HISD names literacy director

Cindy Puryear, a 33-year education veteran, started her role as Houston Independent School District’s literacy director in mid- June, but she hasn’t spent much time in her new office.

Starting with her first day, she has been working with principals and teachers in meetings, trainings, debriefings, and events that support the district’s Literacy By 3 initiative, which aims to have every child reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade. Puryear will guide the program, which is based in guided reading, independent reading and teacher-facilitated read-alouds at the elementary level and in varying proven strategies for secondary students.

“I have never experienced this kind of anticipation and excitement about an initiative,” said Puryear. “Our teachers have been working really hard to help students read, but the results have been somewhat disappointing. Literacy By 3 and its components will change the way we teach literacy, and they are eager to experience how it improves the way students master reading.”

A self-proclaimed struggling reader, Puryear began her career as a special education teacher in the Lubbock Independent School District. After working in districts across the state, she landed in HISD in 1994. Since then, she has served in a variety of roles including, multisensory reading teacher, special population specialist, and instructional specialist. In each capacity, she found a way to help students be the best learner they could be.

She continued her career at Lamar High School and Roberts Elementary, making an impact with school leaders by supporting and guiding teachers in their efforts to expand quality small group reading instruction.

“Cindy has a unique background that we feel will benefit her in this role,” said Chief Academic Officer Dan Gohl. “Not only is she a dedicated educator but she also has a passion for helping every HISD child not only learn to read but learn to love reading.”

Puryear reports to Officer for Elementary Curriculum and Development Lance Menster.