April Schneider Stewart, the Executive Director of the Bayfield Early Education Program, was named the Equity and Inclusion Superstar by the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council. This award recognizes a school or childcare center director, administrator, classroom teacher, family childcare home teacher-provider, or FFN provider that offers exceptional work and sensitivity in the area of equity and inclusion for children with disabilities, challenging behaviors, or those requiring greater social-emotional support.
Opening in 1995, Bayfield Early Education Center (BEEP) has served Bayfield area children over the past few decades. Stewart has been at the helm as Director for the past four years, with BEEP for 12 years, and has been in education for over two and a half decades. With a passion for children, Stewart is a biological mom, an adoptive mom, and was a foster mom for 15 years. Over the years, she has taken in children with mental and physical disabilities to show them the potential they have inside themselves and that they are more than just their past.
“This award is a win for our community. It highlights our determination at BEEP to see hope instead of limits, people instead of data, and the belief that all in our community deserve community.” Stewart said, “Each day I work alongside a team of professionals who are relentless in their passion for Bayfield to have access to a quality early childhood program that leaves an impact. This award signifies that impact.”
Stewart and BEEP maintain and offer various grant and trade opportunities to ensure all families who desire to have their child in the program have access. Additionally, various fundraising events are held throughout the year to keep the cost of tuition at a reasonable level. Winning this award as an educator in small-town Bayfield is especially gratifying as nominees represented regions throughout the state, including Denver.