2021 Keynote Speakers
July 6, 2021
Linda Rief left the classroom in June of 2019 after 40 years of teaching Language Arts with eighth graders. She misses their energy, their curiosity, and their desire to read and write. She is a national and international presenter on issues of adolescent literacy. Her newest books are The Quickwrite Handbook: 100 Mentor Texts to Jumpstart Your Students’ Thinking and Writing and Read Write Teach.
In 2020 she received the Kent Williamson Exemplary Leader Award from the Conference on English Leadership, in recognition of outstanding leadership in the English Language Arts. A recipient of NCTE’s Edwin A. Hoey Award for Outstanding Middle School Educator in ELA, her classroom was featured in the series “Making Meaning in Literature”, produced by Maryland Public Television for Annenberg/CPB. For three years she chaired the first Early Adolescence English/Language Arts Standards Committee of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Follow Linda on Twitter @LindaMRief.
July 13, 2021
Chad was born in Memphis, Tennessee, moved to Mississippi at age five, and has lived in The Magnolia State ever since. He likes to spend as much time as possible on a lake with a fishing pole in his hand or speeding around a golf course. He is a nonfiction fan and true crime junkie.
He received his Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies from the University of Memphis with intentions of attending law school; however, he spent a year supporting teachers with technology integration and was forever changed. He went back to school to obtain his teaching certification and taught middle school English. The perpetual student, he later returned to school one more time and received his Master’s in Educational Leadership and Supervision from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Chad currently serves as an assistant principal at Horn Lake Middle School. He lives with his wife and Labradoodle, Louie. When he isn’t roaming the halls, he can be found roaming the sidelines coaching basketball or writing about teaching and life at imaginelit.com.
July 20, 2021
Vicki Vinton is a literacy consultant and writer who has worked with teachers and coaches across the country and around the world for many years. She is the co-author of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making, The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Language, and the author of Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading, all published by Heinemann. Additionally, she’s the voice behind the literacy blog To Make a Prairie (http://tomakeaprairie.wordpress.com), and has taught writing at Columbia University’s Teachers College, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education and CUNY’s Queens College.
Nawal Q. Casiano
July 28, 2021
A writer and educator for 16 years, Nawal believes in the power of photographs, memories and ancestral stories. She is the proud daughter of immigrants and her role as a mother to four multiethnic, multilingual kids shapes her approach as an educator. Forever passionate about growing readers, writers and thinkers, Nawal worked as a classroom teacher, literacy coach and curriculum developer before launching NQC Literacy in 2014. She and her team support schools and districts by facilitating professional development and coaching around a holistic, balanced approach to literacy instruction: always looking through lenses of cultural-sustainability, inclusion and equity.
Nawal earned a Bachelor of English from the University of Michigan, a Master of Teaching from Brooklyn College, and a Master of Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. She won a New Jersey Press Association Award for her international reporting and transitioned into education as a New York City Teaching Fellow. You can find Nawal in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood or on Twitter at @NQCLiteracy.
All keynotes will available to all participants in the 2021 Summer Literacy Institutes throughout the month of July. Online Keynote discussions and talks will be made available online through UNH’s CANVAS learning platform.