SLJ Summit 2018

Own It!
Making "Good Trouble"

Keynote Speakers Announced

We're pleased to announce our keynote speakers for this year's summit:

Jake Barton

Jake Barton
George Takei

George Takei


Thanks to our sponsors, the SLJ Summit is free for attendees! Join us!



School Library Journal Leadership Summit 2018

October 27–28, 2018

(pre-conference events October 26)

New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
333 Adams Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201




Platinum Sponsor


Gold Sponsor



ABDO Gale JLG Lerner
Mackin Perma-Bound Rosen TLC



Friday, October 26

9:30 AM–1:30 PM | Optional Tours


Tour Option A: Brooklyn Friends School

Meetup Location:
New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
333 Adams Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Located one block from our host hotel, the Brooklyn Marriott, Brooklyn Friends School is an independent Quaker school in Downtown Brooklyn, in operation since 1867. Brooklyn Friends' three libraries serving the preschool/lower, middle, and upper school populations are the focal points for community building and student and faculty learning and engagement. We will hear from the school's four librarians as we tour the recently renovated libraries and makerspaces, and other areas of the building. Toward the Summit theme, our hosts will address using school libraries to make "good trouble."


Tour Option B: Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Campus


Meetup Location:
Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Center
122 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10023

Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Campus is a consortium of six public high schools located on Manhattan's Upper West Side, just behind Lincoln Center and Julliard. Each residing on their own floor of the building and sharing common spaces, the six schools are completely autonomous, with their own teaching staff and administrators. The new library is one of the spaces shared by all six schools. The Campus's librarian will speak to the unique challenges of working on a campus, including managing collection development for schools with completely different populations and focuses, scheduling and collaborating with teachers across the campus, and communicating with different administrative and teaching staffs. Topics will also include the library's special collection on social justice and the new campus initiative for unity.


Pre-Conference Events



3:00–5:00 PM | Sponsor-Led Focus Groups



6:00–7:00 PM | Capstone Welcome Reception



7:00–9:00 PM | Follett Book Fair Launch Party


You're invited to experience the new Follett Book Fairs firsthand! Follett has created an entirely new fair experience that saves you time and money, while bringing fun and excitement back to the book fairs. Find out what Follett Book Fairs can offer your school while enjoying drinks and heavy appetizers with your fellow Summit attendees!


Saturday, October 27



10:00 AM–5:00 PM | The XR for Change Immersive Arcade


Curated by Games for Change, the XR Arcade will include educational and social impact VR & AR experiences, as well as XR development tools for an audience of educators.


8:30–9:30 AM | Registration and Breakfast



9:30–10:00 AM | Welcome


Rebecca T. Miller, Editorial Director, School Library Journal & Library Journal
Patricia Stockland, Publisher, Capstone


10:00–10:45 AM | Opening Keynote: George Takei


George Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. But Takei's story goes where few stories have gone before. From a childhood spent with his family wrongfully imprisoned in Japanese American internment camps during World War II, to becoming one of the country's leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality, Takei remains a powerful voice on issues ranging from politics to pop culture. His graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy, will be published by Top Shelf Productions next summer.


10:45–11:15 AM | Kids Who Own It


Two educators from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, will discuss the book We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting from the School That Inspired the Nation (Crown Books for Young Readers).

Melissa Falkowski, Journalism Teacher, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (FL)
Eric Garner, Broadcast Teacher, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (FL)


11:25–11:55 AM | Breakout Sessions - Round 1


Two rounds of 30-minute breakout sessions will be held starting at 11:15 AM. Advanced registration is requested as space is limited in each session. Some topics will repeat in Round 2, and one session, Young Changemakers, will run for the full hour. Descriptions follow:


Breakout #1: Young Changemakers in the 21st-Century Library
(Runs continuously through both rounds from 11:15 AM–12:15 PM)


Libraries have been anchors for media and information literacy, cultural engagement, and civic education. How can they leverage this potential to help young people become successful civic agents in a digital age? This session will introduce the civic reflection-action framework "10 Questions for Young Changemakers." Distilled from major findings of the comprehensive studies conducted by the MacArthur Foundation's Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (2009–2017), this framework provides a navigation tool for young changemakers thinking about successful engagement in participatory politics. A discussion of how participants might fold the framework into their own library programs will follow.

