Goodbye and Thanks: Letter from Dawn Michael, CCLCS Co-Founder and (Retired) Director

Dawn Michael, co-founder CCLCS

Dawn Michael co-founded CCLCS in 1991 and was director until retiring  and passing the reins to Tim Cloutis in 2022. The following is a letter to colleagues and the community. Thank you Dawn.

Sitting on my living room floor – 30 years ago – with papers and lists littering the carpet, making phone calls to Government offices, figuring out standards and regulations… I could never have imagined that 30 years later I would be retiring from the organization we created that took on a life of its own.

The years flew by – thanks to staff and students who brought their lives, experiences, perspectives, and talents into our CCLCS world. Growing up with the experience of never quite fitting in, I appreciated the sense of belonging at CCLCS.

It’s the people who made coming into work interesting, fun, and satisfying – never boring! I am most proud of the people we hired at CCLCS, they exemplify and share the values that permeate the whole organization – respect, kindness and care – that the jobs we’re doing matter and can make a difference in people’s lives.

I’m grateful to have spent the past 30 years in such good company. I am fortunate to be able to leave CCLCS in hands I trust to lead it to where it needs to go. How lucky can one person get?!

– Dawn Michael, February 2022

Dawn and Bev, CCLCS Co-Directors
Dawn and Bev, CCLCS Co-Directors (now retired)


  1. Great letter Dawn. Well said and thank you for everything you’ve done! I look back fondly at my time learning and teaching at CCLCS. From practicum to teaching LINC or TESL. CCLCS is such a welcoming community. And now I’m lucky to contribute to the website, blog and posts like this. Good luck with retirement!

    • Dawn Michael

      Thank you, Mike. Appreciate your long connection to CCLCS.

  2. Bonnie Choi

    What a nice letter, Dawn. I am so happy to see your beautiful smile here. You are the one of great persons I have met. I had great time to work with you. You always listened, cared and helped. I will not forget what you did for me. Thank you, Dawn. I wish you have great time for you from now on.

    • Dawn Michael

      Oh, Bonnie, Thanks. It was great working with you too.

  3. Paul

    Coming into CCLCS’s downtown site won’t be the same without you there. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a boss who sincerely cares for the people she works with. I always knew that no matter what kind of problem I had, you would be there to listen and help in any way you could. Thank you for all your help over the years. Enjoy your retirement. You’ve certainly earned it.


  4. Dawn Michael

    Thanks, Paul. The caring was mutual and appreciated.

  5. Kirsten

    Dear Dawn,
    Working at CCLCS was such an honour. I so appreciated the honesty and openness you showed everyone you met. I loved your genuine care and desire to help newcomers make a better life for themselves. I feel very lucky to have had you as an employer who listened without judgment and worked tirelessly to make sure everyone at CCLCS felt loved. You will be missed.

  6. Dawn

    Thanks, Kirsten. Employees like you made the job worthwhile and easier.

  7. Dear Dawn,

    It was a great honour to be a student of CCLCS, a superb school run by professional teachers who care deeply for the well-being of their students.

    Although you are leaving this school, the impact you had on the lives of the CCLCS students remains.

    You’ll be missed. Wish you all the best in the next stage of your life. May it be filled with excitement and adventures.

  8. Dawn Michael

    Thank you, Jamileh. Your presence and your art added so much to our CCLCS community.

  9. Tatjana Kasapi

    I am honor to work for great company CCLCS that is guided by strong leader like you Dawn. You provided strong creative management and a commitment to the values of CCLCS. Your genuine care and help impacted everyone. For me personally you are the most extraordinary person, amazing women with beautiful heart and I am privileged to have you director and call you friend.
    Enjoy your retirement with excitement and good health.

    • CCLCS

      Thanks for taking time to write such a great testimonial Tatjana.

    • Dawn

      Thank you for your kind words,Tatjana. My motivation came from working with caring, wonderful people like you. The privilege is mutual.

  10. Ashley Brown

    Dawn, due to COVID, we only got to interact twice in person but I remember you being so kind to me as I joined the Part 2 TESL Program as a tutor. You created a beautiful environment at CCLCS and your warmth as a person really shone through. Thank you for making me feel so welcome! And good luck with all your future plans!

  11. Dawn

    Thanks, Ashley! So glad you joined our “beautiful environment at CCLCS”!

  12. Topika

    ‘A sense of belonging…’ words that aptly describe my experience working at CCLCS and encapsulate who you are Dawn. I miss you. Happy retirement!

  13. Dawn

    Thank you, Topika. We were lucky to have you at CCLCS…miss you too!

  14. Yndira

    Dear Dawn,

    35 years ago, you were my English teacher at the Language Workshop. I remember Tim, Louis, Mike Won with great affection.
    Greetings from Veracruz, México.

    • tim

      Wow! Yndira, this is Tim. And believe it or not, I do remember you as well – you were in my first or second year of teaching. Many good memories. I’ll pass on your kind words to Dawn.

      • Yndira

        Hello Tim,

        You were one of my favorite teachers, you guys marked my life some way and I thank you very much.

        Take care dear Tim.

    • Dawn Michael

      Oh, Yndira, I can’t believe it, but I remember you as well! How lovely to hear from you.
      Warm wishes and all the best to you in Veracruz,

  15. Suzanna

    I only had one interaction with you Dawn, but I was most impressed by your talent, commitment and attitude. Best wishes for the holiday season!

    • Dawn Michael

      Thank you for your kind words and wishes, Suzanna. All the best to you in the year ahead.

  16. Daisy

    Hi, Dawn:
    I was a student in CCLCS in 2019. I remember your smile and support. Happy retirement.
    With appreciation

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