Rebecca Lentz Gorton, administrator emerita at Northampton Community College (NCC), received the Voice for Children Award at the annual statewide gala of the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PennAEYC).

PennAEYC’s Voice for Children Award is the only statewide award in Pennsylvania recognizing the grassroots leaders whose work impacts the quality of care for young children in diverse settings.

“With our Voice for Children Award, PennAEYC recognizes the critical role advocacy plays in high-quality early care and education settings and celebrates those who speak on behalf of Pennsylvania’s children,” said Executive Director of PennAEYC, Jen DeBell. “As the ‘voice’ for early childhood care and learning, community advocates are an invaluable component to ensuring all Pennsylvania’s children get the start they deserve in school and life.”

Gorton began her career in education teaching pre-k to grade five in private and public schools and served as a program/education director of Head Start in the Lehigh Valley. Gorton was on the teaching faculty in the Early Childhood Department at NCC prior to becoming the department director from 1999 to 2011. Under Gorton’s guidance, NCC’s early childhood program was in the first cohort of National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) associate degree accreditations. She established a business-education partnership with Crayola, which led to the development of Art as a Way of Learning professional development program.

A founding member of the Lehigh and Northampton chapter of PennAEYC, Gorton has served on numerous statewide, regional, and national boards and committees all geared toward ensuring the development and continuation of high-quality education opportunities for children and educators. Gorton served as commissioner of Middle States Association for Elementary School Accreditation where she also accredited programs in China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. She served as a Commissioner on the NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation System.

“Rebecca’s accomplishments are a result of her passion for early childhood and for training educators in curriculum, the arts and credit articulation. Her work continues to impact current and inspire future early childhood care and education professionals for years to come,” said Anu Sachdev, early childhood professor at East Stroudsburg University.