Educators Win Readiness Awards at National Conference
Outstanding leadership in improving college readiness for high school students in Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina


Five educators were honored for their work to help underprepared students succeed. These Southern Regional Education Board awards recognize outstanding teaching and leadership with SREB Readiness Courses, which help underprepared students succeed in high school and postsecondary studies.

The inaugural winners were honored at SREB’s Readiness Courses Institute July 12, 2016, in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Jennifer Curtis, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
President’s Readiness Trailblazer Award

As North Carolina’s section chief for K-12 mathematics, Jen Curtis oversaw implementation of Math Ready in over 300 North Carolina high schools in just two years. Students in the course have shown significant learning gains on pre- and post-test studies of the North Carolina Early Mathematics Placement Test. Curtis has assisted with writing both the Math Ready course and the new Ready for High School Math course.

“Dr. Curtis has been a leader in mathematics reform,” said SREB President Dave Spence. “Her work has had a positive impact on more than 15,000 North Carolina students and has been instrumental in helping other states adopt transitional courses as well.”

Jennifer Garner, Lakeside High School
Lakeside School District, Arkansas
Outstanding Literacy Ready Teacher

Jennifer Garner of Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has taught Literacy Ready since its pilot in 2014-15.  She played an integral role in the creation of Literacy Ready and its implementation in schools across the nation, serving as a teacher, writer and mentor. Garner now serves as a master trainer for Literacy Ready while assisting with writing the new Ready for High School Literacy course. 

Dana Smith, Fountain Lake Charter High School
Fountain Lake School District, Arkansas
Outstanding Literacy Ready Teacher

Dana Smith of Fountain Lake Charter High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has taught Literacy Ready since the course was piloted in 2014-15. Smith has helped implement Literacy Ready in schools across the nation, serving as trainer and mentor. She also helped write and pilot the new Ready for High School Literacy course.

Jeff McCulloch, Eugene Ashley High School
New Hanover County Schools, North Carolina
Outstanding Math Ready Teacher

Jeff McCulloch of Eugene Ashley High School in North Carolina has taught Math Ready since it was originally piloted in 2014-15. He has served as mentor to other Math Ready teachers, supporting them in implementation of the Essentials for College Mathematics course in North Carolina. McCulloch has spoken about his experience teaching the course at the SREB High Schools That Work conference and has assisted in Math Ready training sessions.

Devina Williamson, Purvis High School
Lamar County School District, Mississippi
Outstanding Math Ready Teacher

Devina Williamson of Lamar County Schools in Purvis, Mississippi, taught Math Ready in 2015-16 and has been an active participant in the online follow-up support for teachers teaching the course in Mississippi. Williamson completed training to become an SREB Ready Master Trainer and will assist with Math Ready training sessions in 2016-17.

(L-R) John Squires, SREB readiness director; Dave Spence, SREB president; Dana Smith, 2016 Outstanding Literacy Ready Teacher; Jennifer Garner, 2016 Outstanding Literacy Ready Teacher; Jeff McCulloch, 2016 Outstanding Math Ready Teacher; Devina Williamson, 2016 Outstanding Math Ready Teacher; Gene Bottoms, SREB senior vice president

About SREB Readiness Courses

Far too many students need developmental (remedial) education when they get to college. SREB’s Literacy Ready and Math Ready, were developed to help address the readiness gap by improving specific skills and understanding in literacy and mathematics for high school students. SREB is now piloting two courses to prepare middle grades students for success in high school: Ready for High School Literacy and Ready for High School Math.

SREB’s Readiness Courses Institute brings together teachers to learn to implement the courses: The 2016 conference was held July 11-15 in Louisville, Kentucky. 

The Southern Regional Education Board works with states and educators to improve public education at every level, from early childhood through postsecondary education. 

SREB media contact:, (404) 879-5544