Shelbie Witte is the Kim and Chuck Watson Endowed Chair in Education and Professor of English Education and Adolescent Literacy at Oklahoma State University. She was previously an Associate Professor and Coordinator in English Education in the School of Teacher Education at The Florida State University. Witte studies 21st century literacies and multi-modal approaches to adolescent literacy learning, particularly the intersection of these literacies and literacy pedagogy. She has published in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Science Education, Voices from the Middle, Library and Information Science Research, and other journals centering on 21st century literacies. She is the co-editor of three books focused on this work, including Literacy Engagement through Peritextual Analysis, Towards a More Visual Literacy, and Young Adult Literature in the Digital World. She continues to actively serve as a member of various committees and projects of the National Council of Teachers of English, including co-editing (along with Sara Kajder) Voices from the Middle, the premiere middle-level journal for English Language Arts teachers. She is currently vice-president of the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English and directs the Oklahoma State University Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project. She earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on English Education and Technology from Kansas State University, a M.S. in English Education from Kansas State University, and a B.S. in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an emphasis in English Education from the University of Oklahoma.
Initiative Research Leadership Team
Kathy Garland (2015-2020) is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at Sante Fe College, Florida, where she prepares preservice teachers in undergraduate and graduate programs. Her research is centered on a specific area of 21st century literacies called media literacy education (the study and creation of multiple modes of media). Specifically, she has presented and published on research-based methods for integrating the study of popular culture and other forms of multimedia in traditional secondary English language arts pedagogy. Her dissertation research Literacy Practices in an English Language Arts Elective: An Examination of How Students Respond to Media Literacy Education (2010) suggests that popular culture can and should be used in order to develop students literacy practices. Her academic background includes a B.A. in Secondary English Education from Western Michigan University, an M.A.T. in English from Jacksonville University, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, English Education (with a focus on media literacy education) from the University of Florida.
Jennifer S. Dail (2016-2020) is a professor of English education in the Department of English at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. She also directs the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project (KMWP), a National Writing Project (NWP) site serving teachers Pre-K through college in all content areas. She has received multiple grant awards supporting the work of KMWP, including an Improving Teacher Quality grant. Prior to joining the faculty at Kennesaw State University in 2006, she taught English education courses at the University of Alabama and taught middle and high school English. Dail served as co-editor of SIGNAL Journal, International Reading Association's journal focusing on young adult literature, from 2008-2013. She is also an active member of several educational organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the NWP. She serves on the board of the Georgia Council of Teachers of English (GCTE) as the Vice President and conference director. Dail has published multiple articles on young adult literature and technology in the ALAN Review and has several book chapters focusing on this work as well.
Sara Kajder (2015-2020) is a Clinical Associate Professor in the English Education program at The University of Georgia. A former middle and high school English teacher, her research has examined teachers' pedagogy and students' reading and writing practices with digital media. She received the 2012 James Britton Award for her book Adolescents and Digital Literacies: Learning Alongside our Students. A sought-after national consultant and speaker, she is also the recipient of the first technology leadership fellowship in English/Language Arts. Dr. Kajder currently serves as the co-editor of the NCTE journal Voices from the Middle with Dr. Shelbie Witte.
Sheri Vasinda (2017-2021) is an Assistant Professor of Literacy at Oklahoma State University.With over 25 years of public school experience that includes elementary classroom teacher, campus reading specialist, and district literacy specialist, she now supports preservice and inservice teachers in developing deep understandings of reading processes and practices and how digital technologies are expanding what it means to be literate.She is curious about what it means to be a teacher in the 21st Century in utilizing new tools and the instructional choices that teachers make at all levels- including her own practice.Her passions include supporting struggling readers and writers through purposeful pairings of new technology tools with traditional literacy strategies and the new opportunities for self-assessment and revaluing of self technologies afford, inquiry and self-determined approaches to learning, and the integration of literacy and technology in disciplinary studies.She earned her doctoral degree and master’s degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce studying Curriculum and Instruction and Reading respectively.She earned her B.S. in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood and Special Education from the University of North Texas.
Amy Piotrowski (2015-2021) is an assistant professor of secondary education and English education at UtahState University's Uintah Basin campus. She is interested in how technology impacts literacy, literacy education, and the preparation of literacy teachers. Her work seeks to advance inquiry into how to teach and how to prepare future teachers in an age where the concept of literacy is expanding to include digital texts as well as print texts. She encourages her preservice teachers to include technology, digital texts, and contemporary young adult literature in their future classrooms. She holds a B.A. in English with Liberal Arts Honors from the University of Texas at Austin, a M.A. in English from Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a major in English Education from Florida State University. Her website is at amypiotrowski.com.
Bonner Slayton (2017-2020) is a literacy specialist/instructional coach at Moore Norman Technology Center in Norman, Oklahoma. His research includes finding ways to infuse literacy skills in Career Technology programs and work-place learning and incorporating literacy in all classrooms so students can achieve academic and personal success. He holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an emphasis in English Education from the University of Oklahoma, a Master’s degree in English Education from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. He holds National Board Certification in Early Adolescence/English Language Arts, co-chairs the CEE Commission for the Teaching of Poetry for the National Council of Teachers of English, serves as a teacher consultant for the Oklahoma Writing Project, and presents at various state and national conferences.
Dr. Katie Rybakova (2015-2020) is an Assistant Professor of Education at Thomas College, where she teaches preservice and inservice teachers as well as several literature courses. She serves as the Executive Director of the Maine Association for Middle Level Education. She graduated from Florida State University with her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Her research interests include digital literacies, young adult literature, and rural education.