It’s not uncommon for parents to think of their children throughout the day; wondering what their child is doing, what sort of stories they’ll have to share at pick up time. Preschool teacher Myra Arbuckle understands. She does the same thing at night when her students are home with their families. Even after she walks out the door of the Park Road KinderCare® Learning Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, she’s often still thinking about a classroom project she’d like to do, or something she’d like to prepare for the next day. It’s that level of commitment and dedication to the children in her classroom that made Myra a 2013 Knowledge Universe Early Childhood Educator Award recipient.
“She, to me, is the epitome of who I would want my children with,” said Michelle Mazzulo, District Manager. “It’s that calmness, that respect, that going above and beyond every single day, thinking about her children and what she can do to make their lives better.”
“She is so dedicated to her job and to the children,” said Myra’s Center Director Kim Doster. “She just beams when they come in the front door and they are so excited to see her. She has true compassion for them.”
For Myra, it all comes down to one thing; joy.
“[My students] know I really care about them,” Myra said. “I really love them. I want to bring joy into the classroom, the joy of learning, for them to be excited – so I try to bring that excitement with me, and then they catch it and take off on it.”
Michelle remembered meeting Myra, then an infant teacher, 13 years ago. Although Myra was an “amazing” infant teacher, a temporary assignment to the Preschool room illuminated her real calling. According to Michelle, once Myra was in the Preschool room there was no getting her out.
“I’ve used Myra to train [other teachers] for Professional Development Day,” Michelle said. “I’m so lucky to have her on my team. I’m so lucky to have her influence my district and the center and its children’s lives. You just get it in her classroom. You get that it’s different from so many rooms.”
Regional Vice President Jamee Thrush said it’s not just teachers who are inspired by Myra – her ability to remain calm and organized, even in the chaos of a Preschool classroom, leaves a lasting impression on children and families as well.
“I’ve gotten letters from parents [who] have left us about Myra, about their children still talking [about her] and wanting to come back and visit her,” Jamee said. “She just does such a great job of preparing them, not just for school, but in the caring way that she does it and the way that she nurtures them, she prepares them for life.”
Photo credit: Courtesy of Getty Images for Knowledge Universe.
2013 Early Childhood Educator Award Winner: