by Susan Piazza and A. Celeste Shelton-Harris
In October 2012, Dr. Celeste Harris, Principal at Portage Northern Middle School; Dr. Nancy Jaskiw, Educational Psychologist at Portage Northern Middle School; and, Dr. Susan Piazza, Associate Professor of Literacy Studies at Western Michigan University kicked-off the beginning of a new regional reading council on behalf of the International Reading Association/Michigan Reading Association. Special guest speaker, Dr. Patricia A. Edwards, Distinguished Professor of Language and Literacy at Michigan State University gave the keynote address and talked about the importance of service to education, specifically literacy.
Dr. Edwards shared stories of her many years of service from the time she taught a Saturday reading school in her backyard to the time she served as the 2010-2011 President of the International Reading Association (IRA). Dr. Edwards was elected into the Reading Hall of Fame for her lifelong efforts to improve literacy, particularly in regards to the role of families and parent involvement. She was the first African American President of the Literacy Research Association (formerly National Reading Conference), which is the largest literacy research organization. She is known for her exemplary teaching, as she is able to connect research to practical ideas for classroom teachers. Dr. Edwards’ three most recent books were a hit with the audience and she was available for signing after the presentation.
Michigan Reading Association board members, Celeste Harris and Susan Piazza, solicited nominations for leadership positions in the new regional reading council. Approximately forty people turned out for the event at WMU’s Fetzer Center and there were plenty of nominations for leaders in the new organization. Dr. Nancy Jaskiw was nominated to serve as the organizations first president. The group is looking forward to meeting approximately four times per year with the mission of networking with other literacy leaders, keeping up with current policies and research, and sharing ideas and passion for our students’ success in language and literacy.
Please contact Dr. Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Piazza at email@example.com if you are interested in participating or attending our next meeting.
L to R: Nancy Jaskiw, Patricia Edwards, Susan Piazza, and Celeste Harris