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Differentiate Your Library: 2017 Conference Presenters

Subject to Change


Richard Culatta: Richard Culatta is a leader in innovation and education and has worked in government, non-profit, and the private sector.  Prior to becoming the Chief Innovation Officer for the State of Rhode Island, Culatta was the Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the US Department of Education where he focused on using technology to close equity gaps in schools across the country.  Prior to joining the Department of Education, he served as policy advisor to US Senator Patty Murray and as Chief Technology Officer at CIA University.  Before his work with the federal government, Culatta was the learning technologies advisor for the David O. McKay School of Education at Brigham Young University and the Director of Operations for the Rose Education Foundation.  He began working with instructional technology at the University of Rhode Island where he co-taught the university's first technology integration workshops for faculty.  Culatta is a certified Spanish teacher and active in promoting bilingual and arts education in public schools.


Octavia Abell: Octavia Abell leads the Office’s efforts to build strategic relationships, advance organizational effectiveness, and catalyze innovation across Rhode Island. As Director of Strategy, she works with the Chief Innovation Officer to design innovation pilots and curate a balanced portfolio for the Office. She believes strongly that individuals can be powerful change agents, and is committed to connecting people with the resources necessary to scale impactful work. Octavia holds a BA in Political Economy and International Development from Tulane University. Prior to joining the Office of Innovation, Octavia served on Governor Gina Raimondo’s policy team, and former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s fundraising team. She lives in Providence, RI.


R. W. and Zoë B. Alley:R. W. and Zoë B. Alley are partners in both life and art!

R. W. Alley is the internationally-known, award-winning illustrator of over one hundred books for children, including Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear books, Garth Stein’s Enzo books, Kate McMullan’s Pearl and Wagner books and the popular Elf-Help series.

Zoë B. Alley is the author of two award-winning children's picture books, both illustrated by her husband: "There's a Wolf at the Door" and "There's a Princess in the Palace", as well as her work on Garth Stein’s Enzo books.

Together, they are also the parents of two quite wonderful children. They live in Barrington, RI.


Stephanie Barta: Stephanie Barta is the Children’s Librarian at the Louttit Library in West Greenwich.  She has a Masters in Library Science from the University of Rhode Island and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She has been a member of the Rhode Island Teen Book Award for 6 years, and is currently the Vice Chair.  She was also a member of YALSA’s 2014 Morris Award Committee, which awards the best teen fiction debut.  Along with being an avid reader, Stephanie is a yoga teacher, aerialist, banjo player, crocheter, and a beagle and cat enthusiast.


Donna Broomfield: Donna Broomfield is an English teacher at Woonsocket High School for the past 16 years and a member of the Rhode Island Teen Book Awards for approximately ten years. Currently, she is working on getting an a masters in English at Rhode Island College. In addition to reading, she enjoys spending time with her two daughters, grandson, and her dog and cat. She also loves attending shows at local theaters, especially when her daughter is performing!


Emily Brown: Emily Brown is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Cranston Public Library, a current member of the OLIS Children's Advisory Committee, and part of the first Media Smart Libraries cohort. Formerly a school librarian in Providence, she loves to collaborate with her colleagues in the schools. 


Lisa Casey: Lisa Casey has been a school library media specialist for 16 years at the Jamestown Schools.


Daniela Fairchild: Daniela is the Director of Education at the Office of Innovation. She has 10 years of education experience as a teacher, policy researcher, and advocate. Daniela started her career as a high school special education teacher in Boston, MA and most recently served as RI-CAN's Director of Strategy, creating and implementing community building efforts, campaign and organizational strategy, and other special-project initiatives. Prior to joining RI-CAN, Danielaworked in leadership development for education advocates, for a national think tank as an education policy researcher and analyst, and for brief stints as an program evaluator in Burkina Faso and a janitor in France. She has also had the pleasure of serving as an urban public school rowing coach for six years. Daniela holds a BA from Tufts University in international relations and an MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania in international educational development, with a focus on educational access for marginalized youth.


