A 20-year career involving literature and literacy education has let Carol Wynne ’74 put words to work.
After earning her Colby degree in psychology, the Minnesota native stayed in Maine to work in mental health, serving as administrator at a regional health agency and director of the first rape crisis center in Augusta.
But it was during a 1987 trip to San Diego that a search for her favorite childhood books with her young son led her to a children’s bookstore. “I said, ‘Oh, my God. I would love to do this,’” Wynne said. She went on to open the Children’s Book Cellar in downtown Waterville, where highlights included meeting renowned Maine author/illustrators Barbara Cooney and Robert McCloskey.
After selling the store in 1994, Wynne worked at Waterville Adult Education as an adult basic education coordinator, placing students in literacy classes. As Wynne discovered, and other educators believe, many adult-education students’ learning disabilities weren’t diagnosed. “They just kind of got the social promotion from one grade to the next,” she said, “and then they either dropped out or they graduated with low literacy skills.”
Wynne now works as a consultant for the Maine Department of Education, helping revamp the Maine adult education professional development system to improve educators’ services to students.
She points to the first Educare Center in New England, a facility for children from birth to age 5 from low-income families—set to open in Waterville in fall 2010. The emphasis is on teaching young minds in a healthy social and emotional environment with support from their parents and educators. “The Educare program … is taking all of what’s currently known about best practices for young children and creating a model program,” Wynne said.