The poet William Butler Yeats wrote “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” In the case of the educational work achieved by Andrea Paquette, the poet’s words ring especially true. Season after season, through her work as Manager of Programming at Lexington Community Education/Lexplorations, Andrea has brought a perpetual flame to the fuse of the educational fireworks that have lit up Lexington (and beyond) for the last 22 years. Andrea has had her hand on the pulse of the Lexington community, and has created catalogues containing classes, offerings, and events that have helped make LCE a success, the larger Lexington Public School system shine, and community members of all ages better informed and equipped to engage in the world.
With a curator’s sense of combination and completion, and an educational explorer’s compass, Andrea has taken our program from a hidden gem, to a contender in the ring for the best self-supporting public school based Community Education program in the country. While most of the other programs in that category have double the staff, Lexington has kept our staff size of four, svelte and nimble due to Andrea’s immense energy, work ethic, business sense, intellect, and care for the individuals that make up a community.
Back in 2008, at my final onboarding transition meeting, before the former director Robin Tartaglia officially began her own retirement, Robin conveyed that she felt confident that the program would continue to be successful, especially because Andrea Paquette was a part of the team. She said “Andrea is amazing, and she can do anything!” At the time I thought that was high praise, and a nice sentiment, but I doubted that anyone in this work could do all of it. The job requires multiple and diverse skill sets. Over the years I have had the pleasure and surprise to find that turn after turn, Robin was right…Andrea Paquette can do anything!
The Lexington community is fortunate that Andrea Paquette has turned her intelligence and skill toward this community for these many years. She has sparked many firework finale lighting flames at Lexplorations, and in the larger Lexington Community Education program. Her efforts have created a much brighter, smarter, larger, and stronger educational community and program.
On behalf of our students of all ages, our veteran and newly hired teachers, our LPS colleagues, and most closely, our Lexington Community Education office staff I say…
Thank You, Andrea! We are grateful to have had the privilege of working with you and sharing these precious years together. It is certainly the end of an era, but you have made us and are leaving us better. We miss you already, and we look forward to learning and hearing about the new ways you light up the world in the years ahead. We are happily in your debt.
Congratulations on your well deserved retirement!