National Council of Teachers of English Logo
2016 WLU Summer Institute

Keynote Speakers - Previous Revision

Thursday, July 17

David DiazDavid Diaz has been an illustrator and graphic designer for more than twenty-five years. Díaz discovered his love for drawing when he was in the first grade. In high school, Díaz had an inspiring art teacher who encouraged him to enter competitions where he won awards for his art. He also apprenticed with a sculptor experimenting in a variety of techniques. Following graduation from Fort Lauderdale Art Institute, Diaz moved to southern California, where he worked with a weekly newspaper, the San Diego Reader. Since then, he has worked on many design and illustration projects for national publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Week, and The Atlantic Monthly, corporate clients, and picture books.

Diaz's first picture book,Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, was awarded the 1995 Caldecott Medal. His children’s book illustrations have earned him many honors and awards. He has illustrated the Newbery Medal winner, The Wanderer by Sharon Creech, The Gospel Cinderella by Joyce Carol Oates, Angel Face by Sarah Weeks, and Little Scarecrow’s Boy by Margaret Wise Brown, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book.

Learn more about David from the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature and from Scholastic.

David Diaz will speak during the Opening Session on Thursday evening from 7:00-9:00 p.m.


Friday, July 18

Opal SchoolTeacher-Researchers from Opal School of the Portland Children's Museum
What is the connection between literacy, play and the arts? Teacher-researchers from Opal School of the Portland Children's Museum will discuss the what they've learned from investigating this question through their work with children. Through stories from their practice, they will define and highlight structures they've identified as supportive of children's literacy development, including sharing stories, ample use of the arts, a focus on meaning making, and time to play.

Susan Harris MacKay will provide an overview of "Story Workshop."  After a decade of teaching in public elementary schools, Susan joined the Opal School staff as a teacher-researcher, providing leadership to Opal’s literacy approaches for over 10 years. Susan oversees the research, documentation and professional development initiatives of Opal School and Portland Children’s Museum as Director of the Portland Children's Museum Center for Learning.

Kerry Salazar will share stories of emergent literacy for Opal's youngest learners. Kerry began her teaching career as an apprentice with Opal Charter School. She joined Opal staff as a member of the primary teaching team for children, 5-8 years. Currently in her sixth year, she teaches in a mixed-age classroom of first and second graders and shares what she is learning with interested educators and other stakeholders.

Levia Friedman's stories come from her work with Opal's oldest students. Levia joined Opal Charter School following a ten-year engineering career designing water treatment systems.  Currently, Levia teaches in Opal’s mixed-age classroom of fourth and fifth graders and is always interested in the links between pre-primary and upper-elementary education.

Mary Gage Davis will discuss ways in which collaboration and relationships support learning at Opal School.  Since joining the Opal staff in 2003, Mary Gage had been a lead teacher in first through fifth grade classrooms.  Mary Gage now supports teachers and children as Opal Charter School's Curriculum Lead.

Opal School of the Portland Children's Museum is a private preschool (ages 3-6) and public charter elementary school (grades K-5) which serves as a resource for teacher research by provoking fresh thinking about learning environments that inspire playful inquiry, creativity, imagination, and the wonder of learning in children and adults. 

Learn more about Opal School at

Teacher-researchers from the Opal School will speak Friday morning from 8:30-9:30 a.m.


Saturday, July 19

Kathy ShortKathy Short teaches in the Language, Reading, and Culture program at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and works with graduate teaching assistants on a children’s literature course that is taken by preservice teachers in elementary and early childhood education. Currently director of World of Words, an initiative focused on encouraging thoughtful dialogue around children’s literature to build bridges across global cultures, Short serves on the Notable Books for a Global Society Award Committee as well as the editorial boards of Language Arts, Reading Research Quarterly, and Literary Research Association (NRC) Yearbook. 

Short has a long history with NCTE and is currently the President Elect. She has been a member of the Commission on Curriculum, served as chair of the Elementary Section Steering Committee, and been the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Educator in the Language Arts Award.

“NCTE has always been my professional home, the place where I replenish my spirit and focus as an educator,” Kathy Short says. “NCTE has taken a leadership role in the public debates about literacy and language in schools and universities. Through dialogue between the communities within NCTE as well as with other professional organizations and public groups, we can develop new possibilities and relationships to make literacy more accessible for all students. Our work together is rooted in the life shared by teachers and students in classrooms and in a shared goal of creating literate, critically-conscious global citizens.” 

Kathy Short will speak during the Closing Session on Saturday afternoon from 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Document and Site Resources

Share This On:

Page Tools:

Join NCTE Today

Related Search Terms


Copyright © 1998-2016 National Council of Teachers of English. All rights reserved in all media.

1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, Illinois 61801-1096 Phone: 217-328-3870 or 877-369-6283

Looking for information? Browse our FAQs, tour our sitemap and store sitemap, or contact NCTE

Read our Privacy Policy Statement and Links Policy. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use

Visit us on:
Facebook Twitter Linked In Pinterest Instagram