Karen's leadership story
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > A 40 year legacy of contributing to the Townsville community: Karen’s story

A 40 year legacy of contributing to the Townsville community: Karen’s story

by Freya Lucas

May 02, 2024

Karen Sewell (pictured right) has been working in her early childhood service and contributing to the Townsville community for the entirety of her 40 year career. She is currently the Centre Director at Goodstart Heatley – Fulham Road. 


She joined the service as a student immediately after leaving school, drawn to the community driven ethos of the service, which has thrived during her time there. 


“I was very young when I started in early learning,” she said. “I did a placement while I was at school and was lucky enough that I always knew what I wanted to do. I’m a nurturer and wanted to help children.”


Throughout her own life journey of studying, working and raising three children she has remained dedicated to the service, something she attributes to a deep passion for working with children, the strong bond she has with her team, and the families in the community. 


To pursue her goals, she committed to working during the day and going to TAFE at night. A couple of years after finishing her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, she started her own family, going on to complete her Diploma while working full-time.


Being a true part of the community she lives in has been very gratifying, and Ms Sewell now cares for the children of children she once cared for, which deepens her sense of connection. 


“I’ve actually got a lovely young lady here at the moment doing her placement,” she said. 


“I looked after her mum, and then I looked after her.  Now she’s come back to do her school-based traineeship with us. She said that because she loved it so much here when she was at kindy, she wanted to come back and do her placement with us, and hopefully get a job here in the end.”


Embracing the spirit of lifelong learning, Ms Sewell has undertaken further study through the Learning Hub, a self development programme available to all Goodstart employees.


“I do love to learn about things that I’m interested in,” she shared. “So, I’ve done a lot of work around topics like trauma informed practice, and brain development via The Learning Hub and external organisations.”


“I think early learning in general offers a lot of learning opportunities for educators. It’s just a matter of grabbing onto what interests you.”


When asked for her secrets of retaining her energy, passion and enthusiasm in a sector which can, at times, be a challenging one, Ms Sewell said seeing children grow and learn, turning into the amazing young people we see going off to school and supporting families through that journey, has always been the most rewarding part of her role.


“My colleagues have kept me at this centre. I’ve always had good relationships with the dedicated and passionate people I’ve been lucky enough to work with. And then of course I love the community,” she added. 


“I have an amazing team that I’m so proud of. It’s been a hard time for early learning in the last couple of years. But this has only fostered stronger connections. We want to do the best we can for each other.”


“The positive culture is a big, strong point for our centre team. If someone’s having a bad day, someone will be there to back them up, but just as importantly if someone is celebrating, we’re all celebrating too!”


To learn more about opportunities at Heatley Fulham Road please see here

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