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PBS KIDS Announces 2021 Early Learning Champions
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Program Celebrates 11 Early Childhood Teachers and Care Providers 

Arlington, VA, October 13, 2021 – Today, PBS KIDS named 11 educators as the 2021 honorees of the PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions program. The awards, established in 2018, recognize and celebrate passionate educators who work with the nation’s youngest students, from infants to second graders. Through the Early Learning Champions program, PBS KIDS and local PBS stations surround educators with professional learning and networking opportunities.

“The past 18 months have shed a necessary light on just how critical these educators are to our nation’s children, especially in the area of social and emotional learning, which is core to our mission,” said Lori Brittain, Senior Director, Education, PBS. “We are thrilled to continue elevating awareness of their vital work and celebrate and support these everyday heroes through the PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions program.”

The PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions program, which has recognized 38 passionate educators of young children since its inception, including the 2021 honorees, includes various early learning educators, including Pre-K, Head Start and early elementary teachers; center care providers and directors; museum and community educators; and home care providers and owners. The program represents the diverse teaching community impacting young learners today. As they continue to move through the uncharted territory of pandemic-impacted learning, including the proliferation of hybrid teaching environments, PBS KIDS and local PBS stations will support skill-building within the classroom, in-person and at-home, while encouraging these professionals to seek out their own personal and professional trajectories. 

These Early Learning Champions will also connect with educator networks across the nation, and further their commitments to their community’s families, education officials, and administrators through the utilization of PBS KIDS and local PBS stations tools and resources. 

“Being an Early Learning Champion has connected me with educators across the country and has given me an extended support system,” said Shelly Bautista, 2018 Early Learning Champion. “This program has filled me with opportunities to better my craft, as well as share my expertise.” 

This year’s honorees were chosen for their passion and devotion to early education, strengthening the ecosystem in which children learn and innovating the teaching experience as we know it. Through the Early Learning Champions program, PBS KIDS aims to create a unique environment that includes professional learning and networking opportunities for educators, while fostering relationships between them and their local PBS stations.

The 2021 PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions and their local PBS stations include:

  • Celena Ambrose, Holbrook Headstart, Holbrook, AZ (Arizona PBS)
  • Jamisa Nuness-Hogan, Kids World, Conway, AR (Arkansas PBS)
  • Leah Moore, Play Big Therapy, Tallahassee, FL (WFSU)
  • Alison McClain, Harper Archer Elementary School, Atlanta, GA (Georgia PBS)
  • Sarah Snider, Montana Science Center, Bozeman, MT (Montana PBS)
  • Arbely Mejia, Daniel B. Brunton School, Springfield, MA (NEPM)
  • Jennelle Lewis, Partnership for Children of Lenoir & Greene Counties, Kinston, NC (PBS North Carolina)
  • CJ Meehan, Davies Career & Tech (a division of the YMCA of Pawtucket), Pawtucket, RI (Rhode Island PBS)
  • Charisse Sims, Hidden Gems Preschool, Los Angeles, CA (PBS SoCal)
  • Amy Reed-Ferguson, Pope Elementary, Puyallup, WA (KBTC)
  • Tiffany Harkleroad, Butler Area Public Library, Butler, PA (WQED)

PBS KIDS believes the world is full of possibilities, and so is every child. As the number one educational media brand for kids, PBS KIDS helps children ages 2-8 learn lessons that last a lifetime. Through television, digital media, and community-based programs, PBS KIDS wants children to see themselves uniquely reflected and celebrated in lovable, diverse characters who serve as positive role models, and to explore their feelings and discover new adventures along the way. Families can watch PBS KIDS anytime on the free PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and the PBS KIDS Video app, available on mobile and connected-TV devices, no subscription required. PBS KIDS’ large collection of mobile apps and provide accessible content, including digital games and streaming video to spark kids’ curiosity. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn and grow – including their teachers, parents, and community – providing resources to support children’s learning, anytime and anywhere. For more information, visit, or follow PBS KIDS on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. 

Lubna Abuulbah, PBS KIDS; 703-739-8463;
Megan Rufty, Allison+Partners, 240-315-8312,