Skip to main content

Blinn Early Childhood Education alumna Heather Colford returns to her roots at annual children's Christmas party

Blinn marks its 11th year of spreading holiday cheer to local families through its partnership with the Brazos Valley Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Program

January 6, 2023

Near a table of chattering children busily making pipe cleaner Christmas ornaments, Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Specialist Heather Colford surveys the room with a smile. For Colford, 45, the 11th annual ECI Christmas party recently hosted on the Blinn College-Bryan Campus is where her past meets present. An alumna of Blinn’s Early Childhood Education Program, Colford credits her time at Blinn with setting her up to succeed in a field she loves.

“The relationships that I built at Blinn have carried on throughout my professional career,” said Colford. “It’s because of the amazing faculty at Blinn who believed in me that I was able to do the things I have done.”

Colford’s passion for working in education was sparked when her first son started prekindergarten with the Bryan Independent School District (ISD). After countless hours volunteering, her son’s principal suggested she pursue the field as a career.

Colford enrolled at Blinn and simultaneously worked in content mastery resource for Bryan ISD’s special education services. Balancing many commitments, Colford completed her Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Early Childhood Education at Blinn in the early 2000s but missed her graduation due to a conflict with her son’s fifth grade graduation.

“The students I worked with actually surprised me with a graduation ceremony. They made me wear a cap and gown, walk the stage, and gave me a diploma,” Colford said. “That was really special.”

After Blinn, Colford continued her education at Sam Houston State University, earning her Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) in Early Childhood Education in 2015. Colford’s two sons were in the audience to watch her graduate.

“Growing up, education was not something that was talked about in my family. It was not important,” she said. “I was the first one to go to college. I was the first one to graduate.”

Colford continued her career in various roles related to regulating daycares and mentoring staff, but eventually was drawn back to making a direct impact on children by working at ECI.

In her current position, she works one-on-one with children age 3 and under with disabilities or developmental delays. With the services provided by ECI, children get extra help to grow and progress to reach their full potential. ECI provides services to children and families during a critical developmental period through information, therapy, and other developmentally appropriate activities.

Blinn’s Early Childhood Education Program provides students with the skills and credentials to excel in positions as teachers in public and private childcare facilities and other early childhood programs. Blinn’s program offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education as well as certificate and Occupational Skills Award options.

“I love the faculty. Everyone here is very welcoming and inviting,” sophomore A.J. Schwartz said. “I have a great interest in how children develop, and I think that’s what drew me to this program.”

Students who earn their AAS degree can immediately enter the workforce or continue their degrees at four-year institutions, including Sam Houston State University’s BAAS program. Some coursework also is transferrable to the Texas A&M University College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) though the Brazos Valley Teach learning community or other institutions with transfer agreements.

“Blinn’s program is great with its hands-on approach. Everybody is together all the time, so you really get to know your classmates and build that bond with them,” Colford said. “The teachers are fabulous, and they really get to know each of their students. For me, that bond has lasted years”

For more information about Blinn’s Early Childhood Development Program, visit

Enjoy this article? Share it with one click!






Get Connected