Early childhood educators Jessica Beard and Jillian Critchley are both in the running for top awards at the up-coming 2017 Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards.
Both educators work in the Sutherland Shire and have been named as finalists in the Educator of the Year category.
Ms Beard works at Waratah St Early Education Centre in Cronulla, while Ms Critchley works at Jillian’s Family Day Care in Engadine.
Honeybears Early Learning Centre in Sylvania has also been named as a finalist in the Service of the Year category.
Now in its 13th year, the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards celebrates the dedication, tireless work and passion of the outstanding leaders and services within the sector.
State winners in each category will be announced on Tuesday, May 23. National winners in each category will then be announced during a gala dinner on June 16.
Prizes include more than $50,000 in training and professional development grants.
Judging chairman Paul Clancy said finalists were selected from 1739 nominees this year.
“This year we received an impressive record of nominees with each and every single one of them demonstrating how they go above and beyond for children in early care and education,” he said.
“It is always an incredibly difficult judging process to determine 99 finalists from an overwhelming 1739 nominees.”
The categories include Educator of the Year, Director of the Year, Rising Star Award, and Service of the Year.