FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Learning Coalition Announces Infant & Preschool Teachers of the Year Award Winners
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., January 11, 2021 – Whether exceptional teachers are born or made is not the question. What matters is that by the time they make it into the classroom, they are filled with the necessary passion, drive, education and genuine love of teaching children that students need to succeed according to the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida.
This critical need for support of exceptional teachers is why the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) presents its winners of the fifth annual Preschool Teacher of the Year Award. The goal of the six-countywide preschool teacher recognition award is to acknowledge the creativity and hard work of those who teach children at the most fundamental time in their lives. 2020, particularly, provided its own set of extra challenges for preschool teachers. This year’s winners are honored for rising to challenges and exceeding expectations.
“These are the kind of teachers that children will remember for the rest of their lives,” says Dawn Bell, ELC CEO. Bell is the leader of this 19-year-old nonprofit organization and ELC works with their partner, Episcopal Children’s Services, to assure their providers have coaches, funds and volunteers for their learning environments.
A new category was added in 2020 to highlight the efforts of teachers taking care of infants and toddlers.
“These teachers so often get overlooked, but the foundation they set in their classrooms sets the groundwork for a child’s successful learning career,“ said Bell.
The ELC announces Emily Muserallo is its 2020 Infant/Toddler teacher of the year. Emily is currently a teacher at the St. John Paul II Early Learning Center in Ponte Vedra, Fla.
“Emily is one of the best teachers I have ever worked with,” said St. John Paul II Early Learning Center Director Kristen Conway. The children are thriving in her room under her calm, warm, disciplined and loving way. Artwork lines the classroom and she has taught her children their shapes, colors, and numbers, but also good manners and kindness for each other.”
The 2020 Pre-K Teacher of the Year Award working with children ages 3-5 is Kelly Yeager, a VPK teacher at Baker County Pre-K/Kindergarten Center in Macclenny, Fla. According to her peers, Kelly is committed to excellence in every aspect of her profession and is constantly assessing her students through observation, anecdotal notes, formal assessments and conversations. She has been described as the epitome of an amazing childhood educator and creates a positive classroom climate for all her students.
Both winners were surprised in December with a prize patrol of flowers, candy, and balloons. Emily and Kelly will be honored at the annual ELC Early Educators Conference being held January 16th at the Thrasher Horne Center in Orange Park. They will each receive a $500 cash prize from Kaplan Early Learning and Clay Electric, the 2020 Teacher of the Year sponsors.
Emily Muserallo accepting her 2020 Infant/Toddler teacher of the year award.
Kelly Yeager accepting her 2020 Pre-K Teacher of the Year Award working with children ages 3-5 award.
Emily Muserallo holding her 2020 Infant/Toddler teacher of the year award.
The Early Learning Coalition is the leading voice in six counties for child care. ELC works with many other local agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. Their mission is achieved by leading projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and how we assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.
Sponsorship by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and the state of Florida, Office of Early Learning.