Featured Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Dave Burgess

Dave Burgess is the New York Times best-selling author of Teach Like a PIRATE, co-author of P is for PIRATE: Inspirational ABC’s for Educators, and the president of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. which delivers powerful, inspirational, and innovative books, keynotes, and professional development.

Dave specializes in teaching hard-to-reach, hard-to-motivate students with techniques that incorporate showmanship and creativity.  At a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C., he was awarded the BAMMY for Secondary School Teacher of the Year by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences.

Dave’s presentations are a unique blend of outrageously energetic performance art and magic, mixed with an inspirational message of how and why to become more passionate in the classroom. All techniques and methods are modeled and fully explained so as to leave no doubt about how to apply the methods in the real world. You will leave with a tool-box full of dynamic presentational ideas that you can immediately use to improve your lessons.

As a teacher in San Diego, California, Dave was a 2001 and 2012 Golden Apple winner in the Grossmont Union High School District and the 2007-2008 Teacher of the Year at West Hills High School. He was voted a faculty standout for 17 consecutive years in categories such as Most Entertaining, Most Energetic, and Most Dramatic.

Jack Hartmann is a nationally recognized children’s singer, songwriter, author, keynote presenter and workshop leader.

Jack received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Florida and his M.A. in Child Psychology from Assumption College in Worcester, MA. He started his work with children’s music working with autistic children at the University of Florida Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville, Florida.  As a counselor, social worker, and trainer, Jack worked for twenty-five years with children, families, and human service professionals in Pinellas County, FL.

Jack has written and recorded over one thousand songs for children on forty-two albums. His highly-regarded educational songs are used by teachers and sung by children in schools across the United States and around the world.

Jack’s Kids Music Channel on YouTube boasts over 450 educational videos and is used by teachers and parents all over the world for helping children learn phonics, numbers and counting, skip counting, science, fitness, social skills, and more. His channel is watched by over 4 million children each day.

His wife Lisa, a kindergarten teacher for fifteen years, was his motivation to write children’s songs, and she now manages their successful children’s music and book company, Hop 2 It Music and Press, Inc.

Jack Hartmann

Children’s Authors

Bruce Lansky (Medium)

Bruce Lansky is one of North America’s most popular authors and editors of children’s poetry and children’s fiction. His twenty children’s poetry books (including Kids Pick the Funniest Poems and Mary Had a Little Jam) have sold more than 3.5 million copies. His three children’s fiction series, including Girls to the Rescue™, Newfangled Fairy Tales™, and Can You Solve the Mystery?™ have sold more than 1.4 million copies. He has recently launched two new series of picture books for young children: Picture Readers (for children ages 3 to 6) and Early Readers (for beginning readers).

Bruce is the creator of GigglePoetry.com, one of the most popular children’s poetry websites in the world. It provides children, parents, and teachers with some of the most entertaining poems and songs ever written for children available at no cost, along with free instruction on how to write poems, poetry theater scripts, and other creative activities. Bruce has also created two websites to provide ideas for teaching poetry and fiction: PoetryTeachers.com and FictionTeachers.com.

Bruce’s passion for getting children excited about reading and writing has motivated him to visit more than 650 schools and more than 50 library/literacy/reading conferences. Recently, he became an organizer and host of the Poetry Olio, a national showcase for children’s poetry which is held once a year at the annual International Literacy Association Conference.


New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and a deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores.

First published at the age of twenty-three, Jarrett has more than thirty published books to his credit. Titles include several picture books, his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, and the Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novels. He also recently launched a new story arc in the Jedi Academy series with Star Wars™: Jedi Academy: A New Class.

Jarrett is a two-time winner of the Children’s Choice Book Awards Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year and has been a finalist for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award. He has delivered two TED Talks, which have collectively accrued more than two million views online. He has been featured on NPR and can be heard weekly on The Book Report with JJK on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live, a show focusing on books, authors, and reading. His Punk Farm, Lunch Lady, and Platypus Police Squad series are all currently in development for film.

Realizing that his stories can inspire young readers beyond the page, Jarrett founded School Lunch Hero Day, a national campaign that celebrates school lunch staff, and Platypus Police Reading Squad, a program in which police officers read aloud to children in schools and libraries. A consummate advocate for arts education, Jarrett also established the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships, which fund art classes for underprivileged children, in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Jarrett lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and children, and their pugs, Ralph and Frank. Learn more about Jarrett J. Krosoczka and his work at studioJJK.com.

Jarrett Krosoczka in Studio

Featured Speakers

Greg Coleman 2

Gregory Coleman is an educational consultant.  For the past 14 years, he has dedicated himself to serving teachers and students as a K-5 math coach and classroom teacher in Atlanta, Georgia. He believes that math should be clear and simply fun!

