Early Childhood Educator of the Year

2021 Early Childhood Educator of the Year Awards are back!

Early childhood educators are critical to a child’s development from birth to age five, yet they are one of the most under-appreciated professions.

In 2015, we set out to change this by creating the Early Childhood Educator of the Year award to shine a spotlight on and recognize those who are making the biggest positive impact in young children’s lives.

Let’s acknowledge and celebrate the early childhood educators in our lives. Vote for a deserving educator in our 2021 Early Childhood Educator of the Year awards today!

We caught up with a few of our past winners to see where they are now!

Meet some of our past winners! 

2015 Winner: Sarojini Anthonypillai

Sarojini is our augural Early Childhood Educator of the Year award recipient! Since this time she has been able to shift to working from home as an SDR with newcomer children at SAFSS finch center. This is her 26th year with the company! 

2018 Winner: Halle Rubin

After being named ECE of the year in 2018, Halle is currently acting as a consultant for owners and directors in the field with a focus on increasing the overall quality of each program one by one! As well, excitedly, Ms. Rubin turned to Mrs. Melendez in November, marrying the man of her dreams! 

2019 Winner: Nery Payne

Since winning ECE of the Year in 2019, Nery has closed her home daycare and is working with Jasper Place Family Resource Center, which she really enjoys! She is currently on a leave of absence to spend time with her mom.

However, as an Educator, she can’t sit quietly. Her Educator’s spirit always follows her. While spending time with her mom she met a Canadian who lives in Honduras and she is doing an amazing project with Honduran children and their families. She asked Nery to be a part of her team and she is very excited to start on this new chapter! 

2020 Winner: Jane Ann Benson

Jane Ann works at Grand Rapids Community College as the Lead Coach within the community Play and Learn project. In addition, she mentors, coaches, and consults Early Childhood professionals working to support their goals, dreams, and aspirations.  She is passionate about sharing all things Early Childhood through her Instagram page @EarlyChildhoodAlly and website

Since she won ECE of the Year, she and her husband have moved to their cottage in the Manistee National Forest full time. They have also welcomed Alex, another grandchild to the family! 

Let’s acknowledge and celebrate the early childhood educators in our lives. Vote for a deserving educator in our 2021 Early Childhood Educator of the Year awards today!

Christie White

Christie is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at HiMama. She is passionate about children's development, parenting, and supporting the child care industry. She has been working to support child care centers with their events and marketing for almost a decade. In her personal life, Christie lives in Stouffville, ON with her husband Kyle and dog Tucker. She enjoys going for walks, baking, cooking, and watching reality tv!

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