A talk with Marlene Lambertsen, CEO Early Head Start Teacher, retiring after more than 20 yearsPosted June 1, 2023
Marlene Lambertsen has worked for CEO for 24 and a half years, 18 years in the same corner classroom on the first floor of the Lansingburgh Family Resource Center. She started out in the infant room, before realizing working with toddlers would be a better fit.
Marlene lives just down the street from the Lansingburgh FRC.
What has been your favorite part of working for a Community Action agency?
“I would have to say that I made a difference with people in the community. I still have parents that I run into at the market that recognize me and say they appreciate what I did for their children, which means a lot to me.
Seeing the kids grow from the beginning of the year to the end of the year has been special for me. I have some that I’m still in contact with that are now married. That means a lot to me.
Sometimes I wonder if I make a difference, but I feel like now after all these years I can say that I did!”
Do you have a favorite memory of working for CEO?
“I worked with so many amazing people over the years, I don’t think I could name them all, but many made a difference in my life and helped me to be a better teacher.
My mentor, Ann, was a big influence on me. She made me feel confident, I started working here when my son was seven and she helped me a lot with my confidence.
Karen Gordon, Deb Bedard all had an impact on my life.
My husband was in the Navy Reserves and was called away a few times after 9/11, and CEO supported me in those times. There was a golf tournament in his honor put on by the city and Karen would also check in on me and make sure that I was doing alright.
The CEO community was just amazing to me. “
Have there been big changes in the building and neighborhood over the years you’ve worked here?
“Lots and lots, so many managers and teachers have moved on over the years, but the building remains. This center has made such an impact on the families in this community. It’s so nice to have the school here. It builds community. I see people in the neighborhood who say that the center provides such a great start for their families and their kids.
There is always something to learn. I’ve had the privilege of working in this room for 18 years. Everyone always says it’s my room, but it’s everyone’s room, I was just in it for a while helping.
My husband was born and raised in ‘The Burg’, and this exact room was his first-grade classroom many years ago. The walls talk. There is so much history here. I think that’s why I came back to this building after working in the CRC, I felt more at home here.”
What’s next for you?
“My next adventure is that I’m going to be taking care of my infant grandson. My retired husband watches him right now, but I’m excited to share those duties. This is my first grandchild. My son lives in Lansingburgh too, and my daughter lives in the south end.
I was a little hesitant about retiring, because I wanted to know what my next purpose was in life, but my grandson has given me that. I wanted to make sure I knew where I’d fit next.
When he was born last year, it started to change for me, and I realized it was time to move on.”