2024 Conference Details
February 29-March 1, 2024
Convention Center Hotel
Participants will leave Pump Up Primary with a toolbox full of research-based solutions to be used in the classroom ASAP. Illinois ASCD speakers have designed their sessions to align with current best practices in the ever-changing classroom!
1. Open the program booklet by clicking the link below or on the image to the right.
2. Pick two topics from each session time. Write these down! You will need these choices for registration.
3. Choose the correct registration method. Hardcopy works best for groups and purchase orders. Online is easier with credit cards.
4. Submit the forms and save your confirmation email!
5. Reserve your hotel room.
6. Count down the days until February 29th.
Quick links (click the text or image)
Meet the 2024 Featured Speakers
Kim taught kindergarten for 30 years and now works as a national presenter. Focusing on developing a curriculum that incorporates child-centered activities, she emphasizes the fun of kindergarten. Kim has been selected as an expert teacher, and she serves as a teacher mentor. She has a Specialist Degree in Early Childhood Education as well as an At-Risk Endorsement. Kim has authored many teacher resources that are available on teacherspayteachers.com and kindergals.blogspot.com.
Mary has enjoyed 14 years in the kindergarten classroom, where she enthusiastically uses technology and hands-on activities to engage her little learners. She loves sharing the ideas, activities, and tools that have worked with her own kindergartners through her blog, Sharing Kindergarten. She is committed to instilling passion in teachers because she believes that passion is truly the secret to increasing learning and achievement.
Becky is a past President of the American Booksellers Association, where she served on the board for seven years. She is also past President of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Association of Booksellers for Children. Anderson’s Bookshops won the Publisher’s Weekly Bookseller of the Year Award in 2011. She has been a children’s literature consultant and book buyer for over 35 years. Putting the right book in the right child’s hand is her lifelong goal. Her family business has won numerous awards both locally, statewide, and nationally; including the Illinois Family Business of the Year in 2002 by Loyola University.
Keri Brown is a kindergarten teacher in central Alabama. She has taught for 13 years in Kindergarten and First Grade. She loves traveling, meeting other teachers, and creating resources for her students. She is obsessed with all things technology and loves teaching binders and how to use them. Reading picture books, crafting in the classroom, and enjoying being a classroom family are a few of her favorites. In her free time, Keri loves sharing her teaching adventures on her Instagram, Enchanted Kinder Garden (http://www.instagram.com/enchantedkindergarden).
Holly is a full-time educator who has over 20 years of experience teaching kindergarten and serving as an early literacy specialist. She currently has the very unique opportunity of teaching both beginning readers AND pre-service teachers in her new position as a Professor of Reading Science, teaching both in the college classroom and in the university’s science of reading pre-k -4th-grade model school program. Holly is passionate about student engagement, differentiated instruction, early literacy, and educational neuroscience. She is currently wrapping up her Ph.D. in Reading, Language, & Literacy with a specialization in Educational Neuroscience and loves helping teachers better understand exactly how the brain learns when beginning to read and write. Professionally, her mission is to teach EVERY child to be a proficient reader and writer, including those with dyslexia and/or other learning challenges. Outside of the classroom, her mission is to help teachers bridge the gap between research and practice in fun and engaging ways.
Jim Gill is a musician and author with singular credentials among children’s artists. Jim spent twenty years directing programs in music play for families with children with special needs in the Chicago area. His particular writing style—combining wordplay and movement opportunities into songs—was developed through this work. Jim completed his graduate studies in child development at the Erikson Institute of Chicago with a special emphasis on the study of play. His work experience and studies have led Jim to create each of his recordings and books as an opportunity for playful interactions between a child and a caring adult.
LeAnna Wolkis Goldstein is an energetic and passionate Kindergarten Teacher from
Arizona with over 25 years of teaching experience. She earned her Bachelor’s degree
from Arizona State University, a Master’s Degree from NAU, an Early Childhood
Endorsement, and achieved the rigorous advanced credentials of National Board
Certification. While teaching in her award-winning classroom, The “Wolkis Wonderland,”
she designs mini hands-on center-based stations that are brought to life with novel
realia. As a Nationally Recognized Presenter, LeAnna empowers educators to create
cooperative learning environments utilizing music, movement & manipulatives that foster
100% student engagement. Watch how she promotes exploration and encourages her
Classroom Family to develop their imagination by following along inside LeAnna’s magical
experiences on Instagram: @wolkiswonderland Twitter: @WolkisWondersand her website: Wolkis Wonders.
Jackie is an enthusiastic preschool teacher with over fourteen years of classroom teaching experience in full- and half-day settings. She is from Missouri where she earned a Masters and Bachelors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Maryville University. Her goal is to help you unleash your teaching superpowers! Jackie’s passion is to inspire you with play-based activities, themed centers and supports that nurture and challenge little learners in a caring classroom community. In addition to teaching, she is the teacher-author and CEO behind Pocket of Preschool and loves to share her passion with other educators.
Kimberly Jordano has incorporated over 30 years of teaching experience into her kindergarten classroom. A teacher and language arts mentor in the Los Alamitos School District in California, Kimberly holds a master’s degree in English as a Second Language (ESL). Kimberly is a full-time kindergarten teacher in Los Alamitos California. Kimberly is a national teacher presenter and teacher blogger. You can find her posts daily on both Instagram and her Facebook pages Kinderbykim. Kimberly‘s kindergarten blog is kinderbykim.blogspot.com and has fans all across the world! You can find all of her creative teacher resource materials on Teacherspayteachers.com/kinderbykim. Kimberly’s goal is to keep the joy in kindergarten while teaching the standards in a meaningful child-centered way.
