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EU Alumni Perspective: Jan (Koss) Richardson

Name: Jan (Koss) Richardson

Graduation Year: 1973

Major: Elementary Education

Current Position: Education Consultant and Author

City and State: Richland Center, WI


Tell us about your career and what you do now.

I’ve taught every grade, kindergarten through college. I’ve also served as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, university professor, and staff developer.

After earning my Ph.D. in education from the University of South Florida. I became an educational consultant and started writing professional books for teachers. I’ve written seven best-selling books for Scholastic Publishing, and co-authored a comprehensive literacy program, Literacy Footprints Guided Reading, for Pioneer Valley Press. My most recent project was a research-based small group reading intervention framework called RISE. It’s also published by Scholastic.

I regularly do keynote speeches at national and international reading conferences, and I have served as a professional consultant in schools and school districts throughout the United States, Canada, and China.

What is your favorite memory from Evangel?

I met my husband at Evangel. We were married the summer between our junior and senior year. We both had full-time jobs, but we lived paycheck to paycheck because we didn’t want to go in debt. One day we totally ran out of food, having just eaten our last box of macaroni and cheese. Being the resourceful person my husband is, he grabbed his fishing pole and headed off to the lake. He brought home two very small fish, barely enough for a few bites apiece. Yet, we held hands, prayed, and thanked God for providing our meal. Through the years Cecil and I have never forgotten those two fish and what they represent. In fact, to this day, when we want to remind each other of God’s faithfulness, we simply say, “two fish.”

How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?

During our last two years at Evangel, Cecil and I looked for opportunities to minister in local A/G churches. We taught Sunday School, spoke in coffee houses, and lead worship services. Those experiences prepared us for a life of ministry in the military. We spent over 35 years in the Air Force, Cecil as a chaplain and me teaching Sunday School, playing the piano, singing in the choir, and supporting various chapel ministries.

How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?

I loved my education courses. I learned what to teach, but I also learned how to be a good teacher. Once Cecil entered the military, we moved every two to three years. That meant I had to constantly find new teaching positions. The education I received at Evangel gave me the confidence to present myself well in interviews. I knew I could teach any grade wherever there was an opening.

There were times when my faith was challenged, and I had to stand firm on my convictions. Evangel gave me a strong foundation to stand on and prepared me to speak the truth in love.

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

Take as many writing courses as possible. No matter what profession you enter, writing will be an important part of your job.

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?

Knowledge and passion are important, but I would first look for a positive attitude and good communication skills.