John Corcoran taught high school grammar, social studies and physical education for 17 years, made a career change and developed over $50 million in real estate. And at age 48, he learned to read and write through research-based literacy programs. He became an advocate for research-based reading instruction and tutoring, started the John Corcoran Foundation to help others with basic skill deficiencies, and authored two books on illiteracy.
With his new book, The Bridge to Literacy: No Child—or Adult—Left Behind, published last October, he spoke with us for an insightful conversation on learning and reading in today’s schools.
DA: What do you see as the X-factor in today’s public education system?
JC: Literacy. There are serious deficiencies in basic reading, writing, spelling and comprehension. The dominant language in school is the written word. We go to school for the first three years of our lives to learn to read, and for the rest of our academic lives we read to learn. If teachers were taught how to effectively teach all children to read and write, our students would be able to succeed in the classroom, workplace and community.
A part of me thinks, “How are we missing this?” I don’t think I ever had any teachers wake up in the morning and say, “I’m not going to teach this boy to read and ruin his life.” I don’t think that is the case.
DA: Maybe it’s hard for some teachers to realize it’s not happening.
JC: Yes. And I think there are so many side issues in schools that we’re constantly dealing with. For me, there are no excuses. And I guess I can throw the ball back at your question with teachers that have taught in school for a while who often say they’ve heard every excuse for a kid not bringing in their homework. Well, I feel like I’ve heard every excuse from teachers telling me why kids don’t learn to read.
I mean it in a respectful way. But I know that even saying that makes teachers mad. It’s very difficult to have conversations with educators because the demands are so great on them, and they’re defensive. I want to use the analogy of building a house. We can’t cheat on the foundation. There’s no way. I was a builder, and when I opened up the subdivision, people came to the models and asked me, “Who did the interior decorating?” No one ever asks, “Who dug the footings for the concrete?” Nobody asks, “How much steel was in the footings?”
DA: It’s not very sexy.
JC: Not sexy! That’s it. You hit the nail on the head. This issue is not sexy.
You know, another problem with the “X-factor” here, and I think it’s critical, is this: Teaching someone to read takes time. It takes time to get the results. It’s hard work to teach some of us to read. And you know America—we want to see the results in 48 hours.
But the X-factor is also technology. We have the research. We can create the software. For the last 20 years, the X-factor has been research. With research comes proper instruction. Sometimes a teacher may be hesitant about the software and technology, and he or she needs somebody to hold their hand to get there. We must make the X-factor an actuality. Software like AutoSkill, Lexia, and Reading Coach are just some examples.
DA: Could that be different from what the X-factor might have been a generation ago?
JC: It is different because of the technological demand and advancements we have today. If you can’t read, write and spell, you are going to be limited when it comes to the information highway and thus further behind.
However, it should be different because today we have three to four hundred million dollars worth of research that tells us how to teach children to read. Ninety-seven percent of students in school can learn to read, and yet the statistics show us that the number of literate people in America is nowhere near 97 percent. Now we have the technology to assist teachers like never before.
Twenty or 30 years ago we had a culture where you could quit school after eighth grade if you couldn’t read, and you could go get a job in the factory and you could provide adequate income for a family. Now we can’t do that. And we’re not going to teach them to read until we break the cycle of illiteracy. We have to train teachers to do it.
We know how to teach people how to read, write and spell. And the challenge now is to close the gap between what we know about teaching people to read and what we do. That’s really the challenge. And the first step is you have to have properly trained teachers.
Thirty percent of the kids that started school this September aren’t going to graduate. Right now people ask me what I think about exit exams. And I think, I’m not looking at the validity of the exit exams, but I think it’s very healthy for us to put those there, because it forces us to ask the question. We’ve been perpetuating social promotion for a long time. A couple million kids a year can’t even read their diploma. So we’ve institutionalized illiteracy and administration in a way. We have to dismantle that institution and still keep it working.
DA: I want to get into that. How should we fix this? What should we be doing differently? You say the entire system is broken. What can be done differently?
JC: Well, the key is proper instruction and properly trained teachers.
DA: But what do you mean by that?
