Ken Latour of Hay River is the new president of the NWT Literacy Council.
A board member and treasurer of the organization since March, he took over as president at the council’s annual general meeting on Nov. 21 in Yellowknife.
Latour, who works with Aurora College as the regional program head for the Akaitcho and the South Slave, said the literacy council is incredibly valuable to the NWT and pointed out it has a mandate to support literacy in all languages across the territory.
“The literacy council has just a stellar track record of producing and delivering good quality programs across the North that have made a substantial impact on literacy rates in the Northwest Territories,” he said. “It’s a unique organization.”
Latour said the literacy council has probably delivered multiple workshops in every community in the NWT and has touched the lives of many people.
The new president will be completing the final year of the two-year term to which Fort Smith’s Jeri Miltenberger was elected last year. She has resigned from the position.
Latour said Miltenberger, who had been involved with the council almost from its beginnings in 1990 and served on the board for about 18 years, asked him a little while ago if he would be interested in becoming president.
“There are perhaps some other people on the executive right now with more experience with that organization but not everyone has the time,” he said.
So he agreed to become president, and the change was accepted by council at its AGM. There was no election.
“If anyone else had shown keen interest, I would have deferred to that person,” said Latour. “But at this point, the board felt that given my background, the amount of time I have at least in terms of involvement in the adult education field, that I was a good choice.”
Miltenberger believes Latour will make a very good president.
“I think Ken is a really excellent addition to the board,” she said, adding that he has a real passion for literacy.
Latour said his own first involvement with the literacy council goes back to the late 1990s when he was an adult educator at Aurora College’s Fort Resolution Community Learning Centre.
At that time, the college and the literacy council joined forces for a reading circle for children and their families.
Latour said there is now a student at the Hay River Community Learning Centre who was a young child who came to that reading circle in Fort Resolution.
Now that he is president of the NWT Literacy Council, his first goal will be to conclude the already-started work to update its strategic plan.
“We hope to have that done basically by March,” he said, adding the strategic plan will then be used to determine future initiatives.
The other members of the council’s executive are vice-president Suzanne Robinson of Yellowknife, treasurer Norma Gauthier of Behchoko, and secretary Beverly Garven of Inuvik.
In his job with Aurora College, Latour works out of the Hay River Community Learning Centre, and supervises and supports that centre and others in Fort Resolution, Lutsel K’e, Dettah/Ndilo and on the Hay River Reserve.