coccc winners 2015

April 16, 2015 (Fort Worth, Texas) – Camp Fire First Texas Council honored child care professionals at a dinner and awards ceremony on March 26 at Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth. More than 350 attended the event including 30 finalists for the 2015 Excellence in Child Care awards. For the second year in a row, a record number of nominations were submitted and reviewed.

An annual highlight of the early childhood professional’s calendar, Celebration of Child Care Champions awards dinner recognizes early childhood professionals who play a vital role in the development of thousands of area children age birth to five while providing an opportunity to focus public attention on the importance of child care providers.

This year’s event centered on the importance of encouraging youth to pursue curiosity, explore their surroundings and translate passion into the classroom. National Geographic Young Explorer and Geothermal Scientist, Andrès Ruzo, gave an innovative keynote address. Ruzo focused on “Engaging the Next Generation of Explorers”, using his own unique early childhood education experience as the inspiration behind the message. Andy Taft, President of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., served as the evening Master of Ceremonies.

The event culminated announcing this year’s recipients of the 2015 Excellence in Child Care awards*. They are as follows:

Administrator of the Year
Shelly Sender

Family Child Care Provider of the Year
Tonia Edwards

Teacher of the Year
Teresa Spiller
Young Professional of the Year
Dionna Rucker

Phyllis Jack Moore Professional Development Award **
Stacy Benge

*Nominees are submitted through an online process from the community including: parents, teachers, community members and employers. Once submitted, to be considered for the award a nominee must submit a portfolio of work to demonstrate accomplishments in the area in which they were nominated. These portfolios are then reviewed by a committee of professionals who score and ultimate select the winners in each category.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit youth development organizations, serving youth, teens and families in communities across the United States. Camp Fire programs are research-based, delivered where youth and families are via out-of-school time, environmental and camp, and teen service and leadership programs. Because youth want to shape the world, Camp Fire’s focus is giving youth and teens the opportunity to find their sparks, lift their voice and discover who they are. Camp Fire programs are proven to develop young peoples’ skills now so they can reach their full potential. Learn more about the history of how this vital organization has continued to serve children and those that teach them throughout the last century by visiting


**The Phyllis Jack Moore Award honors individuals who have impacted professional development in the Tarrant County community and who exemplify Phyllis’ passion, dedication and hard work. The award is named for Phyllis Jack Moore. Her forty year career spans a wide variety of settings from helping to develop the first Work/Family Program at Camp Fire, serving as the initial state staff development coordinator to North Carolina’s first public school kindergartens, owning a retail educational materials and teaching center, to establishing an Austin outreach to parents of newborns program through the University of North Texas.