Speakers

Mary Ann CappielloMary Ann Cappiello, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor of Language and Literacy at Lesley University, where she teaches courses in content literacy and children’s literature. Mary Ann is the current chair of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, the coauthor of Teaching with Text Sets (Shell, 2012) and Teaching to Complexity: A Framework for Text Evaluation (Shell, 2014), and blogs at SLJ‘s “The Classroom Bookshelf.”
 
 
Sue CusackSue Cusack is an Assistant Professor in the STEM Division in the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University. Her expertise is in designing maker learning experiences, and the inclusive use of instructional and assistive technologies in support of student-centered learning. Sue is also the Director of the Lesley STEAM Learning Lab & Makerspace providing a new way for Lesley students and community partners to engage in inquiry-based exploration and collaborative problem-solving in the physical and digital worlds.
 
 
Mahnaz DarMahnaz Dar is assistant managing editor at School Library Journal, where she handles graphic novels, reference materials, and professional reading titles, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
Elissa GershowitzElissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College and a BA from Oberlin College. She is currently serving on the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.
 
 
 
 
Laura KoenigLaura Koenig is the Team Leader for Children’s Services at the Central Library of the Boston Public Library, where she was an integral part of the redesign of their nationally-recognized children’s and teen spaces. She is an active presenter and committee member for ALSC and other library organizations, and is currently serving on the 2018 Wilder Award Committee. Laura received her MLS from Simmons College.
 
 
 
Patrick LarkinPatrick Larkin is in his fifth year as the Assistant Superintendent for Learning for Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts. Prior to this, Patrick served 15 years as a building level administrator at the high school level. In 2012, he was selected as one of three national Digital Principal Award winner by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). @patrickmlarkin
 
 
 
Amanda LawrenceAmanda Lawrence is a first year teacher librarian at Dartmouth High School in South Dartmouth, MA. She tweets @LibrarianMsL and can be found on Instagram and Snapchat @dhs_lmc. Amanda received her MLS with Massachusetts teacher certification from Simmons College.
 
 
 
 
Sujei LugoSujei Lugo, a former elementary school librarian in Puerto Rico, is a children’s librarian at the Boston Public Library, Connolly Branch. She holds an MLIS from the University of Puerto Rico and is currently a doctoral candidate in LIS at Simmons College, focusing on anti-racism and children’s librarianship. She is an active member of REFORMA, ALA and ALSC. Sujei is currently serving on the 2018 Newbery Award Committee and as co-chair of the 2018 ALSC Charlemae Rollins President’s Program. She blogs at Latinxs in Kid Lit. Twitter: @sujeilugo.
 
Michelle LuhtalaMichelle Luhtala is the department chair at New Canaan High School Library in Connecticut. She was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2015, and won the New York Times I Love My School Librarian award in 2012. Since 2010, Michelle has facilitated edWeb.net‘s flagship professional learning community, now over 11,000 members strong, where she facilitates monthly webinars. In 2017, Michelle will teach pre-service courses at Rutgers University and Southern Connecticut State University. She is a contributing author to Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers, and she blogs at Bibliotech.me.
 
Cathie MercierCathie Mercier was appointed to Simmons in 1985 and has been teaching in the graduate degree program in children’s literature ever since. She teaches criticism, contemporary young adult realism, the child in fiction, the picture book and a survey course. Her thesis, independent study, and internship advising embrace a wide range of topics, from a cultural analysis of Printz titles to an annotated bibliography of historical fiction for curricular use. At Simmons, Cathie has served in a variety of administrative roles. Currently, she directs the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, the graduate degree programs in the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature, the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children (on-campus and at The Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA), and dual degree programs that combine the MA with degrees in library science, or teaching, or writing for children.
 
