Log in

   Speaker Biography

Jeff  Anderson has been sharing writing strategies with teachers and students for over 25 years. Whether presenting at national conferences like NCTE, ASCD, or in classrooms or writing his books for teachers or middle grade readers, Jeff’s passion for writing and grammar inspires teachers and young writers to soar. When he’s not writing with his “revising” dogs at home near downtown San Antonio, Texas, he’s walking, talking, or doing staff development around the US (and sometimes New Zealand).

Anderson's professional books include Mechanically Inclined, Revision Decisions, 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, and Everday Editing.  He has a new middle grade series, the first of which is entitled Zack Delacruz:  Just My Luck.


  Linda Dorn is a professor of reading education at the University of Arkansas Little Rock, where she is the director of the UALR Center for Literacy. The Center houses four nationally recognized training models, provides premier professional development to educators, and conducts research in literacy-related areas. Linda, who is the primary developer and lead trainer of the Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy Model, teaches graduate classes in theory, research, practice, and literacy leadership.

Her publications include 7 books, book chapters, media publications, journal articles, and teaching materials. She co-authored  Apprenticeship in Literacy, 2nd edition, and Interventions that Work: A Comprehensive Intervention Model for Preventing Reading Failure. Her newest book is Changing Minds, Changing Schools: A Comprehensive Literacy Design for School Improvement.  


 Valerie Ellery Valerie Ellery has served the field of education as a National Board Certified Teacher, curriculum specialist, mentor, literacy coach, staff developer, and award-winning international author and consultant. Valerie has published many books, curriculums, and staff-development video series to empower educators to create literacy reform globally.

Ellery recently updated her bestselling book, Creating Strategic Readers, to help teachers meet the challenges of educating 21st-century learners. In it she describes a comprehensive literacy classroom, detailing appropriate curriculum, assessment, and instruction.  


Christina Diaz Gonzalez Gonzalez is an award-winning author of The Red Umbrella, A Thunderous Whisper, and Movie Target. Her books have received numerous honors and recognitions. Return Fire, which was just released this fall, is her newest novel. She is a law school graduate and practiced law for several years. She later realized (with the help of her two sons) that her true passion was not writing legal memoranda but writing books for children, teens, and adults.
 Alan Gratz

Alan Gratz's first novel, Samurai Shortstop, was named one of the ALA's 2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults. His second novel, Something Rotten, was a 2008 ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Readers, and was followed by a sequel, Something Wicked, in October 2008. As the first Artist in Residence at the American School in Japan, Alan spent six weeks teaching historical fiction-writing to middle school students in Tokyo, and he was the Thurber House Children's Writer in Residence in 2011, living and writing in James Thurber's attic for a month.  

In addition to writing plays, he has authored magazine articles, and a few TV episodes, and thousands of radio commercials. He now lives with his wife Wendi and his daughter Jo in the high country of Western North Carolina.    


 Margaret Peterson Haddix Margaret Peterson Haddix has written more than 30 books for kids and teens, including Running Out of Time; Don’t You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey; Leaving Fishers; Turnabout; Takeoffs and Landings; The Girl with 500 Middle Names; Because of Anya; Escape from Memory; Say What? and more.  

Her books have been honored with New York Times bestseller status, the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award; American Library Association Best Book and Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers notations; and numerous state reader’s choice awards. They have also been translated into more than twenty different languages.

Haddix and her husband, Doug, now live in Columbus, Ohio, and they are the parents of two college-aged kids.  


Rebecca Harper An assistant professor at Augusta University and educational consultant from Aiken, SC, Harper is a former middle grades writing teacher. She received her Ph.D. in Language and Literacy from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include content area literacy, student conceptualization of writing, teacher beliefs, and critical literacy. She lives in Aiken, SC with her husband and three children. Harper’s new Content Writing That Rocks and Works is scheduled to be released soon. 
John Hollan An Arkansas native, born and raised in Wynne, Arkansas, Hollan knew as a young child he wanted to do something different, and photography became his creative outlet. After working in advertising, fashion, and multiple fields of photography, he and his wife moved to the Emerald Coast of Florida in 2005, where he joined the Artists at Gulf Place. The Adventures of the Starfish Family was released last summer.  
Bill McBride McBride is a nationally known speaker, educator, and author who now trains teachers in instructional methodologies. He is also a former reading specialist, English teacher, and social studies teacher. He is most well-known for his heartwarming novel about teaching entitled Entertaining an Elephant, which is in its 20th printing. He has also published Carrying a Load of Feathers, Building Literacy in Social Studies, the Reading Toolkits for Social Studies and If They Can Argue Well, They Can Write Well. His latest book is the graphic novel version of Entertaining an Elephant designed to teach positive values about life to secondary students.  
Denise McConduit McConduit lives in New Orleans and writes a column for the Times Picayune newspaper. Her first book D.J. and the Zulu Parade is about her son riding in a Mardi Gras Parade. That book led to two other culturally rich stories about the intrepid boy. Her newest book is titled The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read and is about a stubborn little boy whose wish is granted when a magic sorcerer removes the words from everything. She enjoys working with students during her many school and library visits. 
 Marilyn Pryle

