By Jessica Salfia

We are gearing up for WVELA19 and we couldn’t be more excited!

Let’s be honest, the last few months—heck, the last few years–as a West Virginia teacher have been trying. We’ve listened to our elected officials falsely claim our schools are failing. We’ve spent the last few years advocating and fighting for our profession. We’ve walked in, walked out, lobbied our lawmakers, rallied together, and fought to make public education in West Virginia stronger.

Our work at WVCTE and the creation of this conference is part of that fight.

WVCTE and NWP@WVU know that empowering teachers, providing opportunities for collaboration, and working together to make our classrooms and teaching stronger than ever is one of the powerful weapons we have. This March our second annual WVELA Conference is focusing on creating more diverse and inclusive classrooms.  We hope you will join us for this incredible weekend of learning, collaboration, and empowering conversation.

In addition to the over 50 concurrent presentations from super star teachers from all over the country, you won’t want to miss these featured keynote sessions!

  1. Award Winning YA Author, Kwame Alexander


Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 28 books, including SWING, SOLO, and REBOUND, the follow-up to his, NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. Some of his other works include BOOKED, a NATIONAL BOOK AWARD Nominee, THE PLAYBOOK: 52 RULES TO HELP YOU AIM, SHOOT, AND SCORE IN THIS GAME OF LIFE, and the picture books, OUT OF WONDER, SURF’S UP, and THE UNDEFEATED.

A regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Prize, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. He believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people around the world through THE WRITE THING, his K-12 Writing Workshop. The 2018 NEA Read Across America Ambassador, Kwame is the founder of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the host and producer of the literary variety/talk show, Bookish, which airs on Facebook Watch. He’s led cultural exchange delegations to Brazil, Italy, Singapore, and Ghana, where he built the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded.

  1. Educator, Author, and Past President of NCTE, Jocelyn Chadwick

Joceyln Chadwick

Jocelyn A. Chadwick has been an English teacher for over thirty years—beginning at Irving High School in Texas and later moving on to the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she was a professor for nine years and still guest lectures. Dr. Chadwick also serves as a consultant for school districts around the country and assists English departments with curricula to reflect diversity and cross-curricular content. For the past two years, she has served as a consultant for NBC News Education’s Common Core Project for Parents, ParentToolkit. In June 2015, Chadwick was elected Vice President for the National Council of Teachers of English.

Throughout her career, she has published articles in leading academic journals, presented papers at scholarly conferences, and conducted teacher workshops around the country and abroad. Her many publications include The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, “Making Characters Come Alive! Using Characters for Identification and Engagement,” “Assessment: Our (Re) Inventing the Future of English,” and her April 2015 book, Common Core: Paradigmatic Shift. Summing up her career, Dr. Chadwick says she was born to be an English teacher and will always be one.

  1. Educator and #DisruptTexts co-founder, Tricia Ebarvia

selfie after school

In addition to teaching, Tricia is the co-Director for the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project (PAWLP), a site of the National Writing Project (NWP). A blogger and regular contributor to the “From the Classroom” column on the PAWLP website and monthly to writing has also been published in English Journal, Literacy Today, and Education Week. In May 2016, she was named to the second cohort of Heinemann Fellows, an action-research “think tank” of teachers led by Ellin Keene. In 2018, she co-founded the anti-bias, anti-racist pedagogy effort #DisruptTexts with the goal of advocating for more inclusive and equitable curricula and pedagogies. Currently, she also provides professional development to teachers and school districts in her role as a literacy consultant and teaching fellow with The Educator Collaborative.

  1. The Folger Shakespeare Library and Dr. Peggy O’Brien

Join Shakespeare scholar, educator SUPERSTAR, and Dr. Peggy O’Brien for a deep dive into the language of The Bard. Dr. O’Brien was named the Folger’s director of education in May 2013. A former Folger educator, she established the Library’s education philosophy and the bulk of its programs in the 1980s and led the department until 1994, when she left to become director of education programs for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Most recently, she was the chief of family and public engagement for D.C. public schools and a member of the Chancellor’s leadership team. Dr. O’Brien earned an A.B. from Trinity College, an M.A. from Catholic University of America, and a Ph.D. from The American University. She serves on a variety of boards and advisory committees and is frequently called upon to delivery keynote addresses and papers. Among her publications are the Shakespeare Set Free series published by Simon and Schuster. Her long and distinguished career has brought her numerous awards and honors, including Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Trinity University, Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from Georgetown University, the Public Humanities Award from the D.C. Community Humanities Council, and the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2008 Shakespeare Steward Award. Prior to her first appointment at the Folger, she spent a number of years teaching high school English in the DC Public Schools, and since then has taught undergraduate courses at Georgetown University.

  1. Award Winning Appalachian Author, Ann Pancake

ann pancake.jpg

Ann Pancake grew up in Romney and Summersville, West Virginia. Her second short story collection, Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley, was published by Counterpoint Press in February 2015.

Her first novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been (Counterpoint 2007), features a southern West Virginia family devastated by mountaintop removal mining. Based on interviews and real events, the novel was one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of 2007, won the 2007 Weatherford Award, and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award.

Pancake’s first collection of short stories, Given Ground, won the 2000 Bakeless award, and she has also received a Whiting Award, an NEA Grant, a Pushcart Prize, and creative writing fellowships from the states of Washington, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Her fiction and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies like The Georgia ReviewPoets and WritersNarrative, and New Stories from the South. She earned her BA in English at West Virginia University and a PhD. in English Literature from the University of Washington.

  1. Affrilachian Poet and Speaker, Crystal Good


Crystal Good is a writer poet. Quantum Christian. Tunk player. Libra charmer. Underdog cheerleader.As a member of the Affrilachian (African-American- Appalachian) Poets, she is a featured poet/speaker at universities and colleges. “Valley Girl” is her first book of poetry. The poems explore themes in quantum physics, Appalachian culture, gender equality, and mountaintop removal. Crystal has been published in: Pluck! The Journal for Affrilachian Culture, Appalachian Heritage, The Book of Now Poetry for the Rising Tide, Black Bone, Eyes Glowing At The Edge Of The Woods, Appalachian Rekoning and Global Mountain Regions. Her work is the subject of print and online interviews and articles and she was a speaker at the 2013 TEDx conference in Lewisburg, WV.

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity!

We hope you will join us for this incredible conference, but more importantly, we hope you will join us to add your voice to the conversation about the success in our schools and how we can make West Virginia schools stronger than ever.



WVCTE Excellence in Teaching Award


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