Chaebong Nam, Democratic Knowledge Project, Harvard University


Breakout #2: Teaching Tolerance-Stand Up! Empowering LGBTQ Youth


How can we create an LGBTQ+-inclusive school climate? Incorporating resources from GLSEN, FHAO, and Teaching Tolerance, schools can support LGBTQ+ youth through the curriculum (LGBTQ+ history), library resources, and GSA clubs. Learn to empower all students by moving beyond anti-bullying campaigns to creating a climate where all students are reflected and feel valued.

Lois Parker-Hennion, Librarian, Tappan Zee High School (NY)


Breakout #3: Don't Take the Bait: Strategies for Building Students' Media Literacy


Session attendees will practice easy-to-replicate strategies that they can implement with students, in collaboration with colleagues, that will help them examine their relationship with digital media, and become savvy and responsible content consumers, creators, and distributors of information. One lucky participant will win a signed copy of the presenters' book: News Literacy: The Keys to Combating Fake News.

Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair, New Canaan High School (CT)
Jacquelyn Whiting, Library Media Specialist, Wilton Public Schools (CT)


Breakout #4: Owning the Power of Primary Sources in Student Learning


Discover how using primary sources in the classroom or library piques curiosity and promotes collaboration and elevated engagement. This session will focus on simple analysis strategies, practical tips, and illustrative examples to successfully incorporate these information resources into your school library program and practice.

Tom Bober, Library Media Specialist, Ralph M. Captain Elementary School (MO); 2018 Library Journal Mover & Shaker


Breakout #5: Expanding Traditional Learning Methods with Immersive Realities


Join Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change, and industry experts to explore Extended Realities (XR). Learn about various VR, AR, MR (Mixed Reality) applications, including games, and consider the learning potential of these technologies as well as current trends and future directions. Make sure to try out some of the XR experiences available throughout the day in the XR Arcade, adjacent to registration.

Susanna Pollack, President, Games for Change
Jennifer Javornik, VP Sales, Filament Games (WI)
Kurt Allen, VP Sales, 3DBear AR (NY)


Breakout #6: Curriculum, Collections, and Collaborating


The MyLibraryNYC program is a successful collaboration between school librarians and New York City's public librarians. Come learn about some of the characteristics of this model—from unit planning to class visits to programming—that can help inform your current or future collaboration efforts.

Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Manager of School Outreach, New York Public Library
Leanne Ellis, Library Operations & Instructional Coordinator, Bronx, NY Department of Education
Melissa Jacobs, Director of Library Services, NY Department of Education
Amy Mikel, Coordinator, School Outreach, Brooklyn Public Library

12:00–12:30 PM | Breakout Sessions - Round 2


Breakout #1: Young Changemakers in the 21st-Century Library
(Runs continuously through both rounds from 11:15 AM–12:15 PM)




Breakout #2: Teaching Tolerance Stand Up! Empowering LGBTQ Youth (Repeated from Round 1)



Breakout #3: Owning the Power of Primary Sources in Student Learning (Repeated from Round 1)



Breakout #4: Expanding Traditional Learning Methods with Immersive Realities (Repeated from Round 1)



Breakout #5: Read Woke Challenge Impacts a Nation


From the US to the UK, the "Read Woke" movement has sparked conversations about minority representation in YA literature. Discover how incorporating diverse stories and incentive-based learning during an era of DACA repeal, a Muslim ban, and the Black Lives Matter movement empowered students and created a culture of reading at one school. Cicely Lewis, "The Read Woke Librarian," will share tools to obtain community support and equip participants to lead change in their schools.

Cicely Lewis, Library Media Specialist, Meadowcreek High School (GA)


Breakout #6: Raising the Bar: Early Literacy Programs in NYC


New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library, a.k.a. Tri-Li, will share some of their popular early literacy partnerships with schools and school librarians. Tri-Li often works together; however, each system has their own unique approach to early literacy and schools. Additionally, session attendees will hear from a Brooklyn school librarian about the successful "Diapers to Dorms" early literacy program.

