Proud that her work has impacted both students and school policies, Ruth Ann Wright Britton spent decades building her reputation. She was introduced to education as a profession at a very young age, and decided she wanted to pursue too in third grade. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Concordia Teachers College (now Concordia Chicago) in 1965, Ms. Wright Britton jumped into the field. She proceeded to accrue positions like fifth grade teacher at the School District of Pikens County, second to fifth grade teacher within Manhattan City Schools in Kansas, Chapter I reading teacher at Montgomery County Public Schools in Virginia, and director of the Junior High School Laboratory in Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida. In 1993, Ms. Wright Britton advanced to teach at the university level, serving as a department head and instructor at Cochise College until her retirement in 2005. To further her own education, she obtained a Master of Science from Kansas State University in 1978 and became certified in reading K-12 education, elementary education, developmental education, and developmental reading.
The highlight of Ms. Wright Britton’s career came while at the community college. As a reading teacher, she had four levels of students, and noticed that most of the top two tiers were proficient enough to take college courses. She decided to develop a program where students could get reading credit in other courses, such as sociology or psychology. Ms. Wright Britton went to classes with the students and helped them read the textbook and complete their assignments. The concept of collaborative classes and learning communities led to new heights in student learning and engagement, and ended up with a 95 percent success rate. Other achievements include founding the Social Concerns Club at Cochise College, which integrated service learning into honors-level coursework, and co-authoring “Making Connections” and “Reading Handbook for Parents.”
Ms. Wright Britton was honored with a number of accolades for her efforts. She was named Outstanding Instructor by Cochise College from 1999 to 2000, an Honoree for Excellence in Education by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development from 1997 to 1998, and Teacher of the Year by TCJS from 1989 to 1990. Additionally, she is the recipient of the Helping Hands Award for Volunteer Service from the Seventh Corps of the U.S. Army and the Arizona Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteerism, as well as an inductee of the Hall of Fame at Cochise College.
Although Ms. Wright Britton is now retired, she continues to serve others through the Governor’s Commission for Service Learning and Volunteerism.