An internationally-known reading expert, Nora Forester was committed to making sure every student in the District learned to read, no matter their challenges. She worked tirelessly to improve reading instruction and literacy, and made it her mission to get every student in Northside ISD hooked on books.
Originally, Forester planned to be a social worker but her best friend’s mother, who happened to be the wife of a former mayor of San Antonio, urged her to consider teaching and landed her a job at Edgewood ISD as a second grade teacher.
On her first day of teaching in 1950, Forester met her future husband, James, also an educator at Edgewood ISD. She quickly fell in love with teaching – and James. Their 56-year marriage produced four children, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Forester came to work at Northside ISD in 1961 and taught at Cable, Thunderbird Hills (now Powell), Locke Hill, Glenoaks, Leon Valley, and Helotes elementary schools. In 1966, she became the District’s first remedial reading teacher, and she was the first teacher in San Antonio to earn the state reading specialist certification.
Always the trailblazer, in the 1960s, Forester secured a federal grant to put a reading specialist in every school, making Northside one of the first districts in the nation to do so. She became the District’s first Reading Coordinator in 1972, and brought numerous innovative and effective reading programs to Northside ISD.
As President of the Texas Association of Reading, Forester is credited with developing the reading teacher certification program that was adopted by the state Legislature in 1975. She also served on the Board of Directors for the International Reading Association, and traveled to England and Australia to make presentations for the prestigious World Congress of Reading.
Her commitment to student success and her fellow educators has become lore. For example, when Forester came to work at central office, she got special permission to teach an elementary class every morning so that she could make sure her newest program, Reading Recovery, was working.
During a career that spanned a half-century, Forester received numerous honors, including the Literacy Award from the Texas State Reading Association, the Service Award from the Alamo Reading Council, and the Elva Knight Award for Research in Early Literacy from the International Reading Association.
Now retired, Forester continues her contributions to Northside by working with retired teachers and the Northside School Museum Association.