Chelsea Condren, Early Literacy Coordinator, Early Childhood Education, New York Public Library
Adam Marcus, School Librarian, P.S. 032, Brooklyn (NY)
Gillian Miller, Coordinator, Early Learning Services, Queens Public Library
Rachel Payne, Coordinator, Early Childhood Services, Brooklyn Public Library


12:30–1:30 PM | Lunch



1:30–2:30 PM | Certifiably Sustainable: School Librarians Lead Out Loud


School librarians have an amazing opportunity to make "good trouble" by focusing on the triple bottom line of sustainability through professional practice, curriculum design, and community outreach. Inspiring students to think big about the future and think critically about issues related to environmental sustainability, economics and social equity is exactly what the world needs now.

Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, NYLA Sustainability Initiative Cochair, Executive Director, Mid-Hudson Library System (NY)
Jen Peet Cannell, Director, School Library System & Arts in Education, Questar III (NY)
Jill Leinung, Retired Elementary School Librarian, Valatie (NY)


2:30–3:00 PM | The Welcome Table: How a Sensory Friendly Folk Opera and a House Party Songbook Have Helped Us Think about Community


Vocalist/music therapist Claudia Eliaza and Grammy-Award winning children's music artist Dan Zanes will discuss their experiences creating a Sensory Friendly folk opera while also writing and compiling the Dan Zanes' House Party! A Family Roots Music Treasury (Young Voyageur). Both projects are part of a larger goal of accessibility, inclusion, and joyful communal music-making for one and all. The husband and wife duo will talk about what they learned in the process and how these experiences can help educators, librarians, caregivers, and artists address many of the needs that arise when we live, work, and grow with each other. And, yes, they'll sing songs...

Claudia Eliaza, Brooklyn (NY)
Dan Zanes, Brooklyn (NY)


3:00–3:20 PM | Break



3:20–4:20 PM | Read "Woke": A Movement Takes Hold


Join the "Read Woke" librarian and our panel of authors as they discuss representation in their work and YA lit.

S.K. Ali, Author, Saints and Misfits (Simon & Schuster)
Ellen Hagan, Coauthor, Watch Us Rise (Bloomsbury)
Cecily Lewis, Library Media Specialist, Meadowcreek High School (GA)
Renée Watson, Coauthor, Watch Us Rise (Bloomsbury)
Ibi Zoboi, Author, Pride (HarperCollins)

Moderated by:
Daryl Grabarek, Senior Editor, School Library Journal


4:30–5:30 PM | Autographing Session with "Read Woke" Panel Authors



6:00–7:00 PM | Cocktail Reception


Just steps from the hotel at Rocco's Tacos, 339 Adams Street, Brooklyn

Featuring Local Authors:
Nina Crews (Lerner)
Duchess Harris (Abdo)
Fran Manushkin (Capstone)
Charles Waters (Lerner)


Sunday, October 28



8:00–8:45 AM | Breakfast



8:45–9:15 AM | Opening Keynote: Adam Gidwitz in Conversation with Elizabeth Bird


Adam Gidwitz will sit down for a catch-up with Betsy Bird, Evanston Public Library's Collection Development Manager and coauthor of Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature, to discuss kids, activism, and his latest book, What Can a Citizen Do?


9:15–10:00 AM | Dishing with the Supers: On Leadership and Partnership


Our panel of four distinguished superintendents, who work across a wide range of settings, will discuss the types of good trouble we might engage in with our leadership. Learn from the important folks who set the district vision and create and maintain our positions, how librarians can work to integrate our National Standards as we partner and lead in identifying gaps and innovating solutions to local problems.

Sean Doherty, Superintendent, Clayton Missouri Public Schools
Toni Pace, Assistant Superintendent, Tacoma Public Schools (WA)
Michael Prayor, Superintendent (High Schools), New York City
Dave Schuler, Superintendent, Arlington Heights (IL)

Moderated by:
Joyce Valenza, Assistant Teaching Professor, Rutgers University


10:00–10:15 AM | From Rural to Global


SLJ's 2018 School Librarian of the Year will discuss cultivating collaboration and innovation in any location.

Ali Schilpp, Library Media Specialist, Northern Middle Library (MD); SLJ's 2018 School Librarian of the Year


10:15–10:30 AM | Break



10:30–11:30 AM | Leadership Secrets from the Lilead Project


Lilead Fellows, Mentors, and Project Team members will share strategies that can enable school librarians to be instructional leaders, successful collaborators, and effective change agents in their schools and districts. This interactive session will focus on why linking school or district priorities to the school library's mission is an essential component of bringing about transformational change.


