New director takes over the Whelan Children’s Center


Julia Santos

Latisha Newman, the new director of the Whelan Children’s Center, interacts with children in the center’s playroom on Sept. 4. Newman has over 15 years of childcare experience and said she is excited about her new position. Photo credit: Julia Santos

Emma Gilheany

For the new school year, The Whelan Children’s Center has welcomed Latisha Newman, a veteran childcare worker, as its new director.

Newman started as the new director on July 25 and has over 15 years of experience in childcare, having previously been a lead teacher, education supervisor and center director. She also holds degrees in psychology, childhood education and a master’s in curriculum and instruction.

Despite having just started in her new position, Newman said the energy of the Loyola community has excited her.


“I loved hearing from the parents and how engaged and committed they are to the center. All of my conversations have been very positive and I expect another great year for our students and parents at the center,” Newman said.

Kate Yurgil, assistant professor of psychology at Loyola and mother of a three-year-old daughter at Whelan, said she has been impressed with Newman and how she has adjusted to her new role as the director.

“She’s very, very personable. I’ve really been impressed that in such a short period of time that she really has seemed to engage with the rest of the staff and the families,” Yurgil said.

Newman said she hopes to maintain the high quality of education that the Whelan Children’s Center is known for during this transition.

“My vision for the Whelan Children’s Center is to be a leading early childhood institution in the state of Louisiana that provides a quality early childhood education for young children,” Newman said.

Laura Alexander, a university minister at Loyola, has two children enrolled at Whelan, and she said it has been a vital part of both her and her children’s lives over the years.

“I love all of the staff at the Whelan Center. They are part of our family,” Alexander said. “I am a better mother every day because of what I learn from them in terms of how to best help my kids grow and learn.”

However, many Loyola faculty members were frustrated last semester after it was announced that there would be a significant price increase in child care costs at the center. The increase was necessary in order “to continue to meet the rising costs of sustaining a high-quality center,” according to Newman.

Some faculty members made the decision to take their children out of the daycare because of this increase.

Though Alexander decided to keep her children enrolled at Whelan, she said that affording the center’s pricing is a stretch.

“It is a pretty significant financial hardship for our family. It’s where we have chosen to invest,” Alexander said.

The price increase was in place when Newman became the director in late July and still remains today. Despite the effects the price hikes have had on the Loyola community, Newman remains optimistic.

“What I hope for the future of the Whelan Children’s Center is to continue to be a leading early childhood program that provides high-quality education to early learners of Loyola University,” Newman said.