Keynote Speakers & Authors
Melissa McClain is a graduate of Kent State University and is the Community Education Program Coordinator at Akron Children's Hospital. She is responsible for a social and emotional learning curriculum that includes K-12 classroom education as well as psychological trauma education for educators and other professionals who work in a school environment. Since 2006, Melissa has educated over 70,000 students, school staff and community members. She has worked with over 150 Ohio school buildings and community organizations that work with youth and has also been lucky to travel to speak for state and national audiences on teen dating, emotional literacy, bullying, and psychological trauma.
Deborah Wiles is the author of picture books —One Wide Sky and Freedom Summer — and middle-grade novels: Love, Ruby Lavender (which made its way onto 32 state book award lists), Each Little Bird That Sings (a 2005 National Book Award Finalist), The Aurora County AllStars (a SIBA Book Award finalist), and three documentary novels: Countdown, book one of The Sixties Trilogy; Revolution, book two, which was also a National Book Award Finalist, and Anthem, book three, which was published October 1, 2019. The newest book, Kent State, will be published April 21, 2020. Deborah‘s work has received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, the PEN/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, a Jane Addams Peace Award honor, and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award, among many others. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she grows the world‘s most beautiful zinnias, climbs Stone Mountain, and avoids the Atlanta traffic.
Michael Mercier is Founder and President of Screen Education, which conducts research, and provides training and consulting services, on the impact of information technology on human wellness. Mr. Mercier has conducted 15 research studies on digital addiction and its many consequences with teens, college students, summer campers, parents, Millennials, and full-time employees. He speaks on smartphone addiction to schools, corporate audiences, colleges and summer camps, as well as at numerous conferences, including educational technology, summer camp, mindfulness, workplace safety, and marketing conferences.
Dhonielle Clayton is the author of The Belles series and co-author of the Tiny Pretty Things series. She grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs on the Maryland side and spent most of her time under her grandmother‘s table with a stack of books. A former teacher and middle school librarian, Dhonielle is co-founder of CAKE Literary—a creative development company whipping up decidedly diverse books for a wide array of readers—and COO of the non-profit, We Need Diverse Books. She's got a serious travel bug and loves spending time outside of the USA, but makes her home in New York City, where she can most likely be found hunting for the best slice of pizza.