Educator honored at literacy summit

Blount County resident Mitchie Neel was honored Monday, Nov. 30, at The Literacy Council’s annual literacy summit at The Harbert Center in Birmingham. She was honored in the category of children’s and family literacy.

Neel retired from the Blount County education system in 2008 after 31 years as a teacher (20 years) and curriculum coordinator (11 years). Among her successful efforts were the implementation of summer read and summer academy, which are highly productive programs to provide intervention opportunities for approximately 200 at-risk students each year. She also led implementation of the Alabama reading initiative in Blount County schools, seeing the DIBELS percent at benchmark increase from 46 percent in 2004 to 87 percent in 2009.

Currently Neel serves as part-time executive director of the Blount County Education Foundation and actively seeks grant opportunities to enhance literacy efforts for the county’s board of education and education foundation.

More than 300 business and community leaders attended The Literacy Council summit to recognize and honor those who made significant contributions toward improving literacy. The council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing illiteracy in Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, and Walker counties. Its efforts include providing resources and referrals by maintaining a toll-free Literacy Helpline which serves as a primary point of contact for individuals seeking literacy assistance. Other council efforts include training literacy tutors and conducting public awareness campaigns to keep the crisis of illiteracy in the public eye.