JC: Well, I believe that the best research-based information and science need to be put into the hands of the practitioners that teach people to read. We haven’t done that. I’ll give you an example. You go into special education because you’re two years behind. That’s what classifies you as “learning disabled.” Well, 60 percent of the kids that are in special ed in California are there because they have reading deficiencies. They’re two years behind in their reading. They have average intelligence but they’re behind in reading. We’re sending them to special ed, but we haven’t trained special ed teachers to be reading teachers! We have to break that cycle.
DA: How exactly do you prepare teachers to teach kids to read, and what does the science say, without getting too technical?
JC: There are the reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension components, and the components that we have to teach teachers. The five areas that the science lays out are phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency—those are the things that we have to teach kids. So we have to teach teachers how to teach that. Now the science—there is a prescription for that. And if we administer a diagnostic test, it identifies the five points. It says, “There’s a weakness in the phonemic awareness.” The test can say, “This is what this kid needs,” and so we need to teach teachers to be able to use those tools properly. Know the methodology, even though it’s not the only way to teach people to read. But I would like to see all teachers at the university level, when they’re in their training, actually be required to teach a child, or an adult, how to read.
DA: That could take a long time.
JC: That would be part of what I would change in the curriculum at the university level. It’s sort of like when you train a nurse. In California, 43 percent of our high school college-prep students that are going to the universities have deficiencies in basic reading and writing and spelling, and they have to take bonehead English—they take remedial courses. So they get in, and then they take their entrance test, and they find out they have deficiencies. And a lot of these students are going into education. So we have some remediation work that has to take place even for college-prep students. I don’t know if university professors know how to teach kids to read.
DA: That’s usually not in their job description.
JC: Right. And it’s not in the job description of high school teachers. High school teachers don’t think it’s their job to teach a teenager to read who can’t read. So every teacher, every counselor, every administrator, every educator, from kindergarten to the university level, should be involved in breaking the cycle of illiteracy! Which means they don’t all have to be reading specialists, but they all should know how a human being learns to read.
DA: How might you tie your personal story to that X-factor?
JC: It’s kind of like being suspended in the third grade in a lot of ways, and that’s why I believe that when we teach all of our children and people how to read, write and spell, we’re going to fill a big hole in America’s soul, because that’s what I personally felt that reading did for me. And you know, I had to go back and make peace with myself and whom I saw as my oppressors. And the oppressors were people that didn’t teach me to read, or expected me to read. I mean, whether it was real or imagined, not knowing how to read ? can make you kind of crazy. [Laughs]
DA: Can you describe the work that your foundation does? What do you do on a day-to-day basis, and what role do you play in its functions?
JC: The John Corcoran Foundation came about as an organization to create awareness about the state of illiteracy in America. It helps me to organize my advocacy efforts, and we provide tutoring services to help children and adults receive the research-based instruction that many of us do not get in schools. I want to be an example to other functional illiterates in our society who may be afraid to take the frightening step toward learning to read and write.
First, I learned to read, and people asked me to share the story. I didn’t really want to, but I did. And once I made a commitment to be part of the awareness, I thought the first stage was—because I was a businessperson—putting the foundation together, but not with any kind of business plan or marketing strategy or anything like that. It just came to me, and people invited me to share the story.
And then I met a special ed teacher that wasn’t very happy in the work she was doing and asked me if I would help her with some tutoring opportunities. We started tutoring kids after school and now, over the last three or four years, we’ve probably trained over 300 tutors and helped 2,000 students.
I thought we’d get past the awareness. I thought we’d shift into gear and do the solution piece of it. And my original sharing of the story was with the hope that I would open doors for people that knew how to impart the skills. But I think the foundation is a model for other entrepreneur-educators who want to do tutoring.
There are two things that we do now, and for the most part it’s to support the literacy providers that are out there. I came from a community-based literacy program, so I support their good works. But I also know that they’re only symbolic in terms of what we can do. We’re not reaching enough people.
DA: Now that we’re on the subject of reaching people, do you want to talk at all about your new book, The Bridge to Literacy?
JC: As a writer, it comes from feelings of, “How many times do I have to say this?” I wrote the first book, The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read, as my life experience up until tutoring—the beginning of my advocacy. And the second book I feel was more of finally doing my homework. You know, I cheated my way through college, I never wrote my own term paper, I never wrote anything. And I feel like the second book was more scholarly. I interviewed about 30 experts around the country.
