Mike Artell
2015.MikeArtellMike Artell is an award-winning author, illustrator, musician and professional speaker. Mike graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1972 with a B.A. in Marketing and spent the next 15 years in sales and marketing primarily with technology-based companies – although Mike has also repossessed cars, sold color-coded filing systems to doctors (even though he’s color blind), restaurant supplies and lumber & building materials. Mike has extensive experience marketing products and services to organizations involved in real-time data acquisition and control, artificial intelligence/ expert systems, oil/gas exploration, electrical power generation/distribution, high speed simulation and business applications. Mike has a background in customer service and training applications for several companies. Mike served on the board of two small technology companies and has provided freelance marketing consulting services to a number of organizations including Texas Instruments.

In 1987, Mike began a new career as a freelance writer/illustrator/cartoonist. Mike hosted his own television show on WWL-TV, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans and each week his show attracted more than 50,000 viewers - Number one in the market in the time slot. Mike also created cartoons for many national publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine. Mike’s first children’s books were published in 1990 and since then, he has written and/or illustrated more than 35 books. Many of Mike’s books have won awards. Most recently, his book PETITE ROUGE – A CAJUN RED RIDING HOOD was named 2009 Read Aloud Book of the Year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Over the past 25 years, Mike has shared his techniques for thinking, writing and drawing more creatively with hundreds of thousands of students and teachers. Mike also stays busy as a platform speaker addressing the annual conferences of groups such as the American Society for Training and Development, American Society of Veterinary Medicine, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Prevent Child Abuse Texas, Library of Michigan Foundation and many other business, education, healthcare and association groups. Mike speaks on the subjects of creativity/innovation, communication, using humor to reduce stress and build community within organizations and the power of perspective.

Mike lives in Covington, Louisiana with his wife Susan, a middle school librarian. They have two grown daughters and 5 grandchildren. Visit Mike’s website – www.mikeartell.com.

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Timothy Rasinski
2015.TimRasinskiTimothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University and director of its award winning reading clinic. He has written over 200 articles and has authored, co-authored or edited over 50 books or curriculum programs on reading education. He is author of the best selling books on reading fluency The Fluent Reader and The Fluent Reader in Action, published by Scholastic, now in its second edition. His scholarly interests include reading fluency and word study, reading in the elementary and middle grades, and readers who struggle. His research on reading has been cited by the National Reading Panel and has been published in journals such as Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, Reading Psychology, and the Journal of Educational Research. Tim is the first author of the fluency chapter for the Handbook of Reading Research.

Tim served a three year term on the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association and was co-editor of The Reading Teacher, the world's most widely read journal of literacy education. He has also served as co-editor of the Journal of Literacy Research. Rasinski is past-president of the College Reading Association and he has won the A. B. Herr and Laureate Awards from the College Reading Association for his scholarly contributions to literacy education. In 2010 Tim was elected to the International Reading Hall of Fame.

Prior to coming to Kent State Tim taught literacy education at the University of Georgia. He taught for several years as an elementary and middle school classroom and Title I teacher in Nebraska. Visit Tim’s website: www.timrasinski.com.

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Brian Lies
2015.BrianLiesChildren’s book author/illustrator Brian Lies has created more than two dozen books, including his New York Times bestselling bat series, Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, Bats at the Ballgame, and Bats in the Band (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). His most recent illustrated book is Malcolm Under the Stars (by W.H. Beck) a middle-grade novel sequel to Malcolm at Midnight, which recently won the William Allen White Award (Kansas). Brian’s books have been nominated for numerous state awards and have won several, including the Bill Martin, Jr. Award (Kansas). They have been translated into eight languages. His work has been featured on The Martha Stewart Show, named as a top ten book of the year by Time/CNN, and read aloud on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday by Scott Simon and Daniel Pinkwater.

Born in Princeton, NJ, Brian nearly stopped reading in the third grade. He was encouraged by his local librarians and rebounded, becoming an avid, lifelong reader. A 1985 graduate of Brown University with a degree in British and American Literature, he feels very strongly about the importance of getting young people to read. Brian spends part of the school year traveling throughout the United States to work with students and encourage them in their goals. He lives with his family in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Visit Brian’s website: www.brianlies.com.

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Diane Barone

Diane has served on and chaired many IRA committees. She was chair of the local IRA convention in Reno, NV, the outstanding dissertation committee, committee on grants and awards, and the intermediate area of children’s and young adult book awards. She was liaison to the urban initiative committee, technology committee, and Asian affiliates. She was Editor of Reading Research Quarterly with John Readence and Editor of The Reading Teacher with Marla Mallette.

Diane has been a professor at the University of Nevada since 1994. She teaches children’s literature, young children’s literacy development, instruction, and assessment, and qualitative research. Diane earned her undergraduate degree at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She completed her masters degree in early childhood at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. She earned her doctorate at the University of Nevada where she also taught a classroom of first, second, and third graders.

She has written several books: Resilient Children, Research-Based Practices in Early Literacy, Using Your Core Reading Program and Children’s Literature K-3 and 4-6, and Best Practices in Early Literacy. She collaborates with teachers in public schools to enhance student learning in literacy and she has mentored teachers seeking National Board Certification.


Mary Bigler
2015.marybiglerLaugh and learn with internationally known educator, author and humorist, Dr. Mary Bigler, as she shares the joys and challenges of teaching. Dr. Mary Bigler teaches undergraduate and graduate literacy courses at Eastern Michigan University. She will entertain and inspire you as she shares stories, insights and strategies gathered from over forty years in the classroom.

2015.marybiglerbookcoverMary is the author of Mary Bigler’s Lesson Learned based on her journey through education as a student, teacher and speaker. She will share ideas on bringing literacy to the next generation and how to have fun doing it. Great expectations, positive attitudes and a sense of humor will be explored as they relate to creating environments in which all students can succeed.

Visit her website – www.marybigler.com.


2015.katiegarnerKatie Garner, author of SECRET STORIES®- Cracking the Reading & Writing Code with the Brain in Mind!, is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and educational consultant whose published work on Reading and the Brain has gained national recognition with the No Child Left Behind, Reading First, and RTI Initiatives. As a featured and keynote speaker at educational conferences around the US and abroad, Katie provides teachers with cutting-edge, instructional strategies for aligning their existing literacy skill instruction with the latest neural research. Through lecture and participation with the Learning & the Brain Research Consortium (co-sponsored by Harvard University and M.I.T.) as well as through her work with teachers in classrooms throughout the US and Canada, Katie strives to shift the existing paradigms associated with early grade, literacy skill acquisition. Her ‘backdoor’ approach to beginning reading and writing skill mastery has been heralded in educational journals as literally “teaching teachers a new way to teach,” and is the topic of her keynote series at this year’s Vulnerable Readers International Summit Series, as well as the subject of a professional development book series, currently under development. You can visit her website at www.TheSecretStories.com.


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