Rebecca T. MillerRebecca T. Miller is the Editorial Director of Library Journal and School Library Journal. Born a twin and raised in a large family in the rural West, her background in libraries dates to 1998 when she joined the book review staff of Library Journal. In 2013, Miller was named Editorial Director of LJ and SLJ. She directs the editorial strategy for both brands and is deeply involved in the original research SLJ and LJ conduct regarding how digital trends affect readers, libraries, and publishers. Miller initiated the annual LJ Index of Public Library Service (America’s Star Libraries), and envisioned and launched the New Landmark Libraries project. Miller is the coeditor with Barbara A. Genco of Better Library Design: Ideas from Library Journal (2016) and Scales on Censorship: Real Life Lessons from School Library Journal (2015), both published by Rowman & Littlefield. Miller served for six years on the board of the National Book Critics Circle, two as President. Currently, she is a New York Library Association Sustainability Initiative cocreator. She has a BA from DePauw University, IN, and an MSLIS from New York’s Pratt Institute.
 
Martha V. ParravanoMartha V. Parravano is book review editor of the Horn Book, Inc. She holds a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College and has worked at the Horn Book in various capacities since 1989. She is currently serving on the 2017–2019 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury, with previous service on Newbery, Wilder, and Boston Globe–Horn Book Award committees. She is co-author, with Roger Sutton, of A Family of Readers: The Booklover’s Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature (Candlewick).
 
 
Nathalie RuskNatalie Rusk is a Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab who develops programs that build on young people’s interests. She is one of the creators of the Scratch programming language and a founder of the international Computer Clubhouse initiative. She is author of the Scratch Coding Cards and edited the book Start Making: A Guide to Engaging Young People in Maker Activities. She earned a PhD in child development from Tufts University. @nrusk1
 
 
Liz Phipps SoeiroLiz Phipps Soeiro is a K-5 school librarian Cambridge, MA and the founder of the Cambridge Book Bike. She is the Legislative Committee co-chair for the Massachusetts School Library Association, sits on two state legislative commissions and serves on the advisory committee for Libraries Without Borders (Bibliothécaires Sans Frontières). She was named a 2017 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and is a finalist for the American Association of School Librarians’ “Social Media Superstar: Social Justice Defender”. @ReflectLibrary.
 
Amy ShortAmy Short is Director for Library Media Services for Cambridge (MA) Public Schools. Previous experience includes Director of Library Media Services for Boston Public Schools, librarian positions in schools in New York and Massachusetts as well as Boston Public Library, and Adjunct Library Media Instructor at Cambridge College. Amy serves on the Board of the Massachusetts School Library Association and received the 2015 MSLA Service Award for her contributions to MSLA. Twitter: @amyshort2
 
 
Roger SuttonRoger Sutton has been Editor in Chief of the Horn Book, Inc. since 1996. He has an MA in Library Science from the University of Chicago and worked for ten years as a youth services librarian. With Martha V. Parravano, he is the author of A Family of Readers: The Booklover’s Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature (Candlewick).
 
 
 
Erika Thulin DawesErika Thulin Dawes is Professor of Language and Literacy at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, where she strives to equip teachers with a passion for children’s literature and a wealth of creative strategies for using books in the classroom. Having worked as a classroom teacher, a reading specialist, and a literacy supervisor, she knows that great librarians and great teachers inspire lifelong readers.
 
 
 
Luann TothLuann Toth is managing editor of SLJ reviews and has been reading and writing reviews for more than 30 years. She assigns all of the picture books and loves nothing more than getting lost in a big, fat epic YA novel. She has served on numerous award juries including the Newbery and Caldecott committees and the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books panel. She aspires to one day serving on a Printz committee.
 
 
Joyce ValenzaAfter completely 25 years of joyful practice as a teacher librarian in K12 education, Joyce Valenza joined the faculty of Rutgers University where she is an Assistant Professor in the Master of Information program and prepares future school librarians to lead cultures of literacy. She writes the NeverendingSearch Blog for School Library Journal and contributes to several other library and edtech publications. Joyce is active in AASL, ALA, and ISTE and considers herself one of the godmothers of the #tlchat network. Joyce has worked in special, public, and school libraries.
 
Rita Williams-GarciaRita William-Garcia is the award-winning author of One Crazy Summer and the forthcoming Clayton Byrd Goes Underground.
 
 
 
 


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