What the book has now is the solution. There’s a chapter on the teacher training and the science, and it includes many university professors talking about how we need to change the curriculum and improve teacher training. It’s about being on both sides of the bridge. The book invites the literate people to reach out and bring the others across the bridge.
DA: Sounds like a great vision. If you were a teacher today, what would you do to ensure that students don’t get away with the same thing you did?
JC: What I’d like schools and teachers to do is to give diagnostic tests for every child every school year to break the cycle of illiteracy. There’s really only one cure for illiteracy, which is the ability to read and write. People who can’t read cannot teach themselves or others to read. It’s critical that society makes a commitment to teach all learners to read, and that schools and educators are held accountable.
DA: How can teachers get students to become excited about reading?
JC: There are two questions here: one is the skill of reading and the other is the value of reading. Teachers must be properly trained for students to obtain the basic skills. Improving literacy skills will create greater appreciation for reading.
Once students have the ability to read, put something in front of them that is exciting and stimulates them. After the third grade, we read to learn. In every class and in every situation, most of our new information comes from the written word. The more you read, the more you learn and the better person you become. Parents and families can read together and make this experience exciting and bonding. Implement a creative incentive in schools to encourage kids to read.
DA: As a successful businessman and, paradoxically, a teacher of 17 years, you did not learn to read until you were 48. How did you fool others for so long?
As a child, I was a product of social promotion—that’s how I moved on from the third grade without knowing how to read. Then my frustration with failure caused me to act out and misbehave as a preteen, which masked my deficiency in reading. The adults around me thought I was a behavior problem and didn’t focus on my reading problem. I wasn’t trying to trick anybody. I was just reacting.
In high school, I decided it was in my best interest not to behave that way, and I started cheating. I went on to college and continued to cheat, and I had come to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to learn to read. When I was a teacher I created an oral environment, and when I was in business I was the boss. I could hire somebody to do my reading and writing for me. When you’re the boss, people don’t question you, and when you’re a teacher people don’t suspect you.
I also was a good communicator. And I could guard my language. When you talk about reading deficiencies and difficulties, it’s really language processing. I had difficulty processing language. There were words that I couldn’t pronounce that I heard. And I used a lot of metaphors and analogies to communicate. And in the classroom I used visual aids, guest speakers and my students to facilitate my deficiencies. I farmed it out in a way. And it was always a manipulation.
The thing I hated most about not knowing how to read is that in America we’re brought up with this spirit of being independent—“Stand on your own two feet.” And I could never stand on my own two feet. I always had to ask somebody else, even a child—to manipulate him or her into reading something for me. And then you got to wonder, “Gosh, did they really read it right? Is that what it really said?”
DA: So when you were working in business, you could hire someone to do your reading and writing? You hired someone and he or she would recite it back to you?
JC: If I requested it, if I wanted it.
DA: So that’s usually how you did it?
JC: I actually had an in-house attorney. Nobody has an in-house attorney when you have an office of 20 people! That’s a luxury. That’s what I really meant. I surrounded myself with literate people. It was very easy to be doing something at the desk and call the secretary in and say, “Well, what do they say?” Tell me what it says. It wasn’t any kind of formal kind of thing where I interviewed people. I ran around with college-prep kids in high school. I associated with literate people. I learned to mimic the language. I didn’t use the word “ain’t,” because I knew literate people weren’t supposed to use that word. It’s fairly easy. You can keep your mouth shut to guard your oral language if you don’t know something. You don’t know how to say or pronounce something, and you can come up with another word to describe what you’re trying to say.
DA: Yes, if you’re smart.
JC: That’s why I used metaphors and analogies to explain myself. And sometimes they were completely off-the -wall! Like, what’s this guy talking about?
DA: Do you remember any off-the-wall metaphors you used?
JC: Oh, no. [Laughs] I mean, it’s millions of them. But I remember when I was reading, I read what I called 25-cent words—two- or three-syllable words that I had been using all my life—and then I saw them on the printed page, and I said, “Oh, that’s what you look like!” It’s kind of like talking to somebody on the phone and not knowing what they look like for 10 years, and then you meet them. So I had those kinds of experiences in my early stages.
DA: You’ve mentioned third grade a few times. Why that grade? What changes in third grade?
