2012 Floyd G. Hudson Award Recipients

Pati Montgomery and Melody Ilk


For the first time, the Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities is honored to award the prestigious Professional of the Year Award to co-recipients. Pati Montgomery and Melody Ilk have made significant contributions to the area of literacy interventions. These efforts have positively impacted student achievement for students with disabilities as well as other at-risk populations during the last three decades of their careers. Pati and Melody went on to compete for and were awarded the Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Award.

As an elementary school principal, Ms. Montgomery was the first in the Jefferson County School District to bring scientific-based reading research into practice. During this process she received an outstanding administrator award from the Association from Retarded Citizens. While an elementary principal her school was recognized for closing the achievement gap for students with special needs as well as minority groups. Ms. Montgomery’s school was a Reading First School and Pati served as the state Chairman of the Reading First Principals‟ Group. Her elementary school was awarded the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award. As a middle school principal, Pati Montgomery wrote the Alameda Literacy Plan, an articulation-area literacy plan that served as a blueprint for systemic

literacy practices across seven schools. As this plan unfolded, she trained the area principals in leading a literacy initiative. By way of this reading initiative, less than five percent of all students are in need of intensive reading interventions.

Ms. Ilk taught numerous years in special education and the regular elementary classroom. She then served on the Jefferson County School District’s Interventions Resource Team providing support to schools by guiding programming suggestions for students with Learning Disabilities, Autism and Down’s Syndrome. She is currently a literacy coordinator for five elementary schools. Melody is a regional trainer for LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling), the Colorado Reading First Project, DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basis Literacy Skills) Next and Rave-O. Ms. Ilk was nominated by her area coaches for the O’Rourke Prize presented by the Colorado Staff Development Council for exemplary professional development.

Pati and Melody have used their knowledge and experience to design and develop strong programming and interventions for students in highly impacted schools to drastically reduce the number of students experiencing reading failure. One of their schools received the Colorado Governor’s Award for Distinguished Improvement and Closing the Achievement Gap. One of the participating schools also received a national Title 1 Distinguished School Award for closing the achievement gap, one of only two awarded in the state by the United States Department of Education. This school and another from the project were recognized as recipients of the Centers of Excellence Award by the Colorado Department of Education for two consecutive years. These awards are distributed annually to those schools in the state that demonstrate the highest rates of student-longitudinal academic growth and enroll a student population that is at least seventy-five percent at-risk. The majority of the schools also have some of the highest student mobility in the district. In addition, one of the schools was chosen by the Colorado Department of Education’s Exceptional Student Services Unit to be a visitation site for the national Council for Exceptional Children Conference hosted in Denver in April of 2012

Ms. Montgomery and Ms. Elk will be able to impact student learning beyond the state of Colorado with their collaborative efforts with Dr. Louisa Moats. They recently authored a book with Dr. Louisa Moats titled, The Principal’s Primer for Raising Reading Achievement.

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities has awarded the distinguished 2012 Professional of the Year Award to Pati Montgomery and Melody Ilk. Each year, the award is given for outstanding performance and commitment by a professional who works in the field of learning disabilities in a role outside of the classroom. Pati and Melody went on to compete for and were awarded the Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Award. This is the first year that both CCLD and CLD elected to recognize co-recipients for these individual awards. As the recipients of the Floyd G. Hudson Award, Pati and Melody will be recognized in October at the Council for Learning Disabilities International Conference in Austin, Texas.