Waynett Taylor Receives 2023 Karen W. Ponder Award

Waynett Taylor was presented the 2023 Karen W. Ponder Leadership Award during a special ceremony on April 27 at the 2023 Smart Start Conference in Greensboro, NC. In attendance was Karen Ponder, former president of the North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC) and Waynett got to meet her. Amy Cubbage, the President of the NCPC presented the award to Waynett.

The Karen W. Ponder Leadership Award was created in honor of Karen W. Ponder, the first president of NCPC and is presented annually to one local partnership nominee. All 100 NC counties are eligible to submit nominations but only one recipient is selected. This award recognizes exceptional leadership which has resulted in bettering the lives of young children and families across North Carolina. It recognizes the contribution of community volunteers (advocates, civic leaders, faith leaders, etc.). Nominees must exemplify a passionate commitment to the vision of a stronger community for children and families and have the ability to lead and inspire others in pursuit of that vision.

2023 karen ponder award 3 min

Waynett is the Executive Director and Inclusion Specialist with P.U.R.E. Excellence. She has also been recognized for her exceptional work in early childhood education as the Anne Laukaitis Champion for Children Award in December 2022.

Waynett leads, listens and advocates for the young child, their families as well as for the child care industry and early education in our county. She promotes and assists all centers in our county in being high quality learning environments for children and staff, she facilitates high standards in teacher preparation and advocates for a living wage for all who enter this field. She consults and provides support for all Cabarrus County child care directors and assists with children with challenging behaviors and other class management issues. She also provides training for all early childhood professionals.

Waynett works tirelessly to improve an industry which she cherishes: early childhood education and those who direct and work in child development centers, thus directly impacting the young children in Cabarrus County.

Working collaboratively with All Saints Episcopal Church, Cabarrus County Government, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and the Cabarrus County Partnership for Children, Waynett formed a public private partnership to create more affordable child care for Cabarrus County employees. After all, our children deserve the best care while their parents are working. Waynett believes that all things are possible. She moves through her day in love, maintaining the dignity of a child, their family and the providers in the child care industry.

Waynett has also served as the program chair for the Early Education Department at RCCC, the chair of the Cabarrus County Partnership for Children, as a charter member of the Cabarrus County Early Childhood Task Force and many other leadership roles. She has been instrumental in writing the first Cabarrus County Early Childhood Action Plan which addresses the needs, and support services for young children and their family. Waynett knows first-hand the importance of early childhood education. She knows the importance of supporting parents and families. She knows well-trained directors, teachers and staff are a must in the child care industry. Waynett is an advocate, teacher, consultant and Champion for our Youngest Children! Congratulations Waynett on this very important honor!


<< Read about last year's Karen W. Ponder Leadership Award recipient

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