At the Excellence in Teaching Awards dinner last Thursday evening, First 5 San Francisco recognized nine outstanding teachers for their accomplishments, dedication, professionalism, and best practice in the care and education of children in the City’s Preschool for All program. The evening was kicked off by First 5 San Francisco Executive Director, Laurel Kloomok who thanked staff, families, and administrators for their hard work in helping San Francisco to achieve one of the highest-quality preschool systems in the country. Ms. Kloomok said those receiving awards represented the best of San Francisco, and were a vivid representation of the clear commitment and dedication the over 100 professional early educators who attended the event exuded. The evening recognized outstanding achievements by both individual teachers and teaching teams. Awards were presented to the following:
- Nesanna Lee, Kai Ming Head Start, North Beach Center
- Ihuoma Iheukwumere, Donna Tumamak, Laura Rocha, South of Market Child Care Center, Inc., Judith Baker Child Development Center (outstanding teaching team)
- Kim Garcia-Meza, Patricia Flores, Ana Burgos, Las Mañanitas
- Charissa Ferguson, Holy Family Day Home
- Jason Yabut, Family and Child Empowerment Services San Francisco, FACESSF – Masonic
The annual excellence award is based on a competitive nomination process, focusing on teaching excellence, years of work and peer evaluations, as well as evidence of family engagement, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to creating high-quality, innovative early care and education curriculum, and environments. Of the large number of nominees this year, less than a quarter were selected for the 2015 awards determined by a panel of three judges with over 50 years of cumulative early education experience.
With another wonderful awards celebration in the books, the Excellence in Teaching Awards once again demonstrated that behind every quality early education program, there are teachers who play a critical role in the lives of young children and their families. As early childhood educators, they are part of a network of professionals who are building a strong foundation for school and life success for all children. These teachers love learning and pass that love and excitement to the children they touch every day.