Professor, Reading, Language, and Literature
Director, High Five Literacy Program
College of Education, Wayne State University
The Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL) is an initiative of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School
Supervisor, K-12 Literacy
Detroit Public Schools Community District
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
Fisher Building 9th Floor
3011 West Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48202
Director of Partnerships and Training, SOAR Detroit
Director of Education Programs, Detroit Institute of Arts
18025 Brock Street
Detroit, MI 48205
Representative, Michigan House District 20
Author, Educator, Interactive Storyteller, Workshop Presenter
Gwendolyn Lewis, award-winning Media Specialist/Librarian and Administrator, worked over 38 years in the Detroit Public School System. She has an Educational Specialist in Administration and a Masters of Science in Library Science.
She claims the title of “Ambassador of Family Literacy”. Gwen has been searching for another way to motivate children to read besides the book she authored, Plant A Seed…Read, 101 Activities To Motivate Children To Read.
Gwendolyn finally found her niche. “Interactive Storytelling”. Storytelling is her way of bringing life to stories and biographies. While she educate others through storytelling, she educates herself. She involves her audience in interactive storytelling with props, repetition and/or participation.
Thru her company, Let’s Hear It Again..With Gwen, she shares stories throughout Michigan and parts of United States to grades K-8 students, civic organizations and public libraries. Her storytelling genre includes multi-cultural, themed, and kindness stories. Gwen also gives narrations of Coretta Scott King and Maya Angelou.
She is a member of Detroit Story League and Detroit Association of Black Storytellers.
Her favorite saying: “Come Children, Come…It’s Time to Hear A Story…Where Do They Come From…They Come From Everywhere…They Come From Every Where”.
Pam retired as Public Relations Director at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2017 after 33 years with the museum. While there, Pam helped form a Community Relations committee and actively sought to make personal connections with various underserved (by the museum) populations in the metro Detroit area, specifically Arab Americans, Chaldeans and Latinx.
Over the years Pam has volunteered for several organizations, among them:
CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocate
Dominican Literacy Center
Freedom House Detroit
Detroit Animal Care and Control
Gleaners Food Bank
Capuchins: Earthworks Farm; Rosa Parks Children and Youth Program
Volunteers of America Veterans Housing Program
On a personal note, Pam has a son who is a pilot, and working in Japan where he lives with his wife and her extremely wonderful granddaughter. She has been to Japan more than a dozen times, and enjoys the country’s beauty and culture.
Director, Detroit Children’s Museum
Charles has worked as a facilitator of math and science education for 30 years, initially at Dixon Elementary Middle School in the Detroit Public Schools / Detroit Public Schools Community Districts and currently as the Director of The Detroit Children’s Museum (DCM).
As the director of the DCM, Charles has the great honor to work alongside 5 other educators while serving the DPSCD families, educators, and most especially the beautiful children. DCM exists BECAUSE of them, not for them. Services include, but assuredly are not limited to, the provision of field trips to the museum, outreach programs conducted at the schools, and through the loaning of historical artifacts to DPSCD educators for the enhancement of their lessons (providing primary contact engagements connected to literacy). All services are purposely driven by local, state, and national curriculum standards while integrating the arts. DCM has evolved over the years to include 6th grade ‘Night at the Museum’ and Family Saturday Events. DCM is currently charged with the care, maintenance, and assist with the filling of the FREE Little Libraries located at most of the DPSCD schools. DCM has shared 50,000 books with clients since January 2018, through the collaboration with Detroit, Birmingham, Dearborn, Royal Oak, Hazel Park, and Bloomfield Township Public Libraries, Northville Public Schools, and private donors.
Charles is a proud graduate of Eastern Michigan University and Lawrence Technological University. He has lived in the Detroit Metro Area his entire 55 years.
Finally, Charles reads two quotes every day to keep him focused and purposed on the service of others.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I shall do.” --Edward Everett Hale
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’” –Martin Luther King Jr.
Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
Associate Professor, Curriculum Studies
Wayne State University
K-8 School Counselor, Detroit Public Schools Community District
Yaa Maisha Smith-Sparks graduated from Central Michigan University with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in 2000. She received her Master of Education Degree with a concentration in Guidance and Counseling from Florida A & M University two years later. She also received her Post-Secondary Degree in School Administration from Eastern Michigan University. Yaa has worked as an Elementary School Teacher, Reading Specialist, Instructional Coach, K-2 Dean/Administrator and now a School Counselor. Yaa’s education philosophy and expectation is simple: that all children are unique and must and should have a stimulating educational environment in which they can grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.
Executive Director/CEO, Pro-Literacy Detroit
Margaret Williamson is Chair of LaunchDETROIT, created by Rotary District 6400 in 2012 to support and develop entrepreneurs and small businesses in under-resourced communities in the Detroit region by providing access to business loans, business development services, and networking opportunities. LaunchDETROIT has graduated 28 entrepreneurs, 21 women, and 7 men. With a Global Grant from Rotary International, the Detroit Club, and Toronto Sunrise expanded this project to include the cities of Taylor and Trenton. There are currently 13 entrepreneurs participating in this new Group Lending Model Pilot Project.