Gregory holds an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership, a K-5 Math endorsement, and was awarded the prestigious Atlanta Families Award in 2010 for excellence in teaching. Over the past few years, he has presented at various local and national conferences, including Staff Development for Educators (SDE).

In 2013, he started the blog, www.mrelementarymath.com, as a platform to share resources that inspire, teach, and support all educators who want to feel successful teaching math and foster a love for math in their students.  In addition to blogging, Gregory loves creating engaging resources for elementary teachers as well as traveling to warm climates with his wife, Makini.

Matt Glover is a full time educational consultant and co-author, with Kathy Collins, of I Am Reading. He is the author of the Heinemann title Engaging Young Writers, co-author with Mary Alice Berry of Projecting Possibilities for Writers, and co-author, with Katie Wood Ray of Already Ready and Watch Katie and Matt…Sit Down and Teach Up, a video-enhanced ebook that combines video and text to examine conferring with young writers.

A nationally-known literacy consultant, Matt is a frequent presenter at conferences and in school districts on topics related to nurturing writers and supporting children’s intellectual growth and development. Matt has been an educator for over 20 years, including 12 years as the principal and instruc­tional leader of Creekside Early Childhood School. Matt lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife and four children.

Matt Glover

Amanda Morgan

Amanda Morgan is a proud graduate of Utah State University who holds a Bachelor of Arts in both elementary and early childhood education and a Master of Science in family, human, and child development. She has classroom experience ranging from preschool to 6th grade, along with teaching university students, parents, and early childhood professionals, and has taught in private, public, and migrant school settings.

In addition to her professional experience, nothing has been as challenging or as rewarding as her role of mom to four young (and rowdy!) boys. Amanda and her family are recent transplants to the Puget Sound area in northwestern Washington and enjoy exploring their new surroundings together. Passionate about applying what is known about child development to the areas of education and parenting, Amanda writes, speaks, and consults on the topic of intentional, whole-child development and is the creator of the blog, Not Just Cute–Because childhood’s not just cute. It’s so much more. It’s powerful, it’s priceless, and it’s over way too soon!

Lisa Murphy has been involved with early childhood education for over 20 years; teaching and working with children in various environments including Head Start, kindergarten, private preschools, family childcare, park and rec centers, group homes, and many child care centers.

Lisa is the founder and CEO of Ooey Gooey, Inc., where her mission is to assist in the transformation of the industry of early childhood education by offering (1) the best workshops and trainings; (2) the most up to date materials and resources; and (3) insightful conversations and connections through the power of social media. Lisa presents hundreds of workshops each year to both domestic and international audiences on various topics related to early childhood education.

Lisa has an M.Ed. in early childhood education from Champlain College in Vermont. She has authored four books, produced dozens of teacher training DVD’s, and is a popular keynote speaker at educational conferences. Lisa’s standing room only seminars have become nationally known for their information, humor, inspiration, and energetic delivery. Frequently asked if she has ever been a stand up comic, Lisa practices what she preaches by blending the learning with the laughing.

Lisa collaborates with Jeff Johnson from Explorations Early Learning on various projects related to early childhood education, including hosting an annual UNConference and producing the Child Care Bar and Grill podcast, which releases two episodes a week to listeners around the globe. Lisa has become known for her ability to link hands-on activities to educational standards, her outspoken advocacy, and her commitment to creating child-centered, play-based early childhood environments. Her understanding of the importance of play is obvious in her personal and professional life

Lisa Murphy

Jeff Nathan

Boston’s Jeff Nathan is an award-winning author of children’s humorous poetry and mysteries. He grew-up with ADHD long before there was such a diagnosis. To help students who struggle, as he did, to keep their minds in the classroom, he created CurricuLaughs in Language Arts. This set of grade-level educational programs helps cure common language arts conceptual difficulties with large doses of humor, music, performing arts, and audience participation. The students’ delight has been matched by that of teachers and principals across the U.S. and Canada as they see figurative language, poetry comprehension, parts-of-speech, and other grade-specific issues being absorbed and understood through laughter.

Jeff’s interactive book, Sherlock and Me (Active Literature), won a Ben Franklin Award for innovation in children’s literature. It is the first personalized choose-your-own-path digital mystery for early middle readers. Reading a humorous story about themselves as the hero at their school provides a great hook for reluctant readers. Oh My Darling, Porcupine and I Hope I Don’t Strike Outboth anthologies from Meadowbrook Press, and There’s a Bear in My Shoe, from Chucklebooks Publishing, contain poems that he uses as springboards to humorous and effective language arts lessons. His latest book for pre-readers, Which Monster Are You? (Active Literature), helps parents extend conversations about behavior problems in a delightfully fun manner.

John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu) is a blogger and teacher-librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook, Illinois. You could say every day is a giant book party for this teacher-librarian!  In fact, Library Journal named him “The Xtreme Librarian” for the high level of exertion—and some gears and stunts—he uses to get kids reading, and Instructor Magazine named him a Cool Teacher for redefining what it means to be a teacher-librarian.

