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Science of Reading Week: Empowering Teachers to Reclaim Their Joy: A Rejuvenation Conversation

Thursday, April 27, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

Presented by Thomas Anderson, Superintendent of New Bedford Public Schools (MA); Jacqueline Greer, Chief Program Officer, Urban Teachers; Dr. Charlene Evans-Smith, Managing Director of Early Literacy, Instruction Partners; and Kerri Larkin, Senior Education Advisor, Education Partnerships
Moderated by Cassandra Wheeler, Senior Manager of LETRS State Success, Lexia Learning

Sponsored by Lexia Learning as part of Science of Reading Week April 24-28. Learn more.

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The last few school years have been tumultuous, leaving teachers with more responsibilities and less support. Educational leaders must act now to rejuvenate teachers so there can be more joy, calm, and learning in classrooms.

Watch Thomas Anderson, Jacqueline Greer, Dr. Charlene Evans-Smith, and Kerri Larkin, all accomplished teachers and educational activists, as they discuss how educational leaders can shift school culture to one that supports and celebrates teachers, resulting in improved student outcomes.

Viewers have the opportunity to hear from educational leaders on the front lines and learn what’s needed now to bring back joy to schools.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to PreK-12 teachers, librarians, school and district leaders, and education technology leaders.

This edLeader Panel is part of Science of Reading Week.

This five-day event, April 24th – 28th, is your front row seat to learn from the brightest minds in the national literacy conversation and your key to unlocking literacy learning for every student. Join us for the week to unpack the science and ensure your students learn to read, write, and speak with confidence.


Thomas AndersonAbout the Presenters

Thomas Anderson is in his fifth year as Superintendent of New Bedford Public Schools, after spending four years as the Superintendent of Randolph Public Schools in Randolph, MA. Prior to Massachusetts, Thomas was an Assistant Superintendent in the Washington D.C. Public School System and was the founding Principal/Executive Director of a charter school in Chicago’s far southside neighborhood of Altgeld Gardens. Thomas spent the bulk of his time as an educator in Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland’s largest school system, where he taught high school English, was a head track and field and cross-country coach, and served as an assistant principal and principal at the high school level. He has led and supervised schools that ranked in the top 2% of US schools nationally and under his leadership student attendance, graduation rates and overall performance on state assessments increased with more students matriculating to colleges and universities. Thomas earned his Master’s degree from Howard University.

Jacqueline GreerJacqueline Greer’s career in education has been rooted in ensuring every student has an effective teacher. She joined Urban Teachers as the D.C. program’s Executive Director, doubling the program’s footprint, and eventually became UT’s national Chief Program Officer. Prior to joining Urban Teachers, Jacqueline worked in talent across D.C. charter and public schools. She earned her B.A. from the University of Chicago and her master’s degree from Harvard University.


Dr. Charlene Evans-SmithDr. Charlene Evans-Smith currently serves as the Managing Director of Early Literacy for Instruction Partners. Dr. Evans-Smith brings a deep commitment to understanding and elevating the process of student learning by cultivating inclusive learning environments, culturally responsive teaching, and racial equity. Serving as a teacher, exceptional education coach, and Director of Interventions and Accelerations for a Washington D.C. charter school, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience accelerating students and systems to reach their highest potential. Dr. Evans-Smith completed her bachelor’s degree in early childhood and master’s in special education from Towson University, followed by a doctoral degree in education policy and administration at The George Washington University. She is currently working to complete her Juris Doctor studying the intersection of education and the law. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading, and spending time with her family.

Kerri LarkinKerri Larkin brings more than 20 years of special education experience to her role as Senior Education Advisor. Kerri began her career teaching secondary language arts and special education at Anacostia High School in Washington, DC Public Schools (DCPS). She left the classroom to become the director of her teacher preparation program, which prepared and evaluated special education teachers in partnership with the George Washington University. Based on her leadership in teacher preparation, Kerri was hired back into DCPS by Michelle Rhee through the Master Educator program. From there, Kerri led special education as the Director for Academic Programs and then Senior Deputy Chief of Specialized Instruction until March 2021.

Kerri leverages her experience in partnership with other district leaders to increase educational equity through meaningful inclusion, evidence-based practice and sustained professional learning. She is a passionate anti-racism advocate with an emphasis on meaningful inclusion and systemic change.

Cassandra WheelerAbout the Moderator

Cassandra Wheeler is a proud “Poet” of the 1990 graduating class at Sidney Lanier High School of Montgomery Public Schools (MPS) in Alabama. In 1994, following undergraduate studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education, Cassandra returned home to MPS and began her career as an educator at Morningview Elementary School. After earning her master’s degree and administrative certification, Cassandra joined the Alabama Reading Initiative, where she authored Alabama’s Reading First Initiative grant and managed Alabama’s statewide DIBELS pilot. In 2004, after serving the children of Alabama for ten years, Cassandra expanded her outreach to impact the life trajectories of students everywhere by joining the (then) Voyager Expanded Learning organization. Now, as the newly merged Lexia Learning, Cassandra serves the organization as the first-ever Senior Manager of LETRS State Success.

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

Join The Science of Reading community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


Lexia® Learning, a Cambium® company, is one of the most impactful and highly respected reading-technology companies in the world. Founded over 35 years ago, Lexia’s research-proven programs help educators deliver personalized reading and language instruction for millions of K–12 students across the world.

Is your reading program informed by the Science of Reading? Why evidence matters Lexia Learning


Thursday, April 27, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT
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