Ms. Alicia Arce-Boardman
The NCTE Early Childhood Education Assembly is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 “Early Literacy Educator of the Year Award,” for Classroom Teaching, Ms. Alicia Arce-Boardman (3rd grade, Northern Parkway Elementary School, Long Island, NY), Ms. Haydée Dohrn-Melendez Melendez (PK, Central Park East II Elementary, NY, NY), and Ms. Kerry Elson (K/1, Central Park East II Elementary, NY, NY). These educators lead through their teaching, using their classroom spaces and practices to embody culturally relevant teaching. Their nomination materials consistently illustrate the ways in which these teachers take a critical approach to the structures and constructs that dominate classrooms, questioning, problematizing, and building rich, culturally relevant communities within the confines of traditional school expectations. These are educators who truly see their students as the foundation of their classrooms, delving deep into the identities of children to build communities of learning. As so eloquently shared by Ms. Dohrn-Melendez:
Children come full, they come as full humans, full people, full. They come full with many different experiences ... and [we] get to be present in this kind of beautiful, uninhibited way of understanding that is so brilliant. Our world does a good job of trying to erase that, so it’s our job not to let that happen.
This perspective on the fullness, the wholeness of the individual children who inhabit their classrooms was clear in the pedogogies of each of these insightful educators. The Early Childhood Education Assembly is honored to bestow this award on these three teachers, who lead through their practice.
Dr. Kamania Wynter-Hoyte &
Dr. Eliza Braden
The NCTE Early Childhood Education Assembly is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 “Early Literacy Educator of the Year Award,” for Teacher Educators are Dr. Kamania Wynter-Hoyte and Dr. Eliza Braden. Dr. Wynter-Hoyte and Dr. Braden are both Assistant Professors at the University of South Carolina (USC), and are being honored together due to the collaborative nature of their work, and the powerful impacts of that collaboration. The nomination materials of these two educators highlighted the myriad ways in which they touch the field of early childhood literacies, deeply impacting the academic conversation, the education of pre-service teachers, and the experiences of young children and practicing educators. Their work on culturally relevant teaching, and the textured ways they use this perspective to shape early childhood education are a powerful example of leadership in our field Dr. Braden and Dr. Wynter-Hoyte provide invaluable support to the Early Childhood Education Assembly (ECEA) of NCTE through their leadership on the Affirmative Action Committee. The voice that they offer, as well as the resources they provide are essential to the identity and function of the ECEA. It is impossible to encompass the far-reaching work of these two educational leaders, from their work in the Urban Education Cohort and Urban Education Collaborative, Race, Equity, and Advocacy in Early Childhood Education (REACH), their participation in Professional Dyads and Culturally Relevant Teaching (PDCTR), and their ever-growing body of scholarship. In considering the already vast work of these two leaders, it is clear that they are doing work to shape communities, and to shape the worlds of young children, looking for every point of access to provide support and to effect change. As stated in their nomination:
What separates Dr. Wynter- Hoyte and Dr. Braden from many other early career teacher educators is that they do not engage in this work merely to add lines to their CVs. They engage because of strong convictions about affecting change and they are dedicated to moving beyond the university walls to situate their work in schools and communities. Consequently, their efforts jointly and individually result in profound differences in the lives of children, preservice teachers, practicing teachers, and their university colleagues. The Early Childhood Education Assembly is honored to bestow this award upon such a powerful team of early childhood teacher educators.