2017 Honor an Educator Honorees

2017 Honor an Educator Honorees

Honoree: Jacki Breger

Jacki Breger has been singing and working with children for many years. She sings with all ages of children and recorded several cd’s through the Marcia Berman Fund, a non-profit whose mission is to promote awareness of the importance of music in schools and home. She authored a book, Singing Together, which is a great resource for leading songs with children in schools and camps. She has presented workshops about music at CAEYC and Children’s Music Network conferences. She joyfully leads singing each year at the Center for Social Change, where she artfully combines a song with the history behind it, gets everyone to sing and keeps that song alive.

Jackie is the Founder and Director of CityLife-LA, a program that invites teenagers from diverse backgrounds, whose families live in downtown Los Angeles, to work together to find creative solutions to urban challenges in Los Angeles. She also sings with mostly preschool children at various programs in the Los Angeles area. And she conducts workshops for teachers and adults about the value of music in peoples’ lives and how to bring singing to the next generation. We are grateful for her.

Nominated by the Center for Social Change


Honoree: Cary Larson-McKay

Dr. Cary Larson-McKay is finishing her longest term in CAEYC’s history as President in July 2017. As a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Child Development at California State University, San Bernardino, Cary has devoted five years of her life to hold CAEYC stabilized during an unprecedented challenging time for CAEYC.  She is the steward of the organization and has successfully move CAEYC slowly but surely, from a dreadful situation to a prosperous status.  Under her leadership and guidance, CAEYC is an exemplary example of a High Performing Inclusive Organization (HPIO), and Cary is the best role model of embracing diversity and inclusion.

As an ECE educator, Cary has touched and transformed many lives, and she has mentoring a great number of emergent leaders in the CAEYC board.  Today we celebrate CAEYC’s new chapter, and we applaud Cary for her work and dedication to CAEYC and the education of young children.  I would like to share one of Cary’s quotes:

“Heart, Head, Hands

You, Me, All of Us

Together for the Children”

Nominated by Jenny Yen


Honoree: Yafen Lo

Dr. Yafen Lo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.  I have known Dr. Lo for 16 years and am impressed with her professionalism and dedication to educate, motivate and mentor college students in the early childhood field.  Dr. Lo’s College students adore her and appreciate the inspiration she brings into her daily interaction with students.  She is a role model for Asian American students.  Staying active in the academia, Dr. Lo is a living proof for Asian American students!  She has devoted a great deal of time in educating Chinese Family Child Care Providers in Los Angeles County.  Her mission is to transform the Chinese family child care providers from “babysitter” to “Early Childhood Educator/Profession.”  To date, she is very successful in reaching her goal.  When I started the Mandarin workshops for CAEYC in 2004, Dr. Lo was instrumental for the inception of the CAEYC’s Mandarin workshops, which will mark its 11th anniversary this year.  I know I can always count on her on putting together a Mandarin workshop presentation for Chinese-speaking family child care providers.  The quality of the Chinese family child care in the Los Angeles area has improved tremendously because of her endless effort.

Nominated by Jenny Yen


Honoree: Martin Martinez

Martin has been involved with OC Peace Camp for 17 years. His dedication to supporting young children evolve into peace makers has been instrumental to the Peace Education field. Martin is a great leader as he directed the Youth Leadership Training Program for teens ages 9-17. His goal was to create empowered youth to take a positive stand on Social Justice and lead our communities. As an educator, Martin raises young children to be capable individuals through their own personal journeys in Peace Education, and Anti-Bias Education. He mentors others to strive for the same, as we share a vision of creating a more peaceful world.

Nominated by Ana Page


Honoree: Patrick Romero

Now, what really makes a teacher is love for the human child; for it is love that transforms the social duty of the educator into the higher consciousness of a mission. ~Maria Montessori

Patrick Romero has made educating young children, and advocating for their well-being, his life’s mission.  He has served as an educator in the classroom, and as a member of service organizations within his chosen profession for many years.  Below is a list of positions he has held and accolades he has received.

  • Patrick began his career in the early childhood education field as a Jumpstart corps member and team leader back in 2002.
  • He was honored with a Pearson Teacher Fellowship.  This allowed him to work with Horizons for Homeless Children in Boston. He was involved in this work for three years.
  • Patrick then enrolled in San Francisco State University and began work on his Master’s in Early Childhood Education while working at Noe Valley Parent Co-op. When he graduated in 2012 he started working as a Head Start teacher with Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc.
  • In 2014, his work was recognized with Preschool For All’s Excellence in Teaching Award. 
  • He served on the State board for CAEYC as a Regional Representative for three years and is now the chair of Professional Development where he works to promote excellence throughout the ECE profession.  He has also worked with East Bay AEYC for many years to support local professional development, networking, and advocacy efforts.
  • In addition, as a board member of San Francisco Child Care Providers Association (SFCCPA), he is dedicated to recognizing teacher expertise and to amplifying our united voice so that teachers are equitably included in San Francisco’s model Early Childhood Education system.  Recently he was elected to participate on the San Francisco county QRIS consortia representing center based childcare providers.
  • Finally, this spring he was accepted as a mentor teacher with the California Early Childhood Mentor Program.

