Dea Borneman is an Associate Professor of Library Science at Missouri State University and head of Haseltine Library at the Greenwood Laboratory School. Dea has made numerous state, regional, and national presentations, which usually demonstrate ways to effectively combine technology with traditional literacy skills. She believes the school librarian should always strive to work as an educational partner with classroom teachers. In 2013, Rebecca Crowder and Dea received the TLC (Teacher/Librarian Collaboration) Award from the Missouri Association of School Librarians for their work together. Dea is an advisor to the Children’s and Young Adult Book Review of Missouri and a steering committee member for the Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks.
Scott Courtois works for the Missouri Reading Initiative as a balanced literacy trainer. He travels to Missouri School providing balanced literacy professional development opportunities to grades kindergarten through eighth grade teachers. Scott has been an educator for twenty years. During his tenure he has worked as a Reading Recovery /Early Literacy Teacher, Title I Reading Teacher, reading coach and has taught grades 1st, 3rd and 5th grades. Scott has a strong educational background and has received in-depth training and ongoing professional development in curriculum design, balanced literacy, reading strategies and assessment.
Lynn Hagen and Melita Walker both work at Battle High School in Columbia, Missouri. Lynn is a Reading Specialist and a Literacy teacher. She spent the first fifteen years of her career in middle school, and has been in high school the last four years. She is a passionate advocate for student voice in reading and writing. You can follow her at blue-skyteaching.blogspot.com. Melita is an Assistant Principal at Battle High School. She has worked as an English teacher, Reading Specialist, and Literacy Coach at both the middle and high school levels. She is passionate about literacy and student advocacy and values the opportunity that TEDx provides for student voices. Last year, they both helped with Battle High School’s first TEDx Event. It was a huge success, and they are currently planning the second one, which will happen in March 2017.
Kim Chism Jasper (left) is an award-winning journalist and teacher with thirty years’ experience working with students in grades 7-college. She is a frequent workshop presenter, sharing ideas at numerous conferences, including Write to Learn, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Joint Conference for Librarians of Color. She is a past president of the Missouri Association of Teachers of English, sits on the Writers Hall of Fame Board, is a National Writing Project participant (through the Ozarks Writing Project), and is a member of NCTE’s Social Media Team (#nctechat). She believes in the power of words, that stories can save lives, and that the classroom must be a safe place for student writers and readers. Follow her on Twitter: @KimChismJasper
Dana Whitesell Martin is a twenty-four year veteran teacher, surviving multiple swings in education, teaching generations in a small town, and a book ban. She is a career long member of NCTE and knows how to surround herself with smart people. Her latest adventure is marrying at forty-five and having children twenty-five years apart. Sleep deprivation and teaching middle school make for a hot mess and a wonderful adventure.
Cory Milles has been teaching writing for over a decade. In his spare time, he writes Young Adult novels that seek to capture the power of story to transform his readers. When he’s not writing, teaching, or listening to his collection of movie scores, he can usually be found reading more on the craft of writing. He is the author of the Young Adult novels Legacy, Paradox, Redemption, and the upcoming New Miller’s Grove. He is featured in the book LOST Thought: Leading Thinkers Discuss LOST. You can visit him at www.cdavidmilles.com.
Diane Mora teaches sheltered communication arts classes at East High School in Kansas City Public Schools, focusing on developing English writing and English literacy skills of students who come from all over the world. From 2012-2016 she served as an ELL Instructional Specialist and Senior Program Coordinator at the Kansas City RPDC. A National Writing Project Teacher Consultant, her love for developing writing skills is born from a desire to help students find their voice in a new language. Her style as a learner, teacher, and facilitator is hands on, inquiry based, and self-reflective.
Kati Nilges graduated from Westminster College in 2007 with a Bachelor’s in English and secondary education. She earned her Masters of Education and Education Specialist degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2013 and 2015. This is her tenth year of teaching high school English courses. For the majority of her career, Kati has taught English III and foundations-level courses (most recently, a sophomore course—Reading Foundations). It was the Foundations students that sparked her interested in reaching the reluctant, unmotivated, and struggling readers. Through high-interest texts and activities linking subjects and themes to the real world, Kati has worked to bridge the gap between students who hate reading and the literature and nonfiction that is required by the curriculum.