Melissa has been a dynamic classroom teacher (Michigan and Texas; 2000-2008), a state-level Literacy Specialist (Texas; 2008-2012) a Professional Learning Designer for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DC; 2012-2014), and a K-12 ELAR and SLAR Specialist (Texas; 2014- 2015). She currently works full-time alongside her team of literacy staff developers to run Leach Literacy Training from her home state of Texas. It is Melissa’s life work to make an impact on student achievement. Leach Literacy blends the research and knowledge of best practices and hands-on application to real-life classroom settings. Melissa’s desire to reach more students is happening, one teacher, and one training, at a time.
Dr. Mike Lockett is a highly recognized educator. He served 33 years as a public school teacher and award-winning administrator in the state of Illinois. He has conducted over 4000 programs across 32 states and in 17 countries. His programs have included 26 tours of Taiwan and 15 of China where he has perfected his techniques of using "Story Play" to teach English as a Foreign Language to young children. He is the author of 17 children's books and a YA Novel here in the USA, as well as 11 children's books in Taiwan.
Marsha McGuire is a kindergarten teacher in Cadillac, Michigan where she has accumulated over 15 years of teaching in early childhood classrooms. Her undergraduate degree was completed at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her graduate degree was in Early Childhood Education with a focus on Differentiated Instruction at Grand Valley State University. Marsha is also the author and creator behind the blog, A Differentiated Kindergarten where she shares ideas, activities, and products. Her blog has become an avenue to aid other instructors in developing practical, developmentally appropriate and differentiated instructional strategies in their own classroom.
Katie has taught kindergarten for more than 14 years and has a passion for creating fun, hands-on lessons and meeting the needs of all students. As a student who struggled through school, she truly understands that every student has different needs and learning styles. Katie has an MA in Education and also earned an additional 24 hours through a STEM grant. She loves to share her ideas and teaching experiences on her award-winning blog, littlekinderwarriors.com, or on social media @littlekinderwarriors.
Crystal Oswald is a district service coach in the North Shore of Chicago. She works with a variety of schools as an instructional coach with an emphasis on Social Emotional Learning and literacy. Prior to this position, she was an SEL Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for 3 years and an elementary school teacher (grades 1-5) for 14 years. In her spare time, you can find her hanging out with family and friends, reading, golfing, or doing home improvements.
Adam Peterson is an educator, speaker, author, and vlogger most known for his YouTube channel, Teachers Too. A kindergarten teacher with over 13 years in the classroom, Adam now dedicates his time to helping teachers create meaningful and engaging experiences for their students! He's on a mission to make classrooms as fun as possible to ensure every day is the best day ever in school!
Niki Spears is an Author, Expert Eduprenuer, and Chief Culture Cre8or who is traveling the country helping educators embrace a healthy, vibrant, and inspirational mindset. She understands how one person's energy can impact an entire team and is leading the charge to help others become aware of how they are showing up at work and in life! Niki left her job as a school principal in July 2016 and since then has empowered more than 100,000 students and educators across the country through her motivational books, talks, and seminars. Niki's book, The Beauty Underneath the Struggle ~ Creating Your B.U.S. Story reinforces her message of seeing the opportunity in every challenge and encourages readers to take ownership of the pencil of life so that they can create their masterpiece. Thousands of educators and school leaders have enjoyed the warmth, humor, and transformational power of Niki's self-development events.
Hilary Statum is a kindergarten teacher in Middle Tennessee with 15 years of experience, at the same school she attended as a child. is the author of Pencils to Pigtails, a popular blog for parents and teachers. Her first published book entitled “Solar System for Kids” was released on May 26th, 2020. Hilary is also a Featured Presenter at regional and national educational events held around the country. She holds a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership and enjoys coordinating and teaching her school district’s free parent English class. Her favorite days are spent with her two young girls and baby boy, husband, parents, siblings, and the rest of her very large extended family. You can connect with Hilary on all social media platforms using the handle @pencilstopigtails.
Dubbed “the Pied Piper of children’s music,” “Miss Carole” Stephens is a nationally renowned music specialist. Her cross-curricular music and guidance techniques instantly invite all audiences from the youngest child to the oldest adult to join in singing, dancing, and rhythmic movement. Miss Carole has been teaching music to children 1 - 6 years old since 1989. Through her company, Macaroni Soup!, she travels across the US presenting concerts for children and families, and workshops for" Early Childhood professionals. www.MacaroniSoup.com
Greg has been teaching for 15 years. He spent a year teaching fifth grade, two years in second grade, and is now in his 11th year of Kindergarten, which he’s determined is his calling and passion. He received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and ELL certification from David Lipscomb University. In 2015 he was selected as Teacher Of The Year. When not in the classroom, Greg enjoys blogging and doing all things teaching. His husband (known as The Mister online) is a large part of his blog, social media, and their conference, ELEVATE. They recently added a daughter Adelynn to their family and complete the fam with their dog, Butters.
Christina (Miss DeCarbo) is a literacy coach, national presenter, and curriculum author from Northeast, Ohio. After teaching for over ten years, she currently works as her district’s PreK-5 literacy coach. Her research-based sessions are packed with engaging lessons and creative tools to help students reach their greatest potential as readers, writers, and problem-solvers. Christina is the curriculum author of best-selling literacy intervention materials and loves collaborating with educators on Instagram @missdecarbo. As a mom of two, she enjoys spending time with her family when she is not at school. You can learn more about Christina on her website at www.missdecarbo.com.
Deedee began her teaching career in San Diego where she taught at a school with 96% second language learners. After several years of teaching second grade, she became her district’s literacy coach. She helped to train and implement balanced literacy to the K – 2 staff but found she missed the classroom and returned to teach Kindergarten. She runs the popular blog www.mrswillskindergarten.com.