Who are the Presenters?
Scott Barry Kaufman
Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., is a Columbia professor and author of several books. Armed with a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Yale, and an M. Phil in experimental psychology from Cambridge, he’s uniquely poised to explore the human mind in exciting, innovative ways. In his book Wired to Create, he shows us new methods to open up to the paradoxes inherent to productive creative, like mindfulness and daydreaming, and solitude and collaboration. And in Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, he explores the way we label kids and the long-term effects this can have—through a very personal lens. Scott himself was misdiagnosed with a learning disability, and it was only once a teacher suspected a mistake that Scott was able to succeed at school: going from special education to straight As. In talks, Scott also offers a new interpretation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—flipping the script on how to think about motivation and self-actualization and finding new ways to achieve it. In addition to his books, Scott’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Harvard Business Review, and Psychology Today. Scott also writes the weekly column Beautiful Minds for Scientific American, and hosts the popular The Psychology Podcast, which has over seven million downloads.
David A. Kilpatrick, Ph.D., is associate professor of psychology for the State University of New York, College at Cortland. He is a New York State certified school psychologist with 28 years experience in schools. He has been teaching courses in learning disabilities and educational psychology since 1994. An expert and experienced clinician who excels in reading assessment and intervention, David has conducted over 1,000 student evaluations for reading difficulties and disabilities. He the author of two books on reading: Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties, and Equipped for Reading Success.
Mike Schmoker, Ph.D., is a former administrator, English teacher and football coach. He has written several bestselling books and dozens of articles for educational journals, newspapers and for TIME magazine. His most recent book is the expanded 2018 edition of FOCUS: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning. His previous bestseller, Results NOW, was a finalist for “book of the year” by the Association of Education Publishers. Mike is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of Secondary School Principals for his publications and presentations. In a 2018 Education Week survey of national school leaders, he was ranked among the best sources of “practical advice, wisdom and insight” on effective school improvement. Mike has consulted and presented throughout the US, Canada, Australia, China and Jordan.
“Plain Talk sets the benchmark each year as the premier meeting about reading and related educational issues. If you can only attend one meeting each year this must be the one.”– SAM GOLDSTEIN, PH.D.
“Plain Talk About Literacy and Learning is my favorite conference, both to present at and to attend. The expertise and passion of attendees and presenters alike always give me a high. I leave the conference with my brain full, revitalized in purpose and confidence that we can teach all children to read.”– Michael Hunter
Larry Ainsworth, M.S., is an independent education author and consultant, Larry served as the Executive Director of Professional Development at The Leadership and Learning Center in Englewood, Colorado, from 1999-2013. He traveled nationally and internationally to assist school systems in implementing best practices related to standards, assessment, curriculum, and instruction across all grades and content areas. Throughout his career as a professional developer, Larry has delivered keynote addresses and breakout sessions across North America and in Latin America and regularly worked on-site in school systems to assist leaders and educators in understanding and implementing powerful standards-based practices such as prioritizing and unwrapping state standards and Common Core standards, developing common formative assessments, designing authentic performance tasks, and creating rigorous curricular units of study in all content areas, PreK – 12. He is the author or coauthor of 15 published books, including Rigorous Curriculum Design, 2nd Edition (Fall, 2019), Common Formative Assessments 2.0 (2015), “Unwrapping” the Common Core (2014), Prioritizing the Common Core (2013), Getting Started With Rigorous Curriculum Design: How School Districts Are Successfully Redesigning Their Curricula for the Common Core (2013), Rigorous Curriculum Design (2010), and Common Formative Assessments (2006).
Nadine Gaab, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School and a member of the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research within the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience focuses on the development of typical and atypical language and literacy skills in the pediatric brain as well as on pre-markers of learning disabilities. The Gaab Lab employs cross-sectional and longitudinal designs and works closely with numerous private and public schools within the US. She is the 2019 recipient of the LDA Award (Learning Disabilities Association of America) for her work on learning disabilities. In 2018, Nadine was presented with the Allan C. Crocker Award for her advocacy on behalf of children with dyslexia and reading disabilities and efforts around the recent passage of the Massachusetts screening legislation. She has also been recognized by the International Dyslexia Association in her receipt of the Alice H. Garside Award for outstanding leadership in advancing the science and advocacy of dyslexia. She is a scientific advisory board member of The Dyslexia Foundation and Landmark School and a founder of the New England Research on Dyslexia Society (NERDY).
Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Psychological Sciences, Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University of Connecticut (UConn) and University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She is also Director of UConn’s Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC). Dr. Hoeft is a neuroscientist who has been conducting research on reading and dyslexia over the past 16 years. She received research training at Harvard, UCLA, Caltech and Stanford, and has held faculty positions at Stanford, UCSF and UConn. Recent honors include awards from the International Dyslexia Association (2014), Learning & the Brain Foundation (2015), International Mind Brain & Education Society (2018), Society for Neuroscience (2018) and Eye to Eye (2019), with many of these on science education and translation of neuroscience to the public. She has published over 140 articles, reviews, and book chapters, and has delivered over 210 keynotes, talks and workshops at venues such as local schools, International conferences, TEDx and the White House. Her work has been widely covered in media such as The New York Times, NPR, CNN, the New Yorker, and Scientific American. She also serves on many boards at organizations such as the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and Center for Childhood Creativity (CCC).
