Kelli Harris-Wright, CCC-SP, is a pioneer in the area of bidialectal instruction, and a prominent author, researcher and national presenter. In 1986 Harris-Wright developed the DeKalb County School District’s Bidialectal Communication Program in order to teach non-standard English speaking students standard English oral and written communication skills. The model was recognized as a Center of Excellence by NCTE. She served at DCPS as a Speech Language Pathologist, Title I Federal Programs Coordinator, K-12 Coordinator for Assessment and Accountability, Director for Elementary Teaching and Learning (83 schools), and K-12 Director for Core Content. She was a consultant on the DELV assessment (Pearson), recently retired from the district, and works for the Georgia Department of Education’s Assessment Division. Harris-Wright holds a B.S. in Speech-Language Pathology and Education from Tennessee State University, a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology from Kent State University, and a Specialist Degree in Educational Policy Studies and Leadership from Georgia State University.
Rebecca Wheeler, Professor of English at Christopher Newport University in Virginia, specializes in linguistically-informed approaches to teaching Standard English in urban classrooms. Wheeler, a spokesperson for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), has consulted for public schools K – 14 from New York to New Orleans, and from Chicago and Baltimore to Arkansas. Recent publications include Code-switching Lessons: Grammar Strategies for Linguistically Diverse Writers (Heinemann, 2010), “Fostering Linguistic Habits of Mind: Engaging Teachers’ Knowledge and Attitudes Toward African American Vernacular English” (Language and Linguistics Compass 2010)and “Factoring AAVE into Reading Assessment and Instruction” (Reading Teacher, March 2012). Dr. Wheeler holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, an M.S. degree from Georgetown University, and a B.A. degree from the University of Virginia.
Dr. Connie A. Thompson
Dr. Connie A. Thompson, Principal at the preK-2 Perry Early Learning Center in Ypsilanti, MI, has served in two prior elementary principal roles, and in prior positions worked as a Speech Language Pathologist in school districts in MI, VA, TX, and WA. Between 1998 and 2005, Dr. Thompson co-authored six published research studies with Dr. Holly Craig and Dr. Julie Washington including “Variable production of African American English across oracy and literacy contexts” (Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 2004). Dr. Thompson holds a Ph.D. from Michigan University, and M.A. and B.A. degrees from New Mexico State University.
John R. Rickford
John R. Rickford is the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities, and Courtesy Professor of Education at Stanford University. He is also Vice-President and President Elect of the Linguistic Society of America. His primary specialization is sociolinguistics, including the relation between language variation and ethnicity, social class and style; language change; pidgins and creoles, especially Caribbean English creoles and S. Carolina/Georgia Sea Island Gullah; African American Vernacular English; and the application of linguistics to educational problems. The author of numerous articles, he is the author/co-author, or editor/coeditor of several books, including Dimensions of a Creole Continuum; African American Vernacular English; Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English (winner of an American Book Award); Style and Sociolinguistic Variation; Language in the USA: Themes for the Twenty-First Century; Language, Culture and Caribbean Identity; and African American, Creole, and Other Vernacular Englishes in Education. For additional information, visit www.johnrickford.com
Dr. Sharroky Hollie
Dr. Sharroky Hollie is Executive Director of the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the academic experience of underachieving students. A tenured assistant professor at California State University, Domiguez Hills, Dr.Hollie has served as visiting professor at Webster University in St. Louis and as a guest lecturer at Stanford University. Dr. Hollie co-founded the Culture and Language Academy of Success (CLAS) independent K-8 charter school in Los Angeles. He authored Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom Practices for Student Success (Shell Education, 2011), co-authored (with Dr. Anthony Muhammad) The Skill to Lead, The Will to Teach (Solution Tree, 2011), and contributed to Teaching African American Learners to Read (International Reading Association, 2005). His next book, edited text by Harvard Press, is Proud To Be Different: Celebration of Ethnocentric Charter Schools (2014).
Holly K. Craig
Dr. Holly K. Craig is Emerita Professor of Education and Emerita Research Professor at the University of Michigan. Her 30 year program of teaching and research has focused on improving understanding of the barriers diverse students face in reaching their academic potential. Dr. Craig has published more than 70 journal articles and book chapters and she has published extensively on the positive role of strong oral language skills in classroom success. Her research currently focuses on African American students and their teachers, especially the impact of being a dialect speaker in today’s standardized testing approach to assessing academic achievement. Currently her work is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences and by a private foundation.
Carol McDonald Connor
Carol McDonald Connor is a Professor in Developmental Psychology and Cognitive Science at Arizona State University and a Senior Learning Scientist at the ASU Learning Sciences Institute. Her research focuses on examining the links between young children’s language and literacy development with the goal of illuminating reasons for the perplexing difficulties children who are diverse learners, including children who speak African American English, have developing basic and advanced literacy skills. Awarded the Presidents’ Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE, 2008), the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD, 2009) Early Career Award, and the Richard Snow Award (APA, 2008). She was most recently the lead author on the IES synthesis of research entitled Improving Reading Outcomes for Students with or at Risk for Reading Disabilities: A Synthesis of the Contributions from the Institute of Education Sciences.