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"Enhancing literacy levels in the workplace improves bottom-line performance for Canada's employers and gives employees a better chance for success in their

Conference Board of Canada,
The Economic Benefits of Improving Literacy Skills in the Workplace

Centre Appoints New Executive Director

On August 11, Sandra Irving joined the Centre for Family Literacy as our new Executive Director. Sandra recently retired from Edmonton Public Schools after a thirty-four year career as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.

We recently asked Sandra a few questions about her new role as Executive Director of the Centre for Family Literacy:

What led you to apply for the position of Executive Director at the Centre?

When I retired, I knew that I wanted to be engaged in continued learning for myself personally but also in work that would allow me to continue to serve others in some way. When I saw the ad for the position of Executive Director at the Centre for Family Literacy, and subsequently conducted some of my own research, I knew that I had found a place to capitalize on what I already knew and also learn about families and learning from a very different perspective.

How will your background in public education help you in your new role?

Literacy in the most universal forms has been a passion and focus for my entire professional life. As a classroom teacher, I centered all of my instruction around literacy, encouraging deep thinking and inquisitive action. As an elementary school principal I supported classroom teachers in their important work of teaching children to read, write, think, create, problem-solve and communicate.

You have probably seen the popular bumper sticker or t-shirt that says, “If You Can Read This Thank A Teacher!” I would like to add to the bottom, “Thank Your Family and Community As Well”, for truly, success as a learner is not just about success in the classroom. Family literacy really is about ensuring that all children begin at a very early age to be engaged learners and that all families have the tools, skills and resources they need to support their child’s early literacy development.

Working in this field is a perfect fit for me because it takes me beyond my familiar zone of the classroom, out into the important world of family literacy and life-long learning.

You have been “on the job” for almost one month now; what are your first impressions of the Centre?

I am indeed impressed with what I have seen so far. Family Literacy is a complex and multifaceted field that addresses the needs of equally complex and multifaceted families. The Centre’s professional and skilled staff deliver excellent community programs and facilitate training throughout the province.

I was able to spend three weeks with Maureen Sanders, who used that time to teach me a great deal. Her work and vision for quality family literacy programming is awe inspiring and I am humbled to step into the role knowing that she is never further than a phone call away for advice and perspective.


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