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Catherine Howe Thwaits

Cathy Howe Thwaits, Ph.D. has worked in the early childhood education field for more than 30 years. Since 1997, she has served as executive director/Head Start director for Marathon County Child Development Agency, Inc. in Wausau, Wisconsin. Prior to Head Start, Cathy served the field of early childhood education as an early exceptional needs teacher for the St. Paul, Minnesota public schools, a family daycare provider, a parent-cooperative preschool teacher, co-director and lead teacher of the Gesell Institute for Study of Young Children at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and associate lecturer at UW-Stevens Point. Her life and career have been devoted to providing quality services to all children and families, and her background has allowed her to experience the field of early childhood education from many different perspectives.

Cathy serves on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Head Start Association, The Registry and the Marathon County Early Years Coalition. She serves on several state and local task forces and advisory committees. She has presented at local, state, regional and national early childhood conferences.

Cathy earned a B.A. in elementary and early childhood education from the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN; an M.S. in human and community resources: child and family studies from UW-Stevens Point; and a Ph.D. in adult education from Capella University. Her dissertation titled A Spoonful of Sugar Works: An Experimental Study of Early Childhood Teachers’ Perceptions, studies if positive or negative language descriptions of a preschool childs challenging behavior incident influenced teachers perceptions of how unfavorable they perceived the behavior to be.


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