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Richardson joins teaching and leadership

Lauren Highfiell, senior in psychology, speaks to Jennifer Richardson, assistant professor in teaching and leadership, about Highfiell’s future plans in human resources. Highfiell is a student helper in the offices at Hughes Hall. Caleb Oswell

Jennifer Richardson has joined the department of teaching and leadership after 25 years working as a reading specialist and literacy coach. Richardson teaches graduate level courses for those desiring to become reading specialists.

“I try to help them incorporate as much of their classroom into the class, so it’s kind of more meaningful for them,” Richarson said. 

Richarson talked about her attraction to her profession.

“I’m just naturally really interested in it, just kind of oriented around reading and writing my

whole life,” Richardson said. “So, to make a profession out of it, I thought ‘Why not do something that you love?’”

Kristie Ford, also a literacy coach from Springfield, is Richardson’s colleague. She explained her

position as a literacy coach.

“I do coaching cycles with teachers, kindergarten through fifth grade on best practices in literacy,

which includes reading, word work, and writing,” Ford said.

Richardson is retiring from her work in Springfield, Missouri’s public schools. She trained

reading specialists and literacy coaches and has worked in the professions herself.

Amada Demster, a fellow literacy coach, is one of Richardson’s former students.

“When I was a classroom teacher, I had a very challenging class my first year in that school where she was my coach,” Demster said. “And she worked with me every step of the way that year. I was able to learn about implementing the literacy model while still trying to manage what has been the most challenging class of kids I have ever encountered.”

Richardson’s first goal as a new faculty member is to get into a writing schedule to publish for the

university.

“That’s my number one goal right now, is to publish and to find a project that I can work on with

my colleagues here,” Richardson said.

Richardson was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri. She is married to her husband Price and

has two daughters. She also holds a PhD from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“She is very analytical, she is slow to speak but she’s very thoughtful, thoughtful in her words and

her actions,” Ford said.

Richardson also said she is “adapting well” to Pitt State.

“I’ve just really found my transition from a K-12 district, the public school, to Pitt State,”

Richardson said. “It’s been a really, really great transition. I feel really well supported by the department

here, the dean, the chair, and my new friends here. Sometimes you know you’ve made a really great

decision because it keeps being reinforced every day.”

Demster believes that Richardson will be an asset to the teaching and leadership program.

“You guys gained a very powerful asset to your team, she will bring a lot of knowledge to the table

for preservice teachers, graduate students, and everyone who gets a chance to be in her presence,” Demster said.

Ford had the same idea about Richardson.

“You’ve got yourselves a good professor, she is going to be an asset to your building and your

college and students, both traditional and non-traditional, so good for y’all.”

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