Aly Richards (left), CEO of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, with the Early Educator of the Year Award winner Geralyn Barrows, finalist Elsa Bosma, and Rick Davis, founder (right), at the VAEYC Annual Conference 2015.

L-R: Aly Richards, Geralyn Barrows, Elsa Bosma, Rick Davis

Aly Richards (left), CEO of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, with the Early Educator of the Year Award winner Geralyn Barrows, finalist Elsa Bosma, and Rick Davis, founder (right), at the VAEYC Annual Conference 2015.

October 16, 2015 (Killington, VT)—Rick Davis, co-founder of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, announced both the finalist and winner of Vermont’s first Early Educator of the Year Award today at the VAEYC Annual Conference held in Killington, VT. New Haven resident and owner of Discovery Hill Family Child Care and Preschool, Geralyn (Gerri) Barrows, was the award winner. Shelburne resident and owner of Puddle Jumpers, Elsa Bosma, was the award finalist. The Permanent Fund created the Early Educator of the Year Award to recognize and celebrate excellence in the teaching of Vermont’s young children and bring attention to the importance of high quality care and early education.

“Today we honor and celebrate Gerri and Elsa, two early educators who consistently go above and beyond to positively impact the lives of our youngest Vermonters,” said Rick Davis, co-founder of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children. “Besides parents, early educators are a child’s first teacher. Their work lays such an important foundation for a child’s growth and future.”

Video: Learn more about the Permanent Fund’s Early Educator of the Year Award finalist (Elsa Bosma) and winner (Gerri Barrows).

The award winner, Gerri Barrows, has been in the early education field for more than 30 years. Barrows’ program has received national accreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care and has all five STARS in Vermont’s STep Ahead Recognition System, indicating a program of exceptional quality. The award selection committee was impressed by her long-time dedication to young children and her continuous work to improve the quality of Vermont’s early care and education system. Barrows received a $5,000 award from the Permanent Fund as well as all expenses paid to the VAEYC annual conference and one national conference.

The award finalist, Elsa Bosma, established her Shelburne program in 2006 after a friend who was disappointed in local child care offerings encouraged Bosma to start her own program. Bosma’s program has also received national accreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care and has all five STARS from Vermont’s STep Ahead Recognition System. The award selection committee was impressed by her quest for continuous learning in child development and her leadership and engagement with peers within the field. As award finalist, Bosma received $1,000 and all expenses paid to attend the VAEYC conference.

In this first year of the award, the Permanent Fund accepted nominations for home-based providers who: have at least 4 STARS in Vermont’s STep Ahead Recognition System; have been in business for three years or more; demonstrate a commitment to professional, quality early education programs; include innovative approaches to a child’s learning, social emotional development and physical growth; are committed to furthering their own education in childhood development; and, serve as a resource to the families they work with. Award applicants were nominated by others or could self-nominate.

The Early Educator of the Year Award selection committee was made up of leaders in early education and child development: Dr. Laurel Bongiorno (Champlain College); Julie Coffey (Building Bright Futures); Scott Johnson (Lamoille Family Center); Reeva Murphy (State of Vermont Department for Children and Families); and, Bethany Hale (T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® VERMONT).

For next year’s award, the Permanent Fund will be accepting nominations for high quality center-based programs in Vermont.

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Event Photos

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Rick Davis of the Permanent Fund for Vermont's Children

Rick Davis, co-founder of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, talks about the important role of early educators and the Early Educator of the Year Award at the VAEYC Annual Conference held in Killington, VT.

Geralyn Barrows receives Early Educator of the Year award

The 2015 Early Educator of the Year, Geralyn (Gerri) Barrows (center), accepts her award from Aly Richards (left) and Rick Davis (right) during the award ceremony at the VAEYC Annual Conference.

Elsa Bosma receives Finalist Award for Early Educator of the Year

The finalist for the 2015 Early Educator of the Year Award, Elsa Bosma (center), accepts her award from Aly Richards (left) and Rick Davis (right) during the award ceremony at the VAEYC Annual Conference.

Aly Richards (left), CEO of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, with the Early Educator of the Year Award winner Geralyn Barrows, finalist Elsa Bosma, and Rick Davis, founder (right), at the VAEYC Annual Conference 2015.

L-R: Aly Richards, Geralyn Barrows, Elsa Bosma, Rick Davis

Aly Richards (left), CEO of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, with the Early Educator of the Year Award winner Geralyn Barrows, finalist Elsa Bosma, and Rick Davis, founder (right), at the VAEYC Annual Conference 2015.

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