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April 2023 Newsletter

The Inside Scoop

Welcome to The Inside Scoop, our electronic newsletter. Please enjoy this issue and share your feedback by email. We always look forward to hearing from you. This is the April 2023 edition of The Inside Scoop.

A Tribute To Barbara Spangler

We continue to remember Encore Learning Board President Barbara Spangler, who passed away on March 22 after a brief hospitalization.

We’ve created a short tribute video to remember Barb and the strong impact she had on her family, her community and Encore Learning. Click here to watch the video on our YouTube channel.

In Appreciation of Barbara Spangler’s Leadership at Encore Learning

Barbara Spangler’s public service and civic contributions are legendary. I want to focus on three tremendous gifts she made to Encore Learning.

When I joined Encore Learning’s Board I replaced Barbara, who stepped down from her Vice President’s position at the request of President Art Gosling to fill a greater need: chairing our Academic Programs Committee. Art wanted to strengthen what is arguably our most important committee, which is responsible for identifying instructors and courses each semester. Barb’s hard work revitalized that committee, just in time to handle the challenges of Covid in early 2020. We had to pivot to virtual learning and so did our instructors and members. In this, Barb’s husband Steve, and many others played key roles in making all involved comfortable on Zoom. This effort had a reward; we were able for register 230 people for Global Hot Spots, eliminating an ongoing painful waitlist for many.

When Art decided to step down as President in 2020, it was clear to everyone on the Board that Barb would be the strongest replacement. But she demurred, wanting to continue her work of insuring that when she stepped down as Chair of Academic Programs, it would be in the best possible shape. Barbara’s selfless decision was typical of her.

In 2022, she was ready to become our first female President and was deservedly elected as our leader. She helped advance a number of initiatives, including increasing membership and visibility in the community, and recently strengthening our financial management in ways that will increase revenue. She presided over our 20th anniversary celebration with pride, grace and humor, doling out well-deserved accolades to our staff, volunteers and members. It was a very special day.

But in my view the most important thing she did for Encore Learning was earlier, when she took charge of the search for a replacement for our first and only Executive Director, Marjorie Varner. Art asked Barb to use her decades of personnel management skills on our behalf and she delivered, identifying a half dozen strong candidates, doing background checks on each and arranging for Art and me to join her interviewing all the candidates. The result was the hiring of Lora Pollari-Welbes, through a first-rate process that Barb expertly managed.

You probably met Barb. In the past six years Barb participated in more than 50 Special Events and 45 classes. She served as Class Aide at least a dozen times. She was a model member and impeccable leader.

All of us will miss Barb terribly. But we should be grateful for the time we had working together to keep Encore Learning advancing and staying strong and relevant for those seeking continuing education.

– Tom Adams, Past President

Meet Our Interim Board President, Mildred Patterson

Our sincere thanks goes out to long-time Encore Learning member and volunteer, Mildred Patterson. Barbara Spangler’s passing left a huge void in Encore Learning leadership but Mildred has stepped up as Interim Board President until June 30, 2023 to continue Barbara’s legacy.

A retired Foreign Service Officer, Mildred served in Denmark, Belgium and Turkey (twice) in addition to Washington. She has been a Vice President of Encore Learning since 2020 and chaired the 20th Anniversary Celebration Committee in 2022. In years past, she has been a managing editor of the course catalog, a co-chair of the Publications Committee and a member of the ad hoc committee that proposed the name change from the Arlington Learning in Retirement Institute to Encore Learning. Mildred currently is also a volunteer instructor in Arlington County’s Community Outreach Program, teaching citizenship classes to aspiring American citizens.

Mildred is often driven to despair by her never-improving tennis game, and is grateful to her book club for persuading her to read books she never would have chosen herself.

April Is National Volunteer Recognition Month

April is National Volunteer Recognition Month, a time to show our appreciation and respect for our multitude of volunteers. As a volunteer-run nonprofit, the role that each volunteer plays in the success and sustainability of Encore Learning couldn’t be more crucial.

We would like to introduce you to a few of our volunteers are pleased to share a feature article by Jody Goulden about some of our fabulous volunteers and their contributions. Click here.

Club News

Non-Fiction Book Club

The Encore Learning Non-Fiction Book Club will meet on Monday, May 8 at 1:30 PM in the Bluemont Room of the Arlington Central Library. 

We’ll be discussing The River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard. 

The meeting is open to all Encore Learning members but best if you’ve read the book. If you want to join the Book Club, please notify the office, and we’ll add you to the mailing list. We meet on the second Monday of every other odd month.  

Travel Club

The April Travel Club presentation was given by Bill Mugg. Bill presented some of the more interesting aspects of the trip he and his wife Ellen took to Paris and Provence.

If you would like to be placed on the email list for the Travel Club, send an email to info@encorelearning.net. The Travel Club typically meets on the 3rd Friday each month at 2:30 PM on Zoom.