Tim Odegard, Ph.D., CALP, is a professor of psychology and holds the Katherine Davis Murfree Chair of Excellence in Dyslexic Studies at Middle Tennessee State University, leading the efforts of the Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia. His research in the area of reading strives to identify factors that predict the response of individuals with dyslexia and related specific reading disabilities to intensive interventions and leverage this information to improve intervention efforts. He serves as the Associate Editor of Annals of Dyslexia and on the editorial board of Perspectives on Language and Literacy. He has worked with students with reading disabilities, having completed a two-year dyslexia specialist training program at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas during his postdoctoral fellowship.
Ricky Robertson has had the privilege to work with students from pre-K to 12th grade who have persevered in the face of adversity and trauma. As a consultant and coach, he assists schools in developing trauma-informed systems of support and Restorative Practices that foster resilience and success for staff and students. He is the co-author of the recently published book, Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole-Staff Approach (Corwin, 2018). Ricky has guided K-12 traditional and alternative schools in developing multi-tiered Restorative Practices that improve school culture and reduce disciplinary issues. In his workshops, Ricky assists schools in developing the practices and programs (i.e., peer mediation) that will support and sustain systemic transformation. This work incorporates culturally-responsive trauma-informed practices and social-emotional supports within the Restorative Process to address the holistic needs of staff and students. Through ongoing coaching and support, Ricky helps school leaders navigate the challenges that sometimes arise as schools adopt a relationship-centered approach to discipline. As a result, educators deepen their understanding and experience of Restorative Practices and are equipped to effectively implement them in their schools.
Timothy Shanahan, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he was Founding Director of the UIC Center for Literacy. Previously, Tim was director of reading for the Chicago Public Schools. He is author or editor of more than 200 publications including the books, Teaching with the Common Core Standards for the English Language Arts, and Early Childhood Literacy. Tim is past president of the International Literacy Association. He received a presidential appointment to serve on the Advisory Board of the National Institute for Literacy. He took a leadership role on the National Reading Panel (the third most influential education policy document according to the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center). He chaired two other federal research review panels: the National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth, and the National Early Literacy Panel, and helped author the Common Core State Standards. He is co-principal investigator of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Title I Study of Implementation and Outcomes: Early Childhood Language Development funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. Tim received the William S. Gray Citation for Lifetime Achievement and the Albert J. Harris Award for outstanding research on reading disability from the International Reading Association (IRA). He was inducted to the Reading Hall of Fame in 2007, and is a former first-grade teacher. For more information, visit his blog: www.shanahanonliteracy.com. He is a member of the Professional Advisory Board of the Center for Development and Learning.
Julie Washington, Ph.D., is a professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Sciences Disorders in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Julie’s research program is focused on language assessment and improving academic outcomes of young African American children who speak African American English. She is the director of the Georgia Learning Disabilities Research Innovation Hub that is focused on understanding the role of cultural dialect in the identification of reading disabilities in school-aged African American children, and particularly those growing up in poverty. She is also a director of the Center for Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy at GSU. Julie’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development.
Kelvin Adams, Ph.D., is the superintendent of the St. Louis Public School District since 2008. In 2014, he was recognized a one of Education Week’s 16 Leaders to Learn From. When he began his tenure as superintendent, the St. Louis district was unaccredited, over budget, and unstable. Under his leadership, the district regained accreditation, balanced its budget, gained a 50% increase in children attending early childhood classes, and increased graduation rates. Previously, Kelvin was chief of staff for the Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans, LA, where he successfully opened 33 RSD-direct-operated schools and 26 charter schools as part of a long-term strategic plan for building a superior school system for New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Prior to that, he was executive director of Human Resources for St. Louis Public Schools, Associate Dean/Interim Dean and Charter School Liaison for the College of Education for Southern University of New Orleans, a high and middle school principal, and a middle school area superintendent.
Anita Archer serves as an educational consultant to state departments, county agencies, and school districts on explicit instruction and literacy instruction. She has taught elementary and middle school students and is the recipient of ten Outstanding Educator awards. She has served on the faculties of San Diego State University, the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon. Anita is nationally known for her presentations and publications on instructional procedures and literacy instruction, and she has co-authored numerous curriculum materials including the REWARDS reading and writing intervention programs (Voyager/Sopris Learning). She also co-authored a best-selling textbook on explicit instruction entitled Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching (Guilford, 2011). Currently, Anita is providing training on explicit instruction in the United States, Australia, and Canada, having presented in all 50 states over the course of her 52-year career in Education.
Pam Austin is an implementation coordinator for Cambium Learning, Voyager Sopris. She has over 10 years of experience in training and supporting districts in various literacy and numeracy interventions in addition to delivering LETRS professional development sessions. Her goal is to aid teachers in changing the lives of students so that they not only become proficient and successful in literacy, but also as life-long readers. Pam has over 28 years of experience as an educator, previously working as a literacy specialist at the Center for Development and Learning (CDL) by supporting SRCL school districts with diagnostic evaluations, observations, and targeted support based on school-specific literacy needs. Previously, she was an educator in the New Orleans Public Schools, where she served as an elementary teacher, a reading interventionist for at-risk students, a school-based reading coach; and a central office field literacy facilitator. As a field literacy facilitator, Pam provided literacy support to principals, school-site facilitators, and teachers for 10 to 12 schools in the district. In collaboration, she developed, planned, presented, and facilitated a variety of literacy-related professional development sessions for elementary and middle school school-site facilitators and teachers. In her spare time, Pam is also a published writer of fiction.
Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan, Ph.D., is a bilingual speech language pathologist and a certified academic language therapist. She holds a doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She is the President of Valley Speech Language and Learning Center in Brownsville, Texas and is an Associate Research Professor for the Texas Institute for Measurement Evaluation and Statistics at the University of Houston. Elsa’s research interests include the development of early reading assessments for Spanish-speaking students in addition to the development of reading interventions for bilingual students. She was the co-principal investigator of a longitudinal study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Institute for Education Science, examining the oracy and literacy development in English and Spanish of Spanish-speaking children. Elsa currently serves as the Vice Chairperson of the International Dyslexia Association, Chairperson of the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities and was a past board member of the National Academic Language Therapy Association. She has authored curricular programs, book chapters, and journal articles related to oracy and literacy development for English language learners.
Judie Caroleo is Director of Training and Development at 95 Percent Group Inc., a company that provides professional development and materials to support teachers in providing small-group intervention instruction in literacy. She has more than 20 years of experience in classroom instruction, program development, implementation, assessment, and professional development. Prior to her current position, she served as Director of Instruction at Reading ASSIST Institute for more than 10 years. Before joining Reading ASSIST, Judie played a key role in implementing research-based instruction in elementary classrooms in New Jersey, where she served as an interventionist for 10 years.
Suzanne Carreker, Ph.D., CALT.QI, joined Lexia Learning in 2015 as Principal Educational Content Lead, where she spearheaded the curriculum design of a ground-breaking reading program for struggling adolescent readers now known as Lexia PowerUp Literacy. Her career includes 28 years at Neuhaus Education Center, a nonprofit organization in Houston, Texas, that has offered professional development in evidence-based reading methods to more than 60,000 teachers. Suzanne served as Senior Vice President of Innovative Solutions at Neuhaus. During her 10 years of service on the board of The International Dyslexia Association (IDA), she led the development of IDA’s teacher certification exam. Suzanne co-edited the fourth edition of Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills with Judith Birsh and, in addition, contributed two chapters. She has authored several peer-reviewed journal articles, has written numerous literacy-related curricula, and is currently contributing a chapter in Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment. In 2009, Suzanne was the recipient of the HBIDA Nancy LaFevers Community Service Award for her contributions to students with dyslexia and other related learning differences in the Houston community, and in 2018, was the recipient of the Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award from The International Dyslexia Association for her commitment to excellence and advocacy for people with dyslexia. She is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences.
Mary Ellis Dahlgren, Ed.D., is president of Tools 4 Reading. She is an experienced educator with over 25 years in the field of education having served as a dyslexia therapist, elementary classroom teacher, international literacy consultant and author. She is the author of a highly successful phonics tool kit which includes Kid Lips and Phoneme-Grapheme Instructional Cards for elementary, special education, and English language learner teachers. She is also a national trainer for the distinguished teacher curriculum Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS). She is the former executive director of Payne Education Center, a nonprofit teacher training center in Oklahoma. The Center was established to provide teacher training for teachers of dyslexic students and to support parents of dyslexic children. Mary is also a founding board member of a school for adjudicated youth, SeeWorth Academy, organized by the late Chief Justice Alma Wilson.
Linda Diamond is president and founder of the Consortium for Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE, Inc.), a PReK-12 professional learning organization focusing on literacy with an emphasis on reading, and mathematics. Linda previously served as a public school teacher, a principal, and director of instruction, staff development, and assessment for a K–12 school district. After leaving public schools, she was a senior policy analyst in an educational think tank, with an emphasis on school to career, charter schools, and school reform. Linda is co-author of CORE’s Teaching Reading Sourcebook, Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures and CORE’s Vocabulary Handbook. She is known for her work in challenging school districts with vulnerable populations.
Carol Dissen has worked on literacy, math and technology grants and technical assistance projects for the Center on Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the University of Oregon for the past 14 years. She has also delivered school, regional, state, national and international workshops supporting evidence-based literacy practices to educators for over 20 years. Carol has worked directly with schools supporting building strong Tier I and Tier II systems of instruction, intensification of interventions (Tier III), building literacy leadership, and is an author of the Enhanced Core Reading Instructioncurriculum. Prior to CTL, Carol was a K-6 literacy coach, Title 1 reading teacher, and classroom teacher.
Judi Dodson, M.A., has over 30 years of combined experience as an educator of children and teaching teachers. Judi has been a classroom teacher, special education teacher, diagnostic educational specialist, literacy consultant, and teacher trainer. She is a national LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) trainer, presents nationally at conferences on literacy-related issues, consults and works directly with schools and districts on issues related to achievement, and is the president of Bridges to Literacy. Judi’s work is driven by a sense of understanding the whole child, and teaching to and from the heart. She believes that finding a balance between social–emotional learning and excellence in academic instruction will support academic achievement while building motivation and a lifelong love of learning. Passionate about global education for girls, she is the president of Peruvian Hearts, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls and young women in Peru to become leaders through education, mentorship and service, in order to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty. Judi is the author of three books: 50 Nifty Activities for Reading Instruction in the Five Components of Reading; 50 Nifty Speaking and Listening Activities for Oral and Reading Comprehension and The Literacy Intervention Toolkit.
Steve Dykstra, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he has worked in public sector community mental health for more than 25 years. He is a founding member of the Wisconsin Reading Coalition, and vice president of the Coalition for Reading Excellence, but he has never tutored or taught a child to read. Except for parts of one or two courses in graduate school, he has no formal training on the topic. Instead, through the course of his work and life, he has come to see the role of reading, reading struggles, and reading failure in the lives of the thousands of children he has served, as well as in their families, schools, and communities. Building on knowledge and training he sought for himself, he brings together the science of reading he has discovered, with the lessons he has learned from the children he serves, and what he knows about people to understand how we got to where we are, and how we might change that. Steve is a member of the advisory board of the International Foundation of Effective Reading Instruction.
