Jean Irwin to speak at the District Conference in Whistler

Posted By Ken Walker

A message from Al Abbott, Rotary Club of Gig Harbor
District 5020 Public Image and Public Relations Chair

Hello everyone,
JeanIrwinI’d like to share some information about one of our speakers, Jean Irwin, at this year’s District Conference, held in Whistler BC – May, 2-4, 2014.
Jean Irwin is a retired Teacher of the Deaf from Reno, Nevada.  She has taught in grades pre-school through 12th grade in 12 schools.  Jean was an Ambassadorial Scholar in 1989 .  She speaks to many Rotary groups about the long term effects of investment in the Foundation.  
The Ambassadorial Scholarship Jean received allowed her to do research into reading and deafness 22 years ago which earned her a Master’s Degree from Nottingham University in England.   After this education, her students broke what is considered a glass ceiling for the deaf and achieved high levels of reading.  
 One of the most important roles Jean has had was as a grassroots coordinator for the passage of a legislative bill to make the testing of hearing mandatory before a baby leaves the hospital in Nevada.  Nevada moved from 36th to 8th in the nation for children tested at birth for hearing loss in just two years after this bill passed ,  resulting in the early intervention that is so critical to language development.  
She now is District Literacy Chair for 5180 in the N. California Area. Her focus is One-on-One volunteers to teach children to read and was an advisor to Playmakers, a Football camp, which has a literacy component. A member of the Rotary Club of Folsom, she is the counselor for they club’s RYE student from Belgium named Audrey. After what she learned on the Scholarship she was chosen “Reading Teacher of the Year” in 1992 by the International Reading Association. She got the  “Best of Education” award  by the Reno Gazette Journal, her local newspaper,  in 2009.
 In 2009 she received the “Service Above Self” award from Rotary International. She has spoken to over 300 conferences for both Rotarians and teachers of the deaf about what she learned as an Ambassadorial Scholar. 
Jean is the mother of Kent, age 23 who is on an excursion to S. America where he’ll stay with contacts made in Rotary, and daughter Katy  28,  who is an performer in New York CIty. A little known fact about Jean is that for exercise she hoola hoops  and has used her hoop to represent the “Rotary Wheel” in a speech about women in Rotary. Her husband Dave is currently president of the Rotary Annes of the Folsom Rotary Club- the first and only male in this Rotary Spousal Support group.
As I mentioned, Jean is just one of the great speakers at this year’s conference.  If you haven’t registered yet, it’s very simple.  Just log on to District 5020’s website.  Information on the Conference, “Where in Whistler is Pete Taylor” is on the front page.  i look forward to seeing you there. 

Thank you for making Rotary a part of your life,


Al Abbott

Rotary Club of Gig Harbor
District 5020 Public Image and Public Relations Chair

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