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Elise Samuels Early Educator Award

Honoring the early learning educators who empower our children

The Elsie Samuels Early Childhood Educator Excellence Award honors a teacher in Greater Houston who works with children 0-5 years of age and demonstrates an exemplary commitment to educating a diverse population of young learners.

To qualify, an early childhood educator must:

  • Work at a child care center;
  • Be the teacher of record in a classroom that serves children five years of age or younger;
  • Hold a CDA, Montessori Certification, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree; and
  • Have at least three years of classroom experience

Do you know a teacher like this?

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About Elsie Samuels

Elsie Samuels was a preschool teacher at Houston’s Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, Congregation Emanu El, and Congregation Beth Israel. She also taught kindergarten in the Houston Independent School District, where she was assigned to a classroom with Spanish-speaking students. Although she did not speak the language, Samuels believed in the value of each individual and aimed to make every child feel special and important.

The Elsie Samuels Early Childhood Educator Excellence Award is underwritten by The Samuels Foundation, supported by her daughter-in-law and son, Bobbi and the late Vic Samuels of Houston, a family deeply committed to early childhood education. The winning teacher will receive $1,000 and a scholarship to the college or university of their choice.

2020 elise samuels winner

2020 Winner – Doris Menchaca


As an educator for early childhood kids, we feel sometimes unseen and unheard. This validates our hardwork and dedication. I share this award with all the teachers out there with little ones.

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Bobbi Samuels, Doris Menchaca and Dr. Melanie Johnson

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Thank you to The Elsie Samuels Early Childhood Educator Award Committee

For questions, please contact Beverly Reed, Sr. Manager, Curriculum Design, and Innovation, at breed@collabforchildren.org or at (713) 600-1193.