Local educator among those honored with Preschool Teacher of Year award
The LA County Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) recently named Long Beach instructor Debra Watts as a recipient of LAUP’s 2014 Preschool Teacher of the Year Award.
Decorated with numerous accolades, such as being certified twice as a mentor teacher through the California Early Childhood Mentor Program, Watts is the lead and mentor teacher in the preschool and toddler programs at Long Beach City College Child Development Center and Learning Lab.
Watts is one of six teachers who was acknowledged by the LA County Board of Supervisors and LAUP, a 10-year-old nonprofit that created the award and coaches, funds and advocates for quality preschool in Los Angeles County.
Watts, who is celebrating her 22nd year in the field of early childhood education, was lauded for her dedication to lead and mentor preschool children, staff and college students in the lab. A unique characteristic of the center is that it serves as a lab school for Long Beach City College students, many of whom graduate and start their careers at the onsite child-development center. This environment provides the opportunity for veterans like Watts to invest in both young and old students.
“One of my biggest challenges and greatest accomplishments is seeing the college students in our lab school setting gain confidence and transform into an early childhood professional over the course of a school year,” Watts said.
LAUP’s 2014 Preschool Teacher of the Year Awards were given to six educators from each of Los Angeles County’s five supervisorial districts. The winners were recognized at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration on May 27 during a luncheon and awards ceremony hosted by LAUP and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The recognition includes a $2,000 cash stipend through the Elizabeth Lowe/Bob Weekley Award for Excellence in Preschool Teaching, plus $500 in classroom supplies.
“I am honored to be considered for such a prestigious and wonderful award,” Watts said. “I entered into this field because I love it and never expected any type of recognition. This is truly an honor to be recognized for the work I do every day.”