Margaret is the Rotary District 6400 Assistant Governor Area 1 2017-22, Past President of the Detroit Rotary Club 2013-14, Secretary of the Detroit Rotary Foundation 2011-17, and is a Member of the Board of Trustees at the Presbytery of Detroit.
Since 2001, Margaret has served as Executive Director/CEO of Pro-Literacy Detroit, an organization that provides literacy remediation and tutorial services for adults 16 and older.
Margaret, a life-long Detroiter, graduated from Northern High School, Wayne State University, B.S. Business Administration, and Central Michigan University, MA Management and Supervision. She has received City, State, County, and Federal Awards for coalition building locally, and internationally.
Secondary Media Specialist, Northville Public Schools
Shannon Torres is a School Library Media Specialist in Northville Public Schools, Michigan. In 2001 she received her B.S in English as well as a teaching certificate from Madonna University, Livonia, MI. In 2007, while working as an English teacher in Wayne Westland Community School District she completed her M.S in Library and Information Science at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, and accepted a position with Northville Public Schools as a media specialist at Meads Mill MS. She was selected to be a member of the 2017 Lilead Fellow cohort, a joint project with University of Maryland and Old Dominion University that focused on leadership and the process of transformational change within an organization. Within the MAME organization she served on the joint MDE Literacy Task Force and the Administrators ToolKit. In 2020, Shannon was elected to MAME President-elect.
Honors College, Wayne State University
Executive Director, Hope Network’s Michigan Education Corps
Holly Windram, PhD, is the Executive Director of Hope Network’s Michigan Education Corps Reading Corps and Math Corps programs. Since 2012, MEC started with K-3 Reading Corps and expanded to PreK Reading Corps growing from 17 to 65 schools across Michigan reaching almost 3000 kids, and secured $7,500,000 in state funding. In fall 2017, Michigan was chosen as the first pilot replication state for Math Corps serving students in grades 4-8 to be algebra ready by 9th grade. Holly is the Chair of Grand Rapids Chamber Education and Workforce Development Committee and the KCTC Teacher Advisory Committee. She serves/has served on the Advisory Board for the Literacy Center of West Michigan, Education Trust-Midwest Early Literacy Workgroup and Education Advocates, Talent 2025 K-12 Education Workgroup and Early Childhood Workgroup, Launch Michigan Literacy Workgroup, and the Muskegon Literacy Coalition.
A Michigan native, Holly attended Michigan State University completing dual undergraduate degrees in Psychology and English. She then received her doctorate in Educational Psychology (2005), and her PreK-12 Administrative License (2006) at the University of Minnesota. Holly worked for eleven years at the St. Croix River Education District (SCRED) in Rush City, Minnesota. The models for Reading Corps and Math Corps were created at SCRED, and are now led by Reading Corps Math Corps, Inc. serving over 38,000 age 3-grade 3 children in Minnesota, and being replicated in 15 states.
In her first five career years, Holly was a School Psychologist focusing on middle and high school at-risk students, and an invited member of the SCRED RtI/MTSS Leadership Team, which provided technical assistance to six member districts and over 20 schools. During this time, Holly was a lead architect for creating and implementing an RtI/MTSS framework in these secondary schools at a time when there were no models or research. Holly was subsequently promoted to the Assistant Director of Special Education and then to the Director of Special Education positions. Holly was also a statewide trainer for School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) through the Minnesota Department of Education. In the spring of 2010, Holly was recruited and hired as the Chief Education Officer for the Grand Rapids Christian School District in Grand Rapids, Michigan for three years before transitioning to her current position.
Holly is a nationally recognized leader for RtI/MTSS implementation for both academics and social/behavior with an emphasis on middle and high school applications. She consults and presents nationally on data-based decision-making across multi-tiered service delivery models for preschool-grade 12, implementation integrity within MTSS, and evidence-based intervention for tier 2. Holly was an adjunct faculty for three years Michigan State University teaching a year-long graduate level course on assessment and intervention for the School Psychology program. She is a consultant for Illuminate Education on FastBridge Learning™ . Holly is the lead author of How RtI Works in Secondary Schools: Building a Framework for Success (Solution Tree), and a co-author on the chapter “Secondary Level RtI Implementation” in The Handbook of Response to Intervention: The Science and Practice of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (Springer Science, Inc).
Director of Education, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
As Director of Education at Charles H. Museum of African American History, Reggie Woolery oversees a talented team of educators who engage visitors through performance, hands-on STEAM classes and exhibition tours. He is a Cornell University Society for the Humanities fellow and Whitney Museum of American Art ISP graduate. Reggie received his BFA from Parsons School of Design and an MPS from New York University Tisch School of the Arts Interactive Telecommunications Program.
He has curated film video programs for Images Festival Toronto, The Brooklyn Museum, Artists Space and American Film Institute. His writings on digital media have appeared in BOMB, NKA Journal of African Art, Black Film Review and FUSE. While Director of Digital Studio and Education at University of California Riverside California Museum of Photography, he developed MyGlobalVillage Teen Documentary Summer Sessions. He is a practicing visual artist working in media old and new.