LitCon 2021 Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Cornelius Minor
Cornelius Minor

Cornelius Minor is a Brooklyn-based educator. He works with teachers, school leaders, and leaders of community-based organizations to support equitable literacy reform in cities (and sometimes villages) across the globe. His latest book, We Got This, explores how the work of creating more equitable school spaces is embedded in our everyday choices — specifically in the choice to really listen to kids. He has been featured in Education Week, Brooklyn Magazine, and Teaching Tolerance Magazine. He has partnered with The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, The New York City Department of Education, The International Literacy Association, Scholastic, and Lesley University’s Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative. Out of Print, a documentary featuring Cornelius made its way around the film festival circuit, and he has been a featured speaker at conferences all over the world. Most recently, along with his partner and wife, Kass Minor, he has established The Minor Collective, a community-based movement designed to foster sustainable change in schools. Whether working with educators and kids in Los Angeles, Seattle, or New York City, Cornelius uses his love for technology, hip-hop, and social media to bring communities together. As a teacher, Cornelius draws not only on his years teaching middle school in the Bronx and Brooklyn, but also on time spent skateboarding, shooting hoops, and working with young people.

Jeffery Williams
Jeffery Williams

Jeff Williams, an Ohio literacy educator for more than 30 years, is the Reading Recovery Teacher Leader and K-12 Literacy Coach for Solon Schools. Jeff was RRCNA President in 2018 and has served on the Board of Directors from 2013 to present. He is a regular speaker at international and national conferences and provides staff development in school districts across the country. Jeff has co-authored a book from NCTE and has written articles in numerous professional journals. He has also authored 120 children’s books in English and Spanish for Hameray’s Fables and the Real World series. Jeff teaches for The Ohio State University, training and supervising Reading Recovery teachers in Northeast Ohio.

Gerry Brooks
Gerry Brooks

Gerry Brooks is principal at an elementary school in Lexington, Kentucky. His educational experience includes six years in the classroom, two years as an intervention specialist, and twelve years as an administrator. Gerry is a passionate public speaker whose focus is on encouraging and helping teachers to improve their instructional abilities and administrators to successfully lead their staff. His following of more than 500,000 people on social media has developed through humorous videos that focus on real-world educational experiences.

Institute and Featured Speakers

C.C. Bates
C.C. Bates

C.C. Bates is an Associate Professor in Literacy Education and the Director of the Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Training Center at Clemson University. Her research agenda focuses on the use of digital tools to enhance and deliver professional development for reading interventionists and K-2 classroom teachers, which stems from her ongoing inquiry into the teaching of children who are having difficulty learning to read and write. Bates has had over 30 scholarly publications and developed the Record of Reading app for oral reading assessment, which has been downloaded more than 350,000 times.

Wiley Blevins
Wiley Blevins

Dr. Wiley Blevins has taught elementary school in both the United States and South America. A graduate of Harvard Graduate School of Education, he has written more than 15 books for teachers (including Phonics from A to Z, A Fresh Look at Phonics, Building Fluency, and Teaching Nonfiction), authored elementary reading programs, conducted research on topics ranging from fluency to using decodable text, and regularly trains teachers throughout the U.S. and Asia. His current interests included using adaptive technology and working with districts to correct instructional and material deficits. Wiley lives in New York City and also writes children’s books.

Colleen Cruz
Colleen Cruz

Colleen Cruz is the author of several other titles for teachers, including The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, Independent Writing, and A Quick Guide to Helping Struggling Writers, in addition to the young adult novel Border Crossing, a Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award Finalist. Colleen was a classroom teacher in general education and inclusive settings before joining the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project where she is Director of Innovation. She presently supports schools, teachers, and their students nationally and internationally as a literacy consultant.

Sue Duncan
Sue Duncan

Dr. Sue Duncan was Executive Director of the Reading Recovery Program in the Early Childhood and Elementary Education Department at Georgia State University and worked at GSU for 26 years. Dr. Duncan trained as a Reading Recovery Trainer in 1989 and has worked in New Zealand, England, Canada, and the U.S.A. Sue is the only trained Trainer for the Successful Start (First Chance) program in the US. She has also trained as a university trainer for the Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy and Comprehensive Intervention Model.

Mary Fried
Mary Fried

Dr. Mary Fried is a nationally known champion of young, struggling readers. She served as a Trainer at The Ohio State University Reading Recovery Center for over 30 years. As part of the first pilot study of Reading Recovery 36 years ago, Mary was trained by Marie Clay and Barbara Watson. She has presented at conferences and institutes in all five countries with implementations of Reading Recovery: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and throughout the United States.