John has served on ALSC’s Children and Technology committee, AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, two Readers’ Choice award committees, and the School Library Month planning committee.  John also served on the 2014 Newbery committee, which named Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures “the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature.”

John blogs daily at MrSchuReads.com.

John Schumacher (1) (Medium)

Jennifer Serravallo

Jennifer Serravallo was a teacher in Title I Schools in New York City, and later a Senior Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University.

Jennifer is the author of eleven books on the teaching of reading and writing. Her newest, The Writing Strategies Bookfollows the same structure and format as the New York Times best-selling  The Reading Strategies Bookeach is a collection of 300 strategies aligned to goals, skills, genres, and levels (Heinemann 2017 and 2015, respectively). Prior to this book, she wrote two versions of a resource to help teachers analyze, synthesize, and make sense of all the data they collect in order to manage goal-directed instruction: the Literacy Teacher’s Playbook: Four Steps for Turning Assessment Data into Goal-Directed Instruction, for Grades K-2 and Grades 3-6.

Jennifer also recently authored the AEP award-winning Independent Reading Assessment: Fiction (Scholastic, 2012) and the REVERE award-winning Independent Reading Assessment: Nonfiction (Scholastic, 2013) These are the first and only assessments of whole-book comprehension for chapter book readers (F&P levels J-W).  Jennifer’s other books, about teaching structures to support differentiated instruction, are Teaching Reading in Small Groups (Heinemann, 2010) and Conferring with Readers (Heinemann, 2006).

Jennifer is also really proud of her contribution to Heinemann’s groundbreaking online Digital Campus. Her self-paced course is titled the same as her second book, Teaching Reading in Small Groups. It includes dozens of videos of Jennifer working with students individually and in small groups, and lots of opportunities to reflect and interact with other members of the online community.

Jennifer lives in a New Jersey suburb just outside of New York City with her partner Jen, and their two daughters Lola (a second grader) and Vivian (a preschooler).

You can follow Jennifer on Twitter (@jserravallo).

Kara Knollmeyer currently serves as a Mentor Teacher and Technology Integrationist, leading teachers in innovative teaching and learning practices.  She has a rich and varied leadership background, including roles such as New Teacher District Facilitator, Chair of the ELA Department, and Curriculum Writing Leader.  Last May, she graduated with her Educational Administration degree, which includes Elementary and Secondary Administration Certification.

 Kara has received several state and regional awards, including the Missouri Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award and recognition as an METC Midwest Spotlight Educator.

 Kara is also a national speaker, writer, blogger, and webinar creator.  She believes that leadership should empower all stakeholders; that innovative learning transcends the classroom; that social media can be a powerful tool to create networks for yourself, staff, students, and families; and that purposeful and thoughtful technology integration should be a goal for all school districts.

Kara Welty


Milbre Burch (2)

Considered one of the most important voices in the festival-based American storytelling revival, Milbre Burch received the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award in 1999 and was nominated for a spoken word Grammy Award in 2007 for “Making the Heart Whole Again: Stories for a Wounded World.”

Milbre weaves gesture and language into personal, literary, and traditional stories and dramatic monologues, creating a whole new genre of storytelling.  The New York Times has praised her “classic wit”; the San Diego Union-Tribune has called her “mesmerizing, like a fine solo dancer.”

Also a produced and published playwright, Milbre holds a PhD in Theatre from the University of Missouri. She is available for school and community residencies in Missouri with support from the Missouri Arts Council School Touring program.

Tim Lowry has been telling stories of the People, by the People, and for the People for 15 years. Telling a variety of Folk Tales and Stories from American History, Tim has presented thousands of educational programs for schools across the country. At festivals Tim entertains audiences with a mixture of Folk Tales and Personal Narrative. He also presents storytelling/communication workshops at corporate retreats. When Tim is not on the road, he makes his home in Summerville, SC, where he often performs stories of southern culture and history from the “Sweet Tea Trail.”

Tim grew up in southeastern Kentucky where he learned the art of storytelling from Appalachian folk who spun yarns and told tales to entertain, teach morals, and pass along local history. He studied drama in high school and toured the East Coast in 1987 with a drama school from Greenville, SC. After earning a degree in Theater, Tim taught English language arts for five years. He left the classroom in 2000 to become a full-time professional performer. He has made several television appearances, recorded a number of storytelling CDs, filmed a DVD, and written a storytelling handbook.

Tim’s wife, Bonnie, is a Suzuki and O’Conner certified violin/fiddle teacher with twelve years classroom experience in music education. Tim and Bonnie have two adopted daughters—Libby (6 yrs) and Bethany (4 yrs). The Lowrys enjoy puppet shows, vegetable gardening, picture books, live opera, and dancing to music on their 1911 Victrola.

Tim Lowry