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ADVISORY BOARD

Literacy leaders advise the Board of Directors on the foundation's continued work to support teachers who engage all students in a joyful sustained love of reading

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JENNIFER CONNOLLY

Jennifer is a teacher at Granite City High School, in the metro-east St. Louis area where she's been working with students grades 9 - (mostly) 12 since the fall of 2000. She is committed to lifelong learning, improvement for student writers, and helping kids become lifelong readers by providing choice, access, time, and guidance through an inclusive and carefully curated classroom library experience. A Book Love grant winner in 2016 & 2021, she has also served as a volunteer each and every summer of the Book Love Foundation Summer Book Club.

With an MA in English (teaching of writing) from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and post-graduate work in curriculum and instruction, Jennifer teaches both high school courses in multi-cultural literature and writing - high school and dual credit college first-year comp. She presents regularly at conferences and workshops, most notably having presented at NCTE alongside educators and authors including Tom Romano, Shawna Coppola, Travis Crowder, and Brendan Kiely and serves as district leader and executive board member for the Illinois Association Teachers of English.

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LYNN HAGEN

Lynn is a language arts teacher in Columbia, Missouri, and has spent almost 30 years in the classroom. After a decade in high school, she recently returned to middle school, which feels like home. She is dedicated to choice reading, and her classroom library is the heart of her instructional practices. She is constantly revising and updating its content so that every child becomes a reader.

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DR. SAWSAN JABER

Dr. Jaber is a global educator, presenter, equity strategist, curriculum designer, community activist and keynote speaker of 20+ years. She has held a variety of leadership positions both in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Jaber is currently a high school English Department Chair, District Equity Leader, and teacher at Maine West High School in Park Ridge, IL.

Dr. Jaber founded Education Unfiltered Consulting and works with schools nationally and internationally. She completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on inclusion and belonging of students from marginalized communities, with a focus on Arab American students in historically homogenous communities. Dr. Jaber was one of the ten finalists for Illinois State Teacher of the year. She was awarded the Cook County Teacher of the Year in 2023, ISTE 20 to Watch Award for 2023, and IDEA Teacher of the Year in 2022.

 

Dr. Jaber is a Board Director of Our Voice Alliance (OVA) charged with amplifying the voices of teachers of color to create more equity for students of color. Additionally, she is one of the founders of the Arab American Education Network (AAEN). Dr. Jaber is a member of the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Community Leader Network and a member of NCTE’s Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English.

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DR. LAQUITA OUTLAW

Dr. LaQuita Outlaw has been an educator for more than two decades. Prior to becoming the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Outlaw was the principal of Bay Shore Middle School located in Suffolk County for over 15 years. Dr. Outlaw began her career as an English Language Arts teacher in Bay Shore and for the New York City Department of Education. She served as an adjunct professor at St. Joseph's College, working with graduate students on reading development. Her expertise in literacy and administration are shared with colleagues through her involvement with several professional organizations.

Dr. Outlaw holds degrees from Queens College and Doctoral degree from St. John's University. She has been recognized by local politicians, several organizations, and local universities. Her passion for independent reading has inspired educators across the state. Dr. Outlaw can be reached on X (Twitter) @DrLOutlaw.

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SARAH ZERWIN

Sarah's career as an educator started with student teaching at Abraham High School in Denver, CO, in January of 1996. Since then, she has taught in Washington State, Illinois, and Colorado, both high school and university methods classes. She is proud to be public school educated, K through PhD. Sarah has taught at Fairview High School in Boulder, CO since 2007, where she works continually to cultivate a classroom where students feel safe to be who they are so they can take the risks necessary to grow as readers and writers.

Sarah's first book, Point-Less: An English Teacher's Guide to More Meaningful Grading, came out in March 2020. She enjoys conversations with colleagues across the country who are working toward more equitable and humanizing grading practices. She is currently working her second book about instructional practices in the ELA classroom that put students out front, driving the work.

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