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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at

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KinderCare teacher in Spotsylvania wins $10,000 award

Kristen Southard reads a book and sings with her class at the Breezewood Kindercare in Spotsylvania on Wednesday. Her 3-year old daughter, Abigail, is at her side, joining in the fun. (Photo by Reza A. Marvashti / The Free Lance-Star)

KinderCare Learning Center teacher Kristen Southard was surprised on Tuesday with a $10,000 award from the company that owns the preschool located in the Breezewood section of Spotsylvania County.

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 release.

Southard is the 20th teacher in the company to receive the award since the program began in 2008, according to a news release from the company.

Knowledge Universe, based in Portland, Ore., employs more than 25,000 preschool teachers nationwide.

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.”

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