NTCTELA

November 2019 Newsletter

Note from the President—Carolyn Wright, M.A., M.Ed.

I am happy to announce that our NTCTELA Conference will be on June 5, 2020 at the Hurst Convention Center in Hurst, Texas. Our theme this year is “Lifting Voices Through, Reading Writing, and Inquiry.” The conference begins at 8 a.m. and will end at 3:30 p.m. We will again provide lunch as part of your conference fee.


Our keynote speaker will be Hamish Brewer, better known as “the relentless, tattooed, skateboarding principal.” If you weren’t able to attend the International Literacy Association this year in New Orleans, now is your chance to hear him. He will also do one breakout session. Our other breakout presenters will be literacy educators Sonja Cherry-Paul and M. Colleen Cruz and author of Refugee--Alan Gratz. We hope you will join us all again for a wonderful day of learning.


See below for more detailed information on each of our presenters.

Hamish Brewer

Hamish Brewer, better known as “the relentless, tattooed, skateboarding principal will be our keynote speaker.” If you weren’t able to attend ILA, now is your chance to hear him. He has over 20 years’ experience serving as a classroom teacher, administrator, international education director, and consultant. The New Zealand native was named a 2017 National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Hamish’s innovative approach and extensive background in literacy fuels his work on motivation, best practices, and the implementation and use of technology in schools, which he details in his first book, Relentless: Changing Lives by Disrupting the Educational Norm (May 2019).

Sonja Cherry-Paul

Sonja Cherry-Paul, Ed.D., has taught middle school English for twenty years. She is a literacy consultant who served on the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award committee for ten years. Sonja leads presentations about literacy and at national conferences and provides professional development for educators on reading and writing instruction and racial literacy. She is the co-author, with Dana Johansen, of the titles Teaching Interpretation and Flip Your Writing Workshop. In May of 2019, she and Johansen published Breathing New Life into Book Clubs.

Alan Gratz

Alan Gratz is the award winning author of a number of novels for young readers including Refugee, Allies, Grenade, Code of Honor, Prisoner B-3087, and Projekt 1065. His books have been named American Library Association’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Readers, ALA’s Top Ten Sports Books for Youth and Top Ten Historical Books for Youth, and YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Readers and for Reluctant Readers.


Alan’s 2017 best-selling novel Refugee received numerous awards, including the Sydney Taylor Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, a Charlotte Huck Award Honor, the Cybils Middle Grade Fiction Award, and the Malka Penn Award for Human Rights Honor. Refugee was also a Global Read Aloud Book for 2018.


Photo by Wes Stitt

Colleen Cruz

M. Colleen Cruz was a classroom teacher in general education and inclusive settings before joining the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project where she is Director of Innovation. Colleen supports schools, teachers and their students nationally and internationally as a literacy consultant. She is the author of Writers Read Better: Narrative, Writers Read Better: Nonfiction, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, Independent Writing, and A Quick Guide to Helping Struggling Writers. She is also the author of a young adult novel Border Crossing.

Please visit our new website: