Kara Mongold, a reading specialist at Hugh K. Cassell Elementary School in Augusta County Public Schools, is the 2018 recipient of the Linda Heatwole Bland Literacy Scholarship. The scholarship is offered annually to a graduate student in the MA in Education program at Eastern Mennonite University.
Mongold became a Title I Reading Specialist after teaching first, second and preK for nine years at Plains and Pleasant Valley elementary schools in the Rockingham County School District.
As a reading specialist, she works primarily with students in grades 3-5 who need remediation or intervention and their classroom teachers, as well as serving on the school’s literacy team.
“I love building a relationship with students who often need an adult to support them in their areas of reading difficulty and to help them achieve growth,” she says. “I also like being an advocate in ensuring they are receiving what they need to be most successful in school. I like increasing their confidence and letting them know I am here to listen to them.”
Mongold says she’s “constantly” applying her EMU coursework to different situations in the classroom, and plans her capstone project on the topic of comprehension or intervention research.
“I’m still thinking on that one,” she says. But she has some time: The action research capstone project is the culmination of the master’s degree curriculum. Mongold’s anticipated graduation will be May 2019.
The Linda Heatwole Bland Literacy Scholarship is awarded annually to a local educator enrolled in graduate studies with a literacy focus. A retired reading specialist and administrator, Bland says she learned to value literacy education and the benefits of professional connection while earning a degree in elementary education at EMU. Read more about her scholarship support.
After graduating in 1964, Bland taught in Ohio and West Virginia before returning to Virginia. She worked in Augusta, Shenandoah and Rockingham county schools, and joined Harrisonburg City Schools as a reading supervisor in 1986. She eventually led the division in establishing the English as a Second Language program and piloting the city’s dual-immersion programs until her retirement in 2002.