Northern Arizona educator recognized as PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion

Celena Ambrose

A northern Arizona educator who represents Arizona PBS was named one of 11 honorees nationwide for the PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions program, which recognizes and celebrates those who work with children from infants to second-graders.

Celena Ambrose of Holbrook serves as an early Head Start teacher for Holbrook Head Start, where she has worked for more than four years. She is known as a caring and dedicated teacher, role model and mentor who has balanced her duties as a full-time classroom educator with her studies in early childhood education.

“You just can’t help but smile when you are around Celena,” said Kristine Nishimura, Arizona PBS regional outreach coordinator, education and community impact for Cochise, Pima and Santa Cruz counties, as well as the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and Tohono O’odham Nation.

Ambrose, who grew up in Jeddito, Arizona on the Navajo Nation, sits on the board for the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA) as a student representative and hopes to use her knowledge and field experience to write state policies advocating for early childhood education.

“I felt ecstatic when I was told that I was awarded Early Learning Champion of Arizona. It blew my mind. I appreciate this award so much and can’t wait to experience all the opportunities it will present me,” Ambrose said.

The PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions program recognizes various early learning educators, including Pre-K, Head Start and early elementary teachers; center care providers and directors; museum and community educators; and home care providers and owners. The program has honored 38 educators since its inception in 2018, including this year’s winners.

This year’s honorees were chosen for their passion and devotion to early education, strengthening the environment in which children learn and innovating the teaching experience. The program allows PBS KIDS to create a unique environment that includes professional learning and networking opportunities for educators, while fostering relationships between them and their local PBS stations.

Ambrose and other Early Learning Champions will connect with other educators across the country, and use PBS KIDS and Arizona PBS tools and resources to strengthen their commitments to their community’s families, education officials and administrators.

As these educators continue to adjust to the pandemic and the increase in hybrid teaching environments, PBS KIDS and Arizona PBS will support these educators by promoting skill-building in the classroom, in-person and at-home, while encouraging them to set their own personal and professional goals.

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