CHEER = Celebrating and Highlighting Early Education Respect 

Early educators have one of our state’s most important yet least respected jobs. CHEER is our opportunity to highlight all they do and celebrate their work while giving high-quality professional development opportunities. CHEER is fully sponsored by national and community partners and is presented at no cost to early educators in our community.  

CHEER also highlights our community’s best early educators by sponsoring the Early Educator of the Year Awards. The finalists for Educator of the Year receive $100 for their personal use. The overall winners won an additional $300. The Columbus-Lowndes Excel by 5 Coalition sponsors the financial rewards. 

Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskin makes official proclamations declaring, “Early Childhood Educator and Child Care Worker Appreciation Day.” 

CHEER is sponsored by local businesses, the Rotary Bright from the Start Project, W alumnus Dr. Bonnie Camp, Doris Hardy and Associates from Century 21, International Paper, Roger Burlingame, Columbus-Lowndes Excel by 5 Steering Committee, Dr. Jo Shumake, and the School of Education’s bachelor degree program in Early Childhood Education.  

CHEER Conference utilizes a rotating schedule and is always hosted before the NAEYC Week of the Young Child, typically as Kickoff Saturday nationwide.  

CHEER 2022 – Full Group (Sold out!) 

CHEER 2023 – Targeted Early Years Only (Birth-3) (Sold out!) 

CHEER 2024 – Full Group (Registration will open January 2024) 

CHEER 2025 – Targeted Preschool Years Only (3-4 Year Old Teachers) 

Columbus-Lowndes Early Educators of the Year 2023