The following candidates are running for the indicated offices in the ALAN leadership. Many thanks to the 2017 ALAN Elections Committee for their hard work in this process. Members can cast their votes by clicking the button below. (Note that you will need your ALAN member number, which can be found to the left of your name on the mailing label for The ALAN Review.)
Steve Bickmore is an associate professor of English Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Director of the Literacy Program; Co-editor of Study and Scrutiny; and editor of Dr. Bickmore’s YA Wednesday. He was formerly a high school English teacher, CEE Executive Committee member (2012-16), CEE Nominating Committee member (2010), and co-editor of The ALAN Review (2009-14). He is a member of NCTE, CEE, ALAN, SIGNAL, AERA, LRA, and AMLE. He has published in English Education, English Journal, The ALAN Review, SIGNAL, Principal Leadership, Teaching and Teacher Education. Dr. Bickmore’s academic career has focused on the research and teaching of young adult literature within the context of race, class, and gender issues. His instructional and research commitments with preservice teachers, practicing teachers, librarians, and community members align with the work and mission of ALAN. Bickmore sees leadership in the organization as an opportunity to serve by supporting and advancing the scholarship surrounding young adult literature. Finally, he believes, as Joan Kaywell frequently states, “Books Save Lives” and thus recognizes that providing access to diverse books, in all its varieties, is the critical work for ALAN and its members.
After teaching and advocating for YAL as a National Board Certified ELA teacher for several years, Dr. Susan Groenke attended her first ALAN conference in the late 1990s as a graduate student under Dr. Patricia Kelly’s tutelage at Virginia Tech. She has been an ALAN fan-girl ever since! Dr. Groenke is currently an associate professor of English Education at the University of Tennessee, where she teaches young adult literature, directs a PhD program in children’s and young adult literature, regularly recruits graduate students and teachers to ALAN, and directs the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Dr. Groenke currently serves on the ALAN Executive Board, and has served on the editorial board for The ALAN Review, chaired the ALAN Award committee, received several ALAN research grants, and published several articles in The ALAN Review. In addition, Dr. Groenke has served as editor of NCTE’s English Leadership Quarterly, has chaired numerous NCTE nominating committees, and is a current member of the NCTE Commission on the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature. With Lisa Scherff, Dr. Groenke co-authored the NCTE publication, Teaching YA Lit through Differentiated Instruction.
Jennifer Ansbach has spent 20 years teaching high school English and using YA to ignite students’ love of reading. In 2013, she was awarded a Hipple Grant to build a community of readers in her high school around Divergent, engaging faculty members from all disciplines along with students. Last fall, Jennifer and her co-vice president of NJCTE coordinated a YA-focused fall conference for the state affiliate. She has been a member of NCTE since 2000 and of ALAN since 2012. Since listening to Laurie Halse Anderson speak in Philadelphia, she has attended most ALAN breakfasts. She has published several articles in English Journal and English Leadership Quarterly. Last year, she was honored to present the Get LIT! Players at the ALAN workshop in Atlanta. For several years, she has been seen early at ALAN helping carry boxes for ALAN attendees.
Helene Halstead received her Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Education from the University of Georgia (UGA). Her research investigated collaborative discussion in an in-school book club. She currently works as program coordinator for the Innovation Initiative in the COE at UGA. She was an editor of the Journal of Language and Literacy Education and served as the 2016 conference chair. She has book reviews in multiple journals and has presented at SLRF, GCTE and ARF. She taught middle-grade language arts and was recognized as the Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School Teacher of the Year, where her passion for helping students become life-long readers inspired her to create the school’s Books-to-Home Library. Helene has been a member of ALAN for five years and has enjoyed volunteering at conferences. She is excited to support ALAN’s future work with her experience and passion for supporting students’ access to literature.
Courtney Johnson has spent more than 40% of her life teaching the kids of inner city Columbus, Ohio. Although that makes her feel old, talking to kids about books every day as a school librarian makes her feel young. She came to her first ALAN Workshop three years ago, and now she reviews manuscripts for The ALAN Review and books for ALAN Picks. In 2014, Courtney’s classroom was the grateful recipient of Penny Kittle’s Book Love Foundation Grant. Courtney is a member of Pink TIGers, a teacher inquiry group that works to make schools safer spaces for LGBTQIA+ students. She is a contributing author on their forthcoming book, Standing Up, and has presented with this group at three NCTE Annual Conferences. As an active member of NEA, Courtney has testified before Congress three times on behalf of teachers and kids.
Nancy Johnson was the kid who turned down a ride home from school so that she could read (and walk) with no interruptions—and the kid who vowed to read every book in the county library. She was the teen who found little connection to required classic texts in classes where response was relegated to exams or prescriptive essays. She was the teacher who made introducing books and authors to her students a priority and who committed to reading aloud, no matter the grade (even graduate students). Now, Nancy is the reader who chooses to read books for young adults, who never misses attending NCTE and ALAN, who served on the Walden Committee, who directs her university’s children’s/young adult literature conference, and who remains committed to YA literature as real literature for all readers, especially teens who don’t think books belong in (or reflect) their lives.
Beth Scanlon, a National Board Certified language arts teacher, has 24 years of high school experience with English language learners and struggling readers. She teaches at Cypress Creek High School in Orlando, Florida. She has cultivated lifelong readers in her classroom and across her campus with the power of young adult literature since 1996. Since 2010 she has made ALAN an integral part of her learning and has not missed a workshop since. In 2014 Beth was chosen to serve on the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Committee and has continued that work for the past three years. She has moderated a panel and given several book talks at ALAN and presented at NCTE several times. Her mission is to increase both access to and appetite for young adult literature in order to foster life-long readers.
Beth Shaum has been teaching middle school language arts for ten years and is now relishing her new role as K-8 librarian at her alma mater, St. Frances Cabrini Catholic School in Allen Park, Michigan. NCTE and ALAN are her professional havens for best practices and keeping current with what books to get into her students’ hands. She is currently serving on ALAN’s Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee and hopes to continue to serve ALAN in other capacities when that tenure is completed.