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Conference on English Leadership Awards - Previous Revision

2012 Exemplary Leader

Harvey "Smokey" Daniels

Harvey “Smokey” Daniels is an extraordinary teacher leader, whose writing, presentations, and professional development work define a model for teaching and leadership development based on research, best practice, common sense, trust and respect.  An author, editor, and consultant, he is Professor of Education at Education at National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois (currently on leave).  Smokey served as Co-Director of the Illinois Writing for 26 years.  A prolific writer, he has authored or co-authored 17 books, beginning with Best Practice: Bringing Standards to Life in America’s Classrooms, now in its fourth edition.  In addition to books, he has contributed numerous articles and essays in professional journals.  A common thread runs through his writings:  literacy is accessible to all and it should offer joy to all.  In 1989, Smokey founded a summer residential retreat, the Walloon Institute.  During Walloon’s two decades, thousands of teachers from across the country were renewed and inspired, helping them create classrooms that were experiential and active with increased levels of choice and responsibility, leading to higher student achievement.  His commitment to exceptional teaching led Smokey to spearhead the creation of Best Practice High School in Chicago in 1966.  His belief in the leadership capacity of committed teachers launched the Center for City Schools, a dozen interrelated projects that supported teachers and parents in restructuring schools around Chicago and the mid-west.  In his numerous workshops and presentations, Smokey connects theory and practice in a way that embodies the kind of learning we envision for ourselves and our students.  Smokey Daniels: his work is visionary and his impact on the profession is of lasting significance.


2012 English Leadership Quarterly Best Article

Winner Jill Henderson, Sevier County High School, TN. “Dear Mr. President"
(February 2011 issue)

The award committee, which was composed of UTK graduate students and local English teachers, liked Jill Henderson's piece because of its "honest, heart-felt tone" and because "In this one letter, once teacher's voice speaks for all teachers."


Honorable Mentions:

Dr. Deborah Bieler,  University of Delaware, Newark. "Lessons from NETS: New English Teachers for Social Justice" (April 2011 issue on "Peace, Love, and Understanding in the English Classroom.")

The award committee liked Deborah Bieler's piece for its description of her social justice-oriented teacher-researcher work with beginning English teachers.  Dr. Bieler's article "highlights the complexities and struggles inherent in teaching in underserved schools.  The article is important because it calls for much more support for beginning teachers who choose to work in underserved schools."


Kelly SassiDr. Kelly Sassi,  North Dakota State University, Fargo.  "Misgivings and Opportunities: The Common Core Writing Standards" (October 2011 issue themed "Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts."

The committee liked Dr. Kelly Sassi's piece for it's "realistic portrayal of the tensions surrounding the Common Core writing standards."

Kelly Sassi is an assistant professor at North Dakota State University with a joint appointment in English and education.  She co-directs the Red River Valley Writing Project. Her research agenda focuses on social justice issues, including race in the classroom, fair practices in writing assessment, feminist research methodologies, pedagogical approaches to Native American literatures, multicultural field experiences, and the high school to college transition in writing.

Sassi co-authored two books, Writing on Demand (2005) and A Student Guide to Writing on Demand (2006), with Anne Gere and Leila Christenbury.

A former high school English teacher from Fairbanks, Alaska, Sassi has presented around 50 professional development workshops for teachers on writing and reading strategies. She is a consultant for the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) and a trainer for Project CRISS, a research-based learning strategies program.


Best Article Award - Criteria 


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