JC: What changes is we go to school for the first couple of years to learn to read, and then at the third grade we’re being asked to read to do our work. In other words, the first couple years, they’re socializing us. In my case, I came from a home that respected adults: “Behave yourself.” And even my teacher told my parents, “He’s a good boy. He has some difficulty with the alphabet and language, but he has good math skills and he behaves himself and he’s a delight to have in class.”
Well, when you get to third grade, there’s a different expectation. The teacher has reading groups, and the ones that are the poorest readers, we get turned into the buzzards, instead of the bluebirds and the redbirds. In my case, I was in the dumb row. You begin to get it very clear that you’re not measuring up anymore. It’s a little different than the first two years. And children are pretty smart—they get it pretty quick, that “I really can’t please this lady. I really can’t succeed here.” And I would say that the third grade is where it hits. I think that’s where kids actually start cheating—in the second and third grades.
I had a meeting with an adult reader the other day, and she was telling me that when she was in the second grade, she went to school and the teacher asked her if anybody could read a sentence on the board, and this one little girl raised her hand and then she read it. And then she said she raised her hand, and she remembered what the little girl said, and then she read it. And that teacher thought she knew how to read. And she started feeling bad already because she was cheating. This is an adult woman telling me this story, that she remembered how she felt bad because she was lying and cheating.
DA: What ultimately led you to “come out” that you were illiterate?
JC: One of the reasons I decided to tell my story was because I was overjoyed with the fact that I had overcome a lifelong handicap. I thought something was wrong with my brain; I didn’t think I was capable of learning. So I had that resentment. But another piece of it is I really wanted to tell the story to invite other people to come out of their hiding places and tell the truth. I did go underground with my secret. But I think America went underground with this whole secret also. A lot of individuals did a lot of the same things. Maybe they didn’t become teachers—which kicks it up to another notch—but what we have to do as a society is make the commitment to teach everyone to read. We haven’t made that commitment yet. And to get there we really have to have some bold, courageous administrators to articulate the problem. And I think they know the problem, but they’re fearful. There’s fear in really articulating the problem. Not everybody rolls out the red carpet for me when I say, “The key to teaching people how to read, write and spell is proper instruction.” What does that mean? It means that teachers aren’t prepared! But if I talk to them in private, they’ll tell me they’re not prepared. And they’ll tell each other they’re not prepared.
We’d all like to have a quality education system, but nobody can stay focused. One of the things that we have to stay focused on in these discussions is to teach people to read, and stay on that subject. I listen to the politicians talking about improving education, giving teachers pay raises. ? I want the agenda to be a little bit clearer. Let’s focus on teaching people to read—and what do we have to do to teach people to read? There really has to be a concentrated focus. I think we have the solutions. Twenty years ago they didn’t know. They didn’t know I had a severe auditory discrimination problem. They didn’t even know how to talk about the specific problem that I had.
The other thing we have right now along with that is diagnostic tests. We have diagnostic tools that can measure. This is not just guesswork anymore. So why haven’t we called for every child, the day they walk into school, to be given a diagnostic test all the way through their career, and we know specifically what the weaknesses are?
I think with the science that we have, we need to start speaking a little bit more specifically. When we label somebody as “learning disabled,” I think maybe it’s time for the education groups to get together and say, “What about the harm of this term?” This learning disability literally means, “Not able to learn.” So it’s saying, “Something’s wrong with the student. There’s nothing wrong with the teacher! It’s the student.” And what I want to do is maybe tap the ball into the other side and say, “Hey, let’s check out the teaching disability.”
But I don’t want to use that language. I’m just trying to make a point. It’s real easy to label someone “disabled” in schools. The term never really hurt me personally, but I think it hurts a lot of people. And I think it’s harmful when the teacher thinks that this person has a learning disability. You start to think something’s wrong with that person instead of saying, “If he’s not learning how to read, what am I doing wrong?” That’s the question. And I’m saying, if you start asking that question, then you’ll start looking at the research, and you’ll start understanding it a little bit more. Teachers get bashed, and educators get bashed, and schools get bashed so much that it’s only natural for them to put up their guard. It’s only natural for them to be defensive. But I guess I want them to put their guard down, and let’s talk the truth about the fact that we aren’t “disabled.”
