire to work with kids.


I honestly hadn’t heard about NECC before I found the job listing for the Downey Center for Child Development. My brother-in-law has autism, so I asked my husband’s parents about NECC; they told me that it was a great company with a great reputation within the autism community. Now that I am here, I really appreciate working for a company with as many resources and benefits as NECC has. And the people I work with are all really great, too!

What is something about you that your colleagues might be surprised to learn?

A few years ago, I got a ukulele as a gift, and I was determined to learn to play it. I am not going to pretend that I am great at playing it, but I *can* play 2 or 3 songs.

Who is someone you look up to?

Personally, I look up to my grandparents. I’ve always thought that I would be proud if I ended up being half as great as they were. Professionally, I look up to my former boss from my previous job. She was a supportive leader and a great friend, and she really helped me to become the early childhood educator that I am.

What is your life philosophy or motto you like to live by?

There is a song by Jason Mraz called “Life is Wonderful,” and it’s about how going through harder times makes you appreciate the good times more. I try to think of it any time I am having a bad moment/day, or feeling stressed, and it helps me find some peace in knowing that things will, eventually, get better.