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Harriett Romo
Harriett Romo and Dana Bash
Top photo: Associate Professor Harriett Romo receives Cable's
Leaders in Learning Award. Bottom photo: CNN's Dana Bash (right)
interviews Romo at the awards ceremony.
(Photos courtesy of Cable in the Classroom)

UTSA's Harriett Romo earns national education award

By Alison Beshur
Public Affairs Specialist

(June 15, 2006)--For her work in establishing the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) and UTSA Early Childhood Development Center at the Navarro Academy, Harriett Romo, UTSA associate professor of sociology and director of the UTSA Mexico Center, has earned a national award for excellence in education.

Cable in the Classroom, an industry-wide philanthropic cable association, recognized 13 outstanding teachers, administrators, policymakers and community leaders across the country for their creative contributions to K-12 education. Romo received the Cable's Leaders in Learning general excellence award Tuesday, June 13 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. She was one of only three honorees from around the country recognized in the category.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, nominated Romo for the award.

"I was honored to have the privilege of nominating Dr. Romo for this well-deserved award, and I am thrilled she won," said Gonzalez. "Her dedication to and hard work on behalf of San Antonio families is an inspiration to me and many other San Antonians. In fact, I know her work has received national and international acclaim. We all owe Dr. Romo a debt of gratitude, and this award is a small down payment on that debt."

Romo, who obtained $584,972 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for construction, training and development, said the Early Childhood Development Center at the Navarro Academy aims to improve learning for preschool children, teenage mothers, college-age teachers-in-training and education professionals.

"We know that high-quality early education enhances future educational achievement among low-income students, but that is only part of the motivation to create this program," Romo said in a Cable in the Classroom statement. "We have also succeeded in educating parents, future teachers and ourselves."

The Early Childhood Development Center, which opened in 2005 near the UTSA Downtown Campus, serves as a lab school for UTSA students in early education and accepts three- and four-year-old children who are educationally disadvantaged, unable to speak or understand English, or are homeless.

The center's mission is to provide children with necessary developmental skills to create a strong foundation for success through collaborative effort with families, communities and related agencies.

SAISD helped fund the Early Childhood Development Center with $1 million from the 2001 Bond Program for design and construction and retained ownership of the building. SAISD also provides teaching staff.

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