Betty Garlick Lifetime Achievement Award

The Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children is pleased to announce the awarding of the 2017 Betty Garlick Lifetime Achievement Award to Joan Lessen-Firestone, Ph.D., Retired Director of Early Childhood, Oakland Schools.

Joan Lessen-Firestone has had a long career of exceptional service to the field of early childhood education. She is a nationally renowned presenter, sharing the latest research in a clear, thorough, understandable manner that is relevant for both researchers and practitioners. Joan is often quoted in the media and is sought out by and readily shares her expertise with policy makers.

Joan served as President of the Michigan AEYC from 1986–1988, moving the association from a totally volunteer organization to one with a professional staff and office. She served on the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) from 2005–2009. Her comprehensive understanding of developmentally appropriate practice made her an invaluable resource to NAEYC and to the NAEYC Governing Board. Joan’s work at the national level gave Michigan AEYC a voice in the national arena and benefited the association in profound ways.

Joan is an innovator in early childhood education with an adventurous spirit and ability to cultivate the best in people. She helps educators with insight and perspective; readily shares her knowledge, experience and expertise; and guides by example. Joan is an outstanding early childhood expert and a true champion for children, their families, and their teachers.

The award is named for Betty Garlick, the first president of Michigan AEYC from 1974-1976, and honors her life-long commitment to young children and their families.