Amy Elleman, Ph.D. is currently an assistant professor in the Ph.D. Literacy Studies Program at Middle Tennessee State University. She earned her doctoral degree from Vanderbilt University where she became interested in designing interventions to improve comprehension, especially for children at risk of developing late emerging reading difficulties. Amy has expertise in meta-analyses, assessment development, and designing innovative comprehension interventions. As a researcher with extensive practical experience as a teacher and administrator, she is often invited to speak for audiences of educators interested in bridging the research to practice gap. Her current research focuses on understanding the most effective methods for improving engagement and increasing comprehension through knowledge building, vocabulary acquisition, and inference generation.
Linda Farrell, MBA, M.Ed., is a founding partner at Readsters, where she is immersed in the world of beginning and struggling readers. Linda designs and presents workshops, writes books, and develops instructional materials for effective reading instruction. She has coauthored several publications with her business partner, Michael Hunter, including Phonics Plug-In, Phonics Blitz, Phonics Boost, and the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys. She is also a coauthor of the Teaching Reading Essentials Program Guide and Coach’s Guide (coauthored with Louisa Moats), and DIBELS: the Practical Manual. Linda was a National LETRS Trainer for seven years. Linda has been presenting workshops and giving speeches on reading instruction throughout the country since 2000. She taught junior high English and was a high school and elementary school counselor. However, it was only when Linda volunteered to teach adults to read that she understood older struggling readers’ needs for explicit phonics and phonemic awareness instruction at the most basic levels. Linda keeps her skills fresh and innovative by working with struggling readers of all ages whenever she has time.
Margie B. Gillis, Ed.D., is a research affiliate at Fairfield University and Haskins Laboratories, and a Certified Academic Language Therapist. She is also the founder and president of Literacy How, Inc. in North Haven, CT that provides professional development opportunities for teachers on how best to implement evidence-based reading practices in the classroom. Margie became interested in reading while at the University of Connecticut where she studied with Isabelle Liberman. She received her doctorate from the University of Louisville in Special Education where she began her work training teachers of reading. As president of Literacy How and as a Research Affiliate at both Fairfield University and Haskins Laboratories, she creates new opportunities to empower teaching excellence. In 2010, she founded the Anne E. Fowler Foundation to continue the work of her mentor Anne Fowler. The Foundation supports scholarships for teachers to earn their Masters or Sixth Year degree in Reading and Language Development at Fairfield University. Margie has also worked at the policy level with the CT state legislature and the Connecticut State Department of Education to pass bills that support evidence-based reading instruction and policies that support the identification and treatment of dyslexia. She is the co-founder and former president of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, former president of the CT Branch of the International Dyslexia Society, a board member of the Dyslexia Society of CT and New Alliance Foundation, and an executive board member of the Academic Language Therapy Association.
Deborah R. Glaser, Ed.D., (Deb) is an educational consultant and professional development provider with expertise in reading assessment and instructional methods derived from trusted research. During Deb’s many years in education, she has provided classroom, dyslexia, and learning disability instruction, and served as director of education of the Lee Pesky Learning Center, in Boise, Idaho, where she oversaw the development of remedial programs for individuals with dyslexia. She has assisted universities with the development of research-based reading curricula and established training and consultation programs to support the success of state and national reading initiatives. She was advisor to Idaho’s Legislative Reading Committee and a principal author of Idaho’s reading initiative. Deb is a national trainer of Louisa Moats’ Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS). She consults with national policy institutes regarding quality reading instruction and teacher preparation and assists schools and districts with the implementation of scientifically based reading programs and strengthening practitioners’ collaborative efforts toward improved instruction and student reading abilities.
Carolyn Gore, Ph.D. is the K-2 ELA Curriculum Specialist in the Caddo Parish Public Schools. She began her teaching career as a Special Education teacher in grades 1-5. When the Dyslexia Department opened in Caddo Parish she served the elementary schools by training teachers, testing children, and tutoring children identified as having characteristics of Dyslexia. During this time she was trained in all components of Language Circle (Project Read) and Alphabetic Phonics. She met Dr. Louisa Moats at the “Language Boot Camp” summer training in Vermont and began a journey of deepening her knowledge of the structure of the English language. When Reading First came to Caddo she became a District Literacy Coach working with 12 schools. She became a certified local trainer of LETRS Modules 1-9 and has been actively involved in providing that training in Caddo. In 2017 she became the K-2 ELA Curriculum Specialist with the charge of guiding teachers in providing instruction so all children would be able readers moving into third grade.
Jan Hasbrouck, Ph.D., is an educational consultant, trainer and researcher. She served as the executive consultant to the Washington State Reading Initiative and as an advisor to the Texas Reading Initiative. Jan worked as a reading specialist and literacy coach for 15 years before becoming a professor at the University of Oregon and later Texas A&M University. She has provided educational consulting to individual schools across the United States as well as in Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, and Germany, helping teachers and administrators design and implement effective assessment and instructional programs targeted to help low-performing readers. Her research in areas of reading fluency, reading assessment, coaching, and second language learners has been published in numerous professional books and journals. She is the author and coauthor of several books including The Reading Coach: A How-to Manual for Success, The Reading Coach 2: More Tools and Strategies for Student-Focused Coaches, and Educators as Physicians: Using RtI Data for Effective Decision-Making as well as several assessment tools. In 2008, she and her colleague, Vicki Gibson, partnered to form Gibson Hasbrouck & Associates, with the mission to provide high quality professional development to educators nationally and internationally.
