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Elsie 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

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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.

2021 Winner – Deborah Bonner Brown

Congratulations to Deborah Bonner Brown, a preschool teacher from BakerRipley, who received a scholarship today from Collaborative for Children as the recipient of the annual Elsie Samuels Early Childhood Educator Excellence Award. The award honors an area teacher who works with children 0-5 years of age, exhibiting an exemplary commitment to educating a diverse population of young learners. It was presented by Dr. Melanie Johnson, President and CEO of Collaborative for Children, and Board member, Dr. Bobbi Samuels, whose mother-in-law is the namesake for the award. The scholarship is funded by the Samuels Family Foundation. BakerRipley Read more here

Bottom picture from left to right: Dr. Bobbi Samuels, Deborah Bonner Brown and Dr. Melanie Johnson

Watch the Video

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.