1953 - 2020
Dr. Carol Connor, 67, of Irvine, CA, passed away peacefully in her home on May 14, 2020, after a valiant battle with ovarian cancer.
Dr. Connor was a Chancellor's Professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Education. She was a respected trailblazer in early childhood education and the science of reading. Dr. Connor's mission was to have every child reading at or above grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Based on thousands of hours of classroom observation, she invented A2i-a technology that supports teachers across the country in achieving transformative reading results for their students. A2i provides a rigorously researched, unique approach to instruction, which dramatically increases student literacy achievement. It gave Carol the most joy that teachers saw unprecedented results when her technology was applied in high-need settings. Her work represents a major equity breakthrough as it has the potential for stopping the Achievement Gap at 3rd Grade.
Dr. Connor won numerous awards including the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers presented by President George W. Bush in 2006. She held appointments at top universities and was principal investigator for studies funded by the US Department of Education, the Institute for Education Sciences, and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.
Carol was born on February 21, 1953, to Leo and Ann-Eve McDonald in Chicago, IL.
She is survived by her mother, Ann-Eve McDonald, the love-of-her-life and husband, Joseph (Jay) Connor, along with their children, Jessica and Bill Hudak, Kerianne and Nick Lentz, and Patrick and Sarika Connor. And their grandchildren: Josephine, Lillian, Jacob, and Wyatt.
Carol is also survived by her siblings: Lianne Mech, John McDonald, Kate Sergeant and their spouses and children as well as her beloved dog, Tally. She was preceded in death by her father, Leo McDonald.
Even with Dr. Connor's illustrious career, family was most important to her. Carol and her husband Jay celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in October. For the past 26 years they spent every summer with their family at their cabin in Lake Arrowhead, CA. Another place that was near to her heart was Captiva Island in FL, which she visited every year since she was a little girl.
Due to the current pandemic and for everyone's safety, Carol's life will be celebrated on May 21st by a small gathering of immediate family. This fall or early next year, when it is safe to gather, a celebration of life will be held with her family, friends, and colleagues from around the world.
Carol's legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of all she interacted with as well as those she reached, but never met. In lieu of flowers, the family established a fund to honor Carol's passion for educational research, teacher support, and children's reading success.
The Dr. Carol Connor Fund:
Help keep her life's work top-of-mind by continuing to demand improvement on literacy outcomes for all our young students.
Published in New York Times from May 20 to May 21, 2020.