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2017 WLU Summer Institute

2017 Summer Institute Keynote Speakers - Previous Revision

Thursday Opening Session

H. Gerald Campano

Gerald Campano is Associate Professor and Chair, Reading/Writing/Literacy at the University of PA Graduate School of Education.  He was a full-time classroom teacher in Houston, Puerto Rico, and California and has worked with adult English language learners in North Philadelphia. He has garnered numerous teaching awards at the elementary and university level including a Carnegie Scholar and the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English from NCTE. Throughout his scholarship and teaching, he has been committed to creating opportunities for students to mobilize their identities and rich cultural resources in the elementary literacy curriculum. Dr. Campano’s recent work has involved collaborating in university-school partnerships that focus on literacy, engagement, and equity. 

Join Gerald on Thursday evening, July 18 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. 


Friday, Opening Session

Chris Soentpiet

Chris Soentpiet creates children's books for all ages. He writes and illustrates his own stories as well as illustrates books by other authors. Chris was born in South Korea and moved with his sister to Hawaii at the age of 8 after being adopted by the Soentpiet family. Studying Fine Arts and Education at Pratt Institute in New York City, his two very special friends encouraged him to pursue his passion for painting by illustrating children's books.

Chris creates books that reflect an interest in people, history, and culture. Since teachers around the world use his books in their classrooms, Chris takes the time to do a lot of research, especially if it's a historical story, spending weeks in the library, and going to the actual location where the story's events happened to sketch and take pictures. A book can take a year or more to complete.  Around Town was his first children's picture book. Other works include Amazing Faces, My Brother Martin, More than Anything Else, Something Beautiful, CootiesThe Last Dragon, Molly BannakyPeacebound Trains. Chris' work has been featured or reviewed in the New York Times, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, and Newsweek.


Join Chris on Friday morning, July 19 from 8:30-9:45 a.m.


Saturday Opening Session

Lester Laminack

Lester L. Laminack is Professor Emeritus from department of Birth-Kindergarten, Elementary and Middle Grades Education, at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He is also a full-time writer and consultant working with schools throughout the United States.

His academic publications include several books including Learning with Zachary (Scholastic), Spelling in Use (NCTE), Volunteers Working with Young Readers (NCTE), and his contributions to The Writing Workshop: Working Through the Hard Parts (NCTE), Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature (Heinemann) Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum (Heinemann), Cracking Open the Author’s Craft (Scholastic) and Unwrapping the Read Aloud (Scholastic).

In addition he has several articles published in journals such as The Reading Teacher, Early Years, Science and Children, Language Arts, Teaching pre-K/?8, Primary Voices, and Young Children. Lester is also the author of six children’s books: The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins, Trevor’s Wiggly-Wobbly Tooth, Saturdays and Tea Cakes, Jake’s 100th Day of School, Snow Day! and most recently, Three Hens and a Peacock all from Peachtree Publishers.

An active member of the NCTE for many years, Lester has served as co-editor Primary Voices, editor of the Children’s Book Review Department of Language Arts, teaching editor for the magazine Teaching K-8 and wrote the Parent Connection column (2000-2002).

He has been a member of several boards including the Whole Language Umbrella, the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children, and Center for the Expansion of Language and Thinking, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Our Children’s Place [].


Visit Lester's website at

Join Lesteri on Saturday morning, July 20 from 8:30-9:45 a.m.


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