Macedonia -- Regina Campisi, an infant teacher at Lacey KinderCare Learning Center in Macedonia, got the surprise of a lifetime Aug. 24 when KinderCare presented her with the Early Childhood Educator Award and a $10,000 check.

Campisi had no idea she had even been nominated, let alone selected for the award, but was very happy to have received the recognition.

"It means everything to be looked at as a professional educator," Campisi said. "People hear negative things about day care and have preconceived notions about what we do here. The good things are not always brought out."

She added that it means a great deal to work for a company who recognizes what the teachers do.

According to the company, the award is meant to honor "great teachers who truly do leave a legacy for the children they care for."

Campisi also gets an all-expense paid trip to a national early childhood education conference.

A press release by KinderCare Education states Campisi "has a passion for teaching, believes she is helping her young students build lifelong skills. She is constantly engaging with each baby, talking and interacting with them."

Campisi's District Manager Esra Cardace, who nominated Campisi for the honor, said "She tells us all the time she wants to take her knowledge and help as many people as she possibly can."

KinderCare also said Campisi creates her own curriculum enhancements such as cloth books about colors, a mirror wall, a photo wall of class mates and is constantly engaging parents.

"It is very humbling to have people give you their six month old baby and trust you with the most important thing in the world to them," Campisi told the News Leader.

KinderCare presents the Early Childhood Educator Award to seven winners annually, but Campisi was the first teacher in Macedonia to ever receive the honor. She said she started seven years ago with pre-kindergarten children has only wanted to be in Macedonia, despite being a Cuyahoga Falls resident. Campisi added working for KinderCare actually made her want to return to school and she earned an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree, graduating magna cum laude.

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432