11:30 AM–12:00 PM | Drag Queen Story Hour (in a Half Hour!)


Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is exactly that—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. Through an enjoyable literary experience, DQSH addresses gender diversity and differences while teaching tolerance, building empathy, and deterring bullying.

Rachel Aimee, Director, Drag Queen Story Hour
Jonathan Hamilt, Drag Queen Story Hour


12:00–12:30 PM | Closing Keynote: Jake Barton on Learning, Literacy and Love: Experiences that Move You


Drawing on his experiences designing the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem and the new Planet Word Museum in Washington DC, Jake Barton, Principal and Founder, Local Projects, will share insights on how to create next generation learning experiences.


12:30 PM | Closing






Platinum Sponsor


Gold Sponsor



ABDO Gale JLG Lerner
Mackin Perma-Bound Rosen TLC

Keynote Speakers

Jake Barton
  Jake Barton is Principal and Founder of Local Projects, an award-winning media and physical design firm that creates groundbreaking experiences. The company's landmark projects include the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Legacy Museum. Barton has been named to Fast Company's list of the top fifty designers.
George Takei
  With an acting career spanning six decades, George Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. But Takei's story goes where few stories have gone before. From a childhood spent with his family wrongfully imprisoned in Japanese-American internment camps during World War II, to becoming one of the country's leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality, Takei remains a powerful voice on issues ranging from politics to pop culture. named Takei the #1 most-influential person on Facebook, with 10.4 million likes and 2.8 million followers on Twitter.

Takei has been a passionate advocate for social justice, outspoken supporter of human right issues and a community activist. He has served as the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign "Coming Out Project," and was Cultural Affairs Chairman of the Japanese-American Citizens League. He is also chairman emeritus and a trustee of the Japanese-American National Museum in Los Angeles. He was appointed to the Japan-US Friendship Commission by former President Clinton and the government of Japan awarded Takei the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his contribution to US-Japanese relations. The decoration was conferred by His Majesty, Emperor Akihito, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. He is currently preparing a graphic memoir about his life in the internment camps, They Called Us Enemy, with cowriters Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker, for publication by Top Shelf Productions in summer 2019.


