Collaborative For Children Announces Winner Of The Elsie Samuels Early Childhood Educator Excellence Award - Collaborative for Children
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Collaborative For Children Announces Winner Of The Elsie Samuels Early Childhood Educator Excellence Award


Deborah Bonner Brown from BakerRipley Receives Scholarship

Houston, Texas (November 18, 2021) … Deborah Bonner Brown, a preschool teacher from BakerRipley, 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.


Elsie Samuels was a preschool teacher at Houston’s Jewish Community Center, Congregation Emanu El, and Congregation Beth Israel. Samuels 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 Spanish, Samuels believed in the value of each individual and aimed to make every child feel special and important.

Like Samuels, Brown believes in the power of sparking curiosity in every child. “It is the role of the teacher to set the foundation for a child’s future. Children need someone to believe in them and encourage them to be all they can be. The reward of seeing children flourish is worth so much more than the effort and dedication required. However, I must say that in all my years of teaching, I’ve never received an honor quite like this one and it makes me very proud,“ exclaimed Brown.

The Elsie Samuels Early Childhood Educator Excellence Award is supported by her daughter-in-law and son, Bobbi, and the late Vic Samuels, of Houston. “I think that Elsie would have been so proud to be here today to see that her legacy is very much alive in teachers like Deborah Bonner Brown,” remarked Samuels.

“We are so grateful to the Samuels family for honoring Elsie Samuels’ legacy with this Educator Excellence Award,” stated Johnson. “Teachers are often one of the greatest influencers on a young child’s mind, shaping his or her future. We need many more teachers like Ms. Brown in this world,” added Johnson.

To learn more about the work of Collaborative for Children, visit

Collaborative for Children believes every child deserves high quality early childhood education and access to innovative early learning opportunities that foster critical 21st century skills. For 34 years, we have provided families and educators with business resources and programming to help children ages 0 to 5 achieve school readiness. We are unyielding in our focus to provide early educational equity for all children. Today’s children face a workforce that does not yet exist. Early learning is the building block of future leaders. We are architects, using our collective ingenuity to usher in a future bright with possibilities for every child. For information, visit or follow us on Facebook @collaborativeforchildren.

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