For the public – Elizabeth MacKenzie |

For the public – Elizabeth MacKenzie

What I do: Administrator and CEO of Little Friends Child Development Center, partner with Essential Partners Consulting, and adjunct faculty member at Yuba College.

What I do in my job: In all my jobs, I support the advancement of quality care for young children and the people who work with them.

Why my job is important to the public: In our field, we need experienced leaders to show career paths because often, the more accomplished people become in the field, the further removed they are from being hands-on with children and families.

The special skills and talents I bring to my job: Everything in my life I’ve achieved in an unusual or unconventional way so I value diversity and know there is no one way. I have a lot of empathy for people in different times of their lives and levels of achievement.

A special achievement I am proud of: I was recently nominated for the Lenahan Lifetime Achievement Award from Children’s Services. It is unusual for someone like me to receive that, I’m a worker bee.

The best part of my job: When you know that you’ve really impacted teachers, knowing that we have been really positive role models, and seeing the teachers be the very best they can be.

A day at work I’ll always remember was … : Every day is memorable. Sometimes for being wonderful and sometimes for being awful.

How I got my job: I started out as a teacher’s aide and I am also one of eight children. I think that has had an impact. Also, I enjoyed it and I was good at it. Another big factor is that I am a good business person and am passionate about the field.

How long I’ve been working in this field: 30 years.

My dream job would be: This would be, just without the memorable bad days, and with more time, more money, and more appreciation.

My family: My husband, Mark Applegate, a fourth-generation Nevada County resident. My son, Sean, in New York. My daughter, Lauren, in San Diego, my stepson, Ryan Applegate, and our dog, Maddie.

My hobbies: Working, gardening, following my husband’s archery – it is a whole different world. And thinking up new endeavors and putting them together.

When I was a kid: I was a bookworm, I read every book in the library. In a big family, you just try and chisel out a space and hold onto it.

My dream vacation: Having a long time with no deadlines or responsibility and being with my family somewhere in the sun.

If a movie were made of my life, I would be played by: Humor is really important to me, I’d have to say maybe Robin Williams.

The people who have made the biggest difference in my life: My siblings, the original gang, we were poor and we really had to stick together. My grandmother who raised us when my mother couldn’t for a while. My children, my husband.

My hero: I’d say my grandmother – she overcame adversity, she was very strong, and she kept our family together and moving forward.

The best book I’ve read lately: “The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook,” by Peter Senge. It is about the cultures of businesses and how that influences their growth or demise.

I like living in Nevada County because: I have a lot of history here, it has been my home for a long time.


“For the public” appears each Wednesday. To suggest a local civil servant to be profiled, contact Britt Retherford at or call 477-4247.

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