Three Educators Honored at United Way’s Business Breakfast
United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, the anchor organization for the Cradle to Career Partnership, and Women United honored community Literacy Champions at the 18th Annual Business Leaders for Early Education Breakfast on February 16th. Three area educators were named this year’s Literacy Champions for their commitment to improving early childhood education in our community. Additionally, Kevin Volk of Volk Company was named the winner of this year’s Business Leader Award, celebrating his support of early grade literacy initiatives in Pima County.
This year’s Literacy Champion Award Winners:
Dalexa Iglesias, Santa Rosa Head Start Program
Dalexa Iglesias is an Education Specialist with Child Parent Centers and has been working with children and families for the past 13 years. Initially she pursued a career in Industrial engineering in college both in Mexico and the United States. Dalexa has always held a fierce passion for early childhood education and enrolled her oldest son into the Early Head Start program in Tucson where she would volunteer her time alongside the teachers. “I started to fall in love with teaching and I realized education was my profession and life’s passion. I started working at Child Parent Centers where I continue to have the opportunity to grow not only as an Early Childhood professional but also personally. After studying hard, I now hold a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.
Heidi Kornacki, Twin Peaks K-8 Elementary School
Heidi Kornacki is a Tucson Native who has worked at Twin Peaks K-8 for her entire teaching career. She received a degree in Elementary Education at NAU before teaching kindergarten for the next 9 years where her love of teaching kids to read blossomed. Currently, she is a first-grade teacher where she continues to cultivate a love of reading in all her students. “Watching young children come into my classroom has to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job. These young children come to school unable to identify letters and sounds; however, when these students leave my classroom they are confident readers. To see the growth of my students, watching the spark happen in these children when they start to read – I feel so much pride to have made a difference that will positively impact their future success and academics in life.”
Jennifer Campbell, Prince Elementary School
Jennifer Campbell is a Native Tucsonan who works as a Reading Specialist at Prince Elementary School. She grew up in the Amphi School District before pursuing a B.A. in communications at the University of Arizona. She worked for many years at her family business before pursuing an education degree at NAU where she found her true passion: teaching and advocating for Structured Literacy. She earned a Masters in Education with a Reading Endorsement and felt compelled to bring her expertise back to her childhood neighborhood and school. “I feel a calling to serve and support this community. Literacy is a civil right! Without it, access to all other civil rights is limited. Therefore, a focus on effective literacy instruction is of paramount importance because a student’s ability to read is one of the biggest indicators of future success.”
This year’s Business Leader Award Winner:
Kevin Volk, Volk Company
Kevin Volk is an active member of The Preschool Promise, a supporter of United Way of Tucson, and has a commitment to help bring early childhood education to all families in Southern Arizona. He has a passion for bringing early childhood education to the whole community from his experience in Teach for America. Additionally, he consistently provides an economic perspective on the rate of return on investment in early education and has consistently employed his business and legislative relationships to advocate for local and state funding for preschool scholarships. Kevin always comes through with innovative ideas and always follows through with action and enthusiasm for the equitable future of children and our community’s prosperity. He regularly communicates with policy and decision makers at the local and state levels about both specific and general issues relating to early childhood education, clearly articulating the business value of providing affordable, accessible, high quality early education for every child. He is able to translate education-talk into business-talk and to make the importance of early education easily understood by those who are unfamiliar.