We're excited to announce an excellent line up of 2011 Courage to Risk conference keynote and invited speakers.
- Wilson Buswell
Wilson Buswell is a co-instructor with Christi Kasa-Hendrickson at the University of
Colorado at Colorado Springs in the Education Department. Wilson is a self-advocate
with cerebral palsy who primarily uses his eyes and typing to communicate. Wilson
particularly likes teaching at the university because "Being influential in college
lets me kill lies about disability," (Wilson Buswell, 2007). He is passionate about
justice and equality issues and regularly participates in leadership activities and
conferences related to these topics. Wilson loves adventures, especially things like
river rafting, traveling, provocative lectures, and art and music festivals, including
the annual Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada. Wilson is also a son, a
brother, and a great friend.
- Judi Dodson, M.A.
Judi Dodson, M.A., is a national LETRS trainer, who works with
teachers and administrators of primary, intermediate, and secondary
students. She served for 20 years as a special education teacher,
primarily with children with reading problems, and as an educational
consultant performing diagnostic assessment of learning disabilities.
Judi is currently working on writing activities that can help
classroom teachers develop and enhance their students' oral language
Judi consults with schools, state departments of education, and school
districts on issues related to school change, teacher knowledge, and
literacy achievement. She speaks at conferences and gives workshops on
topics related to reading intervention and activities that support
increasing student achievement. Judi believes that working to empower
teachers with knowledge about literacy can make a real difference in
their work and help them change and enrich the lives of the children
- Dan Florell, Ph.D.
Dr. Dan Florell is an Assistant Professor in the School Psychology
Program at Eastern Kentucky University. He has a Ph.D. in School
Psychology from Illinois State University and is a licensed
psychologist. Dr. Florell has worked for several years as a school
psychologist in the public schools and as a licensed psychologist in
private practice. He has significant experience with bullying
interventions in schools at all age levels and is a nationally known
presenter on cyberbullying.
- Diane German, Ph.D.
Diane German is a Professor at National-Louis University, Chicago,
Illinois. She is holder of the Endowed Chair in Special Education;
funded to support her research in Word Finding. She is an ASHA fellow
and a fellow of the International Academy for Research in Learning
Disabilities. She has conducted research in Word Finding, published
many articles, presented many technical papers, and conducted numerous
state, national, and international seminars in the area of Word
Finding. She is the author of the standard in Word Finding assessment:
the Test of Word Finding - Second Edition (TWF-2), the Test of
Adolescent/Adult Word Finding (TAWF), and the Test of Word Finding in
Discourse (TWFD). Further, she has authored the Word Finding
Intervention Program, Second Edition (WFIP-2 ), a book that provides
intervention procedures in Word Finding and a user friendly trades
book, It's on the Tip of My Tongue, Word Finding Strategies To
Remember Names and Words You Often Forget.
- Jane Healy, Ph.D.
Teacher and educational psychologist, Jane Healy has worked with
students' learning differences from autism to dyslexia to giftedness
(and often more than one of these per child!). Her research has sought
practical applications of brain research for teachers and parents.
Experience includes classroom teacher, reading/learning specialist,
elementary administrator, college professor, and clinician.
International media coverage highlighted her ideas about how
technology, media and culture affect children's brain development and
Award-winning books include: Your Child's Growing Mind, Endangered
Minds, and Failure to Connect. Her newest book is Different Learners:
Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Your Child's Learning Problems.
- Mary E. Morningstar, Ph.D.
Dr. Mary E. Morningstar is an associate professor in the Department of
Special Education at the University of Kansas and Director of the
Transition Coalition, a research and training center for the
transition to adulthood and secondary special education for youth with
disabilities. The Transition Coalition is designed to maximize
transition professional development at national, state and local
levels through online training and technical assistance.
She directs the KU TranCert, (an online graduate certificate program
in transition) and teaches several classes related to secondary
education and transition including vocational training and employment,
and interagency and community services,. Her research interests have
focused on teacher education, online instruction, and supporting young
adults with disabilities and their families during the transition to
Prior to moving to Kansas, she worked as a teacher for students with
moderate and severe disabilities. Through the active involvement of
families, her programs have reflected functional, community-based
practices with an emphasis on inclusion in the mainstream of school
life. Mary has been an active advocate for all persons with
disabilities based on her experiences as a sibling of a brother with
- Ed Steinberg, Ph.D.
Ed Steinberg, Ph.D. is Assistant Commissioner of Education for the
Colorado Department of Education and the State Director of Special
Education. A clinical psychologist by training, Ed's experience
includes working as a school psychologist and as a consultant to
courts and county human service departments. He has also served as a
16 year school board member for Kiowa Schools. a rural district in
eastern Colorado. Prior to joining Colorado state government in 2006,
he was most recently the Executive Director of Special Education for
the Cherry Creek Schools.
- William Van Cleave
Currently, William Van Cleave is in private practice as a teacher
trainer and educational consultant. A nationally recognized speaker,
he has presented across the country on teaching strategies for
students with language-based learning difficulties.
Since 1995, William has conducted presentations and workshops at a
number of public and private schools and conferences around the
country. He has trained teachers in the Orton-Gillingham Approach,
written expression, morphology, and spelling strategies. Because of
his high level of enthusiasm and energy, William particularly enjoys
working with groups, whether it is visiting a school and sharing with
its faculty or presenting at a national conference. His particular
passions are written expression and morphology.
In 2004, William published the first edition of Everything You Want To
Know & Exactly Where To Find It, a reference manual for Orton-
Gillingham teachers and tutors. That publication was followed by a
number of multisensory teaching materials.
During his career as a teacher, William tutored, taught literature and
math, and held several administrative posts in the private school
arena. He now tutors students using the Orton-Gillingham Approach.
William received his B.A. in English and Women's Studies from The
College of Wooster and earned his M.A. in English from S.U.N.Y. New
- Bradley S. Witzel, Ph.D.
Bradley S. Witzel, PhD, is an award winning professor and teacher. As
a classroom teacher and before that as a paraeducator he worked in
multiple secondary settings teaching mainly math and science to high
achieving students with disabilities. Dr. Witzel received his B.S. in
psychology and special education from James Madison University and his
M.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He currently serves as
an associate professor and coordinator of three special education
programs at Winthrop University, South Carolina's flagship teacher
preparation university. In higher education, Dr. Witzel has taught
undergraduate and graduate courses in special and general education
methods as well as a variety of other courses from transition to
behavior support. He has written multiple research and practitioner
articles, books and book chapters and performed on several research
and practitioner videos on improving education. Recently, he served
as a reviewer of the final report of the National Math Panel and
served as a panelist on the IES RtI Math Practice Guide.