#wsra20 Conference Presenters

Learning Together in Communities of Practice

February 6-8, 2020

Registration LINK coming in October of 2019

The Communities of Practice conference strands and intended audience categories below will help when you're planning your professional learning plan. The presenters' names and session descriptions are coming soon. NEW to #wsra20 is the addition of Unconference sessions. Stay tuned as this page is built. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Thursday Keynote Presentation by Cornelius Minor

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020
Learning Communities
Cornelius Minor

Jennifer Abrams is former high school English teacher and a new teacher coach in Palo Alto Unified School District in Palo Alto, CA. Jennifer Abrams is currently a communications consultant and author who works with educators and others on new teacher and employee support, being generationally savvy, effective collaboration skills, having hard conversations, and creating identity safe workplaces. Jennifer’s publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate & Create Community, Hard Conversations Unpacked - the Whos, Whens and What Ifs, and her newest book, Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Jennifer is honored to have been named one of the “18 Women All K-12 Educators Should Know,” by Education Week’s ‘Finding Common Ground’’ blog. More about Jennifer’s work can be found at her website, www.jenniferabrams.com, and on Twitter @jenniferabrams.

Carl Anderson is an internationally recognized expert in writing instruction for grades K-8. He works as a consultant in schools and districts around the world, and is a longtime staff developer for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Carl is the author of numerous books on teaching writing, including the brand new A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences, the best-selling How’s It Going?: A Practical Guide to Conferring with Student Writers, as well as Assessing Writers and Strategic Writing Conferences. Tweet him at @conferringcarl.

Kathy Champeau
Catherine Compton-Lilly
Gravity Goldberg is the author of several books including Teach Like Yourself, Mindsets and Moves, What Do I Teach Readers Tomorrow, and Conferring with Readers. She spends most of her days leading workshops, coaching teachers, and admiring the learners all around her. Gravity leads a consulting group in the NY/NJ area and supports districts and schools in taking on a balanced approach to literacy learning
Towanda Harris

Carol Jago has taught English in middle and high school for 32 years and is associate director of the California Reading and Literature Project at UCLA. She has published many books with Heinemann including The Book in Question: Why and How Reading Is in Crisis. She is also author of With Rigor for All: Meeting Standards for Reading Literature and Cohesive Writing: Why Concept Is Not Enough and published books on contemporary multicultural authors for NCTE. She is a consulting author on the new Into Reading and Into Literature programs from HMH. In 2015 Carol was awarded the International Literacy Association’s Adolescent Literacy Thought Leader Award and in 2016 the CEL Exemplary Leadership Award. She has been named by the U.S. Department of Education to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board overseeing the NAEP assessments. She is incoming president of ILA’s Adolescent Literacy group.

Matthew Kay is a proud product of Philadelphia’s public schools and a founding teacher at Science Leadership Academy (SLA). There, he teaches an innovative inquiry driven, project based curriculum. He also is the Founder and Executive Director of Philly Slam League (PSL), a nonprofit organization that shows young people the power of their voices through weekly spoken word competitions. The PSL is the only season-long, school-based slam poetry league in the United States. He is the author of Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classrooms. 

David Kilpatrick
Kristi Mraz is a teacher, writer, and consultant. She has co-authored numerous books on the intersection of literacy and social emotional learning, the importance of play, and best practices. When not working with children and their teachers, you can find Kristi with her family, preferably outdoors, definitely with books and snacks on hand. You can learn more about her at www.kristimraz.com.
Molly Ness began her teaching career as a Teach For America corps member and 6th grade teacher in Oakland, California. She earned a doctorate in Reading Education from the University of Virginia. Since 2006, she has been a teacher educator and associate professor at Fordham University. She is the author of three books and multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her research focuses on reading comprehension, teachers’ instructional decisions and beliefs, word study, and matching books to readers. She resides in Westchester County, New York and is a native of Baltimore.
Marilyn Pryle

