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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 that encouraged him to enter competitions where he won awards for his art. He also apprenticed with a sculptor experimenting on 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, Washington Post, Business Week, and The Atlantic Monthly, corporate clients, and picture books.

Diaz 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 SchoolOpal School of 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 supporting and provoking fresh thinking about learning environments that inspire playful inquiry, creativity, imagination and the wonder of learning in children and adults.

Opal School is grounded in the belief that education opens opportunities for all children to participate in creating and shaping their own lives and to contribute to the quality of life around them. Valuing the creativity, interests, ideas and questions of the children and adults at the school, Opal educators practice listening, observing, inquiring, staying attentive, and reflecting together with children and families. The role of the arts and sciences as languages for thinking, expressing ideas, and communicating stories is valued.

Opal School is committed to working in partnership with families to provide a rich and joyful childhood. Parent participation is essential and takes many forms. The exchange of ideas between families and teachers is vital to development of a learning community. Families have the potential to bring vitality and richness to the school by contributing distinctive life experiences and wisdoms.

Visit the Opal School at

Educators 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.

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