A good friend of mine who’s a counselor says, “We’re not going to counsel kids that are having behavioral problems and discipline problems until we give them the skills to succeed.” And that’s the reality. And sometimes I’m asked, “Why didn’t you ask for help?” Well, a child doesn’t have to ask for help. A child shouldn’t be expected to ask adults, “Give me the skills and the values that I need to succeed in school.” I really couldn’t please teachers. I really couldn’t be productive in the classroom. I really couldn’t get a legitimate good grade, because I really didn’t know the dominant language of that system.
And the other thing that’s very clear to me is that even though I was street smart, with an oral language and observations that I made—even though I had those skills, I think differently now.
DA: In what way?
JC: Reading and writing enhances critical thinking, because when you live in an oral world, when you’re talking, what you say just blows away with the wind. It’s gone. You say it one time and it’s gone. This is what I learned as an adult, and most people learn this in childhood and don’t give it the same kind of thought that I did. When you write something, you can edit it! You can change it, you can improve it, you can clarify it. And you can research it and reflect on it. Literate people have underestimated this power and this gift that they have, because they acquired it like walking and talking and being potty trained. So in terms of thinking, I feel like I’m bilingual now, I’m bicultural. And the written word has a completely different culture out there that I wasn’t even aware of. I watched it, and I knew a lot about it, but it’s like learning that second language. You start learning it, and then you’re kind of bashful about speaking it, and that’s the same experience that I had with this process. And I don’t want to discount any of the things that I’ve learned as a nonreader. I’ve probably observed and learned some things that certainly were assets for me. And maybe literate people haven’t developed that particular aptitude.
DA: Would you say that you’re still learning how to read and develop those aptitudes?
JC: Here’s what my conclusion—at least my tentative conclusion—is: The acquisition of language and the development of language is a lifelong experience. You’re a writer; I bet you hope you’re better next year!
DA: Right. Next day is more like it. [Laughs]
JC: Yes. When I write something, I want to be sure that it’s clear. Before I could write, I used to think that literate people just wrote stuff down and that was it! I didn’t even understand. ? I thought editing was cheating.
DA: I guess that would make me a professional cheater then.
JC: Yeah! So it was very foreign to me—this new language and this new culture. It helped me to understand literate people a little bit more. A lot of it was certainly subconscious. But that’s why I say literate people have underestimated the power of the written language. And when I think about what I remember from high school, there was a teacher who said, “The beginning of civilization was when man started writing things down.” And I thought, well, that leaves me out of civilization!
DA: Can you speculate how your life might have been different if you had learned to read when you were a kid?
JC: I went through this period—of when I learned to read—that I was full of joy. But I also was angry. I had stuffed a lot of things down because of lost opportunity, or whatever it was. And I was like, “I learned to read when I was 48. Why didn’t I learn to read when I was 8?” And why didn’t I? The real reason is because I wasn’t properly taught. That’s really what it was. It wasn’t because I misbehaved when I was 12 years old. It wasn’t any of those reasons. I just didn’t get it.
I’ve been married to the same person for 43 years, and when I learned to read, some of that anger came up. And she didn’t understand that—she didn’t really know how angry I was—because I stuffed it all in. I didn’t talk about it. So when it did come up, I just clarified it, and I made the decision to not dwell on lost opportunities. I never could afford to do that.
Somewhere along the line, I said my illiteracy was not going to keep me from doing things. And I think some of it was in defiance. I mean, why did I go to college and do what I did in college? Why did I go into teaching? You know, all I can do is speculate on those things. But I guess as far as “lost opportunities,” there are couple things. If I really had some skills, there are a couple occupations I really would have liked to explore. Every job, every profession, requires reading and writing. So I just had to jump around and find a spot.
DA: You’ve said that 97 percent of students in schools can learn to read, and yet the actual number of literate Americans is nowhere near 97 percent. Where is that number, and why?
JC: We have as many as 93 million adults that have deficiencies in basic skills. About 40 percent of them can’t even read a newspaper.
And another issue—sometimes people will say immigration is the problem. But immigration is just another excuse that we use. It definitely has had a tremendous impact on literacy, but this has been going on for 60 or 70 years. This is a cancer that’s been growing. Just to discount it and blame it on non-English-speaking people, that’s just another way of not being honest and not being able to articulate the problem. We have to really get by this and say, poverty is not an excuse for not teaching people to read. It’s just not.
DA: How long did it take you to progress from being illiterate to being able to read? And at what grade level?
