Celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week with KenCrest


Celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week with us by highlighting educators at the KenCrest Early Learning Centers.

By Sydney Kerelo

National Teacher Appreciation Week kicks off May 6 to 10 with a five-day celebration honoring and respecting our local educators. Across the United States, students in schools from daycare to college level are celebrating by acknowledging the incredible work our educators do day in and day out.

According to nea.org, National Teacher Day began in 1953 when former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt proposed to Congress that a day be set aside to acknowledge the work of educators. Since then, National Teacher Day has been celebrated on the first Tuesday of the first week of May. This year, that day is within Teacher Appreciation Week on May 6th, alongside Nurse Appreciation Week.

For the past few years, educators have faced several complex challenges. Whether it is the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, school violence, or even funding shortages, educators have persevered.

KenCrest's educators have been pillars of support for the people we serve through our Early Learning Centers and Early Intervention services. KenCrest has seven Early Learning Centers in Philadelphia, offering a nurturing environment that not only supports a child's healthy growth but also celebrates each child’s family, culture, and community.

Each center offers programs like Head Start and Early Head Start Childcare Partnership, Pre-K Counts, Before and after care, summer care, and complimentary breakfast and lunch for all students. Each center offers children various programs like art, music, and dance as an inclusive school. Plus, daily planning and recall, curiosity drives environments that encourage life-long learning, and a way to prepare children for kindergarten through independence, responsibility, and confidence.

A teacher at KenCrest's North Center. // Photo by Sydney Kerelo
A teacher doing crafts with two students at the North Center. // Photo by Sydney Kerelo

“Every child is different; some have issues at home while others don’t; some can read, others can’t, and some speak different languages. But once they are in my classroom, I set the mood for them to start feeling ok,” says Awilda Ramirez, a Lead Teacher at KenCrest’s Adams Center. “I want them to feel like they can have a good day, and you will see by the middle of the day that each child is enjoying the day, and that’s my main goal, for the kids to go home happy.”

Plus, many children attending KenCrest’s Centers speak languages like Spanish, Bambara, and even French, making communicating challenging. However, several teachers at KenCrest are multilingual, which is vital in helping the child and the family thrive in an educational setting.

“Most of our students speak some form of French or African language,” says Josie Jones, the Program Director at the West Philadelphia ELC. “We have a substantial population of African families who moved to Philadelphia and lived in this community. We may have two, three, four, or even five kids from the same family that speaks the same language.”

These are just a few of the incredible teachers working in KenCrest’s Early Learning Centers. Below, we recognize the teachers who deserve recognition this year.

Adams Early Learning Cener

  • Charisma Cooper
  • Yaniris Diaz
  • TEnee Gaskill
  • LaCreisha Price
  • Awilda Ramirez
  • Alejandra Reyes
  • Jose Santiago
  • Anne Sparks
  • Nilima Sultana
  • Genesis Viruet

Kensington ELC

  • Miguady Acosta
  • Keishla Alvarez
  • Jacquetta Carroll
  • Lee Datts
  • Miraida Gonzalez
  • Maria Guerrios
  • Victoria Martinez
  • Jacqueline Ortiz
  • Santia Saintil
  • Michelle Serrano
  • Jaeira Woodten

Lehigh ELC

  • Lillian Leon
  • Margarita Martinez
  • Kelly Milligan
  • Zuleika Miranda
  • Jalisa Molina
  • Aisha Moody
  • Jajaira Pagan

North ELC

  • Mia Boyd
  • Joy Brown
  • Kristen Johnson
  • Melissa Johnson
  • Claude Miros
  • Celeste Neal
  • Rashonda Powers
  • Natalie Sullivan

Northeast ELC

  • Amena Abdelrahaman
  • Jodie Beth Barker
  • Charlotte Cadden
  • Takeya Daniel
  • Tosha Hall
  • Devan Kartha
  • Edith King
  • Karen Lantz
  • Magda Martinez
  • Elba Mendoza
  • Lisa Pimble

South ELC

  • Felecia Anderson
  • Lillian Baet
  • Patricia Benner
  • Chloe Ellison
  • Evelyn Guerrero Pepen
  • Santy Gunawan
  • Jessica Maldonado
  • Alison Menta
  • Maria Molina
  • Lauren O’Neill
  • Iga Selli
  • Mary Stevens
  • Timikia Van Buren-Mumin
  • Cristy Vargas

West ELC

  • Hiwot Adilow
  • Mariama Bah
  • Vanita Braxton
  • Lynett Brown
  • Janiyah Carer
  • Kimberly Clark
  • Fatoumata Coulibaly
  • Marie Davis
  • Nikki Doe
  • Doris Gadson
  • Melody Gilliam
  • Tamara Helem
  • Margaret Jackson
  • Erika Johnson
  • Soieil Laboy
  • Lakia Muhammad
  • Jacquetta Nutter
  • Bria Rucker
  • Pamela Saunders
  • Marjorie Scipion
  • Shonda Wayman
  • Pamela Wragg
  • Gabriel Ziller