One KenCrest Special Instructor Made Educator of the Year 2022

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This KenCrest Special Instructor received Educator of the Year award for Montgomery County for helping children with disabilities.

By Sydney Kerelo


Surrounded by hundreds of human services colleagues, Julie Zettlemoyer, a Special Instructor with KenCrest’s Early Intervention program, showed a bright smile and an energetic spirit as she accepted the Educator of the Year award for Montgomery County.

For nearly 29 years, Zettlemoyer has worked for KenCrest working with the Early Intervention program. She originally started as an Assistant Teacher at one of KenCrest’s Child Care Development Centers in the Lansdale suburbs before they closed down and transitioned into our Montgomery County Home and Community-Based program.

She started at KenCrest as a Junior in college when she needed to fulfill an internship requirement, but her love and passion for working with children encouraged her to continue working for the center.

“I always knew I wanted to do something in the field working with children,” says Zettlemoyer. “So, I started my junior year of college as an intern at KenCrest at the Lansdale Center, and they hired me as an Assistant Teacher.”

She finished her college career with KenCrest, graduating and eventually becoming a Lead Teacher, then a Curriculum Specialist, and finally, a Special Instructor, a role she’s had for more than 14 years.

Throughout her time with KenCrest, she noticed her passion for working with children was changing, and she was being pulled in a different direction. She found herself wanting to work more with children with disabilities.

“I loved the opportunity to be able to integrate children with special needs with children without needs,” says Zettlemoyer. “It was awesome to see that [happening at KenCrest] and to see these children grow up not knowing that they were different or to be able to teach them not to see people with special needs in the community as different; it gives them that early start, and it’s been amazing.”

As a Special Instructor, Zettlemoyer travels throughout Montgomery and Bucks County into families, caregivers, or grandparents’ homes, depending on the family’s schedule and needs, to offer instructions and resources for children enrolled in Early Intervention. Depending on the family’s needs, she will sit with the child, watch how they play, interact and do daily activities and offer ways to help them overcome challenges. Every child is different, so every instruction provided is different.

According to Zettlemoyer, her job is not only to take care of the child enrolled in Early Intervention but also to coach families, grandparents, and their teachers on how they can best support their child.

“One of the most impactful experiences I’ve had was during the pandemic when we had to figure out a way to provide support virtually,” says Zettlemoyer. “The fact that technology was available to us, and we could do our sessions over Zoom with an 18-month-old was incredible, and we were seeing progress because the parents and the families were so much more involved with the sessions. It didn’t matter that the child didn’t sit still in front of the camera, we were able to work through things, and they were so appreciative.”

Even now, families are determined to help their children succeed, and she’s noticed that they are actively working to help their children grow throughout their time in Early Intervention. 

With an almost 29-year career in early education in September, Zettlemoyer has gone above and beyond to help support children. Her dedication and drive sparked Montgomery County to present her with the Educator of the Year 2022 award in March during the annual Montgomery County Developmental Disabilities Award Ceremony.

“I was super surprised, but most of all proud,” says Zettlemoyer. “I truly love what I do, and we have such an amazing team that I get to work with, and it was such an honor.”


Want to learn more about KenCrest’s Early Intervention program and its Special Instructors? Click the link below!