When Karen LeSage found out she won a provincial award for her work, she couldn’t believe it.
“I had to ask someone to read the email because I was so shocked and wasn’t sure I was reading it correctly,” she said. “I’m still processing it.”
But there was no mistaking it. LeSage had won the Child Care Leadership award for her work in the early childhood education sector.
“I’m very humbled and honoured to have received the award and to know that the almost 30 years of hard work that I’ve put into this field has impacted many families, children and our community,” she said.
LeSage is the early childhood education (ECE) program chair at Ridge Meadows College. In only her first year in the role, she has already led a complete curriculum refresh, fostered a partnership with the Katzie First Nation to include Indigenous content in the curriculum and oversaw the hiring of more than 15 new faculty members.
Her contributions to the program have been outstanding, according to the college manager, Will Carne.
“We’ve been lucky to have Karen as the program chair since she joined us in early 2022,” Carne said. “We are so proud of Karen’s well-deserved accomplishment and excited about her future plans for the program.”
LeSage’s plans include offering dual credit options to high school students as well as post basic programs for infant/toddler and special needs specializations.
She received the provincial award after being nominated and chosen by a selection committee made up of stakeholders and ministry staff.
It’s one of 12 handed out by Minister of State for Child Care Grace Lore during the 2023 ChildCareBC Awards of Excellence ceremony at the end of May.
“The winners and nominees represent the dedication and commitment the child care sector as a whole brings to work every single day,” said Lore. “It’s an honour to be able to celebrate and highlight the work of these professionals who provide critical care for our children.”
For LeSage, it’s been an honour and privilege to do this important work for nearly 30 years.
“Now at Ridge Meadows College, I get to share my experiences and knowledge with the next generation of early childhood educators and help ensure they are prepared for the important work they do,” she said.