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Leadership and the Science of Reading: An Honest Look at the Joys and Challenges of School Transformation

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Leadership and the Science of Reading: An Honest Look at the Joys and Challenges of School Transformation

Presented by Laura Stewart, Chief Academic Officer, 95% Group; Nancy Young​, M.Ed., Reading/Writing Specialist and Author, Nancy Young Educational Consulting; Donna Hejtmanek​, Founder and Administrator, Science of Reading—What I Should Have Learned in College Facebook group; Casey Bertram​, Superintendent​, Bozeman Public Schools​ (MT)​; Dr. Danielle Thompson, CCC-SLP​, Founder and President​, The Transformative Reading Teacher Group; and Pati Montgomery​, Founder and President​, Schools Cubed
​Moderated by ​Terrie Noland, Ph.D., CALP​, Vice President, Educator Initiatives​, Learning Ally

Sponsored by Learning Ally

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This edLeader Panel is a chance to hear from school leaders and agents of change about their experiences in transforming school literacy systems and curricula. As thought leaders from the field pose questions relating to the journey, school leaders each discuss aspects of the shifts in instructional practices within their schools and districts and the positive results they have seen.

In their willingness to share both the joys and challenges in switching to an approach based on the science of how children learn to read, this discussion is intended to reflect both the unity and the openness to ongoing learning needed at all levels as the current literacy crisis is addressed.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to K-12 school and district leaders.


Laura StewartAbout the Presenters

Laura Stewart is an educator and organizational leader. She has served as a teacher, administrator, adjunct professor, and director of numerous professional development initiatives around the country. She was the VP of professional development for the Rowland Reading Foundation and the chief academic officer for professional development at Highlights for Children. She presents nationally and internationally is a published author. Laura’s current role as the chief academic officer of the 95% Group fits her perfectly, as her passion is empowering educators to positively impact ALL students and ultimately change the course of literacy achievement in this country.


Nancy YoungNancy Young, M.Ed. is an experienced educator whose areas of specialty include dyslexia, giftedness, and ADHD. Based in British Columbia, Canada, Nancy consults for schools, teachers, and families globally. Nancy is the author of Secret Code Actions™, (Teacher Edition and Parent Edition), a unique resource she created to enhance any reading/spelling program by weaving in fun code-based movements. Nancy is also the creator of the Ladder of Reading©, an infographic she designed to help teachers, leadership, and parents better understand the wide range of ease as children learn to read.


Donna HejtmanekDonna Hejtmanek retired after 41 years of teaching special education and serving as a reading specialist/ interventionist. She was appointed by Governor Scott Walker in 2014 to Wisconsin’s Read to Lead Literacy Council and served on the Legislative Council Study Committee on the Identification and Management of Dyslexia in 2018. This resulted in Wisconsin’s first dyslexia bill, Act 86, signed into legislation in 2019. Donna was awarded the Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship Award in 2016. She currently serves as Legislative Chair for the International Dyslexia Association Wisconsin branch and as President of the Literacy Task Force of Northern Wisconsin, a non-profit organization that promotes Orton-Gillingham-based training to Wisconsin residents. Now, in her third year of retirement, she spends her days creating professional development opportunities for teachers and administers the 100,000+ member Facebook group, Science of Reading—What I Should Have Learned in College.


Casey Bertram

Casey Bertram began his education career as a teacher and principal working in public schools in Kalispell, Montana. After serving as Principal of Hedges Elementary School in Kalispell for six years, he moved with his family to Bozeman, Montana. While in Kalispell, Hedges Elementary was awarded the National Title One Distinguished Schools Award in 2010 for sustained excellence in academic achievement.

Casey served for seven years as Principal of Hawthorne Elementary in Bozeman. In 2018, Hawthorne Elementary was recognized as a Solution Tree Model PLC School. Hawthorne was then, and currently remains, the only school in the state with this international distinction. Casey has a heart and passion for supporting kids from hard places and completed Trust-Based Relational Intervention Practitioner Training (TBRI) in 2018. Casey is very proud of the work being done in Bozeman Public Schools to help close identified achievement gaps through early literacy, Science of Reading implementation, and the systematic use of MTSS and Professional Learning Communities (PLC) models.

During the 2020-2021 school year, Casey served as both the deputy superintendent of curriculum and technology as well as interim co-superintendent. He was recently hired as the permanent superintendent of Bozeman Public Schools. Casey is a graduate of Flathead High School in Kalispell, MT, received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from University of Great Falls, a master’s in educational leadership from University of Phoenix, and a Superintendent Certification from Montana State University. Casey lives and plays in Bozeman with his wife, Lacey, and four children.


Danielle M. ThompsonDanielle M. Thompson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is an educational consultant, a teacher of educators, a servant leader, and insatiably curious about all things that make people’s lives better. She is an agent of positive change working to help teachers and leaders rethink, unlearn, and up-level their knowledge. As a speech language pathologist and teacher, she worked with PreK-12-grade students for over a decade in rural at-risk environments from Alaska to Mississippi in public schools, Head Starts, and private practice. Currently, she is the president and founder of The Transformative Reading Teacher Group, the president of The Reading League Montana, and the creator of The Big Sky Literacy Summit.


Pati MontgomeryPati Montgomery is a national educational consultant specializing in principal and school leadership development. Previously, she was the executive director of literacy for the Colorado Department of Education where she was responsible for the implementation of the READ Act. In 2015, Pati formed Schools Cubed, an educational consulting group that works with districts across the country to create high-achieving school systems. A former teacher, principal, and district administrator, Pati has worked with principals across the country on effective school practices. Her work is steeped in a background and a belief that ALL students can attain high achievement. Pati is the lead author of A Principal’s Primer for Raising Reading Achievement. The book is a guide for principals and school leaders that highlights efficient systems and structures necessary for schoolwide improvement in literacy performance.


Terrie NolandAbout the Moderator

Listen. Learn. Teach. It’s that simple. Terrie Noland uses this philosophy as an innovator and a motivator, and it’s evident as she leads, coaches and mentors thousands of K-12 educators about the science of reading each year. She has a unique perspective on the need to unify all stakeholders around a vision for education to smash the reading divide for the millions of struggling readers. Her daily mission is to add value to educators to help influence transformational changes in school districts across the country by addressing the needs of marginalized students. Terrie seeks to share her expertise and passion to encourage and to illuminate a path towards success and measurable outcomes.

If you looked at Terrie’s resume, you would be confused. Her undergraduate and graduate degree work placed her in the field of criminal justice. However, it was through continuous listening and learning that led her on a journey in education starting out in preschool teaching and administration, then becoming a Certified Academic Language Practitioner (CALP) and earning a Ph.D. in literacy and educational leadership from St. John’s University. Terrie is also a John Maxwell certified speaker and coach.

As Vice President of Educator Initiatives at Learning Ally, Terrie works to ignite enthusiasm and excitement by building champion educators and administrators on creating cultures of literacy and learning.


Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Empowering Struggling Readers community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Learning AllyLearning Ally is a leading education solutions organization committed to transforming the lives of struggling learners. The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a proven reading accommodation comprised of human-read audiobooks, student centric features and a suite of teacher resources. Used in more than 17,000 schools, this solution successfully helps students with reading deficits become engaged learners and reach their academic potential.

Learning Ally


Wednesday, March 23, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
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