Announcing the 2019 Leading for Children Innovative Ideas Award Winners

AT LEADING FOR CHILDREN, we know that early childhood educators are always finding new and creative ways to nurture and inspire children — our next generation of critical thinkers and leaders. We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Leading for Children Innovative Ideas Award.

Congratulations to Valerie Stewart, Principal at the Garfield Public Preschool Annex 3 in Garfield, NJ, the $2,500 Grand Prize winner of the Leading for Children Innovative Ideas Award for their First Friday: Family Fun Day.  By being responsive to the needs of families, they found a successful way to engage, educate, and encourage them.

We also congratulate Sara Podvasnick, Teacher in the Duquesne City School District in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, and Kristin Capezio, Director at the Immigrant Family Services Institute in Roslindale, Massachusetts, winners of $1,000 runner-up awards.

We are also pleased to award ten honorable mentions, each of whom receive $100 to purchase books from The Book Vine, our colleagues in Chicago.  Honorable mention winners are:

  • Karen Aldrich, Conway Learning Center
  • Dawn Brown, Christ the King Early Education Center
  • Dory Herman-Sample, St. Clement Episcopal School
  • Julie Hume, Kind Hearts Day Care
  • Robin Ranae Lampp, Community Learning Center
  • Cathy Lancelotta, Heritage United Methodist Church Preschool
  • Olivia Maldonado, Immanuel Genius Educational Center
  • Laura Newman, Quality Care for Children
  • Stephanie Rhodes, Riverbend Head Start Families and Services
  • Stephanie Winkel, Twinkeling Stars Child Care

We thank our distinguished panel of judges who contributed their time to review all the applications received.

  • Kara Ahmed, Principal, LYFE (Living for the Young Family through Education)
  • Kenecha Brooks-Smith, Assistant Director for Early Childhood Academy, Mississippi Community College Board
  • Jill Gunderman, Program Coordinator, Arkansas State University Childhood Services
  • Cindy Stephens, Co-Chair of Early Childhood Education Department, College of the Canyons

From the many applications received, our judges chose the winning entries based on how well they exemplified the entry requirements. Winners needed:

  • An easily-adopted innovation that positively impacts child development and learning.
  • An innovation that aligns with the foundational principles and core values of Leading for Children.
  • A recommendation of strong support.

We want to thank everyone who submitted an entry for the 2019 Leading for Children Innovative Ideas Award!  We look forward to inviting new and inspiring ideas in 2020.