Madison County Reads Ahead: Truett Named New Program Coordinator

(Madison County, NY – Nov. 2012) Madison County is fortunate to have lifetime local resident Tara Truett step up to lead Madison County Reads Ahead program. Pat Graham stepped down in September after a very successful tenure. Both she and past Program Coordinator Morris Atwood agree that Tara is perfect for the job. The transition has been seamless.

Madison County Reads Ahead is a grant funded countywide organization. It is the sole provider for free one-on-one ABE/GRE/ESL tutoring of adults by a core of literacy volunteers.

MCRA grew out of 2003 outreach efforts at the Oneida Public Library.

In 2006 with CNY Community Foundation funding and Atwood’s leadership, the MCRA grew across the county. Public Libraries across the county bought into the program, funding their own local coordinators and offering space and technology for tutoring.

Currently, Oneida, Canastota, Chittenango, Bridgeport, Cazenovia, Morrisville and Hamilton are supporting five local coordinators. MCRA has 102 tutors and 77 students. In 2011-12, 36 GEDs were successfully completed.

Working closely with each of the several Local Coordinators, Truett’s new role as Program Coordinator involves central administration, tutor training, performance management and fund development.

Just like her predecessor, Truett understands not only teaching and supervision but has a deep understanding of the challenges that face county families and children. She brings MCRA more than 30 years of education experience. She spent 20 years as a special education teacher and administrator in Hamilton. She also taught GED through Madison-Oneida BOCES for 10 years and served as the Education Coordinator for Madison County Head Start.

Retired since 2011, Truett is excited to return to education and looks forward to working with the communities of committed tutors and learners.

“Until I became a part of Reads Ahead, I never knew the extent of the caring, hardworking people who give of their time and talents to help those seeking to improve their lives and the lives of their families,” Truett said.

“Her experiences and skills are exactly what is needed to continue the program’s core mission and help lead it into new areas,” said Jay Dunn, Executive Director of the Madison County Literacy Coalition.

The Literacy Coalition is working with Reads Ahead to both expand the areas covered and expand the services offered.

Dunn works closely with MCRA to fit their mission into the bigger picture of countywide literacy. For example, along with past coordinator, Graham, Dunn met with community leaders in DeRuyter who agreed to begin hosting tutors and finding a local coordinator. Truett continues this expansion. She made contacts in Georgetown and New Woodstock to begin MCRA’s one-to-one ABE/GRE/ESL work at these sites.

Truett reports that Mark Thall, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Brookfield, enthusiastically supports MCRA and its desire to reach adult learners in his area. Thall has agreed to house this program for Brookfield area residents.

While leading those initiatives, Truett is working with Colgate University. Colgate has expressed interest in working with MCRA to test some new CAI (computer assisted instruction) materials with Madison County Reads Ahead’s ESL tutors and students. There are currently 12 ESL students (speaking Russian, Spanish, Bisayan Tagalog, Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Thai) receiving help in Oneida, Cazenovia, Hamilton, and Morrisville.

MCRA’s mission is expanding. MCRA’s successful infrastructure is an integral part of the MCLC’s plans that won recognition as a national finalist in the 2012 All-American City Grade Level Reading Campaign.

As a national finalist with the Grade Level Reading Network, the Literacy Coalition was able to formally team with Rural Literacy Coalitions in Texas and California to pilot the implementation of a rural family literacy program designed expressly for us by the National Center for Family Literacy.

Truett’s leadership of the Adult /Parent Education component for family literacy will be critical to the success of this new initiative.

Truett discovered her new job on the first ever MCLC Facebook page. That page was created because the coalition was able to secure the services of a Colgate Upstate Institute Field School Fellow, Jayne Tamboia, over the summer.

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