2024 TCTELA Annual Conference








Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

3001 Kalahari Blvd.

Round Rock, TX  78665


Group Name: 59th Annual TCTELA Conference


Book your sleeping room here: https://book.passkey.com/e/50617050

Sleeping room group rate: $204/night* (single or double) LIMITED AVAILABILITY

*A limited number of rooms are available at the group rate. Book early to secure your spot! Contact hotel directly to arrange payment for sleeping rooms in advance.



Overflow Hotel:

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Round Rock East

Book your sleeping room here: https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/laquinta/round-rock-texas/

Sleeping room rate:

$159/night* King

$194/night* King suite with sleeper sofa

*A limited number of rooms are available at the group rate. Book early to secure your spot! Contact hotel directly to arrange payment for sleeping rooms in advance.







Penny Kittle teaches first year writers at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She was a teacher and literacy coach in public schools for 34 years.

She is the author of nine books including Book Love, Write Beside Them, and two books co-authored with Kelly Gallagher: 4 Essential Studies and 180 Days.

Penny is the founder and president of the Book Love Foundation, which annually grants classroom libraries to teachers throughout North America. She works beside teachers and leaders across the world to empower young readers and writers. 




Juana Martinez-Neal is the recipient of the 2019 Caldecott Honor for Almaand How She Got Her Name (Candlewick Press), her debut picture bookas author-illustrator. She is also a New York Times-bestselling illustratorrecipient of the 2020 Robert F. Sibert Medal for Fry Bread: A NativeAmerican Story (Roaring Brook), and the 2018 Pura Belpré Medal forIllustration for La Princesa and the Pea (Putnam).

Juana was named to the International Board on Books for Young People(IBBY) Honor list in 2014 and was awarded the SCBWI Portfolio ShowcaseGrand Prize in 2012. She was born in Lima, Peru and now lives inConnecticut with her husband and three children.




Travis Leech is an educator, presenter, and author who is known for his expertise in empowering adolescent writers. As a middle school English Language Arts teacher, he had the good fortune of encountering Jeff Anderson's influential works, Mechanically Inclined and Everyday Editing. These books introduced him to a fresh perspective on grammar instruction, emphasizing the importance of students observing, discussing, and applying grammar concepts found in exemplary writing by young adult authors. Inspired by Anderson's innovative approach, Travis has seamlessly integrated these grammar invitations into his roles as a teacher, gifted and talented specialist, instructional coach, and as a co-author of the Patterns of Power resources for secondary classrooms. He brings his unwavering passion and expertise to empower both educators and students alike.




Kimberly Garza is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Texas, where she earned a PhD in 2019. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Creative Nonfiction, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. A native Texan—born in Galveston, raised in Uvalde—she is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The Last Karankawas is her first novel.




Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author of 39 books, including SWING, BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI, co-authored with James Patterson, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, The Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book, THE UNDEFEATED, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. His newest releases are THE DOOR OF NO RETURN, book one of a new trilogy that is destined to be a game changer, and AN AMERICAN STORY. His memoir, WHY FATHERS CRY AT NIGHT, was released in May, 2023. A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. He is the writer and executive producer of THE CROSSOVER TV series on Disney+.




Dr. Kausalai (Kay) Wijekumar is Houston Endowment Chair, Chancellor’s EDGES Fellow, and Director for the Center for Urban School Partnerships at Texas A&M University. She is a passionate advocate for all children and dedicates her research, development, and dissemination efforts to eradicating illiteracy. She has developed web-based intelligent tutoring systems for reading and writing in English and Spanish. She has further developed and integrated teacher professional development systems using the web-based tools. Dr. Wijekumar's efforts have secured over 80 million dollars in funding to improve reading and writing for all children. Her recent work integrates podcasts for families to encourage reading and writing at home. 


Dr. Debra McKeown is an Associate Professor of Literacy and Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at Texas A&M University. Her research is focused on evidence-based literacy interventions for inclusive classrooms and effective professional development to support the use of these practices. Dr. McKeown believes writing and writing well leads to opportunity and achievement.  She received her doctorate in Special Education from Vanderbilt University. Dr. McKeown also has ten years of classroom teaching in various settings including charter, urban, and international schools. Dr. McKeown is widely published and her work is frequently cited. Dr. McKeown is currently completing a randomized controlled trial to test the impact of professional development for writing and an intelligent tutor on student writing outcomes.  





 Email [email protected] with questions!


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