Jennifer Flight
Jennifer Flight

Jennifer Flight is a Reading Recovery trainer at the Canadian Institute of Reading Recovery, Western Region, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has experience as an early years classroom teacher and as a Reading Recovery Teacher and Teacher Leader. Her recent research interests include using improvement science tools to engage in small tests of change to strengthen learning opportunities for teachers.

Gravity Goldberg
Gravity Goldberg

Dr. Gravity Goldberg is an international educational consultant and author of eight books on teaching including her latest release, Teacher’s Toolkit for Independent Reading (Stenhouse, 2020). Mindsets & Moves (Corwin Literacy, 2015) put her on the world stage with its practical ways to cultivate student agency, leading to speaking engagements and foreign translations of her work. She has 20 years of teaching experience, including positions as a science teacher, reading specialist, third-grade teacher, special educator, literacy coach, staff developer, assistant professor, educational consultant, and yoga teacher. Dr. Goldberg holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from Boston College and a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. As the founding director of Gravity Goldberg, LLC she leads a team that offers side-by-side coaching and workshops that focus on teachers as decision-makers and student-led instruction.

Sharroky Hollie
Sharroky Hollie

Dr. Sharroky Hollie is a national educator who has provided professional development in the area of cultural responsiveness to 150,000 educators and has worked in nearly 2000 classrooms. Going back 25 years, he has been a classroom teacher, a central office professional development coordinator in Los Angeles Unified School District, a school founder and administrator, and university professor in teacher education at Cal State University. Sharroky has also been a visiting professor for Webster University in St. Louis and a guest lecturer at Stanford and UCLA. Author of several texts and articles, his titles include Strategies for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning (2015), Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom Practices for Student Success (2011), and The Skill to Lead, The Will to Teach (2011), co-written with Dr. Anthony Muhammad.

Mary Howard
Mary Howard

Dr. Mary Howard is often described as a “teachers’ teacher,” with special insight into classroom realities. An educator for almost five decades, she combines experiences as a special education, Title I and Reading Recovery teacher, and reading specialist/coach and offers in-school support as a reading consultant. She is the author of RTI from All Sides: What Every Teacher Needs to Know (Heinemann, 2009) and Good to Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters (Heinemann, 2012).

Sherry Kinzel
Sherry Kinzel

Sherry Kinzel is a University Trainer for the Literacy Collaborative Project, a nationally recognized literacy coach training center at The Ohio State University. She is passionate about helping educators discover their strengths and create the kind of transformational change in schools that lifts ALL learners, including adults, to their highest potential. She also engages with building and district level administrators, as well as literacy teams, in creating collaborative culture, developing literacy leadership, and designing literacy curriculum and instruction. She believes that if educators tap into their own emotional intelligence and facilitate transformational, effective learning, then we can transform our schools.

Maryann McBride
Maryann McBride

Maryann McBride is a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader at Clemson University. She has spent 30 years as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, Reading Recovery Teacher, and Reading Recovery Teacher Leader for Prince George’s County Public Schools, the largest urban implementation in the world. Currently, she is responsible for a site of more than 190 Reading Recovery teachers in 120 schools. A frequent presenter at state and national conferences, Maryann is known for her ability to analyze and use data for students, teachers, and program improvement.

Anthony Muhammad
Anthony Muhammad

Dr. Anthony Muhammad is an author, international thought leader, and the CEO of New Frontier 21 Consulting, a company dedicated to providing cutting-edge professional development. An award-winning educator for more than 20 years, he has served as a middle school teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Recognized as an expert in school culture and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), his work has taken him to schools in all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces, the Caribbean, Africa, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. His titles include Time for Change: The Four Essential Skills of a Transformational School Leader (2019), Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap: Liberating Mindsets to Effect Change (2015), and The Will to Lead and the Skill to Teach; Transforming Schools at Every Level (2011), in addition to 26 articles in education journals and publications in seven different countries.

Pernille Ripp
Pernille Ripp

Pernille Ripp helps students discover their superpowers as a middle-level 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 the author of several education books, with her latest release titled Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child.

James Schnug
James Schnug

Dr. James Schnug is a Reading Recovery trainer with The Ohio State University. He has served as a board member for the Reading Recovery Council of North America, Implementation Section editor for the Journal of Reading Recovery (JRR), and co-strand leader for RRCNA’s annual conference. He sits on the Teaching and Professional Development Committee of the North American Trainers Group as well as the Reading Recovery Improvement Community’s HUB. First trained in 1987, Dr. Schnug has been a teacher leader and site coordinator. He was also a tenured faculty member at Ashland University in Ohio, serving as department chair and assistant dean for graduate studies. He is the author of Paying More Attention to Phrasing in Fluent Reading, Promoting Discovery in Roaming Around the Known, and Wonderfully Disruptive Messages from Reading Recovery, and co-authored Uncovering What’s Under the White Tape–all for the JRR.