Meet CDLS Principal Office and Administrative Specialist: Q&A with Lily Bray

Lily Bray is the principal office and administrative specialist at the Child Development Laboratory School (CDLS). In her role, she is likely the first person students, family, and staff interact with when entering the CDLS building. Learn more about Lily, her career path, and interests below.

Q: How did your career path lead you to CDLS?

I began working at the CDLS as a college student child care worker back in 2005. At the time my mother was an infant teacher here and she suggested I apply. I was 20 years old at the time and tired of working in restaurants!  The teaching staff knew everything about each child, and put so much thought and care into their curriculum and the materials they provided. It was so inspiring to see how the staff apply their knowledge of development to make an enriching learning environment that genuinely engages the children. When it came time for me to graduate, I couldn’t picture myself working anywhere else! I became an on-call assistant teacher, then a full-time assistant teacher for older toddlers. I wanted to stretch my clerical muscles a bit so when the principal office and administrative specialist position opened up, I easily transitioned from the classroom to the front office.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is the children! I work hard to know the name of every child that walks through this door and I love the little rituals I have with some of them. When it’s drop off time, I will without hesitation drop everything and chat with a child. It’s especially fun when they bring me treasures, like pinecones or special rocks they found. I have quite a collection of corn kernels at my desk at the moment! I feel especially lucky that the less exciting parts of my job are punctuated with the energy and joy of the children. And I have made lifelong friends here. My co-workers are so wonderful.  I’ve been housemates with one of them and several were in my wedding!

Q: How do you approach your role as the first point-of-contact for those entering CDLS?

I’ve been a student worker, a substitute, a teaching staff member, and a mom. My past positions at CDLS have given me unique perspectives that inform my decisions as an administrative professional and give me insight when assisting my colleagues and families. Because of my experience I can answer even the most specific questions that prospective parents have. Choosing an early education program for your child can be stressful, and I do what I can to show how warm and welcoming CDLS is.

For the families who are enrolled, I help in other ways too. It can be difficult getting a young child through the door in the mornings. (I know because I am a mother of a 4 year old and a 2 year old!) If I see a family struggling with the transition into school I offer to help. One of my favorite strategies is to ask the child to deliver a special note to their teachers. Having a concrete task can really help a young child get down the hall to their classroom, and in turn, the parent/guardian to work on time!  

Q: What are some of your interests/hobbies outside of work?

Outside of work I love to spend time with my family. We have a lake property up near the Canadian border that is an old fishing resort that we are fixing up. There is no electricity or indoor plumbing, so a couple days up there at a time is enough for me! Otherwise I love painting my nails, drawing, and watching movies with my husband Pat after the kids have gone to bed.