Jefferson Parish educator wins Louisiana Early Childhood Leader of the Year - Jefferson Ready Start Network

Jefferson Parish educator wins Louisiana Early Childhood Leader of the Year

Arielle Hughes

METAIRIE, LA (July 24, 2023) – Jefferson Ready Start Network (JRSN) is pleased to announce that Arielle Hughes of Carousel Preschool has been named Louisiana Early Childhood Leader of the Year by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). Carousel Preschool is a network partner of JRSN.

On Saturday, July 22 outstanding educators and leaders were honored by LDOE during the Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Awards Gala in New Orleans. Teachers, principals and leaders were nominated to be named Louisiana’s top leaders of the year by their peers and vetted through a lengthy submission process. Hughes earned the honor for her exemplary work leading Carousel Preschool. She has over 10 years’ experience teaching and leading in early childhood education.

“We are excited and proud for Arielle to receive this recognition,” said Sarintha Stricklin, Ph.D. “Her leadership and teaching are intentional,encompassing all benchmarks of quality and the pillars of a high-quality early childhood education experience. We are both grateful and proud of her service to Jefferson Parish children and families.”

Hughes is known in Jefferson Parish as being a champion for early care and education. She is passionate about developing young educators and ensuring children receive (and have access to) high-quality care. In 2018, she purchased Carousel Preschool where she had been director for over four years. While owning an early learning center had not been part of her goals, her motivation to keep the community of the center – students, families, educators – together gave her the focus to make it happen.

“Advancing early education is a team effort, and it’s so important that we support and empower one another to cultivate enriching, intentional programs,” said Hughes. “At Carousel Preschool we work to ensure our families receive all benchmarks of quality, including strong instructional leadership; high-quality curriculum and assessment; diverse, equitable and inclusive environments; strong family engagement; and emotionally supportive communities.”
As an educator, Hughes aims to see the big picture in any situation. Her belief that early childhood leaders must be supported in their growth is attributed to her center’s low turnover among educators. She also believes that every child deserves to feel loved and supported, every family should feel trusted and supported, and all educators and staff should feel valued and empowered.

Outside of Carousel Preschool, Hughes is also a strong advocate for early care and education in the legislature and local government. She is a member of the Ready Louisiana Coalition, Child Care Association of Louisiana and 4 Providers by Providers, which are all advocacy groups dedicated to improving child development. During each legislative session, she is an active participant in Early Ed Day and has testified at the Capitol on behalf of early childhood education.