Jennifer Hasser, M.Ed., is a nationally recognized advocate, author, and trainer in the field of reading. Her passion for education began in the high school behavior disorder classroom, where she was awarded Special Education Teacher of the Year by Georgia State University. Jennifer founded Syllables Learning Center and Kendore Learning, which is accredited by IMSLEC and IDA. She has trained more than a thousand teachers and has helped thousands of students acquire language skills. She is a regular presenter at reading and dyslexia conferences and serves as an educational consultant to schools across the nation. She has served as president of the International Dyslexia Association’s Georgia Branch and is a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia Georgia.
Nancy Hennessy, M.Ed., LDT-C,is an educational consultant and an experienced teacher and administrator. While in public schools, she provided leadership in the development of professional learning systems, innovative programming for special needs student, and a statewide revision of special education code. Nancy has consulted on varied topics ranging from professional practices to student assessment and instruction. She co-authored Module 6 of LETRS, Digging for Meaning: Teaching Text Comprehension (2ndedition) with Louisa Moats and was a national trainer for Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS). Additionally, she has written articles on varied topics as well as the chapter, Working with Word Meaning: Vocabulary Instruction, in Multisensory Teaching of Basic Skills (4thedition). She was the past president of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the recipient of the IDA’s Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. She has designed and delivered keynote addresses as well as virtual and live workshops and training courses to educators nationally and internationally.
Karin Hess, Ph.D., is president of Educational Research in Action. Karin is a recognized international leader in developing practical approaches for using cognitive rigor and learning progressions as the foundation for curriculum and assessments at all levels of assessment systems. While at the Center for Assessment for almost 15 years, she distinguished herself as a content, assessment design, and alignment expert in multiple content areas, K-12 (e.g., Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium/SBAC), and alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Karin contributed to Maine’s early thinking on how to structure requirements for graduation exhibitions, and she currently provides guidance in several states on the development and use of performance assessments in competency-based educational systems. With Linda Darling Hammond, Karin co-led the development of the SBAC content specifications for assessment of the Common Core in ELA and math. Her experiences as New Jersey’s director of gifted education in New Jersey, a district curriculum director, principal, and classroom teacher enable her to understand the practical implications of her work while maintaining fidelity to research, technical quality, and established best practices. Her most recent publications include a chapter in the second edition of Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6; co-developer of Benchmark Education’s Ready to Advance curriculum for Pre-K; and A Local Assessment Toolkit to Promote Deeper Learning: Transforming Research into Practice (Corwin, 2018) that provides practical, classroom-tested tools and strategies to enhance deeper understanding for all students.
Michael Hunter, M.Ed., is a founding partner of Readsters. Michael found his passion for teaching struggling readers by volunteering to teach adults to read in Washington DC. In 2001, Michael left his job as president of a concrete construction company to pursue a career helping students learn to read using the most effective methods available. Michael is co-author with his business partner, Linda Farrell, of Phonics Plug-In ONE, the Practice Packets to Fix Common Confusions, Phonics Blitz and Phonics Boost lessons, and the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys. Michael presents professional development workshops nationally and advises schools and districts on implementation of effective reading instruction. He also continues to create assessments, lessons and other materials to help beginning and struggling readers. He enjoys working with and learning from struggling readers of all ages whenever he finds time. Michael’s work has even taken him to the Republic of Gambia and Rwanda in Africa to train and advise on early reading instruction for the Global Partnership for Education.
Jill Jackson, M.A., is the managing director and senior educational consultant at Jackson Consulting. Previously, she has been the professional program and educational services manager at Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE). A former classroom teacher and administrator, whether she’s in the classroom demonstrating lessons, strategizing with the superintendent, or training veteran literacy coaches, Jill’s advice and assistance is deeply rooted in the reality of school life and focused on unambiguous next steps. Jill Jackson uses her humor and in-the-trenches experiences to support educators as they navigate the central issues in implementing the Common Core and reading programs and interventions. Jill has used her experience in 30+ states and with thousands of teachers, coaches, administrators, program directors and superintendents as inspiration for her down-to-earth and fun how-to books: Get a Backbone, Principal! and Get Some Guts, Coach!
Sam Johnson grew up in Washington, D.C. Although Sam graduated from high school, reading and writing were difficult for him. Both before and after graduating, he never told anyone about his reading difficulties. He found jobs that did not require reading. However, when he saw that his twin sister, Sandra, was improving her reading at the Washington Literacy Council, he called to sign up for their reading lessons. Sam’s life became much easier when his reading and writing skills improved. He still lives in the Washington, D.C. area where he works as a master barber and hair stylist. He is married and has two grown children whom he loved reading to when they were younger. Sam is excited to share his story to help teachers understand how much students want to learn to read, how well students hide their reading problems, and how much life improves when reading becomes easy.
Sandra Johnson grew up in Washington, D.C. She attended public schools until she dropped out of school at age 16. Sandra could memorize words quite successfully, but could not read any unfamiliar words. For example, she could easily read the word ‘job’, but had no idea how to read the word ‘jab’. She was in her early 30s when she learned that letters match sounds. This was the key to Sandra’s learning to read. Sandra hid her reading disability from everyone she knew, including her large family and many friends. But her secret was out after Laura Bush asked to meet Sandra because she had learned to read as an adult. Her story became public when an article and pictures of Sandra with the President and First Lady appeared on the front page of the Washington Times. Sandra works as a coach and tutor for children at her local recreation center in Washington, D.C. She speaks nationally about literacy to teachers, parents, and students.
