By Donna Emert
Yvette Wyatt, a University of Idaho alumna who has devoted much of her life to teaching and advocating for the most vulnerable children and families in North Idaho, was recently named a Soroptimist Woman of Distinction.
She was nominated for the honor by University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences, Janice Fletcher.
“For over twenty years, Yvette has been a passionate educator of young children, parents and professionals in Head Start programs and in early childhood programs in our region,” Fletcher wrote in her nomination letter. “Her incredible knowledge of and understanding of the needs of vulnerable children identify her as a woman of distinction in education.”
Wyatt began her affiliation with Head Start as a parent of a child in the program, became a teacher and home visitor,a family services coordinator and then center supervisor. She is now the education/disabilities coordinator for Head Start in Coeur d’Alene.
Over the past three decades, Wyatt also has nurtured and raised her own family, earned a University of Idaho bachelor’s degree, and taken graduate level courses in child, family, and consumer studies, psychology and special education.
She has been a driving force in collaborating with the Coeur d’Alene School District to offer a joint program for children with disabilities. Wyatt has initiated programs for increasing literacy awareness and for assessing classroom environments, and often works with other agencies to offer guidance and training for early childhood staff.
A teacher and role model, she has mentored many students from the University of Idaho and Lewis Clark State College. As an advocate for young children, she helps frame education and care policies for children in northern Idaho and throughout the state.
In a recent Head Start report, Wyatt shared her goal and guiding principle: “To have the most enduring, positive influence upon a child, it is imperative to support those adults who have the power to impact the child’s life: the child’s parents and the child’s teachers,” she wrote.
Wyatt has served as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Committee chair; a consultant to children’s programs serving children with disabilities; Regional Early Childhood Coordinating Council chair; and Interagency Luncheon group organizer. She also has worked closely with the Children’s Mental Health Council and the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children
“When children’s voices are small or unheard, Yvette speaks and acts unrelentingly to make children’s lives satisfying, safe, and stimulating,” said Fletcher.
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