Established in 2015, the annual Early Childhood Educator of the Year Award recognizes excellence in teaching of Vermont’s young children and emphasizes the importance of high-quality early childhood education. Each year, the award is given to a Vermont early childhood educator who demonstrates exceptional skill and dedication that positively impacts the lives of children, families, and the community. Here are some winners from previous years.


All Vermont Early Childhood Educators

In 2020, there were countless Early Childhood Educators of the Year in Vermont, with each playing many incredibly important roles during the COVID-19 pandemic. To show our appreciation for their passion and steadfast commitment to our state’s youngest children during this historic time, we had some friends say thank you. We will be forever grateful for all that you did and continue to do to serve Vermont’s children and families. Thank you!


Meri Carpenter-Saladino

My Second Home


Melanie Zinn

Horizon Early Learning Program


Cheryl “Cookie” Danyow

Mountain Road Preschool

2017 Finalist: Ellen Kraft, Honeycomb Kids. Click here to watch Ellen’s video.


Jackie Reno

Janet S. Munt Family Room

2016 Finalist: Kathi Apgar, The Y Early Childhood Program for UVM Medical Center. Click here to watch Kathi’s video.


Geralyn “Gerri” Barrows

Discovery Hill Family Child Care and Preschool

2015 Finalist: Elsa Bosma, Puddle Jumpers. Click here to watch Elsa’s video.