SLJ Leadership Summit 2019

The 15th annual SLJ Leadership Summit will be held September 21-22 in Baltimore, MD. This highly anticipated two-day conference will revolve around the theme Equity and Access for All: Igniting Stakeholders for Success.

The event promises active learning, and plenty of time for reflection, collaboration, and networking with colleagues. Tours of local schools, vendor focus groups, and a literary walking tour are being planned as preconference activities on September 20.

Thanks to the support and commitment of SLJ Leadership Summit sponsors, we are able to offer a limited number of qualified library leaders complimentary attendance to this year’s event.

A foundational element of the Summit’s long-standing success has been its wide-ranging national audience. We’ve had an amazing response to-date from Maryland, DC, and Virginia and are now offering a limited number of complimentary registrations to leaders from other states.

We invite you to apply for one of these complimentary registrations, and will respond to your request within one week.

Participants can expect a vibrant and vital conversation among more than 250 library and education leaders from around the country who will explore key social and education topics around how school libraries can foster a more equitable world.

Speakers include Dayvon Love of Baltimore United for Change; Michael Daria, Superintendent of Tuscaloosa (AL) City Schools, the Harry Potter Alliance, and many more.

Attendance is open to those taking leadership in creating strong and effective school libraries.

Group rate expires: Thursday, August 29, 2019

If you need further assistance, please email


Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards
110 South Eutaw Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
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Friday, September 20 - Preconference Events

8:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Optional School Tours
Visit schools in both Baltimore County and City – Bus transportation will be provided

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


7:00 PM | Optional dinner with local librarians at nearby eateries

Saturday, September 21

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM | Breakfast with the Sponsors

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM | REGISTRATION

10:00 AM | WELCOME
Rebecca T. Miller, Editorial Director, School Library Journal & Library Journal
Patricia Stockland, Publisher, Capstone

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM | OPENING KEYNOTE
Alaa Murabit
is a Canadian physician, Meritorious Service Cross recipient, and one of 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals Advocates appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations,. She is also a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment and Economic Growth.

10:45 AM – 11:15 AM | Harry Potter Alliance
The Alliance is changing the world by making activism accessible through the power of story. Since 2005, they have engaged millions of fans through their work for equality, human rights and literacy.

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Breakouts

• Topic One | Library of Congress Literacy Awardees
Hear  from Reading is Fundamental, America Score, Eastside Community School, Reach Inc and Learning Ally

• Topic Two | Harry Potter Alliance
Learn more about how you can implement a project in your community.

• Topic Three | Techshare “60 Minutes, 60 Tools”

• Topic Four | Encouraging Community Engagement
Little Free Library, Reading is Fundamental and Shout Mouse Press will discuss how to enhance community involvement

• Topic Five | Community Forum on Fighting Cuts Proactively

• Topic Six – Providing Equity for Our Students
School librarians April Wathen and Ali Schilpp will give examples on how they strive to achieve equity for their students.

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM | LUNCH  

1:30 PM – 2:15 PM | Dr. Susan Neuman  of NYU

2:15 PM – 2:45 PM | Tech and Computational Thinking
Nicky Rigg, Program Manager, Google
Marijke Visser, Associate Director & Senior Public Advocate, American Library Association

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM | BREAK

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM | Author Panel
Moderated by Daryl Grabarek, Editor, Curriculum Connections and Touch and Go
School Library Journal

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | AUTOGRAPHING

6:00 – 7:00 pm | COCKTAIL RECEPTION – Featuring Local Authors

Sunday, September 22


Dayvon Love is a Baltimore-based political organizer and Director of Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LSD), a grassroots think tank that advances the public policy interests of Black people.  He is featured in the HBO documentary “Baltimore Rising”. The film documents both his youth education work around public policy as well as his legislative work around police reform.

