Langhorne’s Katie LeVan always knew she wanted to be an educator. That much was a given. But what she never envisioned was receiving a prestigious recognition for her lifelong passion.
On Friday, Sept. 27, at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, LeVan was named “Director of Education of the Year” during an annual awards ceremony, hosted by The Malvern School.
LeVan was singled out for exemplifying the characteristics necessary to lead a quality early childhood education program, and contributing to the overall success of The Malvern School of Warrington, located at 2281 Shetland Drive, and the organization as a whole.
“It’s such an honor,” LeVan said of the award, which came as a complete surprise. “I feel like it really, truly is just a reflection of the staff here at the Warrington location, too. They’ve been so supportive and we have such a strong community. I’m extremely honored to be recognized among such a group of highly qualified directors among the 26 locations, to be named the one who is ‘best of the best.’ ”
According to LeVan, she was showered in congratulatory love on the Monday following the awards banquet.
“What surprised me the most was the reaction that the parents and staff gave me here,” she reflected. “Coming back to work, everyone was just so excited. It’s such an honor for the whole school. Parents are able to say, ‘I bring my kid to the ‘best of the best’ school.”
During the ceremony, The Malvern School, a year-round private preschool founded in 1998 for ages 6 weeks to 8 years, honored outstanding educators and schools throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Other local wins include Dave Dadich, The Malvern School of Richboro, for “Health and Safety Coordinator of the Year;” and The Malvern Schools of Richboro and Warrington for “Superior Achievement Program Assessment.”
“The Malvern School’s commitment to quality and excellence in everything we do is something you see in each and every member of our team at every single one of our 27 schools and our executive office,” said Kristen M. Waterfield, president and cofounder of The Malvern School. “From teaching and leadership, to curriculum and culture, to health and safety, philanthropy and more, our annual award winners raise the bar for all of us. They are a force that drives us forward as an organization, enable us to offer some of the most advanced early childhood education programs for young children, and make our schools such a vital part of more than two dozen local communities.”
LeVan’s Malvern journey began when she joined the organization almost two years ago as the Warrington location’s director of education. This came after previous roles elsewhere, including Pre-K teacher. So far, she has no complaints about her current employer.
“It’s such a rewarding company to work for. I feel like there’s so much support, be it from your teachers, from the executive office. What really drew me to The Malvern School is the focus they put on the education for the kids,” she said.
Though LeVan no longer spends all of her time in the classroom in her director position, she gets to experience the best of both the administrative and instructional worlds.
“They [directors] are really seen as an expert in child development. The curriculum that we offer, that’s part of our role is to go in and evaluate the program,” she said. “But obviously, that wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have the teachers or the kids here. Being able to influence the kids’ lives every single day and being able to sit back and watch it happen is magical.” ••
Learn more about The Malvern School at malvernschool.com.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org