Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) announces the election of Christine S. Beck as chair of its board. The organization has also launched a national search to identify a new executive director to succeed Kelly Hunter, Ed.D, who has accepted a position as Director of Early Development and Learning Resources for the State of Delaware.
Ms. Beck succeeds David J. Bloom, J.D. CFP ®, Wealth Advisor for J.P. Morgan Private Bank, in her new role, and she has been a member of the CLI board of directors since early 2012. Bloom will continue to serve as a member of the board.
Beck is a nationally recognized children’s educator and advocate, civic leader and author. Over an eight-year period ending in 2011, she served as CEO of the Gesu School in north central Philadelphia. Recently she co-authored a book, “Listen to our Voices,” with eight 5th-through-8th-grade students at the school. The book explores the special academic and social challenges facing African-American boys in urban centers. Ms. Beck is also a current board member of Arthur Ashe Learning Center in New York, a founding member and former board member of the Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis Center, and a former board trustee of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School.
“I am delighted to accept the role of chair at CLI,” said Beck. “It is an organization that has played an important role for 25 years in improving the effectiveness of pre-K to third-grade education on a national level, with a special recent emphasis on students in Philadelphia, Chicago, Camden and Newark, N.J. We must tackle the horrendous reality that one million American youth drop out of high school every year. Nothing is more important than early childhood education and literacy.”
Beck continued, “Over the past three years under Kelly Hunter’s leadership, we have emphatically demonstrated the strength of our model and significantly expanded our reach, including the number of participating schools, teachers being coached and students being positively impacted.” In fact, since winning the highly coveted “Investing in Education” federal grant three years ago, CLI has established 38 model schools for high-quality early literacy teaching. Last year, the organization served 124 schools and approximately 24,600 students. In 2013, CLI is serving 149 schools and approximately 27,100 students.
“The successful leadership of Executive Director Kelly Hunter and former board chair David Bloom has created dramatic growth and momentum for CLI,” said Beck. “Their creative commitment has paved the way for CLI to help still more children become competent readers and inspires the board as we move forward to the next era of growth and results.”
Since 1988, Children’s Literacy Initiative has worked with pre-kindergarten through third grade teachers to transform instruction so that children can become powerful readers, writers, and thinkers. CLI’s focus on improving literacy instruction in the early grades is grounded in research: we know that reading proficiently by the end of third grade is key for future success, and that teaching quality has a greater effect on student achievement than any other in-school factor.
CLI provides educators with training and coaching in effective literacy instruction, outfits classrooms with learning materials and children’s books, and extends in-school services through an online professional development portal for educators. To support sustainable change in under-resourced and underperforming schools, the organization establishes CLI Model Classrooms™: concrete examples of expert literacy instruction in action. By building on teachers’ instructional strengths and skills, CLI helps create a sustainable, school-wide culture of literacy that introduces students to the joys of reading, writing, and life-long learning.
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