9:15 AM – 10:00 AM | Government Panel
State Senator Janet Howell, Virginia

10:00 AM – 10:45 AM | Technology Dialogue

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM | Break

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Administrator Panel
Dr. Michael Daria of the Tuscaloosa City Schools

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Closing Keynote
Scott Pelley has been a reporter and photographer for more than 45 years. He is best known for his work on 60 Minutes and as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News. Pelley’s work has been recognized with 3 DuPont-Columbia Awards, 3 Peabody Awards, the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, and 37 Emmy Awards. Pelley is the most awarded correspondent in the history of 60 Minutes.

Nefertiti Austin

Katie Bowers, CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR As the Campaigns Director for the Harry Potter Alliance, Katie Bowers has organized thousands of fans across the globe to make a difference on gender equity, LGBTQ+ rights, literacy, access to education, and more. An avid reader with a desire to do good, Katie has been integrating her love of pop culture and social justice through youth organizing initiatives and experiential education since 2005. Katie holds a B.S. in Developmental Sociology from Cornell University and an M.S.W. from Hunter College.

Kathryn Belden

Kathy Crutcher has been mentoring young writers since 2003 and is passionate about empowering others to tell their stories. She loves words and loves to teach. She has been pursuing this love all over the place -- from elementary schools in rural Japan to college classrooms in the American South to inner-city high schools in Washington, DC -- and with many different communities: adult literacy learners, refugees, gifted writers, reluctant writers, kids, teens, college students, those who've written many stories, and those who are writing their very first.

Kathryn Belden

Dr. Michael J. Daria serves as the Superintendent for the Tuscaloosa City Schools. He started his education career with the Greene County Schools before coming to the Tuscaloosa City Schools in 1996. Daria has served as an English teacher, assistant principal, principal, executive director of personnel and assistant superintendent prior to his current role. He received his Ed.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Alabama. He and his wife Susy have two children, Nicholas and Tyler, who attend the Tuscaloosa City Schools.

Jaime Donally

Jaime Donally
Author | Speaker | Consultant

Kathryn Belden

Bethany Henderson is an award-winning social entrepreneur and cross-sector leader. Currently she is helping DC's most vulnerable children find success at school, on the playing field, and in life. She also teaches aspiring social changemakers how to convert their dreams into action. Bethany's career has criss-crossed the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She served as a White House Fellow ( in the Obama Administration; founded the local government service corps City Hall Fellows (; co-created the boutique clothing line Grow With Me Tee; was a trial attorney at international litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel; and helped build out a Center for Social Entrepreneurship at George Mason University. Bethany began her career serving in NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani's administration, helping to drive the city government's adoption of (the then-brand-new) Internet technology.

Kathryn Belden

Alicia Levi currently serves as President and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. Throughout her career, Alicia has worked to transform the lives of children through smart strategies to improve academic outcomes.
Prior to joining RIF in 2016, Alicia served as Vice President, Education for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and oversaw all of PBS’ educational efforts in developing digital education services for PBS, local public television stations, students and teachers nationwide. She was responsible for PBS’ strategic partnerships, digital media production, professional development, and other emerging products and services that support the PreK-16 education market.

Kathryn Belden

Dayvon Love is a Baltimore-based political organizer and the Director of Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), a grassroots think-tank that advances the public policy interests of Black people. He is featured in the new HBO documentary, "Baltimore Rising." The film documents both his youth education work around public policy as well as his legislative work around police reform.
Love has been sharpening his oratory style and political thinking for more than a decade. While at Forest Park High School, he discovered the world of policy debate. Love was so skilled at debate, it earned him a scholarship to college. He then gained national attention when he and fellow debater, Deven Cooper, won the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Championship - the first time in history that an all Black debate team won the tournament. 

