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New CE Dean follows values, lands at NLC

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If there’s one thing Chante Patterson-Elden is passionate about, it’s community.

The new Dean of Continuing Education for Northern Lights College (NLC) was born and raised in Dawson Creek and has served the community for over 30 years.

“I get to learn at the same time as creating something within the institution,” she says. “I’m not coming in thinking I know everything about the institution, because I don’t, but it’s a very exciting opportunity for me to create excitement and innovation.”

Chante earned diplomas in early childhood education and recreation leadership from Langara College, which led to working for the City of Richmond. During her time there, she had to opportunity to go to Switzerland for seven months to coach figure skating.

However, the Peace Region eventually called her home, and she took a position with the City of Dawson Creek in the recreation department before working her way up and taking over as the recreation manager.

During her tenure with the City, Chante joined the Northern Lights College Foundation board as a director and learned about all the different ways the foundation helps potential and current students. It was during a presentation by NLC President Todd Bondaroff that Chante really discovered that her values aligned with the college.

“The thing that really works for me is when you understand the mission, vision, and the strategic plan, and when you align with that, it’s really exciting.”

A few years ago, she decided to go for her Master of Arts Degree in Leadership and said it changed her whole perspective on life and herself.

“What a change in my life it made in just taking that education, understanding more about myself and how important education was in lifelong learning,” she said.

She had just become general manager of the City of Dawson Creek, which she called her ‘dream job’, but when she saw the posting for Dean of Continuing Education, she knew she had to put her name in the ring.

“[With CE] you bring that programming in, you connect people, you connect community, you connect the students and the programming,” she says, adding that earning her master’s degree “changed my mindset about learning new things and about learning technology and being innovative, and I just connected with that idea of Continuing Education.”

Through her work with the City, she developed recreation programs for all age groups, from children to adults, which she feels is very similar to what CE does for NLC. She looks forward to working with the other CE staff and helping the department reach its full potential.

“Being able to bring programming to people like me, or people that maybe only had a Grade 12 education, that’s where continuing education can help those people and help us look and learn and thrive in what we do and build our skills.”