We are excited to welcome 2018 with our new executive director, Dr. Hollis Pierce Jenkins!
In August 2016, I met a parent and child who had recently moved to Oakland from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The daughter spoke no English and the mother spoke very little. The child was tested in the beginning of the semester. By June of 2017 the student had moved from below basic to proficient. The mother was invested in supporting her child around literacy and enrolled in ESL classes so that both could complete homework together.
On November 22, the day before Thanksgiving, I began my tenure as Executive Director of Super Stars Literacy. It is with gratitude that I have joined an organization that understands the transformative power of introducing children to the written word.
I wish to acknowledge the generosity of the donor and philanthropic community for years of support and consider it a privilege to succeed the Executive Directors, Mike Mowery, Emily Jonas, and Artavia Berry who have come before me. Their work and dedication are appreciated and the relationships that have been established I hope will continue with a renewed sense of devotion to our Super Stars, the children that we serve.
What attracted me to Super Stars Literacy?
As an educator, my favorite grade is 7th. It is during this age that adolescents are entering a ‘rite of passage’ where they begin to question and seek truth. However, nothing is more disheartening than hearing a 7th grader who is reading at a 5th grade level. The tragedy is when you ask the question: “How did you get this far in school without being able to read?”
When I read the Annual Report and the impact of the work that SSL makes on a daily basis, I knew this was the type of organization that I wanted to join. Early literacy intervention and reading recovery is the key to students becoming proficient and fluent readers. The program staff provides literacy support to classroom teachers and after school staff. In addition to supporting teachers, we support parents with tools to make learning how to read a family activity that is FUN. We have an army of support called “volunteers” who are passionate about opening up a brand-new world.
What inspires me?
I understand the importance of education. My father was an educator and my mother, a nurse. They both sacrificed to provide a loving home and quality education. My parents were my first educators and they held high expectations for me. I left the corporate world in pursuit of becoming a teacher. When I became a parent, it was amazing to watch the development every day. I have spent 25 years in K-8 education, either in public, charter, parochial schools or non-profits.
How can you help?
Our students need encouragement, patience, support, hugs and kisses, routines and rituals. The partnership includes classroom teachers, Principals and parents to create a nurturing environment in which the students can embrace the joy of lifelong learning. Our K-2 school community is focused on critical thinking, social-emotional learning and family engagement.
If Silicon Valley is seeking diversity, I invite the Bay Area to support our educational endeavors around literacy. The investment will produce a return on investment of 21st Century Skills. In 13 years, our students will be college bound and ready to be productive, self-aware and disciplined members of society.
Please join us to keep our Super Stars bright with a special donation for the year ahead! Together, we can ensure a new generation receives care, concern and support.
Dr. Hollis Pierce-Jenkins, Executive Director