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Panelist Bio

Carmen Weisner, MSW, LCSW, ACSW
National Association of Social Workers, Louisiana Chapter

Carmen Weisner graduated from the LSU School of Social Work in 1974. She retired from public service in the fall of 2004. Prior to her retirement from public service she was appointed by Governor Mike Foster to be the Assistant Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Social Service, Office of Community Services (the state’s public child welfare system). Through her leadership, she guided her agency toward COA Accreditation. The agency was the third public statewide system to achieve such recognition. Upon retirement she was hired by the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers as its Executive Director. In this position, she gets to use many of the social work principals that she learned while a student at LSU’s School of Social work in 1972. Throughout her 34 years of public service career, she epitomized the role of a social worker. Social workers are people who care about people, who want to make things better, who want to relieve suffering, and who want their work to make a difference. Social work is a profession devoted to helping people function the best they can in their environment.

As Executive Director, Carmen has assumed a key leadership role for the state’s7,000 plus licensed social workers. In her role as Executive Director, she has the opportunity to serve on numerous advisory boards, task forces, and commissions. She is former Chair of the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board, Past Chair of the Legislative Committee for this Advisory Committee, Subcommittee on Center for Excellence on Youth and Policy Research, Youth Aging Out of Foster Care Task Force, Louisiana Poverty Council, Louisiana Children’s Code Committee, Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund Board, Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families Board chair, and Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Action Network. In 2010, she was named as the NASW Executive Director of the Year. In 2012, she was presented with the NASWLA President’s Award for her contributions to the profession. In 2013, at the 2013 Celebration of the 75th year of its existence, LSU School of Social Work recognized her as one of the top 75 graduates of that program.

Current Topic

     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation

     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!

     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

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How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

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