Kathi Apgar is finalist for Educator of the Year

BURLINGTON — A New Haven woman is one of two finalists for the second annual Early Educator Of The Year Award that will be bestowed by the Permanent Fund For Vermont’s Children.
New Haven’s Kathi Apgar of the Y Early Childhood Program at the UVM Medical Center in Winooski is a finalist along with Jackie Reno of The Family Room in Burlington.
The award, which celebrates high-quality center- and school-based early childhood educators who have gone above and beyond to positively impact the lives of children, and have been a valuable resource for families, will be presented and the winner announced at the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (VAEYC) Annual Conference in Burlington next Thursday, Oct. 13, at 12:15 p.m. at the University of Vermont Dudley H. Davis Center.   
Apgar, who has worked with young children for 35 years, said, “So many parents don’t have an expanded network, as the nuclear family looks very different now, so we fill that role by helping to provide parenting and resource information and to directly link parents to each other.”
The Y Early Childhood Program for UVM Medical Center provides high-quality child care for its hospital employees who often have demanding schedules. 
“Quality early education means thoughtful services that evolve with what families need,” said Jackie Reno, of Burlington, a 10-year veteran of early childhood education. “It means getting children and families out into nature, connecting families to each other, and strengthening families so that they can provide children with what they need over time.” The Family Room, a member of the Vermont Parent Child Center Network, offers free programming to parents and their children from birth to six years old in the Old North End of Burlington, including a licensed preschool, parenting support and education groups, and connecting families to community resources through its partnerships with other social service agencies.
At next week’s conference, one of the finalists will be named the Early Educator of the Year and will receive $5,000 and all expenses paid to attend the 2016 VAEYC conference as well as one national conference. In addition, the winner’s center will be awarded $2,500. The second finalist will receive a $1,000 award, and all expenses paid to attend the 2016 VAEYC conference. The runner-up’s center will be awarded $500.
Through this award, the Permanent Fund wants to bring attention to the important work of child care professionals and emphasize the importance of high-quality care and early education. The award alternates between honoring home-based providers and center-based providers each year. The award selection committee was comprised of local leaders in Vermont’s early education field.

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