Retired Decatur educator and UAB alumna receives Distinguished Alumni Award

The UAB School of Education has awarded the first Boyd Rogan Distinguished Alumni Award to Reba Wadsworth.

Written by: Tiffany Westry

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distinguished alumni 2017Boyd Rogan, Ph.D., Reba Wadsworth, Ph.D., and UAB School of Education Dean Deborah L. Voltz, Ed.D.Reba Wadsworth, Ph.D., retired educator and three-time graduate of the UAB School of Education, was awarded the Boyd Rogan Distinguished Alumni Award on May 4. The award, named after a longtime educator and director of the UAB Regional In-service Center, was created in 2017 to recognize significant contributions of graduates of the UAB Educational Leadership Program.

“Throughout her career, Dr. Wadsworth has been a staunch advocate for literacy,” said Keith Gurley, Ed.D., assistant professor and program coordinator. “We are very proud to recognize in our alumni the very legacy Dr. Rogan developed, one of strong leadership, caring spirit, thoughtful mentoring, and untiring passion for education and for making a difference in our world.”

Wadsworth earned a Master of Arts degree in education in 1985, an educational specialist degree in 1992, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational leadership in 1997 from UAB. She began her teaching career in the Muscogee County Schools System in Georgia. Wadsworth worked with other primary teachers to develop a Balanced Literacy Program that facilitated development of reading skills in young children. While serving as principal of Woodmeade Elementary School in Decatur, she led the way as one of the first 16 Alabama Reading Initiative school sites. 

After retirement from public education, Wadsworth, with her dear friend and children’s book author Lester Laminack, co-wrote several literacy resource books for teachers, including “Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature” and “Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum,” both published in 2006, “Bullying Hurts: Teaching Kindness Through Read Alouds and Guided Conversations,” published in 2014, and most recently, “Writers are Readers,” published in 2015.

Wadsworth has also worked as an independent literacy consultant, sharing her vast knowledge at the local, state, national and international levels. She has served as spokeswoman for the National Council of Teachers of English and as a national consultant to the Developmental Studies Center.

Boyd Rogan has been associated with the UAB School of Education for more than 40 years. He has served as the director of the UAB Regional In-service Center for 32 years. The center provides free training, resources and services for teachers and administrators in eight school districts in Jefferson County, Alabama. In his time at UAB, Rogan has also served as director of the Center of Community Education and the Center for Metropolitan Studies, as well as chair of several departments within the UAB School of Education.