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Making a Difference

Bay Area preschool teachers are honored for their commitment to kids.



Eight East Bay teachers will be honored Monday at an awards ceremony that celebrates Bay Area preschool teachers who make a difference.

September 30 marks the fifth annual Habitot Children's Museum “Preschool Teachers Make a Difference” ceremony, where parents, administrators, and coworkers honor and express their appreciation for local teachers who go above and beyond their call of duty. Eight of them teach in the East Bay; the other two teach in the North Bay and San Francisco.

2013 Winners: 
- Alicia Cuevas, Wee Care Family Daycare, Oakland
- Da’Monica Robinson, Lockwood Child Development Center, Oakland
- Faye Lucas, Lockwood State Pre-K, Oakland
- Michael McLaughlin, Hopkins Early Childhood Education Center, Berkeley
- Que Yi, Shu Ren International School, Berkeley
- Rebecca Dennis, Kids Place of San Anselmo, San Anselmo
- Laurie Truitt, The Model School Comprehensive Humanistic Learning Center, Berkeley
- Jolie McRae, Montclair Community Play Center, Oakland
- Elisa Pagliarulo, Stretch the Imagination, San Francisco
- Nancy Lehew, Our Savior Lutheran School, Livermore

“We try to support every single person that is a part of the village that raises a child, especially preschool teachers,” says Toni Mikulka, a special events manager for the museum, which is a discovery and educational museum located in Berkeley.

Each winner will receive more than $500 in gifts, including a $100 gift certificate to Do-A-Dot school supplies, free passes to the Habitot Museum, and a puppet and materials from Discount School Supplies.

Da’monica Robinson, a teacher at the Lockwood Child Development Center in Oakland, is one of this year’s recipients.

“I was so shocked and excited that I won,” she says.“I found out later that the person that nominated me was a consultant at Lockwood named Lanette Fong, who I never met before.”

Robinson says she tries to expose her students to things they may not be exposed to outside the classroom. “My students get excited when they get the chance to make a dragon, or learn about George Washington,” she says.

The judging panel included Stacey Thompson, a member of Oakland Head Start’s advisory panel; Tania Smith, a Senior Quality Counts Coach for Alameda County First 5; and Laura Arellano Owens of Growing Light Montessori Preschool, who won one of the awards in 2012.

Beer, wine, and appetizers will be served. The event is open to the public, and there is a $25 suggested donation at the door for all non-nominees and non-nominators.

September 30, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., 2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley. For more information, contact Toni Mikulka at (510) 647-1111 ext. 31.

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Added: 2017-03-07

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