Early Childhood Educator of the Year 2022

Any Jenkins, Lead Teacher, Head Start McKinley Campus

JenkinsWe are delighted to announce Any Jenkins as ECI's Early Educator of the Year for 2022! Any’s work truly reflects ECI's vision of equity, quality, and inclusion in early learning. Congratulations and thank you for all that you do for our community! 


Any's nominator writes: 

What a wonderful inclusion teacher she is! She welcomes everyone and tries her best to support the individual student to reach his/her highest potential. Once, I was able to observe how she supports her student who was upset and went under the table. She was kind and patient to help the child return using her calm body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and visuals to provide choices. The child choose the 'drinking water' choice and Ms. Jenkins honored the request. She was surely building a safe and nurturing environment for the child and all the students in her classroom. I'm very grateful to see a teacher who is so tender and understanding of the children's needs. Ms. Jenkins is so deserving to be recognized as the Early Educator of the Year! Thank you!

We appreciate all who submitted a nomination for this award. We would also like to shine a light on our 2021 Honorable Mention runner-ups, who each exemplify dedication to the well-being of the children and families in their care. 

2022 Honorable Mentions

Vega Cai, Assistant Director, Palo Alto Academy Bilingual Montessori

Vega is loving with children, respectful with coworkers, always very hardworking and tries to do her best. Children all love her; teachers and parents all speak highly of her. She is a life-long learner and has attended AMS annual conference, management certificate classes this year. She’s open and ready to help every classroom and tries her best to solve problems. When school needs funding to fix the playground, she does research and puts all the paperwork together to apply for the minor renovation grant program. Our school is very blessed to have such a wonderful candidate.

Sanyoo Bharadwaj, Director/Lead Teacher, Almaden Parents Preschool

Sanyoo is the heart and soul of our school. Her passion for educating young minds shines through everyday. She is so incredibly patient and kind with the children. And offers so much support for the parents. My son regularly comes home quoting bits of wisdom he has learned from Sanyoo. She nurtures his inquisitive and creative nature.

Sanyoo is 100% committed to the children and families of the APPs community. She is a natural in her role teaching the child’s through a play-based, positive discipline environment and philosophy. Her love for the children comes through in all she does. This love is returned  to her by all of the many young lives she has touched. 

Sanyoo has overcome all challenges brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic, as well as being without a co-director/ teacher since May 2022. She lead our teaching team with ease through it all and was able to pull off a virtual program throughout shelter-in-place.

Kim Nave, Regional Coordinator, Palo Alto Community Child Care 

Kim's dedication to creating family-centered programs is like nothing I've ever seen in an employee and educator before. She has high expectations of staff and takes the time to develop them using reflective practice. She completed a masters program to educate herself on the evolving early education field in CA and to advocate for developmentally appropriate practices in TK and UPK programs. She has completely transformed 2  preschool programs and 1 infant toddler program in our non-profit organization with thoughtful environmental upgrades and developing staff. She has supported all centers in collaboration with a consultant to transform their environments to best meet the needs of children. She advocates for low income families and ensures our state funded children receive the same opportunities as our full fee families. Kim also facilitated a Community of Practice for all educators in Palo Alto expanding her influence and passion to other programs in the city. She is an amazing advocate for young children, their families and the early educators and never compromises on what she believes they deserve.


Early Childhood Educator of the Year 2021

Deotina Agustin, Owner/Teacher, Mind Builder Center

Deo’s nominator writes:

Deo is one of the many amazing Family Child Care Educators who continue to provide high quality, essential care for families throughout the pandemic. She is a long time member of FIRST 5 Santa Clara County's QUALITY MATTERS...a STRONG START for kids (QM) Initiative. She runs a large  family child care home, serving children anywhere from 3 months to 12 years old. As a QM participant, Deo is Inclusion endorsed through the Inclusive Classroom Project and serves as a peer coach for the QM Communities of Practice model. She has a strong commitment to not only serving the families in her care, but enriching the learning and lives of the educators around her. In addition, she is also a remarkable community advocate for all Family Child Care Educators. She is on the Essential Workers Council, a collective of diverse professionals who have come together to advocate for the rights, wages, and fair treatment of essential workers both during the pandemic and beyond. She is also a member of SEIU's Contract Action Team(Local 521) specifically under CCPU - Child Care Provider United, and has helped contribute to lobby visits and advocacy work around fair wages for Family Child Care Educators in Santa Clara County.