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Conference on English Leadership Awards - Previous Revision

2013 Exemplary Leader

Rick Chambers

Rick Chambers, the 2013 Conference on English Leadership Exemplary Leader award recipient, is a former secondary school English teacher and department chair who, for more than 26 years, taught in several schools in Dufferin and Waterloo counties in Ontario, and with the Canadian Department of National Defence in Europe.

In 1997, Mr. Chambers joined the Ontario College of Teachers, the regulatory body for the teaching profession in Ontario, where he managed the Professional Learning Program and served as a program officer in the Accreditation Unit. Since 2004, he has worked for Agriteam Canada on a teacher professional development project in South Africa and for the United Church of Canada on a project to develop standards of practice, ethical standards and discipline processes for ministry personnel. He has also served as a Coordinator with Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto in their Continuing Education Department.

Mr. Chambers is past chair of the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE, and has made presentations and contributed articles on English teaching, assessment, literacy education and professional development nationally and internationally.

Currently, Rick is part of a team at OISE writing an on-line teacher education course for teachers of English as a Foreign Language. He also continues to write and conduct courses for Pearson Professional Learning, a division of Pearson Education Canada. He is a co-author of the Literacy In Action series of English language arts books for grades seven and eight. Rick is the Canadian consultant for the Stepping Out resource, professional development courses and materials focused on middle and secondary school cross-curricular writing, reading and viewing. He has delivered courses on the Stepping Out resource in all parts of Canada.

Rick holds degrees from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and the University of Calgary in Alberta.

Rick will be presented with this award during the CEL Annual Convention in Boston, MA on Sunday, November 24, 2013, at the CEL Sunday Luncheon.



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:


Deb BielerDr. 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."

Deborah Bieler is an Associate Professor of English and the coordinator of the English Education program at the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on the preparation and retention of socially responsive secondary English teachers. In addition to English Leadership Quarterly, her work has appeared in Teachers College Record, English Education, English Journal, Language Arts, and Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education. She is currently working on a book about the classroom interactions between new teachers and students placed at risk.


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 trainer for Project CRISS, a research-based learning strategies program.


Best Article Award - Criteria 


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