Pam Kastner, Ed.D., is an educational consultant at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) Harrisburg, where she serves as the State Lead Consultant for Literacy. Pam currently co-leads Pennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program extension and expansion for PaTTAN. In addition, she is part of a research team investigating the impact of explicit instruction in advanced phonemic awareness on student literacy outcomes. She serves on the statewide Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) team working extensively in the area of literacy, effective instruction, formative assessment, and professional learning communities. She has served in a number of leadership capacities at the district level and served as a Pennsylvania Distinguished Educator for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Pam is a certified Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) trainer and a certified reading specialist.
Paula D. Knight, Ed.D., is the Deputy Superintendent of Academics for St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS). She began her career with the SLPS in 1994 as a classroom teacher at Hamilton Elementary School. She has served as an Instructional Coach and Principal at Waring Academy of Basic Instruction and Washington & Euclid Montessori School and the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction K-12. Paula received the 2013 gubernatorial appointment to the Early Childhood Coordinating Board for the state of Missouri, as well as, a 2016 appointment as the Chief of Staff for SLPS. She serves as a member of several St. Louis community organizations and is active with several professional organizations including the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Association for Elementary School Principals, Council of Great City Schools Steering Committee, St. Louis Area Curriculum Coordinators’ Association, and International Reading Association-Title I Committee. Paula has provided leadership coaching and training and instructional development frameworks for first year and aspiring principal/administrators in the Syracuse Public Schools in Syracuse, New York. She serves as the educational consultant in the Riverview Gardens school district where she supports the curriculum, assessment and professional development work for the early childhood center.
Alana Mangham, M.S., is the District English Language Arts Curriculum Specialist, Dyslexia Coordinator, STAR Early Literacy Coordinator and Summer Literacy Camp co- chair for Rapides Parish in Alexandria, Louisiana. She has taught elementary school for fourteen years in both New York City and Louisiana. As a district Curriculum Specialist, Alana supports administrators and teachers, as well as support staff through coaching, effective lesson delivery, writing, multi-sensory teaching styles and the science behind reading. Alana holds several trainer certifications such as the Data Team Process, Common Formative Assessments, and DIBELS. She also holds a local certificate in LETRS, (Language Essentials of Teachers of Reading and Spelling.) She has been an Education Week guest alongside Dr. Louisa Moats, sharing best practices and successes from Rapides Parish. Alana is excited to share her passion for early childhood literacy through her experience with evidence-based reading practices.
Nancy Mather, Ph.D. is a Professor Emerita at the University of Arizona in Tucson in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies. She has been a learning disabilities teacher, a diagnostician, a university professor, and an educational consultant. She has published numerous articles and books and conducts workshops on assessment and instruction both nationally and internationally. Nancy is a co-author of the Woodcock-Johnson IV and has co-authored two books on interpretation and application of the WJ IV. Her most recent book on dyslexia is: Essentials of Dyslexia: Assessment and Intervention (Mather & Wendling, 2012) and on learning disabilities: Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviors (Mather, Goldstein, & Eklund, 2015). She has recently co-authored a 40-45 hour online reading course, Mindplay Comprehensive Reading Course for Educators, and is currently working on the Tests of Dyslexia which will be published by WPS and is under development.
George McCloskey, Ph.D., is a professor and Director of School Psychology Research in the School of Professional and Applied Psychology of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and holds Diplomate status with the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology. He has amassed 35 years of experience in test development, teaching, research, and assessment and intervention work with a wide range of clients. George has developed a comprehensive model of executive capacities that can be used to assess strengths and deficits and guide efforts to foster growth and intervene with difficulties. He frequently presents at international, national, and state conferences and consults with a number of school districts and private schools nationwide on issues related to improving students’ executive capacities. George is the lead author of the books Assessment and Intervention for Executive Function Difficulties and Essentials of Executive Functions Assessment, and his most recent writing on interventions for executive function and executive skills difficulties appears in Chapter 10 of Essentials of Planning, Selecting, and Tailoring Interventions for Unique Learners. He is the author of the McCloskey Executive Functions Scales (MEFS) that have been standardized and published with Schoolhouse Educational Services. George also directed the development of the WISC-IV Integrated and was a senior research advisor and clinical advisor to the Wechsler Test Development Group for the Psychological Corporation (now part of Pearson) and associate director of test development for AGS Publishing (now Pearson).
Deborah Norris, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Early Childhood and Lifespan Human Development programs in the School of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University. Her research and teaching are informed by her years as a classroom teacher and childcare center director. Deborah’s research focuses on human development at the intersection of early childhood policy, programming, and classroom practice. She has examined the influence of early childhood policies such as Quality Rating and Improvement Systems and early childhood educator scholarship programs on the quality of childcare as well as the experiences of children, families, and staff. She is particularly interested in the cognitive and language development of toddlers and twos in early care and education settings. Deborah has published several articles and was co-author of Developmental Foundations for School Readiness of Infants and Toddlers for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation with the Administration for Children and Families. She has served as guest co-editor of two special issues of the journal Early Education and Development. She enjoys mentoring graduate students and received the Graduate Advisor Award while on faculty at Oklahoma State University.
Lucy Hart Paulson
Lucy Hart Paulson, ED.D., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and literacy specialist with years of experience working children and their families in elementary schools, Head Start, and clinical settings. She served as an associate professor in the Communicative Sciences and Disorders Department at the University of Montana, teaching language and literacy development and challenges. She has also provided professional development for a variety of audiences across the United States and internationally. Lucy presents an inclusive and research-to-practice perspective blending areas of language and literacy, resulting in effective and engaging learning opportunities for children. Lucy is the lead author of the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) for Early Childhood Educators, (2nd Edition); Building Early Literacy and Language Skills, a resource and activity guide for young children, and for Good Talking Words, a social communication skills program for preschool and kindergarten.
