Asking the right question

Rheannon Sorrells triggered change by asking the critical question. (Photo by Norm Shafer)

Sometimes Being the Change means asking the right question.

Rheannon Sorrells (’04, ’11M), a teacher at Ressie Jeffers Elementary School in Warren Co., Va., watched as children struggled to read. At the same time, she was working on  her master’s degree in JMU’s College of Education and had discovered a new methodology for reading instruction called Response to Intervention. The RtI program recognizes that teaching methods that identify individual students’ strengths and weakness, and that are designed around the child, are highly effective.

Rheannon posed a critical question to her graduate professor: What would it take to try RtI at her elementary school? The result of Rheannon’s question was a partnership between JMU’s Allison Kretlow, professor of education, and the teachers at Ressie Jeffers.

And it  worked.

Because Rheannon asked the right question and acted on her convictions, Rheannon triggered a process that changed hundreds of young lives. Eventually the RtI reading program was adopted countywide.

For Rheannon’s work and especially for being the “spark” for change, we’re adding Rheannon Sorrells to our long list of Be the Change people.

You can read Rheannon’s full profile here:

And you can read the entire story of the successful Warren County reading program by visiting


About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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