LAUP Names LA County Preschool Teachers of the Year

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The non profit will also honor California Endowment’s Dr. Robert Ross

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Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) has announced this year’s “Preschool Teacher of the Year” recipients as well as the recipient of the Beth Lowe Child Advocacy Award.

This year marks the 8th Annual LAUP Preschool Teacher of the Year Awards. The countywide preschool teacher recognition acknowledges the quality, creativity and hard work of those who teach children during a time when, according to researchers, rapid brain development can be leveraged toward long-term academic achievement.

Winners hail from each of Los Angeles County’s five supervisorial districts and have gone “above and beyond” to provide excellent learning environments and classroom experiences for preschool children. For the selection process, LAUP uses an external committee comprised of county officials and early education experts.

“As is the case each year, the caliber of preschool teachers was high. However, these five teachers rose to the top,” said LAUP’s CEO, Dr. Celia C. Ayala. “It is common knowledge by now that the most critical developmental years are between the ages of zero to five. It is LAUP’s priority to recognize the value of the talented professionals who spend their days nurturing and teaching our children during this very important stage. LAUP is proud to lift up these five teachers who represent the best of early learning in Los Angeles County.”

This year’s Preschool Teachers of the Year are:

  • Ana Sosa of the Magnolia Center at the Los Angeles Children’s Bureau: “I have been a child development teacher for about nine years. I knew that being a teacher is what I wanted to do as a career since I was a child.”
  • Darla L. Pulliam of Culver City Unified School District, Office of Child Development: “It is important to me to instill in each child a strong sense of self, because when you believe in yourself, you approach challenges with confidence.”
  • Dorie L. Meek of Pine Street Preschool in Santa Monica: “I set the bar high for all children and ensure that they grab hold, pull up, and peak over the top to view their next dream. Their epiphanies are my greatest accomplishments.”
  • Diana Melina Echeverria of Cerritos College Child Development Center: “I eat, live, and breathe what I do daily. What gets me through tough times is the sense of accomplishment a child shares when they master something that they have been working towards.”
  • Dina G. Pérez of Pasadena Unified School District’s Burbank Early Childhood Center: “Teaching was a natural instinct. Working with children has been a rewarding experience, and seeing the results has fueled my passion.”

The recipients will be recognized at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration with a luncheon and awards ceremony hosted by LAUP and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in late May.

Also honored during this event will be Dr. Robert Ross, who will receive the Beth Lowe Child Advocacy Award for his visionary work to help build successful child health outcomes through program support from The California Endowment. Dr. Ross follows the previous recipient of this award, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

“Bob Ross is a leader whose commitment to the youngest and most vulnerable in our communities has set a very high bar,” Ayala said. “It is one we are all inspired to meet in the hopes of making the kind of difference he has.”

All of the award winners, including Dr. Ross, will receive an official LA County Proclamation from the Supervisors to commemorate their work and accomplishments.

About LAUP
LAUP is a nonprofit that funds, rates and raises the level of quality preschool programs throughout Los Angeles County by advancing teacher training and creating safe and nurturing early care and education environments. Since its inception 10 years ago, LAUP has provided quality preschool to more than 100,000 children, putting them on the road to success for kindergarten and beyond.

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