ATLANTA, GA, Monday, October 8, 2012 —- On Friday, September 28th, the Georgia Association on Young Children (GAYC) recognized 14 exceptional early childhood professionals making a difference for young children and families in Georgia during the GAYC 46th Annual Awards Banquet at the Gwinnett Civic Center. Among this year’s honorees was Dr. Laura J. Johns, an early childhood professional from Atlanta, GA who was awarded the GAYC 2012 Jo Cato Award for innovation, enthusiasm and dedication in working with young children.
Dr. Johns is the Director of Quality Initiatives for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. In this position, Dr. Johns oversees the Infant Toddler Specialist Network Technical Assistance and Training program and the Georgia Program for Infant and Toddler Care (GAPITC) website which offers multi-faceted resources for parents and educators. Dr. Johns is committed to collaboration with the early childhood community addressing systems of care and improvement of child outcomes. She is an advocate for early childhood professionals working with Georgia’s children. Her overall goal is to ensure that Georgia’s youngest learners receive a quality education. Dr. Johns has worked as a Director of Education for an early care and education franchise system, an adjunct instructor, a center director and a teacher. In her 20+ years as an early education professional, she has served in a number of leadership roles including Past President of GAYC, Chairperson for the NAEYC Affiliate Board and Chairperson of Advancing Careers for Education and Training. She has also been involved with the Special Olympics, Odyssey of the Mind and United Way initiatives.
GAYC Quality Service Award recipients were individually recognized and presented a beautiful glass award at the GAYC Annual Awards Banquet for distinguished honor and recognition on behalf of their work with children and families. Award categories included child care professionals, early childhood teachers, family child care providers, advocates, volunteers, early interventionists, child care centers, educators, technical assistance specialists, and many more. Recipients were from locations throughout the state of Georgia. The professionals chosen for these awards made a unique contribution to the field of early childhood over the past year, and they model best practices and professional dedication on behalf of children and families on a daily basis.
GAYC is a non-profit membership organization that promotes quality early care and education for young children. GAYC is the state affiliate of the Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The mission of the Georgia Association on Young Children is to encourage and support healthy development in young children by working with others (1) to increase public awareness of the importance of early childhood education, and (2) to improve the quality of programs for young children through learning opportunities for early childhood educators.