Jane Fine: Jane Fine (M.Ed., B.S.Ed.) began her education career as a passionate teacher, piloting project-based learning in her second and fifth grade classrooms. As a continual learner, she moved into business development and served technology clients of all sizes for over 15 years. She possesses a unique combination of knowledge of the business and education worlds and is now working with innovative technology companies to provide 21st century products and services to K-12 communities. At Eduporium, Jane designs targeted, meaningful and customizable solutions for the modern classroom.



Mark Gadbois:  As a Middle School Educator back in the 90’s, I became known for building Frankenstein computers in the Science Rooms.  Today, I have been the Information Technology Specialist in Lincoln since 2001.  Providing support for all telecommunications, data and voice, in seven buildings is a never ending challenge.  Understanding and patience are requirements when dealing with students and adults, because Technology Education never ends.  I’ve been a Board member of RISTE since 2012 and on the NorthWest Consortium since its inception.  I still read books, but only when it isn’t football season.


Lisa Girard: Lisa Girard is the librarian at Gallagher Middle School in Smithfield, RI. She completed her MLIS at URI, her M'Ed at Lesley University and her BA at UMass/Amherst.  She served on the RITBA Committee for 4 years before serving on the RIMSBA Committee.  She is also currently a board member of SLRI.  She loves to hang out with her two teenagers when they deem her worthy and she is always on the look-out for others to join her group of "Crossfit Librarians" (which currently only boasts 3 members).

Steve Heath: Steve Heath is the executive director of FabNewport, a community maker space running school-time and after school programs in the lab and at partner sites.

Mary MacDonald: Professor Mary C. MacDonald is Head of Instruction Services in the Public Services Department of the University Library, University of Rhode Island.  At URI she teaches credit courses in information literacy and coordinates the information literacy program. MacDonald is a member of the University-wide Student Assessment of General Education (SAGE) and the Learning Outcomes Oversight (LOOC) Committees.  She is the 2017 ACRL Instruction Section Miriam Dudley Award winner.


Karen Mann:  Karen Mann has been a SLMS at Ashaway Elementary School in Hopkinton, RI since she graduated from URI in 1996.  Her involvement with the Rooster Games began in 2003 after visiting originator Karla Harry at Gordon School in East Providence.  She now runs the 5th and 6th grade Rooster Games at Chariho Middle School (where she is assigned once a week) and smaller version for her 4th graders at Ashaway.  She lives in Norwich, CT with her husband.


Danielle Margarida: Danielle Margarida is the Youth Services Coordinator at the RI Office of Library and Information Services. Danielle coordinates the statewide summer reading program, which is now in its 42nd year. She is also the state representative for the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) and serves on the Early Literacy Manual Committee and Vendor Committee.  


Stephanie Mills: Stephanie Mills is in her 14th year as a Teacher-Librarian. She is the librarian at Park View Middle School in Cranston, is the co-chair for SLRI's communications committee and spends an exorbitant amount of time with a camera in her hand.


Marianne Mirando: Marianne received her BA Hons from the University of Toronto and a Degree in Elementary Education from D’Youville College. Since obtaining her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Rhode Island, Marianne Mirando has been a Library Media Specialist at Westerly High School for the past 16 years. Marianne is certified as a Media Smart Librarian through the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island and completed Tier 1 of the University of Rhode Island Summer Institute in Digital Literacy in July 2016.


Meredith Moore: Meredith Moore escaped cubicle life after working in communications for 15 years, including jobs in medical publishing, culinary education, and financial services. She is now in her 5th year as a full-time library teacher at two Cranston elementary schools.


Her previous career was excellent preparation for teaching students how to find, use, and present information. It did not, however, provide nearly enough experience in singing preschool songs or dealing with hysterical second-graders (if a 7-year-old asks you if Bloody Mary is real, they are probably talking about the ghost in the mirror, not Queen Elizabeth I's sister, so don't say "Yes").


