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Science of Reading Week: District Administrators: Create an Ecosystem for Science of Reading Instruction

Wednesday, March 27, 2024 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

Science of Reading Week: District Administrators: Create an Ecosystem for Science of Reading Instruction

Presented by Ebone N. Johnson, Supervisor, Literacy and Library Services, Columbus City Schools (OH); Micki Ray, Chief Academic Officer, Office of Teaching and Learning, Kentucky Department of Education; and Kerri Larkin, Senior Education Advisor, Lexia
Moderated by Cassandra Wheeler, Director of LETRS State Success, Lexia

Sponsored by Lexia Learning

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Between stagnating student achievement and the imperative to support and retain effective teachers, district leaders are more concerned than ever about identifying curricular literacy resources that are accessible, research proven, and impactful for all students. That’s where the Science of Reading comes in.

Constantly seeking to balance the needs of students and educators alike, district administrators are uniquely positioned to cultivate learning ecosystems where Science-of-Reading-based instruction can flourish. This edWebinar with education experts seeks to break down the “why” and the “how” of Science-of-Reading-based instruction for leaders at the district level. Discussion topics include:

  • Designing curricula aligned to Science-of-Reading-based training teachers receive
  • Creating an ecosystem of educators—principals, coaches, interventionists—with a shared vision of literacy instruction based on the Science of Reading
  • Hiring teachers from prep programs committed to the Science of Reading and providing professional development opportunities grounded in evidence-based, research-backed literacy instruction

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

This edWebinar is part of Science of Reading Week.

Ebone Johnson

About the Presenters

Ebone Johnson is the current Supervisor of Literacy and Library Services for Columbus City Schools. In this role, she is responsible for the district’s K–12 Library Services program for 110 schools, along with supporting literacy curriculum and professional development for 75 K–5 schools. Under her tenure the Library Services program has been able to increase the number of diverse books available to students through the We Need Diverse Books CCS initiative.

Ebone is passionate about providing educators with engaging and high-quality professional learning experiences. She is a local, state, and national presenter focusing on topics such as literacy, trauma, and leadership. Ebone has served over 20 years in public K-12 education. She is a former elementary teacher and elementary principal. She received her undergraduate degree from Wright State University, and her master’s in educational administration from The Ohio State University.

Micki Ray

Micki Ray assumed her new role as Kentucky Department of Education’s Chief Academic Officer in September 2021. In this role, she serves as a leader for policy development (both legislative and regulatory) for improving instruction and learning in K-12 schools. Her job also entails leading the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) staff and providing oversight and direction for statewide initiatives in standards development and implementation, high-quality professional learning, high-quality instructional resources, instructional practices related to scaling highly effective teaching, assessment practices, early learning, MTSS, grant programs, and Title II, Part A.

Micki has been at KDE for six years, previously serving as a literacy consultant for program standards and as a policy advisor for OTL prior to her work as Director of the Division of Program Standards. A second-generation educator whose mother is a retired elementary school teacher, Micki has an additional 15 years of service in Kentucky public education working as a high school English teacher. She also was an adjunct English instructor at Hocking College in Ohio. Micki earned her master’s degree in education from the University of Kentucky and graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown College with a bachelor’s degree in English and minors in history and sociology.

Kerri Larkin

Kerri Larkin brings more than 20 years of special education experience to her role as Senior Education Advisor for Lexia Learning. Kerri began her career teaching secondary language arts and special education at Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C. 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 Wheeler

About 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, at Lexia, Cassandra serves the organization as Director of LETRS State Success.

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

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Lexia®, a Cambium Learning Group company, is the Structured Literacy expert. For nearly 40 years, the company has focused solely on literacy, and today provides science of reading-based solutions for both students and educators. With robust offerings for differentiated instruction, personalized learning, assessment, and professional learning, Lexia helps more learners read, write, and speak with confidence. For more information, visit

Literacy is a civil right

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