After more than 24 years of dedicated service to the International Reading Association (IRA) and the literacy profession, Alan E. Farstrup retired in 2009. He joined the staff at IRA as Director of Research in 1984 and assumed the position of Executive Director in 1992.
His priorities, working closely with the IRA Board, have been many. They included expanding research resources, supporting excellence in classroom reading instruction, and enhancing IRA's professional development programs. Positioning IRA as a professional organization with significant policy influence, increasing its international outreach and visibility, engaging the Association in meaningful partnerships with other organizations, and supporting the important role of its impressive network of affiliates, councils, and members were important facets of his work.
As Executive Director, Dr. Farstrup was an advocate of evidence-based reading instruction informed and guided by expert, insightful teachers. Throughout his career he has been a strong voice calling for civility and professionalism in policy and professional debates.
During his years as Executive Director, IRA expanded its programs in support of international engagement, service, and growth. This included establishment of a division of international development. International affiliates and councils flourished, and new IRA groups in regions not formerly linked to the Association were established.
While he served as Executive Director, IRA's professional programs and publications grew, providing members and the profession a respected source of credible information, policy advice, and professional development. Technology provided improved access to a rich array of information and services. New features and opportunities invigorated IRA's annual and regional conferences while reflecting the energy and vision of the Association's members and leaders.
In commenting on his experience at IRA, Dr. Farstrup said, "It has been a privilege and a joy to be a part of IRA and to work with outstanding officers, Board members, council and affiliate leaders, and leading professionals worldwide. I am proud of my longtime service and-especially-I value the dedication, skill, and friendship of IRA's many excellent professional staff members and their key role in support of members and the ongoing success of the organization."