Lake County Recognizes 2012 Early Childhood Educator of the Year Award Recipients

May 10, 2012

The Lake County Child Care Planning Council held its annual Early Childhood Educator of the Year Award Dinner last Friday, May 4, at The Lodge at Blue Lakes, offering recognition and valuable award packages to 11 exceptional early childhood educators.  Approximately 200 attendees and many Lake County organizations, businesses and individuals offered significant support to make this event possible.  Lake County Department of Social Services;  Lake Family Resource Center; North Coast Opportunities; Lake County Office of Education, Child Development Division; Nurturing Parenting Program; Redwood Empire Association for the Education of Young Children and Yuba College were significant supporters, along with many others.  Many local dignitaries, including Supervisors Anthony Farrington and Denise Rushing, as well as Superintendent of Schools, Wally Holbrook; and Lakeport Chief of Police, Brad Rasmussen attended the event, and presented awards to the honorees.  “It is encouraging to see our community’s organizations and leaders unite in recognition of the valuable contribution early childhood educators make throughout Lake County,” says Shelly Mascari, director of the Lake County Child Care Planning Council.

Approximately 60 nominations were received for Lake County providers in recognition of commitment to excellence by their peers, community members and the families they serve.  Winners were selected based on a detailed interview and evaluation process that took into consideration education, commitment to their profession, answers to specific interview questions, and effectiveness in their role as educators.

Early childhood educators contribute significantly to our communities.  Quality early childhood education dramatically impacts high school graduation rates, keeps our communities working, and helps Lake County develop productive, effective, happy citizens of the future.  According to Shelly Mascari, “Many of these educators have dedicated decades to their profession, in the face of dramatic budget cuts and statewide funding priorities that work in opposition to consistent, quality care.  Their education, in many cases, equals that of the K-12 educator, and this program provides a forum to recognize that commitment and the important work they do.”

Congratulations to the 2012 Early Childhood Educators of the Year:

Lifetime Achievement Award

Cindy Adams, Lake County Office of Education

Leading the Field Award

Sara Brucker, The Learning House

Special Needs Advocate of the Year

Jami White, Lake Family Resource Center

Provider of the Year: Infant/Toddler

Sarah Solgat, Early Head Start    

Provider of the Year: Preschool

Sajeanne Burgoyne, Early Connection Preschool, Kelseyville

Provider of the Year: School Age

Nicole Schnabl, Kid Connection After School Program, Lower Lake Elementary

Provider of the Year: Family Child Care

Sarah Hanson

Volunteer of the Year

Lourdes Aguirre, AmeriCorps Member, Early Connection Preschool, Lakeport

Sparkle Award Recipients

Kim Beale, Family Child Care Provider

Jody Mederos, Pearl Head Start

Maryellen Bowman, Meadowbrook/Pearl Head Start



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