Dr. Steve Barnett Honored by Preschool Advantage

Dr. W. Steven Barnett, Director of the National Institute for Early Education and a Board of Governors Professor at Rutgers Graduate School of Education, was recently honored at the Preschool Advantage 11th annual Turning Leaves Gala in recognition of his advocacy for early childhood care and education.

“Many middle-income children—particularly those from families in the lower portion of middle income—lack the opportunity to attend high-quality preschool programs and as a result often start school unprepared," said Dr. Barnett during his address to gala guests. "This situation can seriously affect their chances for success throughout school.”  


Guest speakers at the event also included Ivan Codarlupo and his daughter, Nicole, who is one of the 730 children who have attended preschool with the assistance of Preschool Advantage over its 19th year history. Now 13 years old, Nicole shared with the attendees why education is one of the most important things in life.  “Education is like a tree. You plant the soil to make it start growing. Then, you keep feeding it until it is fully grown. Just like education, you give your kids a good start in life with a good school.  Then you help them with everything they need to survive.  When your child grows and is ready to go off to college, you let them go and survive on their own. I am so grateful for my parents and their decision to put

me in this program. I wouldn’t have been this far in life without my parents and Preschool Advantage.”

Preschool Advantage also recognized Morris Plains Cooperative Play School and its Director, Betsy McKeever, for providing quality early childhood education in Morris Plains.  The school is celebrating its 75th Anniversary of service for children and families.

Preschool Advantage is a non-profit organization based in Morris County that provides children of local families in need the foundation for a lifetime of successful learning by funding quality preschool education. For more information please visit www.preschooladvantage.org.