Linda Rief recently stepped from the classroom after teaching 8th graders at Oyster River Middle School in Durham, NH for 40 years. She is an instructor in the University of New Hampshire's Summer Literacy Institute and a national and international presenter on issues of adolescent literacy. She is the author of The Quickwrite Handbook (2018), ReadWriteTeach (2014), Inside the Writer's-Reader's Notebook (2007), Vision and Voice (1999), and Seeking Diversity (1992), and co-editor (Beers, Probst, and Rief) of Adolescent Literacy (2007). For five years she co-edited Voices from the Middle, an NCTE journal. She is the author of 100 Quickwrites (2003) and co-author with Roger Essley of Visual Tools (2008), both published by Scholastic. A recipient of NCTE’s Edwin A. Hoey Award for Outstanding Middle School Educator in the English Language Arts her classroom was featured in the series Making Meaning in Literature produced by Maryland Public Television for Annenberg/CPB. For three years she chaired the first Early Adolescence English/Language Arts Standards Committee of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Pernille Ripp (@pernilleripp) helps students discover their superpower as a former 4th and 5th, but now 7th grade English teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin. She opens up her educational practices to the world on her blog www.pernillesripp.com and is also the creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, a global literacy initiative that has connected millions of students. She is an internationally known educational speaker and also the author of several education books, with her latest release titled Passionate Readers - The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child. Look for Pernille surrounded by her four amazing kids, lovely husband, and with a book in her hand.

Critical Issues Panel:
Martin Nystrand
Bob Fecho


Friday, February 7, 2020

Friday Keynote Presentation by Donalyn Miller

Friday, Feb. 7, 2020
Learning Communities
Donalyn Miller

Stephanie Affinito is an educator in the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning at the University at Albany in New York. She has a deep love of literacy coaching and supporting teachers’ learning through technology. Stephanie creates spaces for authentic teacher learning that build expertise, spark professional curiosity and foster intentional reflection to reimagine teaching and learning for students. She recently published a book with Heinemann Publishing titled, Literacy Coaching: Teaching and Learning with Digital Tools and Technology. She presents regularly at state and national conferences on literacy coaching, teacher collaboration and supporting teachers’ reading, writing and learning through innovative technology. 

Kathy Collins works in schools and presents in conferences all over the world to support teachers in developing high-quality, effective literacy instruction in the early childhood settings through middle school. She is the co-author, along with Janine Bempechat of Not This But That: No More Mindless Homework (Heinemann, 2017). She co-authored, with Matt Glover, I Am Reading: Nurture Meaning-Making and Joyful Engagement with Texts (Heinemann, 2015). Kathy’s other books include Reading for Real: Teach Children to Read With Power, Intention, and Joy in K-3 Classrooms (Stenhouse, 2008) and Growing Readers: Units of Study in Primary Classrooms (Stenhouse, 2004). Kathy has worked closely with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, and she taught in Brooklyn, New York. Kathy and her family live in Durham, New Hampshire. 

Sunday Cummins

J. Richard Gentry, PhD is an internationally acclaimed author, researcher, and educational consultant known for his groundbreaking work in education on topics such as early literacy; best-practices for reading, writing, and spelling; and dyslexia. In addition to authoring 17 books, 2 textbook series, and numerous journal and magazine articles, he blogs for the prestigious Psychology Today magazine offering commentary on a range of topics including education and policy, reading and the brain, baby/toddler reading, and educational standards. Dr. Gentry received a BA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a PhD from the University of Virginia. He currently resides in Mobile, Alabama.

Marla Frazee was awarded a Caldecott Honor for All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Picture Book for The Farmer and the Clown. She is the author-illustrator of Roller CoasterWalk On!, Santa Claus the World’s Number One Toy Expert, The Boss Baby, and Boot & Shoe, as well as the illustrator of many other books including The Seven Silly EatersStars, the NYT bestselling Clementine series, and God Got a Dog. Marla has three grown sons, a Little Free Library in her front yard, and a studio in her back yard under an avocado tree.
Matt Glover
Georgia Heard
Aeriale Johnson
Hena Kahn
Penny Kittle teaches freshman composition at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She was a teacher and literacy coach in public schools for 34 years. She is the co-author of 180 Days with Kelly Gallagher, and is the author of Book Love, and Write Beside Them, which won the James Britton award. She also co-authored two books with her mentor, Don Graves, and co-edited (with Tom Newkirk) a collection of Graves’ work, Children Want to Write. She is the president of the Book Love Foundation and was given the Exemplary Leader Award from NCTE’s Conference on English Leadership. She regularly works beside teachers to empower young readers and writers.
Chris Lehman
Rafeal Lopez
Lindsay Moses
Molly Ness
Liz Prather

Kate Roberts is a national literacy consultant, top-selling author, and popular keynote speaker. She taught reading and writing in Brooklyn, NY and worked as a literacy coach before joining the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in 2005, where she worked as a Lead Staff Developer for 11 years. Kate's latest book, A Novel Approach, asks how we can teach whole class novels while still holding onto student centered practices like readers workshop. She is also the co-author of Falling in Love with Close Reading (with Christopher Lehman), DIY Literacy (with Maggie Beattie Roberts), and she co-wrote two Units of Study books on Literary Essay. Her work with students across the country has led to her belief that all kids can be insightful, academic thinkers when the work is demystified, broken down and made engaging. To this end, Kate has worked nationally and internationally to help teachers, schools, and districts develop and implement strong teaching practices and curriculum.

