BOONE — A $2 million gift from the CD Spangler Foundation established the Spangler Distinguished Professorship in Early Childhood Literacy at Appalachian State University, the first appointed chair at the App State’s Reich College of Education.
The new chair is part of an $8 million donation from the Spangler Foundation, divided equally among four institutions in the University of North Carolina system, to support the acquisition of reading skills by children in North Carolina. North. The Chairs are designed to recruit and retain nationally recognized scholars who will support the training of future teachers and in-service teachers while preparing future teachers of literacy.
App State’s Board of Directors approved the creation of the Distinguished Chair last month.
“App State has a strong tradition of preparing educators to lead and serve, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to recognize the promise that every student has,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. “This commitment is carried by educators who teach in classrooms across the state and nation.”
Everts thanked the foundation and its director, Anna Spangler Nelson, for their investment in children and educators.
“North Carolina’s already extremely low reading proficiency levels have declined further during the pandemic,” said Nelson, who also serves on the UNC board of governors. She continued, “Our investment in this work is intended to increase the importance of early childhood literacy throughout North Carolina, improve the preparation of our teachers, and recognize our shared responsibility to do better for our children and their future.”
App State’s Distinguished Professor will be assigned to the Reich College of Education’s Department of Reading and Special Education, and a nationwide search will be conducted to fill the position.
Emeritus Professor Spangler:
- Develop scalable programs to prepare future teachers for evidence-based practices in reading instruction.
- Preparing future teachers for positions in early literacy in colleges of education.
- Teach and conduct research in the college’s educator preparation programs to advance the field and establish a strong presence for the Reich College of Education in the state and nation as a leader in reading instruction .
- Work with school leaders through university-school partnerships to design and deliver high-quality professional development for teachers that will significantly improve schools’ ability to use evidence-based practices in teaching reading .
- Engage in and strengthen collaboration with other educator preparation programs in North Carolina as a community of literacy champions to share effective, evidence-based literacy practices for teacher candidates and teachers. practicing teachers across the state.
- Enhance grantmaking and research capacity for evidence-based practices in literacy education through independent and networked programs and projects.
Reich College of Education Dean Melba Spooner said the Spangler Emeritus Professorship will build on existing efforts to prepare teacher candidates using evidence-based practices in teaching reading, conducting research and collaborating with school partners and others across the state and the UNC system.
“Our teachers are innovators and have demonstrated strong leadership in the area of literacy and teacher education, and this speaks to this focus on leadership and commitment at the state and of the system,” Spooner said.
The late President CD Spangler Jr., who served the UNC system from 1986 to 1997, believed that literacy was the key to economic and social progress for all North Carolina residents.
“It is extremely important that the University accept responsibility for eliminating crippling illiteracy among our people,” Spangler said during his inaugural address. “It is not only cruel for us to allow illiteracy to exist, it is also reckless. Productivity, no matter how you measure it or for what purpose, is not possible without literate people. Because these teachers stretch across the state and into every home, I can’t imagine a more appropriate effort for the University.
Spangler Distinguished Professorships have also been established at Eastern Carolina University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and UNC Charlotte.