Rutherford County nonprofit Read To Succeed has named J. Paul Vaughan, former director of the Jennings & Rebecca Jones Foundation, the recipient of the Karen Claud Literacy Award.
Each year, Read To Succeed honors an outstanding person of the Rutherford County community whose untiring efforts have increased opportunities for citizens to enjoy the written word.
“This award recognizes a commitment to the belief that literacy is the cornerstone of our enduring freedom,” said Lisa Mitchell, Read To Succeed Executive Director. “The education of our community has always been at the forefront of Paul Vaughan’s work, and his commitment to providing the best possible educational opportunities is inspirational. This is the exact behavior for which the Karen Claud Literacy Award was created.”
Through the Jennings & Rebecca Jones Foundation, Vaughn has supported educational initiatives in Rutherford County for 26 years. He has helped support new programs and services for students at Middle Tennessee State University, Rutherford County Schools, and Murfreesboro County Schools. Mitchell also said that pre-school age children through adult learners have benefitted from his work at places like the Discovery Center, the YMCA, Special Kids, and Read To Succeed.
Rutherford County School’s Elizabeth Church said that Vaughan has always been and continues to be “a champion for literacy.”
Mitchell added that Vaughan has a “faith in the power of people to make a difference in the lives of others, nurturing literacy and educational programs now considered ‘institutions’ in our community.”
This award was created by the Read To Succeed Council in December 2006 to honor Karen Claud. Claud worked as Administrative Assistant for Read To Succeed from September 2003 through the fall of 2004. She then created and directed the Read To Succeed Adult Literacy Program, managing a large community council and recruiting and training volunteers to teach adult learners. In December 2006, Claud was called upon, without notice, to assume the responsibilities of Executive Director for Read To Succeed. She assumed the new responsibilities with no hesitation and with full commitment to the initiative. With minimal regard for her own needs, Claud worked tirelessly and professionally at all times to administer two large literacy councils, manage numerous events and programs, and even begin new projects. Her eye was always on creating literacy opportunities in the community.
Claud said she believes Vaughan thinks of the bigger picture and greater good of our community.
“His ability to pay it forward through his philosophical approach to giving and living has been a blessing to Rutherford County,” she said. “His kindness, generosity and service to the community is done quietly and without expectations for honor or recognition, but he is so deserving of a bigger way to say thank you for all that he has done for not just the literacy community, but making Rutherford County a better community.”
Past winners of the Karen Claud Literacy Award include Murfreesboro City School Director, Dr. Linda Gilbert, Mr. Cliff Sharp of Greenhouse Ministries, retired MTSU educator Dr. Mary Tom Berry, and John Key of Smyrna’s Community Servants.
Read To Succeed gives out several other awards each year at its Volunteer Luncheon in April, which have in the past included Learner of the Year, Council Member of the Year, Family Literacy Volunteer of the Year, Community Volunteer of the Year, Murfreesboro City School of the Year, Rutherford County School of the Year, Corporate Sponsor of the Year, and Community Partner of the Year.