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Preface Featured on “Scenic Roots,” an Exclusive Conversation Collaboration Between NPR and WUTC

Preface Founder & Executive Director Jonathan "JT" Wu joined Frank "Paco" Watkins and Emily Clegg, Preface's Chattanooga Liaisons, to speak with host Ray Bassett on the NPR / WUTC exclusive program Scenic Roots.


Preface’s inaugural partnership in Tennessee was featured on Scenic Roots, an NPR-affiliated program hosted by Ray Bassett, with Founder & Executive Director Jonathan “JT” Wu joining Preface Liaisons Emily Clegg and Frank “Paco” Watkins to discuss the award-winning program and its presence in the Chattanooga community.

CHATTANOOGA, TN. – Spotlighting the Preface model and its unique impacts in Chattanooga during this season of virtual learning, Preface Founder & Executive Director, Jonathan “JT” Wu, recently joined Ray Bassett, host of NPR-affiliated program Scenic Roots, for a wide-ranging conversation around Preface’s inaugural partnership in Tennessee with the McCallie School and East Lake Elementary School.

Speaking to the show alongside Preface Liaisons Frank “Paco” Watkins, a Spanish Teacher and the Head of World Languages at the McCallie School, and Emily Clegg, East Lake Elementary School’s Preface Liaison, the quartet discussed the unique and innovative ways Preface is training multilingual high school “Ambassadors” from McCallie to facilitate safe and secure remote reading sessions with young East Lake students, helping Hamilton County educators mitigate learning loss for their young students during these challenging times.

“McCallie and East Lake have had a relationship for many years,” said Clegg. “When JT reached out to Frank about Preface and bringing it here to Chattanooga, we were just honored to be able to be a part of that and find another way that McCallie and East Lake could partner together. We know our students benefit from those meaningful relationships and that’s something that Preface offers our kids.”

They also praised Preface’s embrace of innovation. Watkins noted that, “It’s also added a level of flexibility for our [high school] students who are really busy… being virtual cuts down the travel time… we’ve got guys doing [reading sessions] in the morning, during free periods, sometimes in the afternoon – the flexibility’s really working well.”

Clegg agreed, saying, “[Finding] ways to connect virtually… it’s been an added gift because we’ve been able to include some of our students who are doing HCS At Home in a way that they wouldn’t have been able to participate with Preface before…. We don’t know what’s to come and if we’ll always be in the school building, but working with McCallie and Preface virtually has allowed us to [ensure] that those relationships will continue!”

A link to the full interview on Scenic Roots, airing exclusively on Chattanooga NPR-Affiliate WUTC 88.1, is available here.

About Preface:

Founded in 2019, Preface is a public-private philanthropic initiative dedicated to fostering Equality Through Education and early childhood literacy… with a multilingual twist! Partnering with educators and community leaders, Preface empowers local high schoolers to give back to their communities and bridge opportunity gaps by fostering literacy among young emerging bilingual students. A federally recognized 501(c)(3) organization, Preface is proudly headquartered in Gwinnett County, Georgia and serves communities across America. Learn more at

For further inquiries, contact:

Devon Naftzger

Chief Marketing Officer

Preface Public Relations




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