Each year, the Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA) honors a teacher, assistant, or administrator with the Exceptional Educator Award. The award is presented to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to our preschool community. This year we congratulate Michele Saunders, a teacher at Sunnybeam School, on being selected the 2018 MIPA Exceptional Educator. Michele has dedicated over 15 years to teaching preschool children, 5 of which have been at Sunnybeam School, and is incredibly deserving of this award.
MIPA received over 35 passionate and remarkable nomination letters for Michele from both parents and colleagues and former Sunnybeam families. The letters described the positive impact she has had on these families, children, and workplace. Recommendations commonly referred to Michele as a calm, compassionate, kind, thoughtful, loving, and attentive teacher.
One parent in particular wrote that no teacher had made an impact on their children and family the way that Michele had. “Michele is endlessly empathetic, caring, nurturing, hard-working, diligent, thorough…the list goes on Just last week, I received a lengthy email 30 minutes after my daughter’s school day ended, explaining why my child had had a rough day. Michele checked in again later that evening and again in the morning. Her dedication and concern for these children is unsurpassed.”
Another parent wrote, “Michele is a wonder. She is everything you hope for in a preschool teacher: positive, patient, kind, curious, flexible and knowledgeable. Michele sees the good in every student — and customizes the Sunnybeam learning experience to the needs of each individual child. She embodies the spirit of Sunnybeam — a ray of sunshine that children are drawn to. “
On Wednesday, May 30th, Michele was surprised by students, parents, former Sunnybeam families, colleagues, and MIPA Board members, all whom gathered to celebrate her big achievement. Congratulations to Michele Saunders for being the 2018 MIPA Exceptional Educator!
2017 Winner- Kathy Morey of Creative Learning Center
2016 Winner- Laura Selby of Stroum Jewish Community Center
2015 Winner- Jen Headrick of Pixie Hill Preschool
2014 Winner – Talina Birashk of St. Monica’s Parish School
2013 Winner – Alex Cruz of Patti’s Play Center
2012 Winner – David Weston of Sunnybeam School
2011 Winner – Lynn Ahringer of Early World Montessori
2010 Winner – Molly van der Burch of Pebble Preschool
2009 Winner – Lisa Given of Lisa’s Little School
2008 Winner – Rita Macomber of Emmanuel Day School
2007 Winner – Mary Ann Haney of Sunnybeam School
2006 Winner – Ann Connolly of Pixie Hill Preschool
2005 Winner – Judy Witmer of Mercer Island Learning Lab