Rebekkah Smith Aldrich
  Rebekkah Smith Aldrich (MLS, LEED AP) currently serves as the Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Library System, a cooperative public library system serving 66 public libraries which serve over 600,000 residents of the Hudson Valley in New York. Rebekkah is the co-founder and co-chair of the New York Library Association's Sustainability Initiative, co-founder of the American Library Association's (ALA) Sustainability Round Table, and co-chair of ALA's Special Task Force on Sustainability. Author of multiple titles, including Sustainable Thinking: Ensuring Your Library's Future in an Uncertain World and Resilience, part of the ALA Library Futures Series, Rebekkah was named a 2010 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and is a frequent national speaker on the topic of libraries and sustainability.
S.K. Ali
  S.K. Ali is a teacher based in Toronto whose writing on Muslim culture and life has appeared in the Toronto Star. Her family of Muslim scholars is consistently listed in the The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, and her insight into Muslim culture is both personal and far-reaching. A mother of a teenage daughter herself, S.K. Ali's debut YA novel, Saints and Misfits, is a beautiful and nuanced story about a young woman exploring her identity through friendship, family, and faith. It was a Morris Finalist and received the APALA Honor award.
Betsy Bird
  Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library and the former Youth Materials Specialist of New York Public Library. In addition to blogging for School Library Journal at the site A Fuse #8 Production, Betsy reviews for Kirkus. She is the author of the picture book Giant Dance Party (Greenwillow, 2013), a cowriter of Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature (Candlewick, 2015), and editor of the middle grade anthology of hilarious women writers for kids, Funny Girl (Viking, 2016).
Tom Bober
  Tom Bober is a school librarian at RM Captain Elementary, a 2018 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, a former Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress, and author of the upcoming book Elementary Educator's Guide to Primary Sources: Strategies for Teaching. He is a DPLA Community Rep, a member of teacher advisory boards for the National Portrait Gallery and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, and Elementary Curriculum Editor for Tom writes the Picture Books and Primary Sources posts for AASL's Knowledge Quest blog and has written articles about students learning through the use of primary sources for several publications including SLJ. He also presents at conferences, runs workshops, and gives webinars to promote the use primary sources in student learning . His foundation is built on over twenty years in public education as an elementary classroom teacher, educational technologist, and nine years as a school librarian.
Shauntee Burns-Simpson
  Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Manager of School Outreach for The New York Public Library, is an ambassador for libraries and librarianship. Mrs. Simpson enjoys connecting people to the public library and its resources. As a Youth Librarian, she works closely with at-risk teens and fosters a love of reading and learning with her innovative programs. Currently, serving as the Vice President for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and Chair of the Committee on Diversity (ALA), Mrs. Simpson continues to strengthen our communities and encourages librarians to collaborate with community based organizations, to introduce new populations to the library.
Dr. Jen Cannell
  Dr. Jen Cannell serves as the School Library System and Arts Coordinator for Capital Region Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in Albany, NY. Through this position, she works closely with school librarians, teachers, and administrators across 24 school districts. Jen's professional career began in Fairport, NY where she was a middle school librarian where her colleagues awarded her the Crystal Apple for teacher of the year. From there, Jen became the School Library System Director at Monroe 1 BOCES in Rochester, NY before moving across the state. Jen enjoys challenging work and has a passion for learning.
Dr. Sean Doherty
  Dr. Sean Doherty serves as the Superintendent of the School District of Clayton, MO, just west of St. Louis. Dr. Doherty has earned his Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and a Master of Arts in Elementary Administration at Maryville University. His bachelor's degree is elementary education is from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He started his career in the Webster Groves School District as a third grade teacher. He then moved to Parkway School District, where he served as a teacher, an assistant principal and eventually as a principal. In 2010, Doherty moved to the school district of Clayton as the principal of Captain Elementary. He later became the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the district. Doherty was appointed as Superintendent in 2016, after serving as interim Superintendent during the 2015–2016 school year. Doherty has focused on educational equity, empowerment of students and modeling the importance of a growth mindset as the lead learner of the district. He serves as a board member on both the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and the Arts Festivals of St. Louis.
Leanne Ellis
  Leanne Ellis is the Bronx Library Coordinator for the New York City Department of Education Office of Literacy, AIS, and Library Services. She conducts professional development workshops, consults with school librarians, administers grants, and plans two annual citywide conferences. Leanne was recently selected to write a monthly blog on school library and education issues for Knowledge Quest for the 2018–2019 school year.
Ellen Hagan
  Ellen Hagan is a writer, performer, and educator. Her latest collection of poetry, Hemisphere, was published by Northwestern University Press. Watch Us Rise is her first novel. She lives with her husband and daughters in New York City.
  Melissa Jacobs is the Director of Library Services for the New York City Department of Education. Melissa is the founder of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Best Apps for Teaching and Learning Committee and a past President of the School Library Systems Association of New York State. Melissa previously served as the AASL Member-at-Large and is currently a Community Representative and Education Advisory Committee Member for the Digital Public Library of America. Melissa was honored with a 2018 #NYCSchoolsTech Summit Award, named a 2015 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, and is the recipient of the 2015 Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies Alumna of the Year. Melissa has been published in School Library Connection, Teacher Librarian, School Library Journal, School Librarian's Workshop and Knowledge Quest. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her two high-spirited pre-teen daughters, even more high-spirited cats, and loving fiancé. Connect with Melissa on Twitter @missyji.
Jill Leinung
  Jill Leinung is a retired school librarian for East Greenbush Central School District and a past President of the Section of School Librarians (SSL) of the New York Library Association (NYLA). She is presently a Legislative Representive of the SSL on the NYLA Legislative Committee, a Councilor at Large in the New York Library Association Council, a member of the Bench Marking Team for the NYLA Sustainability Initiative, and the President of the Eastern New York School Library Media Association.
Cicely Lewis
  Cicely Lewis began teaching at the age of 5 in her bedroom alongside her little sister, stuffed animals, and dolls. She earned her Master's in English from Mississippi College, a Specialist degree in Education Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi, and has recently added a Media Specialist certification from Georgia Southern University. She has been teaching for 16 years.

