Marlene Doerr Kreilkamp, founder and executive director of Milwaukee-based SHARP Literacy has announced her retirement.
The organization has hired Milwaukee-based executive search firm Spano Pratt to begin the national search for a new executive director. A replacement is expected by December.
“It is with a heavy heart that we accepted Marlene’s retirement letter,” said Joel Huffman, SHARP Literacy board chairman. “Marlene has been an exceptional leader and an inspiration to so many students, teachers and others throughout the past two decades. We will greatly miss her leadership and realize that she has left us very big shoes to fill.”
Doerr Kreilkamp will retire in October, after 20 years of service. Under her leadership, SHARP has touched 70,000 students and 4,000 teachers, literacy coaches and principals since its inception in 1996. In 2009, the program was selected as a semifinalist for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities Coming Up Taller Award, based on its work with The Greater Milwaukee Circle of Life project, which addresses the important topic of healing discrimination and racism through the eyes and voices of children.
“I began the organization because of the hard work and keen insights of children,” Doerr Kreilkamp said. “I know that as SHARP continues to move forward, it will continue to build awareness in Milwaukee to foster the creative learning experience and to help our children develop a much deeper understanding of themselves, and of the world in which they live. I am just happy to have participated in some small way.”
SHARP Literacy, Inc. is an educational program dedicated to utilizing art history and the visual arts as a learning tool in students’ classrooms.Today there are seven staff members serving 32 schools throughout the metropolitan Milwaukee area. Doerr Kreilkamp has received numerous awards on behalf of SHARP Literacy, including the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts Eddy Award in 2008, and the 2008 Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award, recognizing successful women in business. In 2007, she was the recipient of the prestigious Kairos Award, presented by former Marquette University President Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J. In 2010, she was a Prize Fellow for the Social Innovation Prize in Wisconsin for demonstrating uncommon vision, determination and entrepreneurialism in addressing community, state and national problems. SHARP Literacy also received the BizTimes IQ Innovation Award in 2012. She has agreed to stay on in an advisory capacity to the Board of Directors, as needed.