Thursday, July 14th Speaker

Gerald Terrell

Gerald knew from the moment Principal Canary Robinson entered his eighth-grade class that he wanted to be a school leader. A little over 15 years later that dream became a reality. For the next 26 years, he faithfully served the teachers, students, and community of Albemarle County as a school leader. In the last decade of his career as a principal, he took on a unique opportunity. The county superintendent asked him to open a new school that would serve students from 18 different neighborhoods. After the first few years, he grew concerned about stagnant reading scores as well as emerging truancy and behavioral issues. Gerald leapt into action. He gathered a group of his lead teachers and sought out to find curricula that could make a difference. They found Core Knowledge. “What happened next,” you may ask . . . You will have to hear Gerald tell it to find out.

Friday, July 15th Panelists

“Supporting Effective CKLA Implementation” Panelists

Joy Cantey

Senior Director of PreK-12 Literacy/MTSS, Guilford County Schools, NC

  • Professional Experience
    Teaching students and training educators (all levels) in literacy instruction
  • Academic Background and special certifications
                    • B.S. in Middle Grades Education & M.Ed. in Special Education
                    • National Board Certification in Literacy (served on state-level committees for literacy)
                    • District certified LETRS trainer
  • Professional Experience with Core Knowledge
    Part of the team that led Guilford County Schools in implementing high-quality curriculum in kindergarten through English IV (e.g., CKLA, American Reading Company [ARC], and myPerspectives)

Susan Kraft 

Instructional Coach/Consultant, Milwaukee, New Berlin and Oak Creek school districts, WI

  • Professional Experience
    Literacy Coach for Milwaukee Public Schools (2005–2022)
  • Academic Background and special certifications
    Special Ed. and Regular Ed. Licenses, M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction, and WI Reading License
  • Professional Experience with Core Knowledge
    Led implementation and teacher training for the Skills and Knowledge Strands in 40 schools (2013–2022)

Favorite part of CKLA:
Project Based possibilities!

Alexis Mays-Fields

Special Education Coach, Center City Public Charter Schools

  • Former Special Education Teacher (2006–2018)
  • Taught, coached, and developed professional tools for CKLA (2012–2018)


Favorite part of CKLA:

Project Based possibilities!

Adrienne Williams

Director, Student Achievement Partners

  • Former teacher (G1, G3)
  • Taught, coached, and developed professional learning to support CKLA (First Edition)
  • Currently focusing on adapting and aligning literacy materials, like CKLA, to culturally relevant frameworks

Favorite part of CKLA:
Knowledge building within the domains & bringing the curriculum to life in creative, engaging ways

“Common Implementation Trends and Lessons Learned” Panelists

Lari Dean

Principal, Riverside Unified School District

  • Professional experience (28 years)
    Served as classroom teacher, categorical program specialist, assistant principal, and principal
  • Academic background
    A.S., B.A. in Liberal Studies, M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction, M.A. in Education Administration, Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
  • Professional experience around Core Knowledge
    Pioneered the Core Knowledge program in Riverside Unified School District. Led a failing school to become a Core Knowledge School of Distinction, Title I Achieving School, and a California Gold Ribbon Award recipient (2011-2019)

Favorite thing about Core Knowledge:
The rigorous, robust, and well-rounded program makes teaching and learning fun again!

Stephanie Musser

Founder and CEO, Candeo Schools, Inc. (est. 2008)

  • Academic background
    Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation
  • Professional experience around Core Knowledge
    15 years of leading and training in Core Knowledge K–8 schools 


Favorite thing about Core Knowledge:
The beautiful and invigorating culture that forms around a shared love for knowledge for its own sake among students and staff.

Christie Olsen

Professional Development Coach Lake Havasu Unified School District

  • Former Elementary School Teacher (grades 4–6)
  • National Board Certified Teacher, MC-GEN
  • Arizona Master Teacher
  • Learning Forward Academy Graduate
  • 30 years of experience serving students in public Title I schools
  • Supported the full implementation Core Knowledge in grades PK-8 (2021-2022)

Favorite thing about Core Knowledge:
Providing all students, regardless of background, the shared knowledge they need to be college, career, and community ready.