Honoring the Friday Institute’s Founding Executive Director Hiller Spires
Hiller A. Spires, executive director of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, associate dean and Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor of Literacy and Technology in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences at NC State’s College of Education, retired June 1, 2022, after 43 years in education and 20 years at the Friday Institute.
Spires served as the founding director for the Friday Institute from 2002-2006, collaborating with a team at the College of Education to raise $10 million to design and build a leading-edge facility on Centennial Campus, initiate $10 million in faculty-driven research programs and secure a state operations budget.
After serving as a senior research fellow for 13 years, Spires was asked to be the executive director and associate dean for the Institute in 2019.
Q and A with Hiller Spires
Hiller Spires shares the history of the Friday Institute, her experience leading the organization and reflects on what she's learned over the last 20 years.
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'Make Sure You Leave a Place Better Than You Found It.' I Hope I've Been Able to Do That in the College of Education.
In this Q and A, Hiller Spires talks about how she ended up in the College of Education, what she'll miss most about it and how she hopes she is remembered.
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“Dr. Spires is a transformative leader. She and her team have partnered with us for the past four years on her Project-Based Inquiry (PBI) Global process, which supports our students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and compassionate. Our students think of themselves as part of a global community now.”
– Shirlrona Johnson, Principal, Person Early College High School, Roxboro, NC
4 Highlights From Hiller Spires’ Second Term as Executive Director
- She led new organizational development activities for the Friday Institute, including strategic planning, an equity inventory for Friday Institute staff, Friday Institute CrossTalks, Catalyst Grants, a donor art program and the Friday Institute Biennial Report.
- During the pandemic, she led the Friday Institute in positioning itself as a leader for educator professional development, serving over 80,000 educators remotely since 2020.
- She initiated the Exploring Next-Generation Education Webinar Series, engaging local and national leaders to share their insights on innovations and the changing nature of education during the pandemic.
- She led the NC PreK-12 Literacy and Equity Summit in January 2022, which hosted over 834 participants in discussing how North Carolina can meet the literacy needs of each student. As a companion to the Summit, the Friday Institute conducted a state-wide literacy questionnaire and produced a policy brief entitled Meeting the Moment: Strategic Recommendation for Literacy and Equity in North Carolina.
About the New Literacies Collaborative
Spires founded the New Literacies Collaborative (NLC) in 2009. Through an equity lens, NLC scholars collaborate with diverse educators and students to develop, evaluate and scale new literacies’ innovations throughout North Carolina and around the world. They conduct research, create professional learning experiences and design student-centered pedagogies grounded in the theoretical and practical intersections of literacy, digital technologies and global competencies.
Learn More About the Impact of Hiller Spires’ Work