In 2015, she transitioned from being a Language Arts teacher to the teacher with the biggest classroom in the school, the library. Under Mrs. Lewis' direction, it has become the central hub of the school and a collaborative space for learning. Cicely believes professionally staffed and funded school libraries are essential to the success of students. She teaches classes, organizes events, and provides professional development for teachers. In 2017, she created a "Read Woke" challenge that has inspired teachers and students across the world and was featured in an article in School Library Journal. In August 2018, she was named an Atlanta Journal Constitution Top Ten Educator.

Mrs. Lewis has also traveled abroad and completed mission work with her church in Honduras. She is a fluent speaker of Spanish and believes that learning other languages and learning about other cultures is essential to learning about one's own culture and language. In 2008, she worked alongside novelist Toni Morrison in Paris with a program entitled "Language Matters". In addition, she is a voracious reader and is currently working on a young adult novel. She is happily married to her college sweetheart, Michael, and is the mother of a very talented 10 year old, Tristan, and a little princess, Trinity, 5.
Michelle Luhtala
  Michelle Luhtala is the library department chair at New Canaan High School in Connecticut, and she has facilitated over 90 edWebinars at since 2010. Michelle has been recognized as an AASL Curriculum Champion, a Library Journal Mover & Shaker, and a New York Times "I Love My Librarian" recipient. She is co-author of News Literacy: They Keys to Combating Fake News (2018), and a contributing author to two other books. Michelle teaches in the Master of Library and Information Science online program at Southern Connecticut State University. She blogs at
Adam Marcus
  Adam Marcus became a teacher in 2001 after years as a miserable insurance salesperson and working for a hedge fund. As a New York City Teaching Fellow, he has taught for 17 years (grades PK, K, third, fourth, fifth, and the last nine years in the library). He has raised over $500K to renovate and expand his school's library. He is a 2016 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. When he grows up he wants to be a writer. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Maya and dog, Danny.
Amy Mikel
  Amy Mikel is the Coordinator for School Outreach at Brooklyn Public Library. Amy works closely with school communities in Brooklyn and throughout NYC, teaching students, teachers, parents and school administrators about the benefits of the library. Amy was named a 2018 Library Journal Mover & Shaker as well as an Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator for her work connecting educators to library resources.
Gillian Miller
  Gillian Miller is the Coordinator of Early Learning Services at the Queens Library. She has been with Queens Library for over 14 years holding a variety of positions. In her current roll she provides system-wide leadership for the delivery of innovative and impactful educational programs and services for learners between the ages of 0 and 5, and their families. Gillian was part of the team that worked to develop the formal Universal Pre-K program at Queens Library and she is currently the Executive Director of both sites. She is an avid reader of fairytale retellings and can most often be found in her back garden with a thick tomb reading, out-loud, to her 3-year-old daughter.
Chaebong Nam
  Chaebong Nam is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Department of Government. Before the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network, she worked for an e-Government project on public participation at Cornell Law School, known as the Cornell eRulemaking Initiative (CeRI). Originally from South Korea, she taught social studies in a Seoul middle school for about four years. Her research interests revolve around youth civic engagement, digital media and learning, youth participatory research, online public discussion, and community informatics. Chaebong received a BA and MA in Education from Seoul National University in Korea and a PhD in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Lois Parker-Hennion
  Lois Parker-Hennion is a library media specialist at Tappan Zee High School in Orangeburg, New York. She is adviser of her school's GSA (Gender and Sexualities Alliance) Club, the Japanese Culture Club, and co-adviser of the Social Justice Club. She has served on the Educational Advisory Board for Teaching Tolerance since 2015.
Rachel Payne
  Rachel G. Payne is coordinator of early childhood services at Brooklyn Public Library, where she leads BPL's award-winning First Five Years initiative. She is a contributor to Reading with Babies, Toddlers, and Twos (Sourcebooks, 2013) and Library Services Birth to Five (Facet, 2015). She has written for School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Library Trends. She chaired the 2016 Caldecott Committee and she has presented on early literacy at conferences nationwide.
Susanna Pollack
  Susanna Pollack is the President of Games for Change (G4C), the leading global advocate for the power of games as drivers of social impact. In her role there, she produces the annual Games for Change Festival, the largest gaming event in New York, dubbed by national media as "the Sundance of video games." In 2017, Susanna launched XR for Change Summit as a part of the Festival to explore how VR/AR/MR technologies are offering radical new ways to create social impact. Susanna works closely with organizations that are actively pursuing digital games to further their public or CSR mission. On behalf of clients including American Express Foundation, United Nations, Women's Sports Foundation, Autodesk, Carnegie Foundation, Ad Council, Smithsonian Museum, and McKinsey Social, she has initiated dozens of programs to advance the games for good sector.

