PB School District teacher named 2012 ARA Educator of the Year in literacy


A Pine Bluff School District teacher was recently named the 2012 Arkansas Reading Association State Educator of the Year in literacy.

Margie Nanak, library media specialist at Southwood Elementary, was presented the state award by ARA president, Paula Findley, at the ARA Literacy Awards luncheon held recently at Embassy Suites in Little Rock.

The Jefferson County Reading Council (JCRC) nominated Nanak, who is the council’s director of membership and community literacy projects chair. She is the ARA community project committee chair and serves on the Charlie May Simon children’s book award selection committee.

“Ms. Nanak’s passion for sharing the joy of reading is responsible for putting books in the homes of hundreds of children in Jefferson County and across Arkansas, “ said Susan Bitely, past JCRC president. “Her motivational spirit inspires fellow educators to reach beyond the classroom and become actively involved in reading projects that reach the community and beyond.”

JCRC Community projects initiated by Nanak include,“Booster Book Bags” distribution at the Jefferson County Health Department and “Read-to-Me “book bags for (ACCESS), a young teenage mothers outreach program. She also organized a supply and educational materials drive for a French school in Haiti.

Nanak wrote and received a Laura Bush Library Foundation grant and a Dollar General grant that provided additional books for Southwood Elementary Library.

Nanak is a National Board Certified Teacher and volunteers as a NBCT candidate support provider. She received her master of education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 2003 and has library media and reading specialist endorsements.

“Margie can’t wait to share her innovative ideas for getting her students to read. She relishes the opportunity to share their success stories with others,” said Jeannine Shirley, JCRC member and NBCT.

Other state literacy awards were presented to Carol Braziel, Community Leader in Literacy Award winner, and Rotary Club of Blytheville, Agency in Literacy Award winner.

Nanak is the third ARA State Educator in Literacy winner from Jefferson County Reading Council.

Other recipients are Dorothy Pollett (2010) and Bitely (2009).

The ARA is an affiliate of the International Reading Association.