The NCTE Early Childhood Education Assembly is proud to announce the recipient of the 2017 “Early Literacy Educator of the Year Award,” for a Teacher Educator, Mr. Ryan Tauriainen. Mr. Tauriainen is the Director of Early Childhood Strategy at the Friendship Charter School in Washington, D.C. He has served as a leader and teacher in education for over a decade, effecting change throughout his career. The Early Childhood Assembly is pleased to honor an educator with such a clear passion for supporting teachers and deepening their practice. Mr. Tauriainen’s career exemplifies a powerful blend of pedagogy, research, and curriculum development, which he applies in his much-lauded work with the educators of young children. In his nomination, he is described as an educator that requires of himself a “tangible take-away” for teachers attending his sessions, thus connecting his research with the realities and needs of practitioners. In his nomination materials, one teacher who worked with Mr. Tauriainen described his teaching as, “vital to my classroom needs.” Mr. Tauriainen is clearly a powerful leader in early literacy education, bridging research, curriculum development, and teacher education. The Early Childhood Assembly is pleased to honor him with our 2017 Early Literacy Educator of the Year, Teacher Educator Award.
Ana Karina Rodriguez
The NCTE Early Childhood Education Assembly is proud to announce the recipient of the 2017 “Early Literacy Educator of the Year Award,” for Classroom Teaching, Ms. Ana Karina Rodríguez. Ms. Rodríguez is an English Preschool Teacher at the Vermont School, Medelín, Colombia, where she has worked with young children since 2010. Ms. Rodríguez is a powerful example of a teacher/scholar, weaving her insightful, scholarly thinking with the perceptive eye of the practitioner to effect change in the classroom. The Early Childhood Assembly is thrilled to honor an educator such as Mrs. Rodríguez, who leads through her teaching. In her nomination, Ms. Rodríguez’ thesis, An Exploration of Young English Learners’ Reading Experiences in Response to Critical Literacy Read Alouds, illustrated the rich ways in which this teacher/scholar was able to apply her critical lens to young children’s thinking in the early childhood classroom. Her framing of young children as able and powerful critical thinkers opened up new possibilities and perceptions for learning and pedagogy. In the words of Ms. Rodríguez, “a critical literacy perspective helped them to understand the power of words, more importantly, the power of their own words.” This perspective resonates across Ms. Rodríguez’ work; she focuses not just on the power of pedagogy and curriculum, but the role of the child as a critical co-constructor of learning. Ms. Rodríguez is described as “a role model for educators worldwide.” Her critical literacy work in early childhood is an inspiration for scholars and teachers, illustrating a true community in which children are valued as holders of deep knowledge and co-constructors of meaning. The Early Childhood Assembly is honored to bestow this award upon Ms. Rodríguez.