Susanna's passion and commitment to Learning and Education led her to develop the G4C Student Challenge with the NYC Department of Education in 2015. The NYC pilot attracted world class partners including the New York Times, NYC Mayors Office, ACLU, X Prize, and Unity Technologies to bring a games design challenge to middle and high school students across the city. Under Susanna's leadership, the program expanded nationally and currently runs in NYC, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Atlanta. Also in her role at G4C, Susanna launched the Games for Learning Summit with collaboration from the US Department of Education and the Entertainment Software Association. Now an annual event, the gathering attracts educators, policy makers, game studios and publishers to explore how games can be more effectively used in the classroom. Prior to joining Games for Change, Susanna worked across both the commercial and public sector.

Over a 12-year period, Susanna held various senior level positions at BBC Worldwide Americas, most recently as SVP of the TV distribution division for the US where she led a team of 20 to raise $50m annually from co-production and sales of BBC's award winning documentaries and scripted content.
Kristen Rocha Aldrich
  Kristen Rocha Aldrich is the Manager of Early Childhood Education at the New York Public Library where she oversees early literacy program development and implementation, staff training and city partnerships. She has over seven years of experience designing and implementing educational programs in museums and libraries, and she holds a Master's degree in Cultural Anthropology with a concentration in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently serving as a member of ALSC's Early Childhood Programs and Services committee.
Dr. David Schuler
  Dr. David R. Schuler is the 2018 Superintendent of the Year for the state of Illinois and has been named a finalist for the National Superintendent of the Year by AASA, The School Superintendents Association. Dr. Schuler, a national education leader and superintendent of the second-largest high school district in Illinois, is passionate about preparing students to be college, career, and life ready.

Dr. Schuler launched Redefining Ready!, a national campaign that introduces multiple research-based metrics to demonstrate post-secondary readiness, during his time as 2015–16 president of AASA, The School Superintendents Association.
Ali Schlipp
  Four years ago, as the first and only Library Media Specialist to work at Northern Middle School, Ali Schilpp tapped into her more than 12 years of library experience to create an engaging, technology-driven space. After securing numerous grants for the school library, her students now have access to a makerspace with LEGO®, robots, a green screen studio, and a reading nook for therapy dogs. Ali expanded learning beyond her rural community by developing a digital citizenship library program that fosters global connections, and she continuously seeks new opportunities to challenge her students—from writer's workshops, and STEM events, to collaborations with notable authors. She is also School Library Journal's 2018 School Librarian of the Year.
Joyce Valenza
  After completing 25 years of joyful practice as a teacher librarian, Joyce Valenza joined the faculty of Rutgers University, where she prepares future librarians to lead cultures of literacy and engage communities.

Valenza writes the NeverendingSearch blog for School Library Journal and contributes to several other library and edtech publications and proudly participates in a variety of online communities of practice. She speaks globally about the thoughtful use of technology in learning and the power of librarians to lead. She is active in AASL, ALA, ALISE and ISTE.

Valenza is also a Milken Educator, a Google Certified Educator, and American Memory Fellow. She was selected as a Technology and Learning 100@30, awarded an Edublogs Lifetime Achievement Award, and was AASL's 2018 Social Media Leadership Luminary. Valenza holds a doctoral degree from the University of North Texas.
Renée Watson
  Renée Watson is the New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor, and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of Piecing Me Together, This Side of Home, What Momma Left Me, and Betty Before X, co-written with Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as two acclaimed picture books: A Place Where Hurricanes Happen and Harlem's Little Blackbird, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. She is the founder of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts, and currently lives in New York City.
Jacquelyn Whiting
  After 23 years as a high school social studies teacher, Jacquelyn Whiting is now a high school library media specialist. She is a member of the SWE17 Google Certified Innovator cohort with project work focused on fostering media literacy. She is a local activator for Future Design School providing professional development in design thinking, entrepreneurship, and other future ready skills. She is the co-author of News Literacy: the Keys to Combating Fake News (2018) and a contributing blogger at EdTechTeam, EducateLLC and her own blog,







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