Stern Center president retiring after 37 years

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Stern Center president retiring after 37 years

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 12:00pm -- Brandon

Dr. Blanche Podhajski, founder and president of the Stern Center. Courtesy photo.

Vermont Business Magazine Blanche Podhajski, Ph.D., has announced that she will be leaving her position as President of the Stern Center on August 31, 2020, after 37 years of leadership.

Dr. Podhajski formed the nonprofit organization in 1983 with a threefold mission to enhance learning through the provision of evaluations and direct instruction to individuals, professional learning for educators and physicians, and educational research. Founded following receipt of a $50,000 grant from the Bernice and Milton Stern Foundation, the Stern Center for Language and Learning has grown into a nationally recognized leader in literacy, social-emotional learning, and evidence-based best practices disseminated through professional learning to educators. Over the course of Podhajski’s tenure, the Stern Center has received over $10 million dollars in grants, the majority of which have been directed towards scholarships for students and underwriting for teachers.

In 1995, Dr. Podhajski led development of one of the first programs to bring research-based strategies for teaching reading to classroom educators.  TIME for Teachers (Training in Instructional Methods of Efficacy), provided knowledge about how to extend children’s literacy based on the brain science of reading. TIME became the cornerstone for today’s Comprehensive Reading Course for Educators.  This online graduate course, co-authored by Dr. Podhajski and produced by Mindplay, was released in 2018 and is now the foundation for Lead to Read, a systems-change initiative to deepen teacher knowledge and improve children’s literacy outcomes.

Dr. Podhajski led another Stern Center major professional development initiative in 1997, Building Blocks for Literacy®, to share play-based, developmentally appropriate activities that help prepare our youngest learners for literacy success. Research studies conducted with Building Blocks demonstrate that not only do children become better prepared to enter kindergarten ready to read, but youngsters in the lowest 20th percentile improve from below to above at-risk levels. In partnership with Champlain College, Building Blocks launched in 2019 as a one-credit online course. Throughout her tenure, Podhajski has published and presented papers related to the efficacy of language and learning interventions.

Dr. Podhajski oversees a Stern Center team of professionals who annually deliver 800 clinical hours of services to nearly 600 students and educational training programs to over 1,000 educators.  Partnerships with colleges, universities, and national organizations help ensure that all learners meet their full potential.

The Stern Center Board of Directors has appointed a Search Committee to recruit Dr. Podhajski’s successor. They seek an innovative, energized, and results-driven visionary for the position of President and invite nominations and applications.

Dr. Podhajski commented, “It has been an extraordinary privilege to lead the Stern Center for 37 years. This remarkable Vermont nonprofit organization has grown alongside advances in brain science that unequivocally show that we know how to help all kinds of learners achieve success.  The next President will be able to work with a highly talented staff and Board to help the Stern Center reach new heights. It is an awesome opportunity for the right person.” A complete position description and application information are available at https://sterncenter.org/about-us/employment-opportunities/.

Source: Stern Center for Language and Learning