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.

2020 Award Recipient

The Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Betty Garlick Lifetime Achievement Award- Dr. Karen Paciorek.

For nearly 40 years, Dr. Karen Menke Paciorek has mentored and taught hundreds of Michigan’s early childhood educators, has passionately advocated for best practices for children, families and teachers, and has made significant contributions to the field through her publications and scholarship. She showed exemplary leadership in the creation and adoption of the early childhood major and ZS endorsement in Michigan and again in the development of the Birth-K certification. Dr. Paciorek works with pre-kindergarten programs, Head Start programs and school districts to provide in-service education, and is an approved Early Childhood Specialist for the State of Michigan and a Great Start to Quality approved evaluator. She is a past president of Michigan AEYC and edits the Early Childhood Annual Editions, a publication of significant and timely articles available for early childhood teachers.


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.



Nomination form available soon!

Previous Recipients

2020: Dr. Karen Paciorek

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