On December 1, 2011, AEP will induct Charlotte Frank, Ph.D., McGraw-Hill Education; Don Johnston, Don Johnston, Inc.; and Paul McFall, Pearson into the Educational Publishing Hall of Fame. Here in their final installment, the inductees discuss the accomplishment they are most proud of.
Charlotte Frank, Ph.D.
One accomplishment that truly stands out for me is my involvement in selecting the winners of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. The prize recognizes the contributions of educators and business leaders in the world of elementary, secondary, and higher education. It gives me great satisfaction to recognize individuals who have made a significant impact in designing and developing strategies to improve achievement for students across this country.
The process for selecting the prize winners is time consuming and exhausting, but very rewarding. The nomination team comprises former prize winners, McGraw-Hill colleagues, and researchers. This team helps to identify more than 30 possible candidates. Then the judges—mostly former prize winners—must select three awardees. This collective energy culminates in a gala awards ceremony at the New York Public Library, where family, friends, and professional colleagues participate in honoring the prize recipients.
Over the years it has been extremely gratifying to hear winners tell us how winning the prize helped them build on their achievements in education and reach an even broader audience of teachers and students.
Anyone who works in education wants to make a difference. And through the McGraw Prize winner selection process, every year we have the opportunity to recognize some of the very best in education who truly have made a difference.
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I am very proud of the organization and culture that our management team has created. We are a family business run by my two sons, Ben and Kevin, and my dearest friend and colleague, Ruth Ziolkowski, our President. I admire her so much and have worked side by side with her for 24 years. Because we have avoided becoming part of a large educational company we’ve been able to focus on a culture of operational excellence, innovation in technology and education, and building close, loyal relationships with our customers.
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There is one that is related to my career and one associated with education, but outside my career work. First of all, the career accomplishment I’m most proud of is the cumulative work of an entire company and leadership team. I’m proud personally because I was fortunate enough to work with such amazing people and be associated with such a significant achievement. When I joined Scott Foresman it was a K-12 organization that had been through a series of disruptive changes and as a result market shares and overall performances, with the exception of math, were not very good. In 1999 with the acquisition of the Silver Burdett & Ginn products, it had to recreate itself as a PreK-6 business unit. Even with the combined products it was performing very close to bottom of the industry’s larger publishers. At the end of 2006, when it ceased to operate as a separate business unit in Pearson, we were able to exceed every single financial and product market share target established for that year. During that 7-year period there were plenty of times when the achievement of such a goal seemed impossible, but no one ever gave up or gave in and the rest is history.
The non-career accomplishment has occurred over the past four years where I’ve been privileged to participate in a week long mission trip from my church to teach reading to a group of amazing kids in Buffalo, NY. The Seneca Babcock Community is a very under-served neighborhood in the Buffalo area with children and adults facing challenges many of us have no idea about. Seeing those kids, working with them, and watching some positive change (however small) occur brings me more joy than I can express.