Each year, NAEYC’s Lasting Legacy Scholarship program sends two cohorts of early childhood educators to our Professional Learning Institute and Annual Conference. The scholars come from early education centers, school districts, community colleges, and universities. They may be involved in direct care or designing curriculum for educators. They have in common a desire to be more – to do more – for the profession.
Why do we give scholarships?
NAEYC’s goal is to grow the next generation of leaders in the early childhood education profession. Lasting Legacy Scholarships often make attending the conference possible when institutional or personal funds aren't available. Atendees tell us they benefit from education in a specific area, encouragement to reach further and the networking opportunities. We hope that those selected for scholarships are inspired to advocate for best ECE practices wherever they work and that they share those practices with colleagues, parents and students. Maybe someday, scholars will be in a position to make policy improvements at the local, state and national levels. Simply put, scholarships help build visionaries.
The Lasting Legacy Selection Committee spent August reviewing more than 240 Lasting Legacy Scholarship applications and chose ten emerging ECE leaders who will receive scholarships to NAEYC’s Annual Conference. They are:
- Allison VanLoon, New Brighton, MN, the Gera Jacobs Lasting Legacy Scholar
- Caitlin Curtis, Portland, OR
- Daniella Barreras, Scottsdale, AZ
- David Banzer, Franklin Park, IL
- Ian Schiefelbein, Albuquerque, NM, the Hal Kaplan Emerging Leader Scholar
- Jason Sims, Mount Pleasant, SC
- Keena Gentry, Renton, WA, the Jerlean Daniel Lasting Legacy Scholar
- Leah Catching, San Francisco, CA
- Michelle Grantham-Caston, Baton Rouge, LA
- Narges Sareh, Johnson City, TN
The group shares an enthusiasm for the field and all look forward to their positions as new leaders. If you are joining us at the Annual Conference in Nashville and you cross paths with any of our Legacy Scholars, we hope you’ll say hello and add yourself to their new network. So much is to be gained by widening everyone’s sphere of influence.
We offer a special thank you to our Scholarship Selection Committee, with a very loud shout-out to our non-staff volunteers. These wonderful people served previously on NAEYC’s Governing Board and have chosen to continue their commitment to our members.
We also give heartfelt thanks to those of you who donated to the Lasting Legacy Scholarships. Your gifts encourage all those who applied and are actively engaged in making themselves the best early childhood educators possible. The next generation is depending on all of us.
Applications to NAEYC's Professional Learning Insitute will open in January.
If you'd like to hear what NAEYC's Professional Learning Institute Lasting Legacy Scholars had to say, read on:
"As the director of a preschool, I see so many ways I can infuse what I learned at the Professional Learning Institute into my program, particularly the cutting edge research about social-emotional development and how to be a coach/motivator for my staff. Even more exciting than that, I also see my path in ECE a little more clearly and I am very inspired to continue helping to ensure every child has access to quality education." – Erin Rice, The Gratitude Garden Preschool
"Thanks to the Professional Learning Institute, I gained an understanding of the importance of leadership in the caregiving of children, to be self-aware and mindful of personal issues we bring to the environment and the trickle-down effect it has on our staff, children and the families we serve." — Sarina Johnson, Fallbrook Child Development Center
"As an assessor who is reliable in the Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale, I now understand that free play is not only an aspect of learning but necessary for the healthy development of creative arts, math, fine motor skills, peer interaction, science, and executive decision making. It is more important than ever to protect the healthy development of children because they are receiving less free play now than ever before. With this newly obtained knowledge, I return to my job with an increased vigor and passion to support the students and teachers for a better world." — Alexander Albanese, Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children, BrightStars
"There were a good number of workshops that had a diversity focus and I am so happy that I was able to fit in many of them into my schedule. I gained an understanding that young professionals are making strong moves! Sometimes we do not always get to be in the limelight because there are so many of our older colleagues who are recognized. This conference was almost the total opposite! PLI was very intentional about making sure that those of us who have innovative ideas were recognized. I appreciate that! The conference organizers also want to make sure that we get involved and stay involved. They are creating avenues for us to do that." — Rachel Dunbar, Ph.D., University of West Alabama
"I cannot begin to explain what an amazing experience PLI was for me. I am so very grateful and humbled by the chance I was given to have this experience. I cannot thank NAEYC enough for providing that for me. My life has truly been changed and I know that in the future, I will look back on this week and know that this is where my new life began!" — Samuel Mullins, Child Action Inc.
"I would first like to thank everyone who helped to make this opportunity possible. Everyone was so supportive and provided so much insight on taking the next steps to become a leader! I’ve only been back a week but have set forth so many wonderful ideas gained from my experience at the PLI. I could go on about my experiences but I’ll end with another huge Mahalo from the bottom of my heart! I will never forget this experience and will be sharing what I have gained to all those that I know will benefit from my experiences." — Alexandria Domingo, MEO Head Start
"At the Professional Learning Institute, I gathered the tools I needed to explain and teach the best practices of early childhood education. Working with administrators, it can be so hard to translate our world into theirs, but there were so many sessions on such advanced topics, including executive functioning and brain science. Now I have everything I need to help others see the power of a play-filled preschool! Thanks for everything! "— Jared Hennen, Chicago Public Schools
Donor support for NAEYC's work to encourage new leaders has made this program possible. You can show your appreciation by making a gift of any size; just click the donate button.