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Offutt CDC teacher receives special honors

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --

Six child development center teachers from U.S. Air Force installations recently received special honors.

Elizabeth Peralta at Aviano Air Base, Italy; Jennifer Miller at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado; Heidi Sowers at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota; Michele Diane Southall at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota; Helen Ceres McCrae at Misawa AB, Japan; and Junko Cizadlo from Offutt AFB, Nebraska, won the 2017 Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Award.

The annual award recognizes 50 child care teachers in providing quality early care and education. Each recipient receives $500 for personal use and another $500 for classroom supplies.

The winners will be honored in an award ceremony May 6 in Philadelphia.

“Junko [Cizadlo] exemplifies the kind of creative, responsive early childhood professional we like to see in our programs,” said Tammy Finnerty, Offutt Child Development Center training and curriculum specialist. “She demonstrates her love of children every day through her interactions, interesting activities and commitment to her profession.”

“She is a woman of few words but amazing nonetheless,” she added.

The Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Award acknowledges the critical role of child care teachers in providing quality early care and education. Just filling out the application requires teachers to think about their classroom and the children they teach. It makes teachers create a picture using only words to convey, to people who will never see their classroom, what it looks like and how it meets the needs of the children.

The teacher will describe their typical morning schedule and how they interact with their students. They must create an enhancement project for their classroom and discuss what their role in the project will be and how it will benefit the children. As a result, all of the applicants gain a new perspective of their classroom, their teaching-style and the children in their care.

“Personally, I was able to meet a goal,” Cizadlo said. “I wasn't sure that I could do it, but I did.”

“Professionally, it validates the work that I do every day,” she added.