Stephen Phillippi, Ph.D., a licensed Clinical Social Worker and clinically certified Forensic Counselor, has a 25-year history of developing, managing, evaluating, and providing direct services. He is the Program chair of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – a research, teaching and service oriented academic program within the School of Public Health. Steve is also the director of the Institute for Public Health & Justice, working to bring evidence-based practices and supportive policies to states and local communities. He is the principal investigator on several studies and grants. In addition, he teaches, advises, chairs and participates in dissertation committees, writes, consults, and serves on a number of professional and public service boards. Steve received his doctorate from LSU, MSW from Tulane University, and BA from Loyola New Orleans.
Amy Poirier is the director of early childhood programs at CDL where she enjoys working side-by-side with early childhood professionals to provide support and thereby positively affect outcomes for young children. Amy’s extensive experiences in the field as an early childhood teacher, center director, and director of curriculum and training allow her to develop professional learning services for early childhood professionals, organize and implement early childhood mentoring and coaching efforts, and support CDL’s early childhood team in meaningful ways. Additionally, she has worked as a program monitor, coach, trainer, and curriculum specialist for several statewide programs. Amy is an endorsed Louisiana Pathways trainer, an approved Child Development Associate (CDA) Professional Development Specialist, a Zero-to-Three approved trainer, and provides training and technical support for the Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Amy is the creator and program administrator of CDL’s Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate Program, CDA Cornerstones. Amy knows that children benefit most from high-quality interactions provided by teachers who understand child development and early childhood pedagogy, and that relevant, on-the-job coaching and mentoring support significantly increases these skills. Amy received a bachelor’s in education from Wichita State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in early childhood education at Kansas State University where she is researching early childhood pedagogical leadership.
Joan Sedita, M.Ed., has been an educator and nationally recognized teacher trainer for over 35 years. She is the founding partner of Keys to Literacy, a literacy professional development organization based in MA. Joan is the author of four content literacy professional development programs (Key Comprehension Routine, Key Vocabulary Routine, Keys to Writing, The ANSWER Key Routine to for Extended Response) and a K-12 district literacy planning model (Keys to Literacy Planning). Beginning in 1975, she worked for 23 years at the Landmark School, a pioneer in the development of literacy intervention programs. As a teacher, principal, and director of the Outreach Teacher Training Program at Landmark, Joan developed expertise, methods, and instructional programs that address the literacy needs of students in grades K-12. Joan was one of the three lead trainers in MA for the Reading First Program. She was a national LETRS trainer and co-authored LETRS Module 11, Writing, A Road to Reading Comprehension with Louisa Moats. She also wrote the adolescent literacy chapter in Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills and the writing chapter in The Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, 6-12. Joan is an adjunct instructor at Endicott College and Fitchburg State University. She received her M.Ed. in Reading from Harvard University and her B.A. from Boston College.
Libbie Sonnier-Netto, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children where she leverages her nearly 20-year career supporting young children and their families. Recognized for her tenacity and deep commitment to children, Libbie has led teams of individuals in system-wide initiatives for the betterment of children, families, caregivers, and practitioners. She has served as a state director of two federal programs managing multi-million-dollar budgets as well as developing and implementing pilot programs for children birth to age five in four states across multiple agencies and community partners to improve the efficiency and efficacy of direct services for children and their families. Libbie’s experiences conducting longitudinal and experimental research allow her to translate scientific findings into meaningful and practical policy implications that support better life outcomes for children. She is coauthor of multiple publications and technical reports, training curricula, and, with Drs. Sharon and Craig Ramey, The Four Diamonds Checklist and The Quality System to Achieve Results for Young Children in all Settings (Q-STAR). Libbie is the recipient of the Hulick Serving Spirit Fellowship Award for her commitment to individuals with disabilities across the life course and the Rotary Club’s Extraordinary Woman “Rising Star” Award. Libbie received a Doctor of Philosophy in human development from Virginia Tech, a Master of Education in early childhood intervention and family support services from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor of Science in special education with an emphasis in early childhood intervention from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Laura Stewart is an educator and organizational leader. Previous to her most recent role as Chief Academic Officer for Professional Development at Highlights for Children, she was Vice President of Professional Development at the Rowland Reading Foundation. Throughout her career, she has served in numerous roles: classroom teacher, building and district school administrator, adjunct professor, and director of numerous professional development initiatives around the United States. In addition to directing the professional development for Reading First in the state of Wisconsin, Laura directed long-term projects in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Milwaukee, and El Paso. For over 25 years, Laura has presented throughout the United States and internationally. She has a Master’s degree and has extensive post-graduate coursework in education; Laura is also a LETRS-certified trainer (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). She is the author of white papers and position statements, training guides, training workshops, and 12 children’s books. She is also co-author of The Everything Guide to Informational Text K-2; Best Texts, Best Practices (Corwin Press, 2014). She serves on several advisory boards, including the International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction.
Jess Surles has over fifteen years of experience in delivering classroom instruction, collaborating with educators and leadership to support program implementation, and designing professional development on literacy and educational practices. Currently, she works for the Center on Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the University of Oregon to develop curriculum and provide technical assistance across the nation. She partners with literacy experts and university researchers to integrate current research and instructional practice for educators, leadership, and educational agencies. Jess provides training, on-site coaching, and virtual support to assist with implementation of evidence-based literacy practices. Prior to working at CTL, Jess was a district instructional coach, Title I reading instructor, ESOL teacher, and classroom teacher.
