Season 6, Episode 6

Leading Legislative Change, with State Senator Mimi Stewart

Mimi Stewart is a state senator from New Mexico and previously worked as a public school elementary special education teacher for thirty years, with an expertise in reading literacy. Her unique background has turned into a passion for and a history of championing educational policies as a legislator. This episode focuses on how state government and state legislation can work to improve literacy instruction. She takes us through the process of creating a piece of literacy legislation, New Mexico Senate Bill 398, which passed in 2019. Sen. Stewart also shares the latest that bill and talks about what she’s now focusing on from her place in the legislature—like changing that way we teach teachers from a university level.

Meet our guest(s):

Mimi Stewart

A former teacher, Mimi Stewart represents New Mexico’s 17th district in the state Senate. She’s spent the last eight years in the state Senate. Previously, she served 20 years in New Mexico’s House of Representatives. From 1995 to 2010, Stewart served in the House while also holding her job as a teacher. By trade, Sen. Stewart is a public school elementary special education teacher, with an expertise in teaching reading. She also taught other teachers how to teach reading using science for five years. In New Mexico’s Senate, Sen. Stewart sponsored New Mexico Senate Bill 398, which requires all first graders to have a simple dyslexia screener.

Meet our host, Susan Lambert

Susan Lambert is the Chief Academic Officer of Elementary Humanities at Amplify, and the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast. Her career has been focused on creating high-quality learning environments using evidence-based practices. Susan is a mom of four, a grandma of four, a world traveler, and a collector of stories.

As the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast, Susan explores the increasing body of scientific research around how reading is best taught. As a former classroom teacher, administrator, and curriculum developer, Susan is dedicated to turning theory into best practices that educators can put right to use in the classroom, and to showcasing national models of reading instruction excellence.


“Think about how many young kids in school right now we are not reaching and that have that feeling that they're dumb and they can't get it. I had one kid say to me, 'Ms. Stewart, I think there's just a secret code.' And I said to him, 'You are right. There is a secret code. It's called the alphabetic code, and you can learn that easily." —Mimi Stewart

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