Joanne Durham


Joanne Durham brings twenty years of experience as an educator in Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland, a large, multicultural, urban/suburban district bordering Washington, D.C.  She worked as a classroom teacher, Reading Specialist, district literacy coach, Reading Recovery® Site Coordinator, PreK-6 Reading/Language Arts Supervisor, and Coordinating Supervisor for Special Instructional Programs PreK-8.  Joanne led the development of literacy curriculum, instructional practices, interventions, and professional training for over 130 elementary schools.  She was instrumental in creating and teaching the district’s course for primary teachers in balanced literacy, and led a cadre of Reading Recovery teachers in coaching in primary classrooms. 

Joanne initiated and led implementation of instruction with The Comprehension Toolkit and Primary Comprehension Toolkit in K-8 classrooms across her school district, with a focus on Title I schools and with English Language Learners.  Working with Anne Goudvis, co-author of the Toolkits, for over six years, Joanne developed expertise in helping schools not only to initiate using the Toolkits, but to deepen their practice in all aspects of active literacy, including building classroom environment, developing think-alouds and effective conferring, analyzing student work, integrating reading and writing, and lesson planning.  She led the development of curriculum incorporating the Toolkits at both district and school levels, and created and taught an online course to support teachers in reflecting on and strengthening their practice with The Comprehension Toolkit.  She spearheaded an inquiry group of teachers across Title I schools to expand their work with strategy instruction into creating and teaching content-based integrated student inquiry units.  This work served as the basis for leading teachers to write new curriculum incorporating the Common Core Standards.  She has assisted teachers in using Toolkits in a variety of reading contexts, including basal reading programs, readers’ workshops, and balanced literacy frameworks.

Joanne has also taught graduate classes in education at the University of Maryland, Trinity University in Washington, DC, and McDaniel College.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Rutgers University, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland, and Reading Recovery, Reading Specialist, and Administrative certifications. 

Joanne now lives in Kure Beach, North Carolina, and serves as a national educational consultant in reading, writing, and all things literacy.  She has shared the innovations and lessons from her experiences through presentations at national and regional conferences, and through her work as a Heinemann Staff Development consultant.  Her writing about teaching and her own poetry have been published in several books and professional journals including The Reading Teacher, Language Arts, and The Journal of Reading Recovery. She contributed a chapter to Staff Development with the Comprehension Toolkits.