Brunson earns state honor from LAECA

Dr. Michelle Fazio Brunson, coordinator of Early Childhood programs in Northwestern State University’s School of Education, was selected as the Outstanding Louisiana Early Childhood Association Member by her peers and was awarded the Mildred Souther Award.   

In 1975, the Louisiana Early Childhood Association (LAECA) funded the Mildred Souther Award, named for a professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary who was a strong advocate for young children. She expected anyone who was to have any impact on children to be of the highest integrity and the award is presented annually to an outstanding worker for preschool children. 

Brunson was selected based on service to LAECA, where she currently serves as past resident and research chair. Brunson consistently takes both undergraduate and graduate NSU Early Childhood Education majors to the annual conference to present with her. She also shares her experiences and knowledge frequently with LAECA members through publications in Collaborations, the official journal of the Louisiana Early Childhood Association, and presentations at the LAECA annual state conference.  

Brunson said LAECA has been instrumental in helping expand her Cradle to College service learning project across the state. She and her husband, attorney Brett Brunson, have spearheaded the initiative that puts literacy activities, resources and support in the hands of children and their families who live below the poverty line. Cradle to College seeks to address the connection between low early literacy and later incarceration.  She has secured grants to purchase and assemble literacy bags and coordinates volunteer efforts among students and colleagues at NSU.  

Dr. Katrina Jordan, director of the School of Education, said Brunson “is a wonderful mentor to early childhood pre-professionals.”  Five of her former students, including Jordan, Kelsey Jordan-Collins, Dr. Christy Hornsby, Katy Loftin and Faith Stanfield are current LAECA board members.