Jaimie O’Connor is a resident of Saint Louis, Missouri and teaches English at Fort Zumwalt West High School in O’Fallon. She is currently teaching Pre-AP English 2, ACT Prep, and AP Language and Composition. She has been teaching for four years and has participated in a variety of professional development instruction and curriculum writing. She is excited to be presenting at Write to Learn for the third year in a row!
Melinda Odom is a 5th-grade teacher for Hollister Elementary. In this role, she teaches all areas of curriculum. Prior to teaching 5th grade, she taught Kindergarten. Melinda believes in helping students change their mindsets and develop their potential. She holds an Early Childhood and Elementary Education degree from Southwest Baptist University and is currently earning her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. She has been married for twenty-two years and has three teenage children. She and her husband are also licensed foster parents.
Anna Osborn has over sixteen years of teaching experience in language arts. She taught both honors and AP English before becoming a reading interventionist with Columbia Public Schools in 2006. She has spent the past eleven years teaching the love of reading and reading strategies to students who are identified as reading one or more years below level. Anna firmly believes in the power of good story to change lives. Currently, Anna is serving a two-year term as a member of the second cohort of Heinemann Fellows.
Tricia Owens has had the privilege of teaching English Language Arts for the last thirteen years. Though most of those years were spent on the high school level, she has spent the last two years on the middle school level. Tricia has a Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching from Missouri Baptist University, and she achieved National Board Certification in 2014. Her goal as an educator is to empower students to be the thinkers, readers, writers, and communicators that will shape the world around them.
Christopher Pearson started teaching in 2008 as a reading para-professional in the Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District, then moved to Ritenour School District in 2011. Originally starting with only teaching 11th grade English Language Arts, he is in his second year of teaching both ELA 11 and 9th grade ELA. When he is not teaching, Christopher is either at his church where he serves as Associate Pastor or spending time with his wife, Katie, and their three kids.
Landi Quinlin is a working wife and mother of four children. She lives in Oregon, Missouri, about twenty-five miles from Bode Middle School in St. Joseph, Missouri, where she has worked as an ELA teacher for the past three years. This is her 17th year of teaching. Landi is a certified teacher in four curricular areas, and she has been teaching English language arts for the past eleven years. Her previous experience includes South Holt High School in a small rural district and Raytown South High School in Raytown, Missouri. She obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Central Missouri in 2004, and she will finish her Specialist degree in K-12 administration at Northwest Missouri State University in May.
Tamara Rhomberg has been in education for more than thirty-one years, working as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, district administrator, Title I Director, and adjunct professor. In 2012 she received the Missouri State IRA Council Literacy Award. She is an active member of local, state, and national literacy organizations and has presented locally and nationally on a variety of literacy topics.
Lisa Scroggs joined the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as English Language Arts Assistant Director in June 2016 after thirty-one years in the classroom. Prior to joining DESE, Lisa taught middle school reading for three years and high school English and journalism for twenty-one years, including class-within-a-class English II and dual credit composition in conjunction with Lincoln University. Her seven years as a library media specialist provided experience in the integration of ELA and technology with content areas ranging from the arts to business to science and beyond.
Julie Sheerman, currently in her eighteenth year teaching senior English at Marceline High School, studies English Education through the University of Missouri’s doctoral program. In addition to her role as classroom teacher and student, she coordinates the professional development efforts of the Missouri Writing Projects Network (the cohort of five National Writing Project sites in Missouri). The role of MWPN Professional Development Coordinator allows Julie to work with teachers around the state on a variety of PD initiatives. She is especially interested in community literacy and school/community educational partnerships.
