News & Events

Concordia-Chicago Professor Named Illinois Reading Educator of the Year


Dr. Heather Harder, of Crown Point, IN, recently received the Illinois Reading Educator of the Year award from the Illinois Reading Council (IRC). The award recognizes outstanding teachers who make contributions in promoting literacy among students, colleagues, and school communities. Harder is a professor assistant professor of curriculum, language and literacy in Concordia University Chicago’s College of Graduate and Innovative Programs.

Harder was one of four awardees honored and the only one from an Illinois college or university. Recipients were recognized at the IRC annual conference in Springfield, IL, which took place from March 13-15. The Illinois Reading Council is the state chapter of the International Reading Association.

“I am truly honored to have received this award,” said Harder. “I look forward to continuing to help all reading educators find their voice to guide and protect our educational system, especially in the area of reading literacy.”

An active member of the IRC for more than 20 years, she has held several leadership positions within the organization, including past president of the College Instructors of Reading Professionals, a special interest council.

“In addition to influencing education-related legislation, the IRC provides support for Illinois authors, and have spearheaded the Illinois Read program,” she said. As Chair of the IRC Publicity and Publication Committee, Harder is also training educators about how to develop relationships with the media. “Teachers at all levels have a great story to tell. By developing healthy relationships with the media we hope to yield more positive coverage of education in the news.”