WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) has named Kim Ciroli, lecturer in early childhood education at Ohio University Eastern, as the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator Award.

According to the NAECTE, the national honor is designed to recognize meritorious leadership and professionalism in early childhood education. Ciroli received the distinguished award at the NAECTE Fall Conference in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14. She was nominated by Dr. Paula McMurray-Schwarz, early childhood education coordinator at the Eastern Campus.

To be considered for the award, the nominee must be an active member of NAECTE; demonstrate leadership in the field by providing direction, energy, organization, and impetus for efforts aimed at improving early childhood teacher education; demonstrate professionalism, through advocacy, expertise, and high ethical standards; demonstrate self-reflective practices through conscious commitment to the profession and to her/his own professional development; and demonstrate mentoring by modeling dimensions of teaching that nurture the professional development of students, beginning teachers and faculty, and colleagues.

Ciroli was understandably excited and humbled to receive the award. "I am completely honored to be recognized not only by NAECTE, but also my peers at Ohio University," she said. "It honestly doesn’t seem real and I know it sounds cliché, but we truly are one big family here at the Eastern Campus. I am blessed to be a Bobcat and am proud to accept this award on behalf of the students, faculty, and staff at OHIO Eastern."

The relationship between colleagues McMurray-Schwarz and Ciroli began long before Kim became a faculty member at Ohio University Eastern. "Kim taught preschool for nearly 20 years before coming to the Eastern Campus," said McMurray-Schwarz. "I placed an intern with her every year that she taught preschool in Belmont County and I recruited her to teach at Ohio University Eastern because I value her expertise and mentorship of teacher candidates."

McMurray-Schwarz continued, "Kim is a true leader in our Early Childhood Education program. By introducing co-teaching to our teacher education program, Kim has dramatically improved the quality and depth of pedagogical understanding demonstrated by our current candidates as compared to the traditional model of field experiences used before she joined our faculty. Furthermore, Kim has demonstrated leadership at OHIO Eastern by building and maintaining successful school partnerships via the co-teaching model."

McMurray-Schwarz finished, "Kim models professionalism and appropriate teaching strategies for teacher candidates and colleagues. Current teacher candidates and our graduates often contact her for advice about teaching, which shows that she has made an impact on them and that they value her expertise. She is most deserving of this national award!"

Renée A. Middleton, Dean of Ohio University's Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education, wholeheartedly supported Ciroli’s selection. "The Patton College is very proud of Kim’s dedication to her students and early childhood education. She serves as an inspiring role model for future educators and embodies what it means to be CALLED to Lead."

Ohio University Eastern Interim Dean Bob Klein said, "This recognition of Kim Ciroli’s work affirms the nationally-recognized quality of the education programs at Ohio University Eastern. Our students know that they can expect quality attention and opportunities as part of the relationships they have with faculty like Kim Ciroli."

Ciroli concluded, "I always knew that I wanted to become a teacher and was fortunate to get hired immediately after graduation. I was afforded opportunities to learn from highly creative and dedicated teachers during my early years in front of the classroom. These incredible experiences helped to shape me and allowed me to continue to grow as an educator at every step of my path to OHIO Eastern. Now, the journey has come full circle, and I am blessed to share what I have learned with our current students and future educators at Ohio University’s Eastern Campus."

Kim is married to Tony Ciroli. He is an art teacher and the head coach of the cross country and track teams at St. Clairsville High School. They have two children, Kiley, a sophomore at Ohio University, and Trey, a junior at Barnesville High School. Kiley is majoring in early childhood education and plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a teacher.