Williston preschool owner earns ‘superhero’ recognition
Mandi Menard, co-owner of KinderStart Preschool in Williston, was recognized last week as an “Early Childhood Superhero” by Let’s Grow Kids, an initiative of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children that advocates for high-quality, affordable child care.
Menard is the program director and lead preschool teacher at KinderStart, located on Windridge Road. A resident of St. Albans, she joins three other early childhood educators who also received the “superhero” recognition.
“I love the relationships component of this work,” said Menard, who helped organize the “Rally for Kids” event held at the Vermont Statehouse in March during Early Childhood Day at the Legislature. “I enjoy getting to know the children’s interests and using that information to plan new things and see them get really excited about what they’re learning.”
The selection of early childhood superheroes followed a statewide call from Let’s Grow Kids for nominations of unsung heroes among educators, child care professionals, parents, grandparents, volunteers, business people, policymakers, civic leaders and clergy.
Other early childhood superhero award winners are: Laurie Metcalfe of Bennington, the executive director of Northshire Day School in Manchester Center; Johanna Page of Burlington, an essential early education paraeducator in the Burlington School District for 25 years; and Lori Pinsonneault of Bennington, the community-based child care support services coordinator at Sunrise Family Resource Center.
“These early childhood superheroes are out there in their own communities every day making the sort of positive, lasting change for Vermont’s children that we’re working to achieve on a statewide level,” said Let’s Grow Kids director Robyn Freedner-Maguire. “Their commitment and hard work is an inspiration to all of us who are working to ensure that all Vermont families who need it are able to access high-quality, affordable child care because all our kids deserve a strong start.”