Monday, January 8, 2024

The Iowa Reading Research Center Advisory Council has elected a new chair and gained two new members. 

After being appointed to the advisory council in 2022, Mindy VanZuiden has been elected by the council to serve as its chair. During her one-year term, VanZuiden will work with the IRRC’s director to prepare and preside over council meetings.

VanZuiden is an educator with nearly two decades of experience in the field. She used her expertise to found Tutorburg, a literacy tutoring program geared towards supporting students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning disabilities. In addition to serving as the chair of the IRRC Advisory Council, she is a member of the Decoding Dyslexia Iowa Board of Directors, a board member of Step by Step Dyslexia Solutions, and a dyslexia specialist with the Mid-Prairie Homeschool Assistance Program.

Additionally, the Iowa Department of Education has appointed two new members to the IRRC Advisory Council: Superintendent Stacey Cole of the Storm Lake Community School District and Superintendent Dr. Erick Pruitt of the Ankeny Community School District.

Prior to becoming the Storm Lake superintendent in 2018, Cole was the director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment at Fort Dodge Community Schools and a special education teacher at Schaller-Crestland. Last October, Cole was named the 2023-24 Iowa Superintendent of the Year by the School Administrators of Iowa.

Dr. Erick Pruitt has served as the superintendent of the Ankeny Community School District since 2021. Previously, he worked for Chicago Public Schools as the deputy chief of high schools. He comes to the IRRC Advisory Council with over two decades of teaching and administration experience.

With VanZuiden at the head, these new members join the council in representing the voices of IRRC stakeholders, staying abreast on literacy research, and reviewing and recommending projects to the Iowa Department of Education. Looking ahead, the advisory council will hold an election for the council’s vice-chair position during its next meeting.