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2017 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year

Toyota and the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) have recognized Mary Andrews of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as the 2017 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year.

2017 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year Mary Andrews accepts the award from Earvin

Pictured Above: 2017 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year, Mary Andrews, with Earvin "Magic" Johnson, SodexoMAGIC, and Mike Goss, Toyota Social Innovation at the Families Learning Conference 2017

"We're proud to recognize Mary Andrews as Toyota Family Teacher of the Year for the dedication to countless children and families through her unique literacy programs," said Mike Goss, general manager, Toyota Social Innovation.

Andrews' Family Reading Partners and READ2ME programs are designed to model and encourage reading together as a family. Facilitators teach parents how to interact with their children to promote kindergarten readiness and reinforce that parents are their child's first and most important teacher.

"Mary's work with Chapel Hill and Carrboro families makes a visible impact on our school system and our community," said Superintendent Pam Baldwin, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS). "We are grateful for her continued work to support families in our district. She is building a legacy of family literacy that is contagious and inspiring."

Andrews' literacy programs began on a small scale during her teaching career and were later adopted district-wide. Once retired, she expanded programming to reach more low-income community members with young children, including teenage parents; recovering mothers; refugee families; parents of newborns; and families participating in Early Head Start and Family Success Alliance.

The Toyota Family Teacher of the Year award, a national honor now in its 21st year, recognizes families play a crucial role in the success of children and salutes educators who are exceptional at using intergenerational approaches to engage students and their families in education. Andrews and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation received a $20,000 check to further Family Reading Partners program outreach.

2017 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year runner-up, Fernando Gonzalez

2017 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year runner-up, Fernando Gonzalez

Toyota and NCFL also recognized Fernando Gonzalez of Tucson, Arizona, as the 2017 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year runner-up.

For Fernando Gonzalez it's all about empowering parents to be engaged in their children's education. He works with Make Way for Books in Southern Arizona reaching parents in rural and urban areas to build on families' strengths and increase kindergarten-readiness among low-income students. As runner-up, Gonzalez and Make Way for Books received a $5,000 grant to expand their family literacy outreach efforts.

Gonzalez and Make Way for Books meet parents where they are—in apartment and mobile home communities; social service agencies; elementary schools; and neighborhood centers. A strengths-based, two-generation approach is used during a seven-week series to teach parents how talking, singing, reading, and playing with their children will prepare them for a life of learning.

"Parents develop confidence as their children's first teachers. They learn to advocate for their children's education and become positive agents of change for themselves and their children," Gonzalez said. "This award and grant means we'll impact even more families and empower them with the skills and confidence to build a brighter future for their children."

Do you know an educator making great strides to improve the lives of parents and children? Nominations for the 2018 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year will open in Spring 2018. Be among the first to receive the nomination link when you subscribe to NCFL's Family Learning Insider emails.