As I begin my year as president of the North Carolina Reading Association, it is my hope that you are as excited as I am by the momentum and progress we have made in our organization. We are moving forward and working as a team to continue to bring excitement to the Association. For example, to connect with our members, we are using a variety of methods, and to others interested in literacy, the internet. While some correspondence may still be mailed on a very limited basis and phones will still RING, this year we will use primarily Facebook, blogs, and our website to communicate and disseminate information. Those interested in getting new information as quickly as possible can even subscribe to receive automatic blog updates via email. Thanks to Sandy Cook’s leadership, support from other NCRA leaders, and expert website designers, the new website is up and running!
As further evidence of NCRA leadership efforts to move forward, the bylaws were revised updated, presented to the executive board, and approved during the Delegates Assembly in March. Guided by membership team leaders Mary Jo Floyd and Jane Kline, a plan is being developed to help councils increase membership. Our new treasurer, Ken Sheldon, is knowledgeable and will be able to help councils better understand IRS requirements for non-profit organizations. State Coordinator Barb Falkenbury will be working to help new councils become established and recruit new members. President-elect Jeanne Swafford will coordinate our Project Grant initiative.
In an effort to keep members informed of actions and decisions made by the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, a co-chair has been named for EACH STANDING board committee . The intent is to ensure that at least one of the co-chairs will be able to attend scheduled board meetings and offer input on decisions that impact our membership.
A Word about the 2013 Leadership Conference
Enhanced membership engagement and leadership development at all levels were the key themes of the 2013 Leadership Conference. More than 70 NCRA members attended the two-day institute, held June 18 -20 at the High Point Plaza Hotel. The conference began with an energizing icebreaker that helped participants get to know one another. Throughout the conference, attendees participated in small-group discussions, breakout sessions, and team-building exercises and heard expert presentations – and some even managed to have a bit of fun and shop as well! Feedback from the evaluations and comments from participants were overwhelmingly positive. Comments included phrases such as, “well planned,” “smooth and orderly,” and “breakout sessions extremely helpful.”
Session presenters and facilitators included Barbara Falkenbury, Ken Sheldon, Mary Jo Floyd, Jeanne Swafford, Jane Kline, Jean House and Anita Stack, Tonnye Fletcher (Young Authors), Catherine Massengale (Parents in Reading), Ava Bevins (Bylaws), Rosemary Enos (Teachers as Readers & Nominations), Sue Harrison (Area Director), Sandy Cook (Communications & Scholarships), Shane Fletcher (Facebook) , and Marsha Lewis (Legislative).
Other highlights included recognizing and awarding certificates to Honor Councils and milestone councils, awarding presidents’ pins to new council presidents, and hearing a presentation by Lt. Governor Dan Forest.
The planning team – Barbara Falkenbury, (State Coordinator), Jeanne Swafford, (President-elect), Jane Kline (Vice-president), and Treana A. Bowling (President) – thanks you for participating in the 2013 Leadership Conference. Our hope is that attendees left the conference with new information on how to enhance council programs, but also with some real food for thought on increasing membership in local councils. The enthusiasm attendees exhibited for their council programs and the desire to improve councils were very gratifying.
Heads Up on 2014 NC Reading Conference
Finally, I personally hope you will mark your calendar now to attend our annual North Carolina Reading Association Conference, March 16-18, 2014 in Raleigh, NC. Jean House, Anita Stack (conference planners) and the conference committee, including Tommy Johnson, and David Wagner (exhibits coordinators) are busy working to make sure our conference is the most intellectually stimulating and exciting event you will attend in 2014! Confirmed speakers include Nell Duke, Richard Peck, Jacqueline Woodson, Christopher Lehman, Jane Feber, Jennifer Jones, Lois Huffman, Dr. Kimberly Pemberton, and many more! On March 15, the day before the conference begins, NCRA will host the state Young Authors celebration at the Raleigh Convention Center. Please encourage your local council members to get their schools to participate in the Young Authors competition.
Thanks to all of you for making a difference. Please reach out to me if there are ways you are willing to help move NCRA and its local councils forward to the next level.
– Treana Bowling, 2013 NCRA President