Literacy Promise Conference

Conference Information

Keynote Speakers

  • Wednesday: Jennifer A. Nielsen:

    New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; the MARK OF THE THIEF series, and the forthcoming A NIGHT DIVIDED. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.

  • Thursday: Angela Maiers:

    Angela Maiers has been creating and leading change in education and enterprise for 25 years, teaching every level of school from kindergarten to graduate school and consulting with companies around the world. She helps learners and leaders understand the transformative power of technology and the Internet. Her powerful message and downto- earth style has made her a highly sought-after keynote speaker for education conferences, corporate events and innovation summits. She is the author of six books, including Classroom Habitudes and The Passion-Driven Classroom. Her You Matter talk at TEDxDesMoines has been viewed several hundred thousand times. Angela is the founder of Choose2Matter, a global movement that challenges and inspires students to work collaboratively to develop innovative solutions to social problems. She is an alumna of The University of Iowa, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Education and her Master’s in Educational Supervision and Reading.

  • Friday: Sarah Brown Wessling:

    Sarah Brown Wessling is a 17-year veteran of the high school English classroom. While a member of the faculty at Johnston High School, she has taught all kinds of courses from at-risk to Advanced Placement and has served the department and district in a variety of leadership roles. Sarah is a National Board Certified Teacher since 2005 and in 2010 was selected as the National Teacher of the Year. In that capacity, she worked as an ambassador for education, giving over 250 talks and workshops in 39 different states as well as internationally. Currently she maintains a hybrid teaching position which keeps her in the classroom and allows her to write, speak, and work on teacher leadership initiatives around the country. Sarah is Emeritus Teacher Laureate for the non-profit Teaching Channel. She is an author of Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards. Sarah also maintains her own blog: Teach PASSIONATELY. Speak AUTHENTICALLY. Learn BOLDLY.

    Featured Presenters

  • Brod Bagert

    Brod Bagert is the award-winning author of 17 books of poetry for children, young adults, and adults. His work has received numerous awards including the International Reading Literacy’s prestigious Young Adults Choices award, the Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Achievement Award, the Independent Publisher Gold Book Award, and Mom’s Choices Gold Medal. He tours some thirty weeks a year and has visited Asia, Europe, South America, Africa, and just about every nook and cranny of the good ‘ole USA.
    Born and raised in the city of New Orleans, Brod studied the classics in Latin and Greek, wrestled and boxed to vent adolescent angst, fell in love with and married his high-school sweetheart, practiced law, served in public office, and reared four children that are the joy of his life.

  • Leslie Blauman

    Leslie Blauman has been teaching literacy in the Colorado public schools for over 30 years. Consumed with teaching techniques and processes to enhance the learning environment for both children and teachers, Leslie’s classroom is a working model for child/staff development in reading, writing, and critical thinking. Partnering with the Denver-based Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC), Ms. Blauman’s classroom is frequently the subject of professional workshops, classroom reading enhancement films, and educational journals. Leslie is one of the few author/consultants that is still a practicing teacher, and she brings that background to her work with teachers and students. Ms. Blauman speaks at ILA, NCTE, and other teacher/literacy conferences and workshops and has authored Kid-Tested Writing Lessons, The Inside Guide to the Reading- Writing Classroom and coauthored Comprehension Going Forward. In addition, she has written The Common Core Companion: The Strategies Decoded, Grades 3-5 and her newest book, The Common Core Companion: Booster Lessons, Grades 3-5, Elevating Instruction Day by Day.

  • Kathy Collins

    Kathy Collins presents at conferences and works in schools all over the world to support teachers in developing high-quality, effective literacy instruction in the elementary school grades. She is the co-author, along with Matt Glover, of I Am Reading: Nurture Meaning-Making and Joyful Engagement with Texts. Kathy’s other books include Reading for Real: Teach Children to Read With Power, Intention, and Joy in K-3 Classrooms and Growing Readers: Units of Study in Primary Classrooms. Kathy has worked closely with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, and she was a first grade teacher in Brooklyn, New York. Kathy and her family live in Durham, New Hampshire.

