ECA News

Teachers Nominated for Special Recognition

Miriam Godinez

Congratulations to Vicki Aniton, Brenda Hughes and Miriam Godinez, ECA’s nominees for the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly’s annual Education Awards program. This awards program recognizes outstanding teachers in several categories across northeast Indiana. Nominations were submitted by staff and reviewed by several managers for one nominee for each Center. Award winners will be announced in the next few weeks, and winners will be guests of honor at an awards dinner in October.

For Beacon Learning Center - Vicki Aniton—Lifetime Achievement

Vicki Aniton

Vicki’s career in early childhood spans 44 years with young children, primarily 3- to 5-year-olds, 19 of them with Early Childhood Alliance in Fort Wayne. Vicki has a passion for working with young children. Once focusing primarily on preparing children for kindergarten, she has expanded her focus to preparing children for life.

Her legacy is the one-on-one relationships she has had and continues to have with children in their most vulnerable and critical stage of life. Even though she didn’t set out to be in the classroom this long, she has stayed because she enjoys it. Vicki explains that “they impact my life just as much as I do theirs.”

For Downtown Learning Center - Room 1 Team: Brenda Hughes & Miriam Godinez - Innovation in Teaching

Teaching as a team began two years ago for Brenda and Miriam. Brenda has been with ECA six years and Miriam, three years. Together they are making a difference for children and their families at a most critical time of development for toddlers. They are able to look at their surroundings and envision ways to create a learning environment in new and different ways, always with the children’s needs in mind. For example, the children’s interest in music led them to find people in the community to share their musical talents in the classroom.  Another project was finding a way for the children to watch activities outside their play yard, so a periscope was created. An important part of this team’s focus is family involvement, so they instituted parent play days each month. Some of the special activities they plan—some for parent play days— are projects that are often limited to older children, such as cooking, baking bread, making butter, creating shaped rice cereal treats and tie-dying.

Miriam Godinez
Miriam Godinez

ECA Welcomes Center Staff

Tricia Willard is now the Chief Center Administrator for Early Childhood Alliance (ECA). In her new role she will oversee operations of ECA’s two Learning Centers, working directly with the Centers’ Co-Directors.

ECA also welcomes Dora Kurpierz as Co-Director at the Downtown Learning Center. Her responsibilities include working closely with Center staff on curriculum, licensing, enrollment, and family engagement.

Five Join Board of Directors

Early Childhood Alliance Board of Directors welcomed five new board members at its July meeting. Joining the Board for three-year terms are:

  • Amber Bauer, CPA, Senior Accounting Consultant at Whittle Consulting, LLC
  • Bethany Burgun, Director of Enrollment Management at The Stanley Clark School, South Bend
  • Kendall Dudley Billows, Senior Vice President, Wealth Director, PNC
  • Lisa Noll – Marketing Director, Lincoln Financial Group
  • Julie Sanchez, Citizen Services Director, City of Fort Wayne