Our Adult Literacy Initiative Lays the Groundwork for a Better Nashville
If you haven’t “figured it out” by the time you reach adulthood, is it too late to pursue your dreams? Does phasing out of childhood mean that whatever skills you have are the ones you’re stuck with, and you’ll never be able to grasp anything new?
If you ask Lisa LeMaster, Manager of the Nashville Adult Literacy Council (NALC)’s Antioch site, the answer is a firm, resounding “no.” And she’s made it her mission to prove her statement right.
Last Friday, April 9, during the 6th annual Adult Education Spring Summit, the team at Nashville Public Library’s (NPL) Adult Literacy initiative recognized LeMaster as the Adult Educator of the Year for her work to serve Nashville’s adult learners. Each year, the summit brings together educators, volunteers, administrators, and others in the adult education sphere to share information, exchange ideas, and celebrate the accomplishments of educators and students.
Fifty nine people attended this year’s ceremony, including special guests 2020 Adult Educator of the Year Chaney Cruz, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, NPL Director Kent Oliver, and Councilperson Kathleen Murphy.
Through her work with the NALC, LeMaster guides numerous adult learners who pursue a wide array of educational paths. From preparing and interviewing for new jobs to learning a new language, LeMaster is a mentor who plays a crucial role in helping each learner achieve their goals.
As a manager, LeMaster also prioritizes recognizing student achievement and ensuring her staff are empowered to help them succeed. She started a “Student of the Month” board to recognize a new student each month. She also personally creates lesson plans for both students and volunteers to ensure that every student’s unique goals are clearly understood, and that a clear path to achieve them is set.
"I want to thank NPL for hosting this wonderful event. I’m overcome because it’s such an honor just to have been in this group," LeMaster said. "I think this year, more than any other, this award has to go to all of us – not just the nominees mentioned today, but this entire community."
Connecting Adult Learners and Educators in Nashville
Adult education at NPL is about more than just reading.
The Adult Literacy initiative serves as a central hub for adult educators and learners in the city. Under the Adult Literacy umbrella, students can access classes for high school equivalency (HSE), English as a second language (ESL), citizenship, digital skills, and other developmental topics.
Meanwhile, educators can connect to resources such as the Mobile Computer Lab, classroom spaces, prepared workshops on various topics, and more that they can use to enrich their own educational offerings to their students, and pursue a rich variety of professional development opportunities.
Last year, Adult Literacy served more than 1,350 adult learners through nearly 140 classes and workshops. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adult Literacy has shifted focus to provide more online and remote learning opportunities, including technical and emotional support for educators as they did the same. Ninety eight percent of partners reported feeling more connected to Nashville’s adult education community as a result of participating in NPL’s programming.
Learn more about Adult Literacy at NPL on our website.