  • Vicki Davis

    Vicki Davis will help you teach with better results, lead with a positive impact, and live with greater purpose. If you want to know what 21st century teaching looks like, many including Thomas Friedman in The World is Flat and Don Tapscott in Grown Up Digital mention Vicki as an example. Three of the many honors she has earned include the ISTE Online Learning Award, pioneer in Open Source Virtual World Technology, and Edublog Award for the Best Teacher Blog. Vicki’s two books, Reinventing Writing and Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, empower teachers to connect their students to technology and the world. The Cool Cat Teacher Blog is consistently among the top 50 blogs in education worldwide. In 2013, Mashable named her one of Twitter’s “Top 10 Rockstar Teachers.” She has created more than 20 global collaborative projects connecting students from more than 20 countries.

  • Georgia Heard

    Georgia Heard is a founding member of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in New York City. She received her M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University. Currently, she is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and in schools around the United States and the world. She is the author of numerous books on teaching writing including Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School which was cited by Instructor Magazine as one of the 10 Books Every Teacher Should Read. Her most recent professional books are: Finding the Heart of Nonfiction: Teaching 7 Essential Craft Tools with Mentor Texts, the second edition of The Revision Toolbox: Teaching Techniques that Work, A Place for Wonder: Reading and Writing Nonfiction in the Primary Grades, and Poetry Lessons to Meet the Common Core State Standards. In addition, her poems, articles, and essays have been published in numerous journals, and she is the editor of a new poetry anthology entitled The Woman In This Poem: Women’s Voices in Poetry. She is also the author and editor of several children’s books including The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems and Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems. She lives in South Florida with her husband and teenage son.

    Website: www.georgiaheard.com
    Twitter: georgiaheard1

  • Erin Klein

    Mother. Teacher. Keynote. Author. MACUL Pre-K–12 Michigan Teacher of the Year (2014), Scholastic Top Teacher, 2015 PBS Digital Innovator, ASCD Emerging Leader, NAIS Teacher of the Future, SMART Technologies Exemplary Educator, Carson-Dellosa Classroom Design Consultant and Creative Partner, National A Plus Workshop Presenter, SDE National Presenter, National Writing Project Member, Award Winning Blogger, Michigan Reading Association Technology Chair, BAM 100 Influential Voices, Parent’s Magazine Best Mom-Tech Blog Nominee, Alma Advisory Board Member, Canva Advisory Board Member, and Remind Teacher Advisory Board Member.

    Blog: Kleinspiration.com;
    Twitter: @KleinErin

  • Donna Knoell

    Dr. Donna L. Knoell is an educational consultant and author who works with schools and school districts to help them improve their instructional programs and techniques. She speaks and consults worldwide on key topics in reading/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. She is a noted expert in content literacy, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and visual literacy. She is also recognized internationally as an expert in children’s and adult literature. Dr. Knoell is extremely knowledgeable about educational resources that enhance instruction and the development and use of effective questioning strategies, to increase student engagement and deepen understanding. Donna’s passion for helping students achieve success in all aspects of their academic programs, while realizing the joys of learning, guide all her work and define her as an engaging speaker.

  • Steven Layne

    Dr. Steven L. Layne serves as Professor and Chair of Graduate Programs in Literacy Education at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, USA. Dr. Layne is a respected international literacy consultant, motivational keynote speaker, and featured author throughout the world. His work as an educator, researcher, and writer has garnered critical acclaim from a large number of organizations including USA Today newspaper, ASCD, ILA, NCTE, and the Milken Family Foundation. Author of 26 books, Steve recently completed three years of service as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Literacy Association. He lives with his wife Debbie and their four children in St. Charles, Illinois, USA.

  • Christopher Lehman

    Christopher Lehman is the Founding Director of The Educator Collaborative. He is an international speaker, consultant, and New York Times best-selling author. He holds degrees from UW-Madison, NYU and Teachers College, Columbia University. Chris has been a middle-school teacher, a high-school teacher, a literacy coach, and a Senior Staff Developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. Now with The Educator Collaborative, he is working to innovate the ways educators learn in-person and online, providing opportunities for teachers, coaches, and administrators to share their expertise so students can hold their brightest futures. Chris has written the following books through Heinemann: Falling in Love with Close Reading (2013), Energize Research Reading and Writing (2012), Pathways to the Common Core (2012), and A Quick Guide to Reviving Disengaged Writers (2011).

