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HerVoice: Passion for kids, mission, keeps woman at child care center

Preschoolers scurry around Jane Greminger who is the director of the Nokomis Child Care Center in Fargo. She has expanded the program to include language and reading improvement programs. She won a YWCA Women of the Year award in education this year for her work. Dave Wallis / The Forum

FARGO – There aren’t many jobs in which hugs are a regular part of the day. But Jane Greminger has one of those jobs.

As program director for Nokomis Child Care Centers in Fargo, she doesn’t interact with the kids as much as she did when she worked as a preschool teacher. But she still pops in to get those hugs from time to time, such as when she makes sure the classrooms are implementing developmentally appropriate activities.

And the sounds of children playing serve as background music as she works in her office on tasks like helping with grant information or ensuring the centers are meeting licensing standards and regulations.

Greminger’s degree is in elementary education, and she worked as a substitute teacher until Nokomis Child Care Centers had an opening 21 years ago.

“I’ve always had a passion for children,” she said.

That and Nokomis’ mission has kept her with the centers ever since.

“I’m so passionate for what we do here for the children and the community,” she said. “We are a place for families that might not have all of these opportunities.”

The centers give enrollment priority to families experiencing difficult circumstances such as low income, children with behavior disorders or developmental delays, or kids at risk for abuse and neglect.

There are scholarships available for families who need them. Greminger said about 30 percent of the families who attend the centers pay the full fee. The centers also rely on grants, fundraisers, and community and business support, she said.

Greminger was recognized this year for her work when she won a YWCA Women of the Year award in education.

“It was truly an honor,” she said. “A surprise and an honor.”

During Greminger’s time as director, the centers started including language and reading improvement programs.

Nokomis has a partnership with the South East Educational Cooperative to implement Reading Corps programs into the preschool classes at both sites. An AmeriCorps member helps the preschool teachers with those programs, and Greminger said the kids’ literacy scores have improved.

In preschool, Greminger said they work on recognizing letters, sounds and words.

“It’s so important that they have this, especially for the kids who might not have this opportunity, they’re getting the opportunity here,” she said. “We’re so lucky and blessed.”

The 45-year-old Moorhead woman was born and raised in Sisseton, S.D. She is also a mom to a 12-year-old daughter. They like to walk their three dogs, read and watch movies together, Greminger said.

Her Voice is a weekly article about women in or from our area and how they make an impact on the world around them. If you know someone SheSays should feature in HerVoice, email Tracy Frank at

Tracy Frank

Tracy Frank is a SheSays, Variety, and Farmer's Forum reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to

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