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Munro Richardson is the executive director for Read Charlotte, an organization aimed to improve third-grade reading proficiency in Mecklenburg County. The nonprofit recently launched a volunteer program called HELPS, which allows volunteers to read with third-grade students in the area.
We sat down with Richardson to learn more about how he works.
Office location: Main Library
What are the gadgets you can’t live without?
Slack. We can’t live without it. It’s an app on our phones, on our computers and the primary way we move work off of email.
What are your social media habits like?
My wife would say I’m on the computer all the time. I’m always on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Email all the time.
Other than the Agenda, what other media do you consume?
I’m a voracious news reader – The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Observer, Financial Times, New York Times. I read first thing the morning, on my breaks, the evening. And I get some of the papers, but I don’t know why because I read mostly digital.
Walk us through your morning routine?
When I wake up, I normally try to set my day. I’ve been trying to use a physical journal to keep track of my time. This year I’ve been working to use the Full Focus Planner. On weekends I look out a couple of weeks, and when you get the planner, you can map out all of your big meetings for the quarter. Then, I add in the daily stuff.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I have coffee religiously. Breakfast varies, but I’m addicted to those Biscoff airplane cookies.
Tell us more about your job.
There’s no normal day for us. We’re a community-wide initiative with the goal of doubling third-grade reading proficiency from 40 percent, and our baseline was was 2015, to 80 percent by 2025. People call us the harbor master, trying to get all of these (reading) programs that are all touching literacy to move in the same direction.
There’s this African proverb that says ‘If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.’ So we like partnering with other organizations to go from idea to execution.
Why should Charlotteans care about your mission?
Charlotte should care, because if you want to understand the quality of a community, you need to be paying attention to the quality of its schools. Whatever the quality of early reading, will shape the quality of the school. So, if we want to make sure we have neighborhoods in school districts we feel great about, with schools we want to send our kids to, we need to pay attention to how well they teach kids to read in K-3. This is something you can lean in and help with.
Any unusual habits?
When I have time off, I love to watch movies, but I don’t want to watch anything cerebral. I like action movies. I think all the time, so the last movie I watched is with The Rock, “Skyscraper.” All I wanted to do was watch The Rock save his family.
What everyday thing are you really good at?
I think navigating my way from Pineville to Uptown every day – what time, what back roads to take and when to go home.
If you weren’t here doing this, what would you be doing?
Knowing what I know now, I would start a company, not sure if it’s for profit or nonprofit, that takes programs that are proven to work, and I’d build a company that focuses on executing those (missions) really well. There’s a big gap in the market, and what I often find is, people run tests to say “Does this work for reading?” and they publish the study, but never do anything with it. … It would not be very different (from what I’m doing now).
Best purchase under $100 that’s improved your workflow?
The planner I mentioned. Though, I’m not sure if that’s under $100.
What are some of your favorite restaurants?
There’s a Mexican place, El Veracruz, down in Pineville. My wife and I love going there Friday nights for giant margaritas. I always get the spinach enchiladas.