Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Names Terri Clark Arizona Literacy Director

June 25, 2012


PHOENIX, Ariz.—Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust today announced the appointment of Terri Clark as literacy director for the state of Arizona. Working in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education, Arizona Head Start Collaboration Office, First Things First, and other local philanthropic partners, Piper Trust is investing in this full-time consulting position to lead statewide efforts in early literacy.

Most recently, Clark served as executive director of Bring Me A Book, a statewide children’s early literacy organization based in California. Former positions include executive director of the Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles and executive director of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Education Foundation, where she secured significant partnerships with Google, YouTube, PBS, and mtvU.

“It’s imperative that public and private early literacy programs throughout Arizona become connected to ensure we address gaps and continually add value that strengthens early literacy among our children. Terri can do just that—she brings vision, creativity, and great acumen to strategies for early literacy,” said Judy Jolley Mohraz, president and CEO, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “She will be a tremendous asset to all partners and agencies working to advance excellence throughout our collective early literacy goals,” said Mohraz.

In the 2013-14 school year, the Arizona revised state statute 15-701 (“Move On When Reading”) takes effect, emphasizing reading proficiency by the end of third grade; students scoring far below on Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) may be retained in the third grade until they meet the rigorous reading specifications set forth in the Arizona English Language Arts Standards. This new law will provide for extended time, intervention, and remedial strategies for students who are not promoted to fourth grade. As Arizona’s literacy director, Clark will work to connect the dots among standards, programs, needs, and gaps and support implementation of Arizona’s State Literacy Plan—all critical elements to ensure reading by the end of third grade.

“I’m thrilled to join Arizona and its drive to build world-class early literacy programs within our schools and communities,” said Clark. “Literacy is an economic development issue—for children, it’s a precursor to their ongoing success in school and a predictor of high school graduation, college attendance, and ultimately, their link to the workforce. I grew up in Arizona and, as a ‘product’ of its public schools, look forward to contributing to the system that helped shape the foundation of my education.”

“I am very happy to welcome Terri Clark to Arizona in her new position as state literacy director. Her deep well of expertise in directing statewide early literacy programs will certainly benefit the families, children, and educators in our state. It’s essential that we ensure all children develop a strong literacy foundation so they can achieve success not only in school but in life. My staff and I look forward to collaborating with Terri in this most important endeavor of building a cohesive system of support for early literacy development,” said, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Huppenthal.

The literacy director will afford the state a dedicated expert to ensure Arizona’s literacy directives are effectively supported. Clark brings vast and multi-faceted experience and expertise to the position as a seasoned nonprofit and for profit executive. She spearheaded Literacy@ Work: the L.A. Workforce Literacy Project, a public/private partnership championed by the now former Mayor James K. Hahn of Los Angeles and managed by the Literacy Network; core partners include the United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, the Workforce Investment Board, Los Angeles Unified School District, the Community College District, and University of Southern California. Literacy@Work successfully engaged more than 100 organizations in advancing workforce literacy.

Rhian Evans Allvin, CEO of First Things First, applauded the selection of Clark, adding that her experience engaging diverse coalitions to support literacy in the early years would benefit Arizona’s youngest citizens.

“Terri understands that the foundations of literacy are in language development, and that parents, child care providers, and other adults working with young children have a critical role to play in getting kids ready for school-age literacy experiences,” Allvin said. “Her proven track record working with communities to support literacy efforts from cradle to kindergarten will ensure a seamless continuum of support for our kids at home, in neighborhoods, and at school.”

First Things First is a critical partner organization that works to create a family-centered, comprehensive, quality early childhood system for Arizona’s children.

Washington D.C.-based Partnership for 21st Century Skills has outlined the essential skills children need to succeed as citizens and workers in the 21st century—reading being at the top of the list. The foundational skill for school-based learning is reading—children are “learning to read” up through third grade—by fourth grade they must be “reading to learn” as they are now expected to move on and master more complex learning.

The state literacy director position is one element of Piper Trust’s “Read On” initiative—a long-term strategy that will further support organizational partners working on early literacy issues.


For more information, contact Karen Leland at

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