Since 1988, the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education & the Arkansas Early Childhood Commission accept nominations each year for Outstanding Early Childhood Professionals. The Division and AECC look for persons who make a significant contribution to the early childhood field in Arkansas. We want to recognize and honor these outstanding people who care for our children. Our recipients this year are to be commended for their dedication to Arkansas’s children and to the profession of child development and early childhood education. Our children deserve the best and because of the fine efforts of these professionals throughout the state, they receive the best!

As a winner you will:

Serve as an early childhood ambassador on DCCECE committees

Represent early childhood educators in the media, as needed (e.g. Arkansas Children’s Week)

Be featured through media outlets including DCCECE websites, Better Beginnings Facebook and Twitter accounts, and other social media outlets

This year two award winners were selected. The honorees will serve as an Early Childhood Ambassador for the field who DCCECE will engage with throughout the year as a valued member of the early care and education community.

We are pleased to announce that Shamanda Nelson and Brandi Burton have been selected as the Arkansas Outstanding Early Childhood Professionals for 2020.

Shamanda Nelson

Shamanda is a Director and Teacher at Mineral Springs ABC Preschool in Mineral Springs. Shamanda has been teaching for 19 years. She volunteers at the Harvest Food Program and Feeding Under the Bridge Program and she is also a 4-H volunteer leader. Shamanda’s philosophy of early childhood care and education is, “It’s a gift from God, because each day I pray that God would give me wisdom, knowledge and understanding to meet the needs of these babies.” When asked, what do you hope to accomplish or see changed in the field in the future? Shamanda stated, I would love to see students being more motivated about school, learning and being better citizens in the community.

Brandi Burton

Brandi is a Lead Teacher for children with disabilities at The Allen School in Little Rock. Brandi has worked for preschools with special needs children for the last 17 years and has worked for the Special Olympics. Brandi’s philosophy of early childhood care and educations is, “all children can learn.” The important thing to remember is that all children can learn but not always in the same way. It is my goal to find the method that works best for each individual child. When asked, what do you hope to accomplish or see changed in the field in the future? Brandi stated that she hopes to see teachers get the recognition they deserve. Teachers are the hardest working and underpaid professionals and she hopes to see this changed in the future.

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