JC: I’ve been an advocate for 22 years, since I’ve learned to read. And part of it was just to share my story, and then I learned a lot about the science of it. I had the good fortune of having the experience with Pat Lindamood, who is really a pioneer in the multisensory approach that I went through.
After thirteen months I was reading at a sixth-grade level and thought I had died and gone to heaven, but I was doing a lot of guessing and I couldn’t write anything. I went to an adult learning center, and I had a volunteer tutor. I call the volunteer tutor the “ambulance driver” who got me to the San Luis Obispo Lindamood-Bell Clinic where the specialist was, and then I had a battery of these tests. I had 125 hours of direct systematic intensive research-based instruction by Pat Lindamood. I couldn’t distinguish sounds! I wasn’t able to really process the phonics sounds, and I was taught the multisensory approach, the 44 sounds in the English language.
DA: How could that be if you were a teacher, and you taught, orally, for however many years? You didn’t know anything about sounds?
JC: I didn’t know anything about sounds! The language is a phonetic language, and there are 44 sounds in it, and we had a debate for many years about which was the best way to teach it, and the research all points to phonics and phonemic awareness as a component that’s required to learn to read. It doesn’t teach you to read, but it’s a component. I didn’t have that piece. When I went to Lindamood, they took me through all 44 sounds, and they showed me what I did with my mouth, ear and tongue—like the sound for “m” and “n”: “mmm” and “nnn.” I couldn’t distinguish those. And I was taught there that when my mouth is closed, you blow air through your nose, and you make the “mmm,” the sound for the “m.” And so my brain picked that up. And my brain was able to learn all 44 sounds through this intensive method. Now I’m probably in a group of about 3 percent. I’m at the bottom of that group. About 25 percent of the population learns to read like birds learn to fly, and they walk by the library and they get it, you know. And about 50 percent just get it, somewhere, from the time they’re in the third grade to the sixth or seventh or eighth grade, where it sort of clicks. And for 25 percent of us, maybe even 30 percent of us, we have these mild to severe auditory discrimination problems or other issues. It’s never one singular thing.
So after 125 hours of treatment, I went from the second-grade nonsense phonetic word skills to the 12th-grade level. It was so fast, like, “I can do this now, I get it, I understand.” It was a big breakthrough. I ended up in the hands of an internationally known and respected person, and she was my mentor. Not only was Pat Lindamood my teacher, but she also helped me with my advocacy and helped me get into this next level of my experience.
DA: So she’s the director of the program?
JC: She and her husband really developed it. She was a speech pathologist. I mean, this was over a 30-, 40-year period. She had been in a little clinic up in San Luis Obispo doing this. As a matter of fact, I had this experience with her before the research was out to validate the experience that I had. In other words, I benefited from a research-based program, and that’s why I’m such a strong advocate for it.
You know, 30, 40 percent of us need the direct systematic phonetic instruction. A lot of teachers never even experience that themselves. I’m not blaming teachers. I want to come across as analytical rather than critical. I’m looking for solutions. I’m not really looking to blame anybody or anything.
DA: What can today’s school district leaders learn from your background and experiences?
JC: It is never too late to learn. The solution and research is there, and now we must bridge the gap between what we know and what we do. We must join together on the bridge to literacy by making a commitment—no more excuses. We need to learn what a horrendous impact illiteracy has on individuals and our nation. A person, no matter how clever or intelligent he or she is, cannot maximize his or her fullest potential intellectually, emotionally, academically, psychologically, spiritually, and certainly financially if he or she can’t read. If school district leaders believe in equal opportunity, we are going to have to apply our best practices to use research-based instruction with the 30 percent of students having difficulty learning to read.
But you know what we have to really do? We have to believe, like I believe, that the most important education and civil rights issue to deal with is literacy. We have to impart those skills. And you know what the good news about all this is?
DA: Oh, there’s good news?
JC: Yes! Absolutely good news: We can do this! You can’t do anything about kids in a home where there’s no discipline. But when it comes to school, we ought to be able to teach them how to read, write and spell. And if we are determined to do that, and we use the research and the knowledge, we can do it. And part of that good news is that there is no opposition to reading. I mean, there’s not an organization not for reading. We don’t have any opposition to it. It’s a noble and righteous cause. —Zach Miners