Cindy Putman of Central Tennessee PBS Receives Bobbi English Champion for Children Award

Honor includes $15,000 for station’s continued early learning efforts

January 27, 2021

January 27, 2021 -- Cindy Putman, Ready To Learn Project Manager at WCTE Central Tennessee PBS in Cookeville, Tennessee, was named recipient of the 2021 Bobbi English Champion for Children Award from Sesame Workshop, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The award, recognizing Putman for her dedication to the enrichment and engagement of children in their local community, includes $15,000, funded by Sesame Workshop, for WCTE to be used to support early childhood work that reaches underserved children in vulnerable communities.

The Bobbi English Champion for Children Award was created in 2020 to recognize annually an individual who has demonstrated a dedication to the enrichment and engagement of children in their local community. The award is named for Bobbi English, Sesame Workshop Vice President, North American Television. It was given posthumously to her in honor of her dedication to early childhood programming and community outreach and her passion for the power of public television.

“Throughout her career, Bobbi English was passionate about using public television to help children reach their full potential. Her dedication could be seen in everything she touched, and Cindy is the embodiment of that same passion and dedication,” said Jenna Fishner, Senior Manager of North American Television at Sesame Workshop. “I am proud to present Cindy with the Bobbi English award to carry on Bobbi’s legacy.”

“Cindy is a Cookeville native, a trusted voice in her community who truly understands the resources, opportunities and ways to best support children and families in Putnam County, and she is passionate about making a difference in their lives,” said Michael Fragale, CPB Vice President, Education. “She is a connector and community leader, and like Bobbi, a great friend whose smile can light up a room. We’re honored to present her with this award.”

Putman was an educator in the Putnam County School System for 23 years. For the past 15 years, she has also worked with WCTE, the local PBS affiliate. For much of that time, she served as a part-time education and community engagement associate, leading workshops and spearheading educational initiatives in the community. In 2014, she became a Ready To Learn Learning Tools Facilitator. In this position, she creates a bridge between WCTE and the school system. Her work with the CPB PBS Ready To Learn grant was honored with the 2018 Tennessee Governor’s Award For Excellence in Early Foundations. She also hosts a weekly radio show that addresses educational topics for families across the Upper Cumberland.

“At PBS KIDS, we believe that the world is full of possibilities, and so is every child, and that is exactly what Cindy brings to how she approaches family engagement and learning, particularly within rural communities,” said Sharon Philippart, Vice President, Strategy & Engagement, Children’s Media and Education, PBS. “She truly embodies the spirit behind this award.”

About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re present in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @CPBmediaFacebook and LinkedIn and subscribe for other updates.

About PBS
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

Categories: Award, Education