SALISBURY (June 21, 2022) – Partners In Learning, Executive Director, Normal Honeycutt, was honored with the prestigious North Carolina’s Early Education Advocate Award by the North Carolina Early Education Coalition. There are nearly 6,000 licensed childcare centers across North Carolina, of which other professionals in the field nominated her for this award based on her advocacy efforts. Norma Honeycutt is known across the state for her advocacy work for higher-paying wages for teachers, high-quality early care and education, and lower costs for families. ​​“Norma is passionate about the development and well-being of children and their families. She has dedicated her life’s work to educating and advocating for childcare in our community and across the state.  Rowan County is fortunate to have her leading the way for the future of our children” says Partners In Learning’s Board Chair, Celia Jarrett. 

Through the vision of founder Dr. Shirely Ritchie, Partners In Learning has long served as the Model Inclusive Center in Rowan County and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Partners In Learning was formed by a grassroots group of community members, who saw the need for inclusive early education in Rowan County. Norma has expanded upon that dream and passion and is sharing her knowledge with others all across the state. 

Norma is certified to provide Triple-P, Special Instruction for Infants and Toddlers, and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child and Family Development from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and a Master’s Degree in Birth through Kindergarten.  For more than four decades, Norma has used her skills to support children and their families. She is a highly regarded and popular trainer and speaker.  She is passionate about quality in Early Childhood, making sure that children receive the best possible care and education to help them reach their full potential. She has worked within the education, health, and social services sectors, performing a wide range of roles such as teacher, director, education consultant, college instructor, and child care commissioner.  

Jennifer Misenheimer, the director of the Novant location says, “Norma has supported early education for over 25 years.  Norma advocates for her staff, co-workers, children, families, community, and our nation. She spends endless hours researching ways to support the early education field. Norma is a huge advocate for continuing education and she supports and drives employees to success.  She sets the bar high to inspire others, to reach their goals.” 

Norma Honeycutt has been successfully leading and growing the organization for 24 years. She is continuing to lead this organization into the future with the construction of its new facility on Martin Luther King Blvd, which in addition to its early education services, will include a comprehensive clinical wing providing mental health services, family support services, early intervention, and autism therapy. The new site will also have expansive outdoor immersion classrooms, sensory gardens, and a cultural walk. Norma has been piloting an outdoor immersion classroom at the Catawba site, modeled after the latest research on the benefits of outdoor learning, and is excited about the ability to expand upon the outdoor learning environment at the new site.

“I was surprised and honored to be recognized in this special way.  I am only doing what I believe God has called me to do.  He calls us to take care of the least of these.  Children don’t have a voice, they don’t have a say in how they are treated or what zip code they are born in.  If we truly believe that children are our future, we must all strive to advocate for services and programs that will ensure children are protected and provided the best learning opportunities possible.  These are a child’s fundamental rights,” says Norma Honeycutt.

“Norma is a visionary. She has a way of seeing the need, and making it happen. People respect and follow her because she not only leads with passion, but with knowledge. Rowan County is very lucky to have Norma, supporting and advocating for children and families in our community”, says Amy Vestal, Development Director. 

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