Why Essex? Children’s Preschool & Enrichment Center (CPEC)

Interview with Karen Gray, Owner

Karen Gray has been the owner and operator of CPEC since 1987.  She first began her business in a building in Essex Center and moved after 14 months to the First Congregational Church in Essex Junction.  In those 32 years, CPEC has become somewhat of an institution in Essex, with generations of families sending their children through the program.  Over one-thousand local families can say that they have had their children’s lives touched by CPEC.  However, all good things must come to an end, and Karen will retire at the end of this school year and is hoping to sell her business.

Karen has yet to find a buyer for her business, and I asked her what her advice would be for anyone interested in going into the field of early childhood education management.  She said that it is a constant balance of love for children and families, knowing that you are providing a service to the community, a keen business sense and the ability to meet state regulations.       

When I asked Karen what her favorite part of her job was, she told me that she had two: the relationships that she has developed with her co-workers and the humor at some of the things that the children in her care have said over the years.  She also wanted to express her gratitude for the number of families who have trusted their children in her care over the past 32 years, and the expertise, energy, and love that her staff has provided for the CPEC students. 

If you would like to learn more about CPEC, please visit: https://childrenspreschoolessexjunction.com/.

Why Essex? “We moved to Essex for the excellent school system.  I have three boys who went through the school system.” –Karen Gray

Why Essex? is a weekly(ish) column highlighting the people and places that make Essex an interesting and special place. Have an idea for the column? E-mail Darby Mayville at darby@ essexjunction.org.

Photo Credits: CPEC