Patrick puts his whole heart into everything he does.  He is an asset to the field and we, his fellow members of the East Bay Association of the Education of Young Children, proudly nominate Patrick for this year’s Honor an Educator award.

Nominated by East Bay AEYC


Honoree: Marilyn Shelton

Marilyn Shelton has touched the lives of many students.  Through her time as an Early Childhood Professor at California State University, Fresno, she was an educator, mentor and encourager.  She actively sought out students, discovering their gifts and helping to build them into future educators.  Marilyn has always been a quiet supporter of those around her, kindness is a gift she shares with everyone.

Marilyn is also a Past President of the Central California AEYC, and has dedicated many years to working with future leaders as the advisor to the student group of CCAEYC at Fresno State.  She has continued her dedication by being a steady presence on her local board, serving as the Chapter’s Historian.  Not only has she served in this capacity, but continues to support the ever changing and growing needs of CCAEYC.  Her care and love of the association and all those who find themselves in various roles is apparent in her daily and consistent involvement and support.

Peace Education is a subject that is an important part of Marilyn’s life, as she continues to seek out opportunities to learn and share her knowledge with others.  She can often be found spending her weekends at conferences, both as an attendee and as a presenter.

The CCAEYC Governing Board is honored to have Marilyn Shelton as a beautiful example of what it means to care for others and to continue to grow and be a positive influence to all who know her.

Nominated by Shera Scott and Central California AEYC


Honoree: Rosalie Tetreault

Rosalie Tetreault is a preschool teacher, director, PE teacher, dance teacher, professional dancer, peace activist and a social entrepreneur. Rosalie has devoted her life to solve social, cultural and environmental issues through her profession.  I met Rosalie 16 years ago at an Orange County (OC) Peace Camp staff meeting and I am impressed by her kindness and generosity.  For the OC Peace Camp, Rosalie volunteers and supports the annual summer camp to teach young campers about peace, social justice and diversity.  She also extends the OC Peace Camp curriculum globally when she teaches English Immersion programs in a foreign countries (e.g., Columbia, last year).  She is a role model for children as someone who truly embraces diversity and constantly gives back to the community.  Rosalie’s most recent project focused on rebuilding her hometown, Dumarao, Philippines when the entire village was destroyed by the deadliest super typhoon Yolanda in 2013 and as of today people are still building the school, library, roads and much more.  Rosalie strives to raise money and collect goods to send to the Philippines with the hope to rebuild a brand new village for her family, relatives and friends.  Her story is such an inspiration that my two children are her strongest supporters and they are working on rebuilding the village with her!

Nominated by Jenny Yen


Honoree: Cathy Yun

On behalf of the Early Childhood Education and Development Club of California State University-Fresno (CSUF), I would like to honor Dr. Cathy Yun for the Honor an Early Childhood Educator award. Dr. Cathy Yun is an exceptional professor in the department of Literacy, Early, Bilingual and Special Education at CSUF. With her expertise and educational background, she could have accepted a position anywhere in the United States. She collaborates with local school districts, the county office of education, and various non-profit organizations to raise the quality of early childhood education for all children in the Central Valley region. She actively engages in community initiatives and serves on committees and boards aimed at improving the quality of early care and education efforts.

Cathy’s teaching philosophy includes critical pedagogy as well as reflective practice. As an active practitioner, she employs a critical lens by applying theory and research based developmentally appropriate practice to current educational settings. She is an excellent role model in many ways: as a first-generation college graduate, as a passionate educator, and as a strong mentor and advisor. She is leading the Early Childhood Education and Development Club at Fresno State to connect the graduate and undergraduate students for collaboration in the field. She is granting us students an opportunity for networking and possibilities for advancing in our careers in Early Childhood Education and Child Development. Suffice to say, she is an inspiration to us all.

Nominated by Early Childhood Education and Development Club at CSU Fresno


Honoree: Marlene Zepeda

Dr. Marlene Zepeda is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Child and Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.  I had the privilege of working with Dr. Zepeda when she invited me to serve on the Dual Language Learner/Teacher Competencies Advisory Committee (DLLTC).  Through the process of serving on this committee I was inspired by her passion and determination to support dual language learners.  She is the strongest voice for the Spanish-speaking preschoolers and is recognized as such not only in her Los Angeles community but throughout the state and beyond.  I am amazed by her ability to communicate the critical nature of dual language learning as she presents the dual language learner’s trajectory to the public and academics alike.  She has made several ground-breaking research available to the ECE field through her input to California’s Early Learning Foundations for English Language Development for 3 and 4 year olds.  This effort was the first of its kind in the nation.  She is a genius at using solid research evidence to advocate for young children, change public policies, and inform the early childhood field and impact children’s lives.  She is a role model for me, and I hope to follow in her footsteps to replicate her work for the Mandarin speaking preschooler someday.

Nominated by Jenny Yen