CATE 2020 Convention Speakers

The Get Lit Players
Friday Super Session

The Get Lit Players (GLPs) are an L.A.-based, award-winning youth poetry troupe and the most watched poets on the internet. They have collaborated with the United Nations, John Legend, the White House, and more, inspiring their peers to engage in their educations and their lives.


Arvin Ahmadi
Friday Lunch

Arvin Ahmadi grew up outside Washington, DC. He graduated from Columbia University and has worked in the tech industry. His latest YA novel, Girl Gone Viral, traces a mystery pursued by a girl from Silicon Valley.

InvestiCATE: Crime Scene Dinner
Friday Dinner

InvestiCATE! A team of teacher-actors from the California Educational Theatre Association will stage a live, interactive whodunnit mystery. Dinner guests will work in teams to gather evidence, interview suspects, and (hopefully!) solve the crime.

Kelly Gallagher
Saturday Super Session

Kelly Gallagher is considered one of the leading voices in literacy education. Since 1985, he has devoted  himself to the teaching of reading, writing, listening and speaking—first and foremost, as a high school  ELA teacher in Anaheim, California, and also as a author/consultant who works with educators around the world.

Leslie Seawright


Aisha Saaed
Saturday CYRM Lunch Honoree


Saturday CYRM Lunch

California Young Reader Medal (CYRM) Award Winner: Aisha Saeed, the New York Times bestselling author of Amal Unbound, is a Pakistani-American writer, teacher, and attorney. She is the author of Written in the Stars, the 2019 CYRM winner of the young adult book category. Her other titles include Aladdin: Far from Agrabah, and Bilal Loves Daal. As a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books, she is helping change the conversation about diverse books.

Leslie Seawright is an assistant professor of English at Missouri State University. She has taught professional and technical writing courses as well as rhetoric and composition for a total 14 years. Her most recent publications include the book, Genre of Power: Police Report Writers and Readers in the Justice System, about police writing practices, and several journal articles on transnational education and intercultural communication in writing programs (co-sponsored by NCTE).

 John Gilstrap
Saturday Dinner

John Gilstrap is the New York Times bestselling author of the Jonathan Grave thrillers. His previous books include Total Mayhem, Scorpion Strike, Hostage Zero, No Mercy, Six Minutes to Freedom, Scott Free, Even Steven, At All Costs, and Nathan’s Run, four of which were selections of the Literary Guild.

Troy Hicks and Dena Glynn
Sunday Super Session

Troy Hicks is a professor at Central Michigan University and focuses his work on the teaching of writing, literacy and technology, teacher education and professional development. Hicks directs CMU’s Chippewa River Writing Project. He will co-present with Poway USD teacher Dena Glynn.

Carol Jago
Sunday Brunch

Carol Jago taught English in middle and high school for 32 years and is associate director of the California Reading and Literature Project at UCLA. She served as president of the National Council of Teachers of English. She has published many books including her latest, The Book in Question: Why and How Reading Is in Crisis. Carol edits the CATE journal, California English.