The Virginia Association of Teachers of English mourns the loss of former VATE president and NCTE liaison, Jan Suppa-Friedman, who died on November 26th. Jan was a long time member of the executive board, serving in several positions in a span of over twenty years. Jan was a high school teacher and department chair in the Prince William school division for 24 years and a highly regarded educational consultant after retiring from the classroom.
She first came to the board as the representative of the NATE affiliate, which stretched from Winchester to Fredericksburg. In 2004, while serving as president-elect, Jan put together a coalition of English/language arts supervisors from NATE and enlisted their aid in orchestrating one of the most successful conferences in VATE history, featuring such renowned authors as Orson Scott Card and Sharon Draper.
After concluding her commitment to the presidential track, Jan served as NCTE liaison, and during her tenure in that position, VATE won the first of eight “NCTE Affiliate of Excellence” awards, largely due to Jan’s efforts. In fact, VATE garnered the coveted award five times on Jan’s watch, a record that may never be equaled. As VATE’s NCTE liaison, Jan instituted several new initiatives and coordinated VATE’s participation in NCTE’s Literacy Education Advocacy Day.
VATE will honor Jan’s legacy of service at the 2017 annual conference, which fittingly will be held at the Fredericksburg Hospitality House, the same hotel which was the setting for the conference she spearheaded in 2004. In the meantime, VATE expresses its condolences to Jan’s family, especially to her husband, Mike, and daughter, Julie.