Dr. Ron Darvin
Presenting Morning Keynote – Literacy, Technology, and the Evolving Social Landscape
and Afternoon Panel – Social Literacy and the Culture of Learning
Dr. Ron Darvin is a Vanier Scholar of the Language and Literacy Education Department of UBC, and a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Faculty of Education of SFU. Interested in the intersection of technology, education, and social class, he has conducted research on the language and literacy practices of immigrant youth in Vancouver, and has facilitated multiple professional development workshops for various school districts in BC. He is a recipient of the 2017 LSP SIG Emerging Scholar Award of the American Educational Research Association, and a co-recipient of the 2016 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research. 

Donna Kozak
Presenting Workshop – Literacies and Identities: Diverse Ways of Knowing and Making Meaning in the World
Donna has been a teacher for over 30 years beginning her career in the primary grades, then working with middle school students in a literacy intervention program. Donna has spent the last few years as a school district coordinator in early learning and literacy. She is currently a literacy consultant, PhD candidate, researcher and an adjunct instructor at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan, in the area of language and literacy development. Her research interests include action research, multi-literacies, diversity and inclusion, funds of knowledge, home-school connections, critical pedagogy, teacher preparation in literacy and literacy pedagogy in the early years.

Paul Zuurbier 
Presenting Workshop – Our Best Selves: Why we prefer communicating by texts and emails over face to face conversation
Paul is the Executive Director of Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society. One of his major interests is how literacy is influenced by our relationship with technology. While at the University of British Columbia, Paul studied the work of influential media visionary Marshall McLuhan and sees new evidence of Dr. McLuhan’s idiom “The medium is the message” in the proliferation of mental stress in connection with our growing preference for constant on-line communication. Most recently, Paul is following the work of MIT psychologist, Dr. Sherry Turkle.


 Janice Love
Presenting Workshop – Effective Email: Clear Communication that Builds Work Place Relationships
An experienced book and document editor, Janice Love, B.Ed., M.P.S., also leads workshops in plain language writing and how to take charge of your email.

Meredith Rusk
Presenting workshop – Tell Me the Land; Walk Me a Story – How First Nations Memories are linked to the Environment and Presenting Afternoon Panel – Social Literacy and the Culture of Learning
Meredith Rusk is of Echo Dene ancestry.  She lives in the Sewepemc territory in Salmon where she works for the school district as an Indigenous Resource Helping Teacher.  Meredith obtained her Master of Education from SFU Burnaby. Her focus area was around best practices in supporting students of Aboriginal Ancestry.  She is presently working on her PhD program at UBC-Okanagan Campus.

Carolyn Gillespie
Presenting Workshop – Appetite to Play
Carolyn is passionate about teaching, mentoring, coaching and sport. An educator for 20 + years, she enjoys working to help children and adults learn to LOVE movement by encouraging FUN daily activity! She arranges physical literary programs for schools and the local community in an effort to bridge the gap between sport, education and municipal recreation. Carolyn is a Master Coach Developer for the National Coaching Certification program (NCCP) and facilitates Fundamental Movement Skills Workshops (FMS) across the Okanagan. She is also an Appetite to Play Trainer, and enjoys an active lifestyle of hiking, cycling and running in the beautiful Okanagan!

Amanda Turner
Presenting Workshop – Group Interaction and Discovery – Creating New Knowledge
Amanda is a mother of 2 boys, a wife, a first-generation Canadian, and grew up in the beautiful West Boundary region of BC. She has spent the past 13 years in the early years community development sector most recently working with the local Success by 6 initiative with United Way. Amanda has facilitated the process of bringing partners together and gathering diverse perspectives for a variety of projects and purposes. She is passionate about being a lifelong learner and loves seeking out patterns and connections between thoughts and ideas.   

Christopher Stephenson
Presenting Afternoon Panel – Social Literacy and the Culture of Learning
Chris Stephenson is the Head Librarian at the downtown Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library system. Trained in law & legislative librarianship, Chris has also cultivated his teaching and mentorship skillset at home and abroad. He’s a former film industry worker, and his first career was in building sets for feature films and television in Vancouver. Chris is interested in Maker space programming, literacy, community development and social justice issues.  He is a board member of the Kelowna-based international literacy organization NiteoAfrica.org.

Dr. Susan Holtzman
Presenting Evening Keynote – Is screen time a concern in your family?  A new study of Okanagan parents and their young children 
Dr. Susan Holtzman is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia.  Her program of research aims to understand the ways in which social relationships influence our physical and emotional wellbeing, and the ways in which mobile technologies such as smartphones may be impacting our relationships and wellbeing. To learn more about the study or to participate go to familyscreentime.ca

Zak Draper
Presenting Evening Keynote – Is screen time a concern in your family?  A new study of Okanagan parents and their young children 
Zak Draper is a graduate Master of Arts in Psychological Science graduate student at UBC Okanagan. His research includes investigations of media psychology. Currently, Zak is conducting research with Dr. Susan Holtzman and non-profit community partners Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society, Childhood Connections, and the Early Years Partnership, examining the role and impact of screen time on Okanagan families with young children. To learn more about the study or to participate go to familyscreentime.ca

Joanna Cann
Presenting Evening Keynote – Is screen time a concern in your family?  A new study of Okanagan parents and their young children
Joanna Cann has been married for over twenty years and is a mom of three boys, ages eleven, nine and seven. Joanna is passionate about living a balanced life. She pours this passion into the world through her partnership with a nutritional company, through her wordsmith ways on her blog (http://www.beenough.me) and through consciously and lovingly parenting her three boys. Joanna Cann be found sharing her message on Instagram @cannjoanna