Last month, Community Action Head Start held its All-Staff Celebration to honor employee anniversaries and the nominees and award winners in four categories. Many staff members celebrated milestone anniversaries during the 2021 – 2022 school year, including 1-Year of Service, 5-Years of Service, and 30-Years of Service Awards. And, of course, Dora Taylor was recognized for reaching 40-Years of Service with Community Action Head Start.
Head Start staff nominated colleagues for four separate awards, which included the: Hidden Gem Award, Best Team Player Award, Go the Extra Mile Award, and the Educator of the Year Award. And, both the winners and honorable mention recipients were chosen by a selection committee made up of six fellow staff members.
The Hidden Gem Award, is “presented to someone who is outstanding in their role, has initiated a special project or celebrated a work-related accomplishment, but has not been widely acknowledged for their contributions to Head Start.” There were a total of 16 individuals nominated in this category. The Honorable Mention recipient was Enereida Magallanes-Weeks, Family Advocate at both AGAPE Head Start & the Eastside YMCA. And the winner of this year’s Hidden Gem Award was Willie Green, Bus/Classroom Monitor at Midway and Mt. Airy Head Start.
There were 23 nominees for the Best Team Player Award, which recognizes a Head Start staffer who “values teamwork and collaboration, and regularly seeks out opportunities to share ideas and assist their colleagues.” This years Honorable Mention recipient was Family Support Specialist, Lar Ka Paw. And, the winner for the 2021 – 2022 Head Start year was another Family Support Specialist, Mai Chue Vang.
The Go the Extra Mile Award resulted in 26 nominations. This award is “presented to someone who regularly goes above and beyond in their role” as a Head Start employee. This year’s Honorable Mention recipient was Abdi Babis, Bust Driver for RBC Head Start. And, the winner of this year’s award, My Nhia Lee, Family Support Specialist.
Finally, there was the Educator of the Year Award, “presented to someone who works directly with children, lives CAPRW and Head Start's mission and values, and shows an outstanding dedication to making a difference in the lives of the children and families we serve.” There were a total of 11 nominees in this category and Toddler Teacher at AGAPE Head Start, Wendy Tobin, received Honorable Mention. And, the Educator of the Year was Amy Kaess, Mentor Teacher at Battle Creek Head Start.
Congratulations to all our Head Start employees and those that were honored during the 2021–2022 All-Staff Celebration. Community Action Head Start and Early Head Start continue to serve as a model of excellence and success to Head Start programs across the nation. And, Community Action’s Head Start management team once again extends “A heartfelt thank you to all Head Start staff for your service, dedication, and commitment to our program.”