The Teacher's Desk

Jacquie's Gold Stars

Clip art image of a gold star

Each month I honor an individual, team, program, school, or piece of legislation that is helping to promote a quality education for kids. I welcome your nomination for this honor, and I will consider thoughtfully any name(s) you recommend. You can use the "Contact " link to make a nomination. Please explain why you think your nominee should be honored, and let me know how I can contact you for verification. And if you're one of a group that has gone the extra mile, tell me about it. It doesn't hurt to blow your own horn once in awhile. And besides, nobody will ever accuse you of bragging because I don't ever reveal the nominator's name.


April's Gold Star goes to...

Kelly Gallagher

Teacher — Writer — Author — Literacy Consultant

photo of Kelly Gallagher

Every time I speak at an ILA conference, teach a literacy workshop, conduct a professional development session or sub in a classroom, I learn something valuable from the teachers I'm supposed to be instructing. Such was the case a couple of summers ago when I was facilitating a three-day literacy workshop, "Pain Free Common Core Writing" in West Salem, Wisconsin.

There were, as expected, numerous references to Lucy Calkins, Ruth Culham, and other experts in the field of student writing, but Kelly Gallagher's name kept popping up as well.

"Who is Kelly Gallagher?" I asked. "I'm not familiar with his work."

Several teachers in the workshop had heard Kelly speak at an IRA (now ILA) conference and had become "Gallagher Groupies." They liked the guy and they admired him. They said he understands kids, and is constantly looking for better ways to reach them. They highly recommended his book, Readicide. I purchased the book shortly thereafter, and was hooked by page 15. Kelly Gallagher is the real deal.

Since 1985 Kelly has devoted himself to the teaching of reading, writing, listening and speaking—first as a high school ELA teacher in Anaheim, California, and then as an author/consultant working with educators around the world. Today, he is considered one of the leading voices in literacy education.

Always in search of a better way, Kelly honed his craft by taking on leadership positions in several key literacy programs, including the California Reading and Literature Project, the South Basin Writing Project at California State University, Long Beach, and the Puente Project, a University of California outreach program that prepares under-represented high school students for transition into universities. For several years, he taught secondary literacy courses as an adjunct professor at California State University, Fullerton, and, most recently, he served as the president of the Secondary Reading Group of IRA.

Inspired by his classroom, mentors and professional development experiences, Kelly has written five books for teachers. His sixth book — In the Best Interest of Students — was released in February.

At least twice a month Kelly travels to school districts and conferences around the world to share his thoughts and insights on literacy education and guide his colleagues toward more effective instruction. Despite his demanding schedule, he remains a dedicated writer. Outside of his work with students and educators, Kelly loves watching baseball, playing with his dog, Scout, reading, hiking and spending time with his family.

One of the workshops ["Reading Tips & Strategies from the Experts"] I am teaching this summer showcases Nancie Atwell, Donalyn Miller, Rafe Esquith, Steven Layne, and Kelly Gallagher. Yes, I'm proud to be a Gallagher Groupie.

smiling star

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