Betty Garlick Lifetime Achievement Award

The purpose of this award shall be to recognize and honor the life-long commitment of Betty Garlick, the first Michigan AEYC president, to children and families.  Betty Garlick was a pioneer in the field of early childhood education.  She was a teacher of children, an advocate on behalf of children and families, an author and editor, an environmentalist, a consultant, an innovative programmer and an evaluator.  The breadth and depth of these contributions should serve as a guide in selecting future recipients.


Recipients of this award should have devoted a large part of their lives to working on behalf of Michigan’s children and families, and be near or at the end of their career.  Further, individuals considered for this award shall have made exceptional contributions to the early childhood profession.  They will also have been involved in professional activities beyond their paid position.  These may include (but are not limited to): legislation, research, publication, and leadership in professional organizations.


Committee Expectations:

  • Nomination forms will be online and consist of:
    • a letter detailing why the nominee deserves this award by:
      • describing the nominee’s career in early childhood/family services in Michigan
      • explaining the exceptional contributions made to the field whether as an employee or volunteer
      • describing the professional activities beyond a paid position in which the nominee engaged
    • a minimum of three additional supporting documents such as letters, publications, newspaper clippings, etc. that enhance the descriptions in the letter
  • The award will be given only when a truly outstanding person is nominated; this will not necessarily occur every year.
  • Current employees or contractors of Michigan AEYC are not eligible.
  • Solicitation and initial screening of nominations will be done by a standing committee on awards.
  • Final decisions will be voted upon by the Michigan AEYC Governing Board if recommended by both the committee and the Executive Committee
  • Honorees will be recognized by having their names inscribed on a plaque permanently displayed at the Michigan AEYC office, by having their names added to the list on the Michigan AEYC website, and by receiving a personal memento in recognition of their achievements.
  • Specific money will be set aside in the annual budget to cover the recipient’s expenses (travel, lodging, meals for the Michigan AEYC conference) as appropriate and to also cover the cost of the award memento.


2019 Award Recipient

The Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children is pleased to announce the awarding of the 2019 Betty Garlick Lifetime Achievement Award to Marcia Rysztak.

Marcia Rysztak has had a devoted career as an advocate for young children and their families. Her story of advocacy has reached far beyond the college community, actively collaborating with local, state and national partners. For the majority of her career, Marcia was employed at Lansing Community College where she demonstrated leadership and a progressive approach, building the college’s program to become one of the first NAEYC accredited associate degree programs in Michigan with more than 30 courses and 20 instructors. Her vision of early childhood education has been a model for educators statewide and nationally. One of Marcia’s major accomplishments was implementing an onsite early childhood lab school at LCC, aligned with the Reggio philosophy.

Nomination form available soon!


Previous Recipients

2019: Marcia Rysztak

2018: JaneAnn Benson

2017: Dr. Joan Lessen-Firestone

2016: Jim Sinnamon

2015: Dr. Lindy Buch

2014: Sharon Claytor Peters

2013: Dr. Mary Trepanier-Street

2012: Mark Sullivan

2011: Dr. Larry Schweinhart

2010: Harold Gazan

2009: Jackie Wood

2008: Dr. Sharon Elliott

2006: Dr. Leah Adams

2005: Laura Stein

2000: Drs. Rosalyn & Eli Saltz

1999: Dr. David P. Weikart

1998: Kay Koulouras

1996: Mary Frew

1995: Ben Hamilton

1994: Ginny McCaig

1993: Betty Garlick