Next Travel Club Meeting:

The May Travel Club meeting will be Friday, May 19. The Travel Club topic will be Laos and will be presented by Charlie Hallahan.

Election of Officers

All current members will receive an emailed Encore Learning notice of election and link to the ballot. Encore Learning must achieve a quorum of members to vote to have a valid election.

Please watch your email on Monday, May 1, 2023 for this important election of officers and board members balllot link. The Encore Learning Board of Directors is composed of Officers and Committee Chairs. You must be a current member to vote, check your membership status by logging into My Account and scrolling below your contact information to find your expiration date. If you do not receive an email on May 1 with the ballot contact info@encorelearning.net to update your membership.

Join Us At Your Annual Meeting

Please plan on attending Encore Learning’s Annual Meeting, which will take place virtually on Thursday, May 18 at 10:00 AM.

Our annual meetings are very important to the future of Encore Learning, as we will announce the results of the Board of Directors election. You’ll also learn about the state of our community, we’ll look back at the highlights of last year and hear from our volunteer leadership and Lora Pollari-Welbes, our Executive Director.

We are delighted to also bring a favorite presentation to you as an optional bonus to the Annual Meeting. Following the business meeting, Kay Yong, certified dementia expert, will lead us in a brief interactive workshop on maintaining a healthy brain. Your participation in this workshop is completely optional.

Here is the Zoom Link:


Meeting ID: 898 5270 3670

We hope to see you on Zoom!

Did You Know?

Did you know that the Encore Learning Facebook Page is another source of information for you about events, courses, members, volunteers and area happenings? You may see your picture there or learn about a new instructor or upcoming Special Event.

If you want our page to pop up on your Facebook feed, visit our page! Then comment, ‘like’ or share a post! Visit us on Facebook

We Want To Hear From You!

When Was The Last Time You Visited Our Facebook Page?

Please click on the option that fits you best.
In the past month
Within the past 6 months
Within the past year
I’ve never visited the Facebook page
I don’t have Facebook

Staff Corner

April finds us deep into spring weather, we’ve already had cherry blossoms, daffodils, tulips, and azaleas to enjoy. We were fortunate to meetup with ten new members at our April coffee at Arlington Central Library. We heard about their interests, prompted some club participation and gained interest in more in-person activities. We also heard that some new folks have been around a long time and did not know about us. We should not be a secret. Tell your friends about Encore Learning, share our Facebook page, bring them to a class as a visitor.

April is National Volunteer Recognition Month. Every day we have active volunteers to be thankful for. Read more about our volunteers kindly written by volunteer Jody Goulden.

As classes wind down, two reminders:

  • The course evaluation link is emailed on the last day of class. This feedback form is completed in SurveyMonkey. Your feedback is a very important contribution to our success.
  • Once the class is over, you can find your class media by going to ‘My ‘Account’ page, then click on ‘My Activities’, then select ‘Historic Enrollments’. These documents shared during your class are always available to you as a member who enrolled in that class. If you need help, check out our Quick Start Guide.

We look forward to seeing you at our Annual Meeting on May 18 and sharing more about our wonderful year of Encore Learning.

Lora Pollari-Welbes

Executive Director

Meet Our Staff

In addition to our wonderful volunteers, our staff of five helps make Encore Learning what it is today. If you see one of us in a class or on Zoom, be sure to introduce yourself!

Pictured left to right: Kerry Fraatz, Patty Rowland, Jourdain Henderson, Alissa Locke and Lora Pollari-Welbes.

Welcome To Our New Members

During March 2023, we welcomed many new members and look forward to having them become active participants in Encore Learning. Please introduce yourself to them if you meet them in a class, club or event.

  • Franz Gimmler
  • Kathleen Lowy
  • Olivier Massot
  • Deborah Newby
  • Jennifer Silver

  • Effie Stallsmith
  • Damtew Woldeyes
  • Carol Carpenter Yaman
  • Tadesse Yimer

THANK YOU to Meskerem Gebregiorgis, Peter Harnick, Janice McLean and Damtew Woldeyes for referring friends and family to Encore Learning. Thank you to the Membership Committee for their efforts to spread the word about Encore Learning. If you’d like to bring Encore Learning into your community (residential building or neighborhood) to share information about membership, let us know. Tell a friend about Encore Learning so you can see your name here!

Encore Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donation is a charitable contribution deductible from income tax to the full extent permitted by law. Members, friends and organizations wishing to support Encore Learning may direct contributions to our General Fund to support our sustainability, to the Arthur W. Gosling Youth Scholarship Fund or the John T. Sprott Scholarship Fund. If you would like to discuss tax benefits of charitable giving and charitable remainder trusts, please view our Donate page or contact the office.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Inside Scoop. If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email us at info@encorelearning.net.
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