Kim Covert wears many hats within the Dexter community, where she is the director of both Dexter Community Education and the Jenkins Early Childhood Learning Center, as well as the newly elected board president of the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce.
We Love Dexter staff spoke with Covert Dec. 16 about her involvement with Dexter Community Education and her other roles within the community.
Covert said Dexter Community Education handles all of the recreational and enrichment programs for both children and adults in the district.
“The Dexter Community Education program is an umbrella in which lots of things fit underneath,” Covert said. “We also handle the scheduling of the pool and the entire aquatics program. We manage The Dexter Center for the Performing Arts and the Copeland Auditorium, as well as all of the facility use for the district. So, we manage and schedule every building in the district and the programs that go into those.”
Covert said Dexter Community Education receives a small amount of general funding, but the program mainly pays for itself.
One of Covert’s favorite aspects of working as the director of Dexter Community Education for nearly 3 years is the variety of people and activities she works with on a daily basis.
“I say my job is an inch deep and a mile wide,” Covert said. “I love that I’m able to work with seniors, preschoolers, school age children, adults and community members sometimes all in the same day. The best part about it is providing the services we provide for the community.”
Dexter Community Education began a new program in September, opening the Jenkins Early Childhood Learning Center at 2801 Baker Rd. in Dexter. The building, formerly housing Generations Together, was donated to Dexter Community Education.
Covert said the learning center currently has 165 students and over 250 families utilizing its childcare and preschool programs for infants as young as 6-weeks to 4-year-olds. Jenkins also offers before and after school childcare programs for students in grade school.
Covert said opening the learning center was a major accomplishment for Dexter Community Education.
“That’s probably been the biggest focus of my efforts in the not-so-distant past,” Covert said.
Covert said watching changes in Dexter Community Education program funding is an important aspect of her role as the director.
“School funding is always something that we’re conscientious of,” Covert said.
“We get handed some things sometimes that fall off of the budget on the K-12 side. That’s probably our biggest challenge. It’s making sure we’re still providing the full service of what we provide the community and make sure that we don’t become too much of a cost strain on the district.”
Dexter Community Education also offers scholarships for its programs.
“We really do feel like it’s important for kids to be able to do activities,” Covert said. “We also offer them to adults and seniors as well.”
Covert said strained funding has made it more difficult to provide scholarships.
“As our funding gets tighter and tighter, there has been less and less of a cushion,” Covert said. “We have noticed in recent years that more and more students are applying for community education scholarships.”
Donations to the Dexter Community Education Scholarship Fund can be made by writing a check addressed to Dexter Community Education and putting ‘scholarship fund’ in the memo line. Dexter Community Education is located at 3060 Kensington St. in the Dexter Community Pool building.
Covert is also involved in the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce. She was recently elected board president of the chamber after serving 3 years as a board member and secretary.
Covert said her new position as board president of the chamber often has her working with the same community members she interacts with as director of Dexter Community Education.
Covert said it’s easy for people in Dexter to get involved in the community once they see neighbors, local government and city council members working side by side to make Dexter an even better place to live and work.
“I think the thing about Dexter is it’s just such a great place,” Covert said.
Covert previously served the community for 6 years as a Dexter Community Schools Board of Education trustee.
Covert can be reached at email@example.com.