Akilah Hughes

Alaa Murabit is a medical doctor, Canadian Meritorious Service Cross recipient, one of 17 Global Sustainable Development Goal Advocates appointed by the UN Secretary General, and a UN HighLevel Commissioner on Health Employment & Economic Growth. In 2016 she founded a global Mentorship Programme for emerging leaders and co-founded The Omnis Institute, an independent nonprofit committed to challenging critical global issues through the empowerment of emerging local leaders, and became the Executive Director of Phase Minus 1, which provides thought leadership in conflict resolution and inclusive security. Alaa previously founded The Voice of Libyan Women at the age of 21. An MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow, Ashoka Fellow and International Deliver For Good Influencer, Alaa serves as a board member for The Malala Fund, Women’s March Global, International Alert, and Malaria No More. Her efficacy in security, health policy & sustainable development was most recently recognized as one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential Women. She also received the 2018 Nelson Mandela International Award from The Mandela Family. In 2017 she was named a Forbes 30 Under 30, Aspen Institute Spotlight Scholar, and Bay St. Bull Canada's 30x30. 

Akilah Hughes

Susan B. Neuman is a Professor of Teaching and Learning at New York University specializing in teacher education and early literacy development. Previously, she has been a Professor at the University of Michigan and has served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.  In her role as Assistant Secretary, she established the Early Reading First program, the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program and was responsible for all activities in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act. She has served on the IRA Board of Directors (2001-2003), and other numerous boards of non-profit organizations.  She is a past Editor of Reading Research Quarterly, the most prestigious journal in reading research. Her research and teaching interests include early childhood policy, curriculum, and early reading instruction, prek-grade 3 for children who live in poverty. Neuman has received two life-time achievement awards for research in literacy development and is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. She has written over 100 articles, and authored and edited 11 books. 

Akilah Hughes

As the Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Schools of the nation’s tenth largest district, Keith Oswald takes great pride in ensuring excellence and equity in education for all children. Mr. Oswald is a veteran educator who began his career in Palm Beach County as a teacher at Barton Elementary School. His passion to make a difference in the lives of students brought him from the classroom, to numerous administrative posts including Chief Academic Officer, before being appointed Deputy Superintendent in 2018.
In his current role, Mr. Oswald works closely with the Superintendent as a strategic partner in the Districts commitment to increasing academic achievement at the 179-District operated schools. In addition to this executive level position in the A-rated School District of Palm Beach County, Mr. Oswald enjoys active participation in numerous non-profit agencies.

Brigid Kemmerer

Nicky Rigg leads Google's partnership with libraries to help communities grow their skills, careers, and businesses through initiatives such as Grow with Google, Libraries Ready to Code, and Libraries Lead with Digital Skills. She has spent the last 15 years advising corporate philanthropy initiatives, managing international development programs, and researching the effectiveness of community-driven solutions across four continents. She was born on the southern border (Tucson, AZ), raised on the northern border (San Juan Island, WA), has an MA from NYU (International Development) and a BA (Education) from the University of Arizona.

Oge Mora

Marijke Visser is Senior Policy Advocate at the American Library Association’s Public Policy & Advocacy Office, Washington, D.C. Her portfolio includes issues related to youth and technology as well as telecommunications policy. Marijke advocates for policies at the federal level that advance equitable access to information. Her advocacy raises the awareness of decision makers of the role of libraries in education, employment and entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and individual empowerment. Marijke leads ALA’s work on the federal E-rate program which ensures public libraries have access to high-capacity broadband. She covers issues related to broadband adoption and use through libraries, especially for populations with unique challenges. She earned her bachelor’s degree is Peace and Global Studies/Sociology and Anthropology from Earlham College in Indiana. Before joining the ALA in 2009, Marijke earned her master’s in Library and Information Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Akilah Hughes

April Wathen is a NBCT Teacher Librarian who has a deep passion for student agency; enabling learners to share their voices; and providing all students with robust learning opportunities.
She is currently the President of Maryland Association of School Librarians and has had the honor of presenting in her local area, at the state level and at national conferences on topics such as computer science, digital citizenship; novel engineering and makerspaces. April believes together we can do anything. With that mindset, she has fostered relationship in the schools and other stakeholders to raise over $20,000 for her students. Let us empower students and enable globally competitive citizens - together.









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