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2016 NCTE Annual Convention

General Session Speakers

General Session events occur once each day of the convention. They are included with registration and are open to all attendees. This year's featured speakers include:


Diane Ravitch

Diane RavitchDiane Ravitch is the champion for public schools across the country. Drawing on over 40 years of research and experience, she is the nation’s leading advocate for public education. Her years of experience working in government shaped her approach to education and gave her a unique, powerful perspective that she brings into all aspects of her work. Ravitch provides solutions. In her books, she outlines a clear plan for how to preserve and improve our public schools. Her New York Times best-seller, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools begins where her previous book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, left off.

She continues to show that the crisis in American education is not the result of a lack of academic achievement, but a result of the destruction of public schools. Ravitch shares the hard message that every parent, teacher, and community needs to support public schools or else our society will fail all children. A public school graduate herself, this award-winning educator’s depth of knowledge and experience shines through her passionate speeches. Ravitch has developed a powerful argument against the privatization of public schools, and she will take audiences step-by-step through the triumphs and failures American public school system. With her electrifying wisdom, Ravitch leaves audiences informed, motivated, and ultimately inspired.

Ravitch will appear via live video at the Thursday General Session and will be interviewed onsite by Maureen Downey, education writer with the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Doug Hesse

Doug Hesse is founding Executive Director of the Writing Program at the University of Denver and Professor of English. Currently he serves as President of the National Council of Teachers of English.  He is author of over 65 essays and co-author of four books, including Creating Nonfiction, co-authored with the writer Becky Bradway (Bedford/St. Martin's) and the Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers. Hesse was founding coordinator of the Norman Mailer/NCTE National High School and College Writing Awards in Creative Nonfiction. He is also a former Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC).

Hesse will deliver his presidential address at the Thursday General Session. 

Authors as Advocates Panel

We'll hear from a panel of distinguished and well-loved authors, moderated by Joan Kaywell, as they discuss how they use their art to advocate for change. The links below will lead you to some of their advocacy-related work.

  • Meg Medina works on community projects that support girls like Girls of Summer, a blog that highlights “amazing books for amazing girls.” Check out this beautiful reflection on her experience at the 2014 Annual Convention.

This panel will take place at the Friday General Session.


Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi CoatesTa-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award

A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.

Coates will be speaking at the Saturday General Session.


Brad Meltzer

Brad MeltzerBrad Meltzer is the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, and eight other best-selling thrillers. In addition to his fiction, Meltzer is one of the only authors ever to have books on the best-seller list for nonfiction (History Decoded), advice (Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter), children’s books (I Am Amelia Earhart and I Am Abraham Lincoln) and even comic books (Justice League of America, for which he won the prestigious Eisner Award).

He is also the host of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel and Brad Meltzer’s Lost History on H2. The Hollywood Reporter recently put him on their list of Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors.

Why does Brad thrive in all these different genres? It is due to his belief that ordinary people change the world, the core belief that runs through every one of his projects.

Meltzer will be speaking at the Sunday General Session.


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