Sitemap Privacy Policy

Ruth Hayden Memorial Family Literacy Practitioner Award

The Centre for Family Literacy established the Ruth Hayden Memorial Family Literacy Practitioner Award to recognize the accomplishments of individual practitioners in the family literacy field.

The late Dr. Ruth Hayden was an influential leader in the areas of emergent and family literacy in Alberta. Ruth worked tirelessly to advance the field of family literacy in Alberta and beyond.

Dr. Ruth, as those in the field knew her, spent many hours researching, developing and evaluating family literacy programs. She developed numerous training manuals for the Centre for Family Literacy and co-authored many resources used in the family literacy field and in other disciplines as well. Dr. Hayden was instrumental in building community capacity across the province.

Dr. Hayden spent a great deal of time training front-line practitioners across the province, as well as mentoring and coaching policy-makers and funders. She shared her deep knowledge and helped others build the principles of family literacy into their everyday practice. She also instilled the importance of working with the whole family in her dealings with practitioners, funders and community members. She believed that parents, given the right support and strategies, could be more confident in their role as their child's first teacher.

Dr. Hayden further believed that family literacy is as much about adult literacy and learning as it is about early and emergent literacy. She saw family literacy as an opportunity to re-engage parents in their own learning environments, where they see themselves as competent learners who can better their own lives, that of their families and their communities.

Award Description

The Ruth Hayden Memorial Family Literacy Practitioner Award will be presented to an individual who has excelled in the field of family literacy, maintained a high quality of service to participants in their programs and the community and shown a commitment to their own learning.

The award is presented each year at the Literacy and Learning Symposium in October.


To be eligible, the nominee must be at least 18 years of age, be a resident of Alberta, consent to their nomination and not have been a previous recipient of the award. The nominee must have at least two years experience working with families in addressing the literacy needs of the family.

Congratulations to our Annual Award Winners!

2019: Kimberly Cairns

Kimberly Cairns, of Grande Prairie Council for Lifelong Learning, has been a strong advocate for family literacy. She connects with other agencies and literacy leaders in her community and surrounding areas to establish meaningful partnerships and works collaboratively to provide programs, events and ongoing discussions to meet learner needs.

She has implemented best practices that inform planning, delivery and evaluation of programs. She recognizes the family as a learning unit and supports parents as they develop literacy skills in programs. She recognizes the importance of connecting and building relationships with families to make them feel welcome in programs.

She continues to build her own knowledge through workshops related to Family and Adult literacy. This year, she successfully completed the Family Literacy Facilitation Certificate from Conestoga College. She worked tirelessly to achieve this and implement her learnings in program delivery.

2018: Monique Sedlar

Monique has been a leader in family literacy for 15 years in her community. She has an understanding and passion for family literacy that is evident to everyone who has ever been in a program with her at the Rocky Learning Centre. She works hard to promote collaboration and inclusion.

During her programs she is known for giving out a question or task to take home for the week, and then talking about it at the next class. These activities developed peer support, learning, and friendships for the adults, and strengthened home relationships as they were often used as dinner conversations – becoming an integral part of the family’s daily life. One participant described Monique as “making every moment of family literacy memorable for both children and parents. She has continually linked individuals to lifelong learning with her creative and resourceful approach to facilitation.”

As a coordinator, she has worked hard to ensure facilitators are better able to create connections from a “kids program” to adults developing a love of learning, and modelling that in their daily lives. She is described as a forward thinker and always looking to see where family literacy can go next.

2017: Sue Stegmeier

Sue’s understanding of the field of Family Literacy is outstanding, and she possesses many of the attributes that Dr. Hayden herself was known for.

As a community connector, Sue is committed to building awareness of both family and adult literacy, and has been instrumental in launching several literacy programs in her community. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Literacy for Life Foundation, which has a strong awareness component with both events and social media. She also connects those in her community to the awareness of literacy by sitting on a variety of committees, and has worked towards having family literacy recognized by Alberta Advanced Education as a means of addressing adult learning.

A quote from Sue that sums it up: “I believe we have to teach people how to learn and provide them with the skills to reach their potential – whatever that may be.” Sue is as passionate about her own learning as she is about the adults and families she engages with.

2016: Wendy Peverett

Wendy Peverett is Program Manager and Literacy Links Coordinator at the Centre for Family Literacy. Previously she also held the position of Edmonton and Area Region Coordinator for the Provincial Family Literacy Regional Network.

Wendy is the personification of what family literacy represents. She understands the important role that families play in supporting a learning environment. Wendy has shared her knowledge and passion with practitioners and families for over 15 years.

Committed to life long learning, Wendy looks for opportunities to increase her knowledge of innovations in the field and integrates them into her programs and training. She is a great collaborator, always looking for ways to involve others in any efforts to build capacity, awareness and knowledge of the field.

In the words of Wendy’s nominator, Donna Arnold, “I know that Dr. Ruth would be smiling and proud to have Wendy win this award.”

2015: Donna Arnold

Donna Arnold is the Executive Director of the Henday Association for Lifelong Learning in Innisfail, Alberta. Until recently, she also was the Central Alberta Family Literacy Regional Network Coordinator for the Centre for Family Literacy (CFL) and the Region 5 Co-Regional Resource Leader for the Community Learning Network (CLN).

Donna’s commitment to family literacy is seen in her innovative approach to programming. She and her team developed a number of Storysacks (a large cloth bag with a good children’s book and lots of activities to bring reading to life) that are being used in the health centre, doctors’ offices and libraries in her community.

Donna’s open and caring nature makes her an excellent trainer and facilitator. She loves sharing her passion for family literacy and collaborating with groups and organizations to build capacity in her community. Like Dr. Hayden, Donna Arnold works tirelessly to advance the field of family literacy.

2014: Lil Radley (first annual award winner)

Lil is the Literacy Services Coordinator at the Lethbridge Public Library. Ms. Radley’s commitment to literacy in the Lethbridge community is demonstrated in the Read On program she administers. With the help of countless volunteer tutors and library staff, Read On has achieved great success for families, immigrants and individuals facing barriers.

“Family Literacy is powerful … A climate of love of learning, and the fun of learning becomes the norm in so many families. These achievements will never make headlines. But they should as they are huge!” said Ms. Radley upon hearing she had received the award.

11642 142 St NW  Edmonton AB  T5M 1V4
780.421.7323 | Fax 780.421.7324