1997 Teacher of the Year Award: Cathy Fox

The National Right to Read Foundation is pleased to announce that the 1997 recipient of its Patrick Groff Teacher of the Year Award is Cathy Fox, kindergarten teacher and New Jersey Director for NRRF.

Cathy’s passion for explicit, systematic phonics instruction began when she was told by the staff at her son’s school that he was “neurologically impaired” because he couldn’t write by third grade and could read very little. Her son is the product of a whole-language classroom.

She heard about NRRF, became educated about what her son needed, hired a tutor to teach him systematic phonics, and then became a tutor herself. Her son is excelling now and wants to be a paleontologist! Taking a kindergarten teacher position, she began to incorporate what she had learned about phonics instruction into teaching reading. Every child in Cathy’s class of 20 this year, by the end of April, was able to independently read any long/short vowel book with words that included triple consonant blends, digraphs, diphthongs, double consonant blends, and more.

News of Cathy’s success as well as her perspective on teaching reading has brought her invitations to speak to groups around the state and newspaper interviews. The parents of her students are among her most ardent supporters. Cathy represents the thousands of dedicated teachers who are providing students with the fundamental building blocks of literacy. Because she cares so deeply for the students who, like her son, have been abandoned by the school system, she has joined the efforts of NRRF to bring research-validated reading instruction back to New Jersey’s schools by becoming the volunteer NRRF state director of New Jersey.

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