University News
For Immediate Release: 
May 02 2001

Concord Prof Makes Full Time Job Out of Volunteer Work

Athens, W.Va. - Beryle C. Santon, a former professor of education at Concord College and director of student teaching and early field experiences, is actively involved in volunteer work that benefits education efforts in Mercer County, West Virginia, and the nation. She volunteers by serving on The West Virginia Reading and Literary Partnership, the West Virginia Department of Education Instructional Materials Advisory Committee, and the Reading for Excellence Program.

The West Virginia Reading and Literary Partnership was established in the spring of 1999. This partnership is primarily concerned with promoting communication, cooperation, and collaboration among state, county, and other literacy agencies. Some of the organizations in this partnership are: Energy Express, Head Start, Gear Up, the Library Commission, and various after school and summer reading programs. The partnership consists of 30 members and is coordinated by Beverly Kingery of the West Virginia Department of Education, and chaired by Mercer County teacher, Millie Lively.

Dr. Santon also serves on the West Virginia Department of Education Instructional Materials Advisory Committee that selects a multiple list of textbooks for county adoption considerations across the state. She receives sample textbooks and ancillary materials from national textbook publishers for evaluation and committee consideration. After making her evaluations, she then donates all the available samples to the Marsh Library at Concord for access by education majors.

Not only is Dr. Santon active on the local level, she has devoted a majority of her time to education issues at the federal level as well. She has been an active participant with the Reading for All Program, which is funded by Reading for Excellence grant. The purpose of the grant is to improve the development of skillful readers, those who can read with ease and interest a variety of materials for pleasure, learning, and analysis. Santon is one of the 37 selected members of a special West Virginia Reading for All, “cadre.” The cadre is a group consisting primarily of practitioners, county office personnel, and higher education representatives that promotes information about literacy and stresses the importance of the seven dimensions of reading. The seven dimensions of reading based on the findings of the National Research Panel Project entitled “Teaching Children to Read” include: phonetic awareness, systematic phonetic instruction, background knowledge and vocabulary, high frequency words and fluency, comprehension, motivation to read, and writing.

Dr. Santon has taught for over 30 years at Concord College, six years in Mercer County, and served as an adjunct at the University of Virginia, The West Virginia College of Graduate Studies, and Bluefield College. She also served as an educational consultant for Worldbook Textbook Company. Dr. Santon is currently an adjunct professor in the education department at Concord, the second vice president for the Concord Alumni Association, member of the Board for Mercer County Read Aloud, scholarship committee chairperson for Zeta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, scholarship committee chairperson for the Mercer County Reading Council, treasurer for the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, secretary for the Bluefield, Virginia Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, and student membership chairperson for the West Virginia Reading Association. She retired in 1999 and when asked about life after work said, “I do not see myself as ‘winding down’ but gearing up for new challenges. I still want to do something purposeful and meaningful to me. The Literacy Partnership and Reading for Excellence cadre are some of the most worthwhile projects in which I have had the honor to participate. They are current, substantive, and have the promise of major positive impact. I believe in the concept of lifelong learning and I am enjoying it.”

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Photo: Dr. Beryle C. Santon

Concord College Notes: Jessica Taylor, a student in Concord College’s English department wrote this press release. Her hometown is Glen White, West Virginia. She is majoring in Writing/ English Education with a minor in Journalism. Her anticipated graduation date is May 2003.

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