  • Angela Maiers

    Angela Maiers has been creating and leading change in education and enterprise for 25 years, teaching every level of school from kindergarten to graduate school and consulting with companies around the world. She helps learners and leaders understand the transformative power of technology and the Internet. Her powerful message and downto- earth style has made her a highly sought-after keynote speaker for education conferences, corporate events and innovation summits. She is the author of six books, including Classroom Habitudes and The Passion-Driven Classroom. Her You Matter talk at TEDxDesMoines has been viewed several hundred thousand times. Angela is the founder of Choose2Matter, a global movement that challenges and inspires students to work collaboratively to develop innovative solutions to social problems. She is an alumna of The University of Iowa, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Education and her Master’s in Educational Supervision and Reading.

  • Donalyn Miller

    Donalyn Miller has taught fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in Northeast Texas. She is the author of two books about engaging children with reading, The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild. Donalyn currently co-facilitates the community blog, The Nerdy Book Club, and co-hosts the monthly Twitter chats, #titletalk and #bproots. Her articles about teaching and reading have appeared in publications such as The Reading Teacher, Educational Leadership, and The Washington Post. Donalyn evangelizes the importance of independent reading as Scholastic Book Fairs’ Manager of Independent Reading and Outreach.

    Handout
  • Jennifer A. Nielsen

    New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; the MARK OF THE THIEF series, and the forthcoming A NIGHT DIVIDED. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.

  • Cris Tovani

    Cris Tovani taught elementary school for ten years before becoming a high school reading specialist and English teacher. She most recently worked with secondary English language learners from a high poverty district in Colorado that was in its fourth year of turnaround. In addition to teaching, she is a nationally known consultant focusing on issues of reading, content comprehension, and assessment in secondary classrooms. Cris started her professional development work with Denver-based Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC), the consortium that has received national acclaim for its work in reading comprehension reform. Cris has been an adjunct professor at the University of Denver and the University of Colorado at Denver. She is the author of three books: I Read It But I Don’t Get It; Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?; and So, What Do They Really Know? Cris is also featured in three instructional DVDs that show her in action with adolescent readers. These DVDs, Thoughtful Reading, Comprehending Content, and Talk to Me are available through Stenhouse Publishers.

  • The 2 Sisters:
    Gail Boushey, Joan Moser

    Real life sisters Gail Boushey and Joan Moser are known by the teachers they’ve worked with throughout the world as well-researched, strategic, and fun. Their reflective practice and combined experience of 50+ years has led to the development and publication of the books The Daily 5: A Structure for Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades and The CAFE Book, a companion to The Daily 5 or stand alone book regarding engaging students in daily literacy assessment and instruction. Both books also have multiple companion DVDs. They have also produced other professional development DVDs.

  • Sarah Brown Wessling

    Sarah Brown Wessling is a 17-year veteran of the high school English classroom. While a member of the faculty at Johnston High School, she has taught all kinds of courses from at-risk to Advanced Placement and has served the department and district in a variety of leadership roles. Sarah is a National Board Certified Teacher since 2005 and in 2010 was selected as the National Teacher of the Year. In that capacity, she worked as an ambassador for education, giving over 250 talks and workshops in 39 different states as well as internationally. Currently she maintains a hybrid teaching position which keeps her in the classroom and allows her to write, speak, and work on teacher leadership initiatives around the country. Sarah is Emeritus Teacher Laureate for the non-profit Teaching Channel. She is an author of Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards. Sarah also maintains her own blog: Teach PASSIONATELY. Speak AUTHENTICALLY. Learn BOLDLY.

  • Judy Willis

    Dr. Judy Willis combined her 15 years as a board-certified practicing neurologist with ten subsequent years as a classroom teacher to become a leading authority in the neuroscience of learning. Dr. Willis has written seven books and more than 100 articles for professional journals applying neuroscience research to successful teaching strategies. She is on the adjunct faculty of the University of California Graduate School of Education, Santa Barbara. She travels nationally and internationally giving presentations, workshops, and consulting while continuing to write books and staff expert blogs for NBC News Education Nation, Edutopia, Psychology Today, and The Guardian. In 2011, shewas selected by Edutopia as one of the “Big Thinkers on Education.”

    Website: www.RADTeach.com

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Department List Content Types: 
Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education & Schooling