Nicole Patton Terry
Nicole Patton Terry, Ph.D.,is the Olive & Manuel Bordas Professor of Education in the School of Teacher Education and Associate Director of the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) at Florida State University. Prior to joining FSU in 2018, she was an Associate Professor of Special Education and Director of the Urban Child Study Center at Georgia State University. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Learning Disabilities and a board member for the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading. Nicole earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, with a specialization in learning disabilities. She was as a learning disabilities resource teacher in Evanston Public Schools in Evanston, IL. Nicole’s research, teaching, and scholarly activities concern young children with and without disabilities who struggle to acquire language and literacy skills, in particular, children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and children living in poverty. Her research has been supported by various organizations, including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. As an associate director in FCRR, she directs The Village—a division responsible for creating and maintaining research-practice partnerships with diverse community stakeholders. Taking a collective impact, place-based approach, The Village strives to promote reading achievement, school readiness, and school success among vulnerable children and youth.
Carol Tolman, Ed.D., is a national and international presenter who draws on her more than 25 years of experience in the public school system, with 13 of those years spent designing and implementing an innovative reading clinic and academic support collaborative for academically challenged high school students. Carol has spearheaded many successful, long-term literacy initiatives both nationally and internationally in states as diverse as WV, WY, and NH. She organized and delivered curriculum for the Massachusetts Licensure Program and conducted a four-year project for the Maryland Department of Education supporting literacy knowledge for professors. Carol has co-authored several LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) modules, all LETRS Presenter’s Kits, and has presided over the LETRS Leadership Board. She co-authored, with Louisa Moats, the LETRS (3rded.) texts and online professional development courses, presents LETRS Training of Trainer (TOT) workshops and Facilitator Trainings, and supports literacy initiatives throughout Australia. Carol is also the author of IDA’s Perspectives articles, “Working smarter, not harder: What teachers of reading need to know and be able to teach,” and “The relationship between teacher knowledge and effective RTI: When we know better, we do better.”
Eric Tridas, M.D., FAAP, is the Medical Director of the Tridas Center for Child Development and President of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Consultants, Inc. He is a Developmental Pediatrician who specializes in the diagnosis and management of handicapping conditions including ADHD, learning differences, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities and other neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems. He completed his fellowship in Ambulatory Pediatrics with emphasis on Developmental Disabilities at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston. During that time he held an appointment as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Tridas completed his residency in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. He graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine in 1977. He is President of the International Dyslexia Association. Dr. Tridas is also the State Medical Director for Pediatric Health Choice-Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Facilities (PPEC). He is on the board of directors of Artista’s Cafe, a non-profit organization that employs adults with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Tridas is a founder and partner of Tridas, LLC, a software company that developed the Tridas eWriter, an application for web based structured interviews of caregivers and teacher’s that generates a customized evaluation report. He lectures nationally and internationally on topics such as dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, executive functions and other behavioral and developmental pediatrics related subjects. Dr. Tridas edited a book for parents titled From ABC to ADHD: What Every Parent Should Know About Dyslexia and Attention Problems.
William Van Cleave
William Van Cleave, MA, is an educational consultant whose specialties include morphology and written expression. An internationally recognized speaker with an interactive, hands-on presentation style, William has presented on effective teaching practices at conferences and schools both in the United States and abroad since 1995. Recent projects include consulting with three schools as part of a literacy grant in Montana; participating on the MTSS Writing Standards Committee for the State of Pennsylvania; implementing several Trainer of Trainers projects using his sentence structure approach; and writing a series of workbooks and a companion book on developing composition skills to complement his sentence approach. He is the author of three books, including Writing Matters and Everything You Want to Know & Exactly Where to Find It, as well as a number of educational tools and activities. Previously, William served as a classroom teacher, tutor, and administrator in the private school arena at various points in his career.
Jan Wasowicz, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, has more than 35 years of experience as a language, literacy, and learning specialist. She has worked with students who have language-based reading, writing, and spelling problems in a variety of educational settings, including public schools, Head Start programs, and private practice. Jan is frequently invited to speak about best practices in literacy assessment and instruction at national, state, and local meetings and has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses, holding faculty positions at Northwestern University, Elmhurst College, Rush–Presbyterian–St. Luke’s Medical Center, and Governors State University. She has authored articles appearing in scholarly journals, is the inventor of the original Earobics® software, is co-author of SPELL-2 and SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing, and is lead moderator of the SPELLTalk professional listserv. Jan is an ASHA-certified and IL-licensed speech-language pathologist and she holds a professional educator license with multiple endorsements from the State Teacher Certification Board of Illinois. She is the founder, president and CEO of Learning By Design, Inc., publisher of the SPELL-2 assessment software and the SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing word study curriculum. She maintains a private practice in Evanston, IL.
Daniel Willingham, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1992. He earned his B.A. from Duke University, and his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard University. Until about 2000, his research focused solely on the brain basis of learning and memory. Today, all of his research concerns the application of cognitive psychology to K-16 education. He writes the “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for American Educator magazine, and is the author of Why Don’t Students Like School?, When Can You Trust the Experts?, Raising Kids Who Read, and The Reading Mind. His writing on education has appeared in sixteen languages. In 2017, he was appointed by President Obama to serve as a Member of the National Board for Education Sciences.