Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014 | Speakers

Robert NeedlemanDr. Robert Needlman is the Co-founder and board member of Reach out and Read and Read. He did the first study that documented the efficacy of pediatric intervention to support literacy, and has contributed to the research in that area over the last two decades. Dr. Needlman is the co-author of the last two editions of Baby and Child Care, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s classic parenting manual and author of Dr. Spock’s Baby Basics. His published work includes studies on pediatric literacy promotion, prenatal cocaine exposure, iron deficiency, maternal depression, resident training, and preventive care. A graduate of Yale College (English Literature) and the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Needlman practices and teaches Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland and is Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Kevin HenkesKevin Henkes is the author of the Newbery Honor Books Olive’s Ocean and The Year of Billy Miller. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels The Birthday Room, Sun & Spoon, Protecting Marie, and Words of Stone. Kevin Henkes also writes and illustrates picture books for younger children. He was awarded a Caldecott Medal for Kitten’s First Full Moon. He is the creator of several picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly’s Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. His newest books for beginning readers are Penny and Her Song, Penny and Her Doll, and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day—one of the author’s recent picture books—wrote, “It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius.”

Chip DonohueChip Donohue, PhD, is the Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education and Director of the TEC Center at Erikson Institute.  He is also a Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center where he co-authored the 2012 NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Chip has edited a new book, Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning, published by Routledge/NAEYC.

Rebekah Dorman

Rebekah L. Dorman, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist, and has been the Director of the Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood and Invest in Children since January of 2009. Prior to that she served as Senior Program Director for Children and Families at United Way, and as Vice President for Family and Child Development at Applewood Centers. Dr. Dorman serves on Ohio’s Early Childhood Advisory Council, having been appointed by Governor Strickland and then Governor Kasich, as well as on the state’s Family and Community Engagement Task Force. Dr. Dorman has authored numerous articles and two books: Preventing Burnout in Your Staff and Yourself: A Survival Manual for Human Services Supervisors and Planning, Funding and Implementing A Child Abuse Prevention Project. She received her undergraduate degree Cum Laude from Brandeis University and her doctorate from Cornell University.

Sari FeldmanSari Feldman is Executive Director of Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL), a role she has held since 2003. Under Sari’s leadership, CCPL has been named a Library Journal 5-Star system for five consecutive years and consistently ranks as one of the nation’s best and busiest public library systems. She currently is co-chair of the American Library Association’s Digital Content and Libraries Working Group and is a past president of the Public Library Association (2009-2010). She was recently elected president of the American Library Association for the 2015-2016 term.

Robert Fischer

Robert L. Fischer is a Research Associate Professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University. He is also Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at the Mandel School, and leads the Center’s efforts in regard to evaluation research. Dr. Fischer leads a range of evaluation research studies and teaches evaluation methods to students in social science administration and nonprofit management. Dr. Fischer is also faculty director of the Masters of Nonprofit Organizations (MNO) degree program at the Mandel School.

Celia Huffman

Celia Huffman has been a children’s librarian and manager for over 30 years in suburban Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Currently she is retired from her position as Youth Services Manager of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and is a Consultant/Owner of Youth Creative Concepts for Libraries. She has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Kent State University’s College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services. Her research interests lie in how children respond to story in interactive electronic formats and in multiple intelligence theory and learning differences.

Pam Jankowski

Pam Jankowski is the Literacy and Learning Director at Cuyahoga County Public Library. Pam has led several youth programming initiatives focused on building early literacy skills. Most recently, Pam oversaw the development of the Library’s Kindergarten Clubs, which provide support to families and children preparing to enter Kindergarten without pre-school experience. She was also involved in the launch of 123 Read, a free one-on-one Library tutoring program for students at risk of failing Ohio’s third grade reading guarantee.

Melissa ManosMelissa Manos, M.S., M.Ed., M.S.M., is the Director of Help Me Grow of Cuyahoga County.  In this role, she oversees all aspects of Help Me Grow, a county-implemented, statewide child development and parenting program that provides supportive services for young children and their families.  She has served on numerous state and county committees including the Ohio Early Intervention Coordinating Council, the Ohio Help Me Grow Advisory Council, the Family and Children First Council, and Invest In Children.

Billie-Osborne Fears

Billie Osborne-Fears is the founding Executive Director of Starting Point, the community based Child Care and Out-of-School Time Resource and Referral Agency, serving four counties in Ohio.  She received a Master of Social Science Administration Degree from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Applied Social Sciences and a Bachelor’s of Science in Child/Family and Community Services from Bowling Green State University.  Her background consists of thirty-nine years of employment in early care/education, and social services.

Kathleen Reif

Photo courtesy of American Libraries

Kathleen Reif is Director of St. Mary’s County Library (MD) and represents public libraries on Maryland’s Early Childhood Advisory Council.   She forged partnerships with national researchers and educators which resulted in the first edition of the Every Child Ready To Read @ your library toolkit and she was subsequently involved in its evaluation and the creation of the 2nd edition.  Kathleen is currently Chair of the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read Oversight Committee and was the 2013 recipient of the American Library Association Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children.


September 19, 2014

Cuyahoga County Public Library
Parma-Snow Branch
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Parma, OH 44314

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Cleveland, OH 44012
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