Maggie Roberts

Frank Serafini has been an elementary classroom teacher, a literacy specialist, an educational consultant, and a professor of literacy education and children’s literature for the past thirty years. During that time, Frank has published ten professional development books with Heinemann, Scholastic, and Teachers College Press. In addition to his academic publishing, Frank has written and illustrated seven children’s picturebooks, including the Looking Closely Series with Kids Can Press. During his tenure as an author and teacher educator, Frank has garnered numerous awards, including the Distinguished Professor of Children’s Literature from the ILA, Faculty Teaching Awards at both UNLV and ASU, and the Bank Street Best Book Award and the Teachers Choice Award for his Looking Closely picture books.

Dana Stachowiak

Stacey Shubitz is an author, a certified literacy specialist, and a former classroom teacher who taught fifth grade at P.S. 171 in East Harlem, NY and fourth grade at The Learning Community in Central Falls, RI. She is the co-author of Welcome to Writing Workshop: Engaging Today’s Students with a Model that Works (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), the author of Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016), and the co-author of Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice (Stenhouse Publishers, 2010). Stacey is the Chief of Operations and Lead Writer for Two Writing Teachers. You can find her on Twitter @sshubitz. 

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestselling, award-winning YA fantasy author of the Tantalize series and the Feral trilogy (Candlewick). Her acclaimed realistic children’s books include Jingle Dancer, Indian Shoes and Rain Is Not My Indian Name (Harper Children's). Smith is also the author of Native YA novel, Hearts Unbroken (Candlewick). She looks forward to the publication of several contracted middle grade books in 2020 and beyond. She is published widely in realism and speculative fiction, in all age-markets for young readers and in prose, poetry, narrative nonfiction, short stories, and graphic format. Cynthia is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Indian Nation of Oklahoma and has been named a Writer of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. She makes her home in Austin and teaches on the faculty of the low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She also serves on the honorary advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. The Austin chapter of SCBWI has instituted the Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award in her honor. Learn more at www.cynthialeitichsmith.com and her Cynsations blog at www.cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com.
Nic Stone
Alfred Tatum

Jacqueline Witter-Easley, Ed.D., is the dean of the Division of Professional Studies at Carthage College, where she also serves as professor in the Education Department. Dr. Witter-Easley is the director of their literacy programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is the editor of the WSRA Journal. Her recently published book, Literacy Moments: Creating Daily Teachable Moments with Beginning Readers, is available through Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Company.


Saturday, February 8, 2010

Saturday Keynote presentation by Monique Gray Smith

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020
Learning Communities

Monique Gray Smith is a proud Mom of sixteen year old twins and an award-winning, best-selling author. Her first published novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience won the 2014 Canadian Burt Award for First Nation, Métis and Inuit Literature. Since then, Monique has had 6 books come out, including My Heart Fills with Happiness, which has won numerous awards and continues to be a bestseller. Monique’s latest release, Tilly and the Crazy Eights is a novel about an epic road trip that Tilly and eight Indigenous Elders take. The story reminds the reader of the power of the human spirit and that love is medicine. In September, Monique has a new picture book coming out called, When We Are Kind with Orca Book Publishers. Monique is Cree, Lakota and Scottish and has been sober and involved in her healing journey for over 28 years. She is well known for her storytelling, spirit of generosity and focus on resilience.

Tricia Ebarvia
Aeriale Johnson
Dana Stachowiak
P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education (Furman University, Greenville SC), taught high school English in rural South Carolina before moving to teacher education. He is a former column editor for English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English), current series editor for Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Brill/Sense Publishers), and author of Teaching Writing as Journey, Not Destination: Essays Exploring What ‘Teaching Writing’ Means (IAP). NCTE named Thomas the 2013 George Orwell Award winner. Recent edited volumes include Haruki Murakami: Challenging authors (Sense, 2016) and Critical Media Literacy and Fake News in Post-Truth America (Brill/Sense, 2018). His teaching and scholarship focus on literacy and the impact of poverty and race on education, as well as confronting the political dynamics influencing public education in the U.S. Follow his work @plthomasEdD and the becoming radical http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com.