Blake Thorne’s 8th grade students sometimes use adjectives like “wacky,” “weird,” and “different” to describe him and his teaching style. He takes these descriptions as high praise. He believes they are evidence his students are being exposed to new ideas and are encouraged to think deeply and creatively. These are goals Blake has striven for throughout his five years as an English Language Arts teacher in Savannah, Missouri. Prior to being hired by Savannah, Blake attended Missouri Western State where he served as president of several honor societies and worked as a writing tutor. He graduated summa cum laude in 2012 and is a Missouri Writing Project Teacher Consultant. In addition to teaching ELA, Blake is a sponsor for his school’s weekly video broadcast and is the high school cross country coach.
Sarah Valter is currently a Mentor Teacher for the MU Fellows Program at Sappington Elementary in the Lindbergh School District in St. Louis. She has been teaching for thirteen years and has worked with all grade levels K-5. Sarah has both a Master’s Degree from Maryville University and National Board Certification in Literacy, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. She is currently working toward a Doctorate in Teacher Leadership. When she is not in the classroom, Sarah loves spending time with her own children and reading. Sarah presents regularly at local and state conferences and is passionate about authentic reading and writing instruction.
Betty Porter Walls, currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) in St. Louis, MO, is a career educator—classroom teacher, school administrator, university professor. Her university teaching specializations are in the areas of literacy/reading, leadership development, diversity, curriculum and instruction, and early childhood education. Betty is a noted literacy consultant and professional development presenter who is the recipient of several awards, including the “High Flyer Award” from the University of Missouri-Columbia, “Celebrate Literacy Award” from the Missouri State Council of the International Reading Association, “People Making A World of Difference” from the B’nai B’rith, “Salute to Excellence in Education Award” from the St. Louis American Newspaper, and “MoSTAR (Star Educator)” from Missourians for Students At Risk. Betty is also Treasurer of the Missouri State Council of the International Literacy Association (MSC-ILA) and Past President of the St. Louis Suburban Council of the International Reading Association.
Christine Warren teaches literature and English education courses at Southeast Missouri State University, where she also received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Her favorite part of her teaching assignment is mentoring eager English education teacher candidates. She also serves as the university liaison to the Southeast Missouri English Teachers Association, a group that she is proud to be part of. Christine is retired from Jackson Senior High School, where she taught for twenty-nine years and served as Department Chair. She spends her free time visiting her adult daughters, spending time at her tiny house with her husband in Tennessee, cuddling with her two spoiled Boston Terriers, and reading mostly good books.
Kelli Westmoreland, Educational Resources Manager at Booksource, has twenty-four years’ experience teaching preschool, elementary school, middle school ELA, and college level writing courses. She has used classroom libraries to support her teaching throughout her entire career and now has the opportunity, via her position at Booksource, to meet teachers across the country to share ideas on balanced literacy and her passion for integrating technology and media literacy. Kelli has developed Booksource’s Teacher Resources and has presented at many state and national conferences. Currently, she a doctoral candidate working towards an Ed.D in Transformative Learning at Webster University.
Anna Whitehead is currently in her fifth year of teaching English Language Arts at Affton High School in St. Louis, Missouri. Anna is a graduate of Truman State University, where she earned both a BA in English and an MAE in Secondary Education for English. In December 2016, she graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Masters degree in Library and Information Science. Anna has taught every level of high school students, but her favorite classes to teach are English I and Honors English I. When she isn’t teaching, Anna spends her time experimenting with new recipes; reading voraciously; taking her dog, Murphy, on long walks at the park; and, an avid traveler, planning her next great adventure.
Whitney Zanter is in her seventh year of teaching English Language Arts at Lathrop High School. She enjoys challenging students to think about themselves and the world they live in through literature and writing. To better help in that endeavor, she has taken students on a literary tour through England so they can gain a better understanding about how literature, writing, and travel can make an impact. Some of her favorite units to teach have been Serial, Of Mice and Men, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and poetry. In addition to teaching, she is also one of the Student Council Advisors at LHS. To put it simply, Whitney is addicted to good books, good movies, and good coffee.