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New direction lies ahead for Reading Clinic

Glenn Faries, new executive director at the Reading Clinic, pictured with his predecessor Julie Dunstan

A new strategic direction lies ahead for the Reading Clinic, with the appointment of Glenn Faries as its new executive director.

Dr Faries, who succeeds Julie Dunstan as she steps down after six years in the post, aims to spearhead a public awareness campaign for the educational charity.

“It’s about not just letting parents and others know what we do, but also giving a broader awareness of the principles of what we do here — why it helps students with learning differences and what the end goal is,” Dr Faries told The Royal Gazette.

The Reading Clinic, which helps students “use their own strengths and maximise their own potentials”, is also planning to offer more professional development for the Island’s teachers.

Dr Dunstan, who steps down on August 31, called it “a really exciting time for the Reading Clinic”.

“We’re moving from a phase of rapid expansion to one of much more outreach and public awareness”.

Dr Faries comes to the organisation after helping turn around the Sunshine League, a charity for young people traditionally viewed as a children’s home, but which he said has evolved according to the Island’s needs.

Many across the community reacted with shock when the Sunshine League closed as a home in 2011, after high costs and low finances took a serious toll.

Dr Faries, who returned home to Bermuda in 2012, is credited with bringing the organisation back into the Island’s social services landscape.

He has developed and implemented new programmes such as Pathways to Independence, an innovative transitional living programme for young men.

Dr Faries also reconnected the Sunshine League with its traditional donors, as well as new supporters.

“It’s now time to hand it over to people with different skill sets,” he said.

Dr Faries practised as an academic paediatrician at the University of Colorado Medical School and the Children’s Hospital of Denver, now Colorado Children’s Hospital.

Among his interests was examining “the social aspects that contributed to emergency department visits”, but his academic background fuelled a keen interest in education, he said.

“Although this will be with an older population, I’ve always been fascinated with the importance of education, and using the best strategies that we can in order to have an education,” Dr Faries said.

“It feels like a good fit. I have a lot to learn — Julie is leaving a large pair of shoes to fill. But the principles I’ve learnt during my career of caring for children and education will be instrumental with the new strategic direction of the Reading Clinic.”

Kevin Grant, president of the Reading Clinic’s board of directors, said the organisation welcomed Dr Faries’s “energetic spirit and passion for education that we trust will translate into continued success at the Reading Clinic”.

Mr Grant also commended Dr Dunstan’s “tireless work ethic, professionalism and excellent leadership”.

Dr Dunstan is stepping down after a lifelong family association with the Reading Clinic, but said she intends to continue supporting the organisation.

She added that she was now embarking on an adventure of her own with her husband, Richard Brewer: living on a boat for the next few years.

“The timing has worked out perfectly to have Dr Faries come in as the needs of the organisation are changing,” she said.