Staff Spotlight Bethany Hughes

She got her wish! A staff spotlight on Bethany Hughes

Bethany Hughes always knew to some degree where her life was headed.

“People always say, Hey, I always wanted to be a firefighter,” Hughes said. “I didn’t ever know what I wanted to do, I just always wanted to be working with children in some realm.”

She got her wish. Hughes now works as a Training Coach for Child Care Aware with HDI, providing assistance and guidance to the credentials trainers who then provide training to childcare centers statewide.

“Any job I’ve ever had never falls under one category,” Hughes said. “It’s more like a paraprofessional, helping other adults.”

Hughes holds a bachelor’s degree from Murray State and a master’s from WKU, both in interdisciplinary early childhood education. Prior to HDI, that was the field she worked in before shifting to her current position when she joined the team.

“I really like the early years of development,” she said. “I truly believe in emphasizing quality learning and services early on. So much brain development happens before the age of 5. If we can be more proactive with our programs and services when children are younger, there is a greater benefit to the child and less cost associated with services as opposed to waiting until school age.”

At a certain point, though, Hughes felt called to put her skills to a different application.

“Over the years, I really enjoyed working with children and families,” she said. “But I just got to the point where I was just like, ‘You know what? I feel like I need to be helping other professionals who are out in the field to make sure that what they’re doing is good quality and good service that they’re then giving to the children.’”

Now, she ensures that children receive that level of service throughout the state.

“I really enjoy the flexibility. I like being able to reach people in ways that works for them,” she said. “I enjoy being able to kind of touch base with the trainers to say, ‘Hey, I’m here when you need me, but I’m not here to police you, it’s just I’m really here to support you. So how can I best support you?’”

Outside work, Hughes considers herself a bit of a homebody. She loves to do puzzles and read in her free time, and though she considers more of a mystery reader, she said her favorite book was Dragoncharm by Graham Edwards. She’s also a huge fan of Iris Johansen.

Hughes was raised Christian, and though she’s less of a regular churchgoer these days, she still considers herself spiritual and carries some of what she heard in church growing up.

“One of the biggest things I still always took out of church is kindness,” she said. “Treating other people with kindness and grace and understanding, because whether you agree with somebody else or get along with them, sometimes you just have to be kind to people, even if they’re not kind back to you.”