Candidate Biographies

Candidate Biographies

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The following candidates are running for the indicated offices in the ALAN leadership. Many thanks to the 2015 ALAN Elections Committee for their hard work in this process. Members can cast their votes by clicking here.

 (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)



Melanie Hundley - President-ElectMelanie Hundley, Associate Professor of the Practice at Vanderbilt University, and past co-editor of The ALAN Review, is a passionate advocate for young adult literature (YAL) as vehicle for literacy education.  She discovered the power of young adult literature in the lives of adolescents as a public school teacher in Georgia, and now teaches several related courses at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.  These include a survey course, a course that unpacks issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and two place-based YAL courses in Rome and Berlin.  Her published work focuses on the influences of technology and pop culture on YAL (e.g. Reading with Blurred Boundaries: Digital & Visual Culture Influence on Young Adult Literature) and on the impact of YAL use in the literacy classroom (e.g. Integrating Knowledge and Ideas: Bringing YA Historical Fiction to Life with Informational Texts).  She has explored the power of YAL in presentations at NCTE, ALAN, AERA, NMSA, and MIX.  Her work with future teachers is enhanced by regular interaction with urban adolescents through Patterson RAPS (Read and Play Saturdays), an extracurricular reading program created by Melanie and funded by author James Patterson.


Laura Renzi - President-ElectLaura Renzi has been teaching for 20 years (middle and high school English and social studies and currently teaches methods and YA lit courses at West Chester Univ) and seeks to build safe communities in the classroom.  In her three years as an ALAN board member, she has served as a member of the elections committee, a program consultant for the ALAN conference, and the ALAN state representative for PA. Laura has presented her research on LGBT YA literature at numerous conferences, including NCTE and ALAN. She’ll speak on Bi-Sexuality in Young Adult literature at Outlawed! The Naked Truth About Censorship for Young People Conference in April 2015.  Her work is published in The Language Arts Journal of Michigan and in Young Adult Literature Today, a collection edited by Judy Hayn and Jeffrey Kaplan. Laura’s service includes a 3-year term as GSEA secretary, the Co-chair of Conference on English Education’s methods commission, and Co-chair of the PCTELA, Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English Language Arts conference in October 2015 with the theme “Embracing Diversity.”



Board of Directors

Bryan Gillis - Board of DirectorsBryan Gillis has more than 30 years’ experience in education as an elementary, middle, and high school special education teacher, a 4-8 grade language arts teacher, and a middle school academic coach. Bryan is currently an Associate Professor of English Education and Literacy at Kennesaw State University. His academic journal publications have focused on the integration of young adult literature and media to teach literacy. He is co-author (with Dr. Pam Cole) of Chris Crutcher: A Stotan for Young Adults (Scarecrow Press, 2012) and co-author (with Dr. Joanna Simpson) of Sexual Content in Young Adult Fiction: Reading Between the Sheets (Scarecrow Press, 2015). Bryan is the editor of ALAN Picks, serves on the ALAN Editorial Review Board and for the past four years has served as the director of the Kennesaw State University Conference on Literature for Children and Young Adults.


Jillian Heise - Board of DirectorsJillian Heise is a National Board Certified language arts teacher at the Indian Community School of Milwaukee. Throughout her ten years teaching 7th and 8th graders, her passion for working with adolescents has grown. When she first heard about ALAN, she instantly knew it was the perfect organization to become a part of: combining a love of reading with authors and books that engage students. Jillian has been a member since 2008, attending the workshop every year, and presently serves on the PR Committee. Since 2012, she has presented sessions annually at the NCTE Annual Convention. Jillian was thrilled to become Chair of WSRA’s Children’s Literature Committee in 2014, which creates Picture This! and Just One More Page! master recommendation lists. Jillian shares her thoughts about books and teaching online at Heise Reads & Recommends, Heise Teaches & Writes, and Twitter @heisereads.


Nancy Johnson - Board of DirectorsNancy Johnson is currently professor of Children’s/Young Adult Literature & English Education at Western Washington University where she directs their annual Children’s/YA Literature Conference. Co-author of The Wonder of It All: When Literature and Literacy Intersect and three books on literature circles, Johnson is active in NCTE and ALAN.  At the 2014 ALAN Workshop she presented a session, “Middle School Readers: Celebrating the ‘Young’ in Young Adult Literature,” and moderated the panel “Common Core: Bridge or Barrier” on using vibrant nonfiction books in the classroom. A member of ALAN’s Walden Committee, she also served on the Caldecott (2013) and Newbery (2003) Committees. This past spring she was excited to teach a new undergrad course, “Young Adult Literature Goes to Hollywood.” Johnson’s recent work with teenagers was a three-year stint as an 8th grade language arts teacher at the Singapore American School (2010-2013).


Cindy Minnich - Board of DirectorsCindy Minnich is a high school English teacher at Upper Dauphin Area High School in Elizabethville, Pennsylvania. As a self-described professional development addict, Cindy has worked to find and maintain professional connections through established organizations like the National Writing Project (Teacher Consultant since 2010), NCTE (member since 2009, presenter 2011-2014), and ALAN (member since 2010). She has also contributed to the organization and maintenance of online professional communities including #engchat (August 2010 – December 2011), Nerdy Book Club (December 2011 – present), #titletalk (archivist 2010 – present). Cindy is also a young adult literature fanatic who lives to talk books so it is no surprise that she finds her experiences at ALAN breakfasts and workshops to be among her favorite conference memories. Cindy proud to be the current chair of the ALAN Public Relations Committee.


Kellee Moye - Board of DirectorsKellee Moye is currently in her 9th year of teaching at Hunter’s Creek Middle School in Orlando, FL. She prides herself in her voracious classroom library helping students find the perfect book, and continually growing as an educator. She extends her professional development online including blogging about teaching, books, and reading on her blog, Unleashing Readers, as well as creating and hosting reading/writing workshop chat (#rwworkshop) since 2011. Kellee first attended NCTE and the ALAN workshop in Orlando in 2010 and has attended every year since. In 2011, Kellee was chosen to be on the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award committee and went on to chair the committee in 2013. Kellee has moderated panels at the 2013 and 2014 ALAN workshops. She was a member of The ALAN Review Editor Search Committee in 2013 and now serves on both The ALAN Review Editorial Review Board and the ALAN PR Committee. She hopes she can continue her work with ALAN by being part of the Board.


Kelli Venier - Board of DirectorsKelli Venier is the Youth Services Technician at the Dundee and Maybee Branches of the Monroe County Library System in Michigan. She is responsible for teen and middle school book clubs, and also prepares and presents story times for children of all ages. Kelli also updates blogs and readers advisory that are available to staff and patrons. She has partnered with the alternative high school in Dundee to allow students to participate in library activities. She has presented at local, state and national conferences, most recently at the 2013 ALAN Workshop. Kelli’s presentations provide insight into the world of teens and how to relate to them on a literary level. Kelli is currently acting as a 2015 ALAN Workshop Consultant and is serving on the ALAN Public Relations Committee.