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A Celebration of Literacy

Knox County Schools and the UT Literacy Specialist Program Celebrate Literacy Leaders
Photo of the Literacy Specialist graduates and faculty. They are in front of a balloon sculpture and all are smiling in the photo. The group is made of women and they are smiling for the photo.

Knox County teachers and mentors from CEHHS and Knox County Schools celebrate the completion of the Literacy Specialist Program

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Literacy Specialist Program—housed in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences’ (CEHHS) Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education—recently celebrated the courses’ completion of its Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 teachers at the Knox County Reading Center. The two cohorts of Knox County Schools (KCS) educators began the Literacy Specialist Program in the Spring and Summer of 2022.

These cohorts was forged through a partnership between the UT Literacy Specialist Program, led by Zoi Philippakos, and KCS, with the leadership of Shannon Jackson, Erin Phillips, and the strong mentorship and guidance of Janet Sexton. It resulted in the identification of 26 teachers who could serve as literacy leaders within their buildings, classrooms, and district. This is a long-term partnership, with two more cohorts of 25 teachers who will be graduating from the program in the summer of 2024, that solidifies KCS’ strong literacy goal of supporting all of its students in reaching their literacy potential and becoming strong readers and writers.

Phillips encouraged the graduates to be leaders and think about the literacy difference they will and can make in their classrooms, their buildings, and their community. Further, Philippakos shared that this partnership is indicative of the strong collaborations that UT has with Knox County schools and the partnerships it seeks with Tennessee districts to reach the goal of achieving literacy for all.

“Literacy is a human right,” said Philippakos, “and we are working together to achieve it for every learner in our community!”

You can view photos of the ceremony and award winners on Flickr.