ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT OF THE YEAR
Karen Dykema (West Ottawa) is a graduate of West Ottawa High School. For the past 27 years, Karen has served as the West Ottawa athletic administrative assistant, spanning three athletic directors during that time. Beginning her career at the original high school facility, Karen oversaw the building of the new high school and athletic facilities and the recent construction of West Ottawa Stadium, which opened in 2022.
Kristine Jernigan, principal at West Ottawa High School, writes, “There is nothing that I would not trust Karen to coordinate, organize or handle. She is compassionate, hardworking, thorough and invested in the community and student-athletes of West Ottawa High School. The role of athletic administrative assistant is truly a job without description; athletic assistants do whatever needs to be done – whenever and wherever that may be. Karen does a beautiful job of seeing need and then filling that need, in every situation.” On a daily basis, Karen can be seen filling a number of different roles, including – but not limited to – ticket manager, payroll expert, transportation logistics specialist, department budget manager, award coordinator, purchasing expert and human resources contact. She serves as a mentor to administrative assistants in west Michigan and in the Ottawa-Kent Conference.
Lacy and Jim Otteman, West Ottawa superfans and employees, had this to say: “Karen is consistently prepared and continues to go above and beyond what is asked of her as an administrative assistant. She isn't just the woman who answers the phone or the door; she is the mom and sister to the department. Student-athletes know they can come to her for loving (hard truth) counsel, coaches can count on her to handle whatever is thrown her way and patrons recognize her friendly smile and expertise at the doors of all athletic events.”
Karen is married to Randy and they have children, Bryan and Katie, and four grandchildren.
PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS OF THE YEAR
2018 Brenda Greear, Carlson
2019 Anna Devitt, Hartland
2020 Sue Jaques, Mattawan
2021 Elizabeth Wilson, Saugatuck
2022 JoEllen Smith, Owosso