21 Jun

Catching up with: Carol McGlinn, executive director of Kalamazoo’s Specialized Language Development Center

Sunday, June 20, 2010, 3:54 AM
Alex Nixon | Kalamazoo Gazette Alex Nixon | Kalamazoo Gazette

carol mcglinn.jpg

Mark Bugnaski | Kalamazoo Gazette

The McGlynn: That’s Our Gal !!

Carol McGlinn, executive director of the Specialized Language Development Center in Kalamazoo, says the best advice – to always think before speaking – is the hardest to follow.
Carol McGlinn, executive director of the Specialized Language Development Center in Kalamazoo, started as a volunteer tutor at the center in 1997.
In 2004, she was hired as the center’s development director.

Five years later she became executive director.

McGlinn said the SLD Center helps people with dyslexia “to achieve their full potential” by providing comprehensive evaluations, one-on-one tutoring, training for teachers, parents and tutors, and workshops for the community.

McGlinn, who was born in Detroit in 1962, holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Michigan State University.

In addition to her leadership of the SLD Center, McGlinn serves on the Kalamazoo Public Schools board, to which she was elected in 2009.

Book on her nightstand?
“Well, it’s actually a pile of books. They are on the floor next to my bed, and my husband would like me to move the books to a book shelf. I am currently reading ‘City of Thieves,’ by David Benioff, which is a fictional book that takes place during the Nazi’s siege of Leningrad.”

Who gave you the best piece of life advice and what was it?
“My brother, Tom, when I was 6 and he was 19. He had just finished a rather loud discussion with our parents. He picked me up, looked me straight in the eye and said:  ‘Carol, always think before you talk.’ At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant, but over the years I have found that it is great advice and not always easy to follow.”


What’s been your biggest professional success?
“There is nothing more rewarding than working with a child and helping them develop the skills they need to overcome their struggles with reading. Many students start out feeling frustrated and confused. As they progress through the program, they become confident, and they see real improvement in their language skills. As a tutor, I witnessed this first hand. As the executive director, it motivates me to serve as many people as our resources allow.”

Tell us something about your organization that would surprise people?
“Our organization was founded in 1974 by a handful of concerned and determined parents who wanted to help their children who were struggling with reading. They had their children evaluated at the Mayo Clinic and the children were diagnosed with dyslexia. After researching the best programs available, they hired a consultant to come to Kalamazoo to train a group of people in a specialized program based on the Orton-Gillingham Approach. The Center developed its own program called Phonics Fundamentals, which incorporates the original program and continues to add research-based components. This program is nationally accredited by the International Multisensory Language Education Council.”

What’s the biggest challenge your organization faces?
“Having enough tutors to meet the needs of the community and having the resources to provide services for everyone who needs them.”
If you could have lunch with any famous person who would it be and why?
“Every member of the state House and Senate. (I would) tell them to stop just talking about how important education is but to find a way to adequately fund it. I would also like to encourage them to focus on early education, literacy skills and individualized instruction for people who struggle with reading.”


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CONGRATULATIONS! Carol, what important work you are doing. We are all so proud of you!

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