Meredith co-chairs the SLRI Communications Committee and is a member of the RI Mock Newbery Committee. She also reads hundreds of picture books each year to find Mock Caldecott nominees for her 1st and 2nd graders: this year's winners were "School's First Day of School" at Garden City and "They All Saw a Cat" at Oak Lawn (which garnered a real-life Caldecott Honor).



Susan Murphy: Susan Murphy is the library media specialist at Feinstein Middle School of Coventry. She received her MS in Library Science from Simmons College and Teacher Certification at URI. She also holds a MEd in Instructional Technology from RIC. Susan believes advocacy for school libraries is a daily undertaking and that professional development, especially learning from colleagues, is our best resource for new ideas and strategies. Susan has visited school libraries around the world and has witnesses the vital role libraries play in developing globally competent students. Susan achieved  NBCT in 2002 and 2012.


Renee Perron: Renee Perron has been a part-time Children’s Librarian at the Pawtucket Public Library since 2012.  With a background in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, she has been employed as a preschool teacher and substitute teacher in public elementary schools. During her studies for her MLIS in School Library Media at URI, she worked as a Circulation Assistant at the Providence Athenaeum.  Currently serving as the chair of the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award committee, Renee makes her home in Pawtucket, RI with her husband and two young sons.


Jane Perry: Jane is the school library media specialist at Pell Elementary in Newport.


Kim Ramos: Kim has been a North Kingstown educator since 1997. She became the district’s Technology Instructional Coach in 2014. She is responsible for creating and delivering K-12 blended learning professional development and enjoys collaborating with education professionals across RI. She is a board member of the RI Society of Technology Educators and is a Highlander Institute Fuse Fellow. When she’s not advocating for blended learning, she can be found either on the golf course or at Fenway Park, cheering on the Red Sox.


Darshell Silva: Darshell Silva has been a Teacher Librarian for 11 years, currently she is the Librarian and Technology Integration Specialist at the Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, RI as well as a Highlander Institute FUSE Fellow, and Per Course Faculty at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. Maker education is a passion that she loves to share with students and other educators.


Alyssa Taft: Alyssa Taft is a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island working towards her MA in English and her MLIS with a certification in School Library Media. She is a graduate research assistant for the Media Smart Libraries grant-funded program.


Irina Tuule: Irina Tuule is a Co-Founder and Vice President of Strategy & Communications at Eduporium. One of the pioneers of ecological movement in Russia, she holds a PhD. in Philosophy of Education with vast experience in teaching and pedagogical research. Irina is passionate about bringing emerging technology to schools and boosting student creativity and the sense of ownership. A true believer in hands-on, inquiry-based learning, she focuses on PreK-2 as the time to shape a STEAM foundation.


Kimberly Usselman: Kimberly Usselman is the Children’s Services Coordinator at the Cumberland Public Library.  She received her MLS from North Carolina Central University and before that her BS from the University of Connecticut.  She is the chair of the newly created Rhode Island Middle School Book Award  (RIMSBA) Committee, is still serving on the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award (RICBA) Committee currently (2014-2017), and has previously served on the Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award Committee (Intermediate Level, Grades 4-6).  She is slightly obsessed with Harry Potter, Starbucks, facebook, infinity scarves, her cat Bellatrix, and being sarcastic.


Bevin Winner: Bevin has worked as a School Library Media Specialist for the last 12 years since earning her MLS from the University of RI in 2005. She currently serves Exeter West Greenwich Jr/Sr High School. Bevin assists the technology department in their chrombook 1:1 program and works as the liason between students, staff and the technology deartment to keep devices being utilized efficiently, effectively and responsibly and communication flowing. She has also taught classes for the Business Media and Technoogy department at EWG. Bevin has served as the SLRI confernce committee chair, vendor coordinator and various conference jobs for the last 10 years. She is currently expanding her Maker Monday program and teaching an enrichment block everyday. She held a Family Creative Learning event in January. Bevin Hopes to expand the maker movement into the whole school community.


Esther Wolk: Esther is the school librarian for both Tiogue and Hopkins Hill Elementary Schools in Coventry, RI.






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