Gen. Smith meets Col. Peebles

Left: Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander Col. Kimberly Peeples (center) and joint base Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Director Denise James (right) welcome Maj. Gen. Tammy Smith, acting deputy assistant secretary of the Army, military personnel and quality of life, to Cody Child Development Center July 17. Smith had the opportunity to meet staff, take a tour of classrooms and rub elbows with some of the CDC’s almost 400 students.

An acting deputy assistant secretary of the Army received a room-to-room and wall-to-wall tour of the Defense Department’s largest childhood development center July 17.

Maj. Gen. Tammy Smith, acting deputy assistant secretary of the Army, military personnel and quality of life, was guided through the halls and classrooms of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Cody Child Development Center by CDC leaders and staff members. Smith’s interests in the JBM-HH CDC ranged from daily operations, student routines to staff diversity at the Department of Defense’s largest child development center.

“She asked a lot of great questions,” said CDC assistant director Jennifer Rodgers, who accompanied Smith on the tour. “Toward the end, she was asking what some of our struggles were and how she could help advocate for us. She seemed really interested in what we were talking about. For us, this is very every day, but with her, it is interesting to see (a perspective) of someone who has never been involved in child care.”

Smith’s involvement in Army missions saw her stationed from Fort Belvoir, Virginia, to Panama to a deployment in Afghanistan. She received her commission in 1986 and joined the Quartermaster Corps and has been a commanding general at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Korea.

During the second half of the CDC tour, Smith took the opportunity to mingle with preschool class students during a reading circle and before a sing-a-long.

“We always talk about the resiliency of our Army children, and I now have much greater insight about what the role these child development centers play in the resiliency of our Army children,” Smith said. “The engagement of everybody who was here (was impressive). There was such a high level of engagement. I was also impressed with the diversity of both the children who were here and all of the staff. There’s somebody who looks like you no matter what room you’re in.”

The staff showed Smith the latest National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation earned by the CDC as staff members finished breakfast clean up and received students during a busy stint in the day’s schedule.

The Cody CDC on JBM-HH is the largest child development center in the Defense Department and has an enrollment of close to 400 children and a staff of 145 people. Enrollees are mostly military children whose parents work at the Pentagon or in the Military District of Washington.

Pentagram Staff Writer Jim Dresbach can be reached at jdresbach@dcmilitary.com.