Susan Keehn
Susan Keehn

UTSA Spotlight: Associate Professor Susan Keehn wins International Reading Association's Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award

By Margie Bell
Education Relations Specialist, International Reading Association

(June 12, 2008)--Susan Keehn, UTSA associate professor of interdisciplinary learning and teaching, is the recipient of the International Reading Association (IRA) Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award. IRA presented the award at their 53rd annual convention May 4-8, where nearly 20,000 reading educators converged in Atlanta.

Keehn also recently received the 2008 Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award at the Faculty Honors Convocation; the award recognizes excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level.

The IRA award, which includes a gift of $1,000, honors outstanding college or university teachers of reading methods or reading-related courses. Nominees must be association members affiliated with a college or a university and engaged in teacher preparation in reading at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Keehn earned her Ph.D. in language and literacy studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She researches and publishes in the areas of teacher education, literacy acquisition and reading fluency.

Keehn began her teaching career in a Peace Corps assignment in Chile in 1973. After teaching in California and Colorado, she returned in 1980 to her native Seguin, Texas, where she taught kindergarten at the Lizzie M. Burges campus and second grade at Jefferson Avenue Elementary. In 1988, she was named Texas Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association for the Education of the Young Child. In 2002, UTSA recognized Keehn's outstanding teaching with the President's Distinguished Achievement Award.

At UTSA, she teaches undergraduate courses in early literacy and reading problems and graduate courses for teachers pursuing reading specialist certification. Her undergraduate and graduate courses are field-based in school settings or at the UTSA Reading Place: Plaza de Lectura that serves San Antonio's inner-city families. Additionally, Keehn is a literacy consultant with the Critical Reading Strategies (CREST) project, which centers on a professional development model for reading teachers.

"Because teaching is not telling, talking about best practices and exemplary teachers is inadequate," Keehn wrote. "I must show them exemplary teaching and inspire in them a desire for excellence."

Her students attest to her passion, enthusiasm and high expectations.

Since 1956, the International Reading Association, a community of professionals with nearly 85,000 members in 100 countries, has promoted higher achievement levels in literacy, reading and communication by advancing the quality of instruction worldwide.

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