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KinderCare Learning Center
Southard, a teacher at the center for more than two years, was chosen for the Early Childhood Educator Award, which comes with the monetary award.
Knowledge Universe, owner of KinderCare and other learning centers nationwide, recognized Southard for "demonstrating exceptional skills in providing a quality learning experience for children and families," according to a company statement.
Southard is the 20th teacher in the company to receive the award since the program began in 2008, the news release states.
Knowledge Universe, based in Portland, Ore., employs more than 25,000 preschool teachers nationwide. They operate in KinderCare Learning Centers and other preschool facilities.
Breezewood Center Director Kristie Woodward said the award was a wonderful surprise for the center and the teacher.
"She is just an awesome, passionate teacher that loves kids," Woodward said. "It was unexpected and exciting."