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UW Literacy Research Center and Clinic Appoints New Executive Director

May 3, 2021
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Amy Spiker

Amy Spiker has been selected as the new executive director of the University of Wyoming Literacy Research Center and Clinic (LRCC). She will assume this new role July 1 and is scheduled to serve for four years.

Spiker, a senior lecturer in the UW School of Teacher Education, will replace Dana Robertson, who decided to step down from the position last December after nearly six years leading the center.

“Serving as the executive director of the LRCC combines my experiences and passion for literacy instruction and teacher support with a clear focus on supporting K-12 literacy education in Wyoming,” Spiker says. “I will work with, and learn from, the amazing educators we have in our state to collaboratively create successful literacy education for all students.”

As executive director, Spiker will work with partners at UW, the state’s public schools, government organizations and policymakers to carry out the LRCC’s strategic plan. This work focuses on supporting K-12 students in literacy growth through support in the clinic; empowering current K-12 teachers through professional development; and designing and conducting research to support the advancement of literacy practices.

“Dr. Spiker brings a wealth of experience to her new role as LRCC director. She is deeply interested in current literacy research and best practices, and she shows that passion in her efforts for UW and the state,” says Andrea Burrows, associate dean for undergraduate programs and professor in the College of Education, who chaired the search committee. “We are fortunate that she is taking on this new responsibility and plans to continue positioning the LRCC as the leader in literacy education research and outreach experiences.”

Spiker has been a longtime member of the UW family, having earned her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education at UW in 1989. She went on to earn her master’s degree in teaching and learning with a literacy emphasis in 2004, and her Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction in 2013.

Her professional role at UW began in 2007, and she has served as an instructor in the School of Teacher Education since. Spiker is a regarded scholar and researcher, who also has served in various leadership roles at UW, including elementary education program coordinator, associate department head of elementary and early childhood, and assistant director of the School of Teacher Education.

Spiker has received numerous honors and awards during her tenure at UW, including the 2020-21 Faculty Fellow of Distance Courses by Academic Affairs; the Ellbogen Meritorious Teaching Award; the Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching; the Mortar Board “Top Prof” Award; and the UW Women of Distinction Award. In 2019, Spiker earned her national board certification in teaching literacy.

“I am honored to be part of literacy and literacy education in Wyoming during this current era,” she says. “As a state, we are studying the body of research that helps us understand how students learn to read and write, and are working to best translate this body of research into classroom practice. I hope to support and empower teachers to make the changes that will best meet K-12 student needs in our state.”

Collaboration has been instrumental to the success of the outreach projects the LRCC has undertaken during Robertson’s tenure. These projects include conducting school-based literacy needs assessments; establishing long-term professional development partnerships in schools and other centers; supporting the revitalization of Northern Arapaho language and culture; supporting the early literacy expertise of birth-5 educators; developing self-paced literacy professional development modules for school administrators; and designing Alexa skills focused on understanding dyslexia.

“My time as executive director has been a tremendous opportunity that both shaped who I am as an academic as well as influenced literacy teaching and learning statewide,” Robertson says. “Serving through an outreach mission has solidified in me the importance of building relationships with partners and the importance of collaboration.”

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