Marilyn Pryle is a classroom teacher certified in secondary English and reading instruction. She’s taught at the middle school, high school, and college levels, and in several ELL programs. While teaching a full-time 8th grade writing workshop, she began creating her own materials and scaffolding them to ensure a progression of learning.  She then wrote and shared these in what became her first book, Teaching Students to Write Effective Essays

Since then, she has written three additional books about writing workshop and writing instruction, including 50 Common Core Reading Response Activities.  She now teaches 10th grade World Literature in Clarks Summit, PA.                     


Jennifer Serravallo

Jennifer Serravallo is a graduate of Vassar College.  Jennifer began teaching in schools in New York City where she also started working towards her MA at Teachers College, Columbia University. There she became a Senior Staff Developer for their Reading and Writing Project, where she worked for eight years helping urban, suburban, and rural schools implement exceptional literacy instruction through reading and writing workshops. Her work in Title I schools with swelling class sizes, high numbers of ELLs, and an enormous range of learners provided the foundation for the many books she has authored on the teaching of reading and writing. These include The Reading Strategies Book, The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook: Four Steps for Turning Assessment Data into Goal-Directed Instruction, and Independent Reading Assessment. 


Follow her on Twitter (@jserravallo).

Michael Shoulders

Shoulders spent his childhood traveling the world in an Army family (including Fort Chaffee, AR). He taught for 14 years before finishing his 30-year career as an instructional supervisor in Tennessee. He earned his doctoral degree in 2004. Shoulders now visits nearly 80 schools across America each year spreading the message that “Reading IS Magic!” His newest book is Crossing the Dead Line, a Civil War novel.

Dana Sullivan Sullivan is the author and illustrator of Ozzie and the Art Contest (2013) and Kay’s Alphabet Safari (2014) and is the illustrator for the Digger and Daisy early reader series and two sets of Bob Books for Scholastic. He also teaches Intro to Picture Books at the Kirkland Arts Center and Graphic Novel Making at Bellevue College and is the illustrator-on-the-fly for school field trips at the Bureau of Fearless Ideas. He resides in Washington and is the Co-Regional Advisor of the Western Washington chapter of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  
 William Teale

William H. Teale is Professor in the Literacy, Language & Culture Program, University Scholar, and Director of the UIC  (Chicago) Center for Literacy. He teaches courses on early literacy and children's/young adult literature at the master's and doctoral levels. Author of more than 150 publications, Teale is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame, served on the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association from 2011 to 2014, and was recently elected to become president of the International Literacy Association in 2016.

William Van Cleave

William Van Cleave is an educational consultant whose specialties include morphology and written expression. A nationally recognized speaker, he has presented on effective teaching practices at conferences and schools around the country. The strategies William promotes are effective for students of all skill levels and abilities. His high level of enthusiasm and energy, his interactive style, and his passion for working with teachers make him an effective presenter, whether he is visiting a school and sharing with its faculty or presenting at a national conference.

In 2004 William published Everything You Want To Know & Exactly Where To Find It, an Orton-Gillingham based reference guide that serves tutors and teachers of struggling readers and spellers around the country.  In the fall of 2013, he and co-author Caroline Dover published Phrases & Sentences for Reading & Spelling, a companion to the Everything text. He also authored Writing Matters: Developing Sentence Skills in Students of All Ages.

 Anya Wallach

Anya Wallach is the real-life creator of The Random Farms Kids’ Theater, a not-for-profit organization she started in her parents’ basement when she was a teenager. Today, the Random Farms kids can be regularly seen on Broadway and in film and television.  Anya also created the theater’s extensive outreach program, with a focus on bullying prevention. 

In conjunction with Random Farms, Anya has been featured in The New York Times, FOX News Channel, Teen Kids News, and was recognized by The Huffington Post for her work as a young social entrepreneur.   She loves to speak at schools and conferences about her work and the importance of the performing arts.  She lives in New York City.      


Address: 904 Osage Drive, Redfield, AR  72132
Phone: (501) 416-3992

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software