April 17, 2014

Educator of the Year

Preschool teacher Christie Stanford,
receiving news of her BCAEYC
Educator of the Year award.  She formally
accepts the award on April 24th.
Congratulations to Friends' Preschool teacher, Christie Stanford, who has been awarded the Early Childhood Educator of the Year for Boulder County.

The annual Educator of the Year Award celebrates innovative and dynamic classroom educators in the field of early childhood education and is presented by the Boulder County District of the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children (BCAEYC). Christie has been one of Friends' amazing preschool teachers since 1999 and has taught hundreds of Friends' students. Her first Friends' morning preschool class is graduating from high school this year.

Friends’ Teacher Preparation Program co-director Shelby Pawlina nominated Christie for this award.  For many years, Shelby and Christie were teaching colleagues in the preschool. In her nominating essay, Shelby wrote:

“Christie is outstanding in her voracious appetite for learning how to serve young children better every year. She reads like crazy, shares her insights with colleagues, families, and our Teacher Preparation Program. She attends workshops on a regular basis and integrates what she learns daily. She attends to how her different approaches impact her students, as a good action researcher should. She is committed to her own growth and development, but is also invested in the growth of good teachers. She has presented several times at the CAEYC conference on Praise, Motivation, and Resiliency, as well as Executive Function, two of her passions. Additionally she has co-authored two published articles on Resiliency and Growth Mindset. Christie is dedicated to children’s resiliency and executive functions skills through play and challenges. She focuses on developing children’s growth mindsets and helping them develop their ability to problem solve.”

In an accompanying letter, another of Christie’s co-teachers, Meg Harlow, wrote:

“What a gift, what a true professional to the early childhood community she is. Christie stands out heads above so many. She is an amazingly passionate teacher in the classroom; always seeking new perspectives or ideas on how best to meet each little child’s needs…..she is responsive, empathetic and a true partner in advocacy, alongside the parents, as what may be best for each child.”

Christie believes that the 3, 4, and 5 year old child is a true pleasure with an enchanting view of the world. Her teaching days are full of new beginnings as she witnesses curiosity in action. She is passionate about learning and is continually looking for ways to pass this passion onto my preschoolers!

Preschool teacher Katelynn Regan told me a quick story of how, just this week, Christie got herself a new harmonica because she wanted to stretch herself and "grow her brain" (a favorite preschool phrase). She got the harmonica on Thursday, took a lesson on Saturday, and by Monday was playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" for her class as well as a new song she composed about growing her brain!

Christie, her husband Paul and their two children, have been in Colorado since 1998. Her kids are now in college. She and her family regularly take advantage of the surrounding beauty in our state by indulging in a myriad of outdoor activities. She especially enjoys running, hiking and biking.

Christie has not one, but two Masters degrees – one from Iowa State University in Exercise Physiology and the other from the University of Colorado, Denver in Educational Psychology.

You are welcome to join me and several Friends’ School staff as we celebrate the work of this fabulous early childhood educator on the evening of April 24th.  The awards ceremony will be combined with a lecture on providing a neurodevelopmental framework for working with children. You can sign up to attend here

Congratulations, Christie! 

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