- Davenia Lea hi-res photo (JPG 1.72 MB)
From the moment she began her first part-time job as a teacher’s assistant in a church-operated daycare center, Davenia knew that she had a passion to work with young children. That job led her on a journey to study early childhood special education as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, College Park, and then to work as an early interventionist, working with children from birth through age three, who had varying disabilities, for Prince Georges County Public Schools (MD). There, she coordinated parent support groups, toddler groups, assessed children, made home visits and assisted to transition children into school-based programs. She "absolutely loved" empowering the families of young children and working to assist each child to meet developmentally appropriate milestones. She also loved working directly with the children and their families and as a mentor for new teachers and pre-service teachers.
After she obtained a doctorate in early childhood special education, she began her work in higher education, serving as an assistant professor in both special education and early childhood education. She taught classes, advised students, supervised interns, and published.
In 2007 she joined the team at Washington Adventist University (formerly Columbia Union College), where she served as the Director of Field Experiences for one year and the Chair of the Education Department for two years. Her department experienced tremendous growth as they forged partnerships with local public school systems, enhanced internship experiences within our Seventh-day Adventist partner schools, began development of online education courses, and also benefited from grant funding in excess of $1 million for their early childhood education program.
In addition, she served as the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS) for one year, where she worked to establish governing policies and procedures, developed an online campus, added new graduate programs, and created and established shared governance and collaboration amongst the academic and support departments across campus.