Snapshots of the 2019 Summit


Take a look at just a small sample of the many things that took place during this year’s event.


NCTE Past President Jocelyn A. Chadwick shared her perspective as a longtime participant in advocacy for NCTE, and talked about why NCTE members’ voices matter.

NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick explained the importance of visiting policymakers and helping to put a human face on education policies.

NCTE Kent D. Williamson Policy Fellow Grace Eunyhe Lee highlighted a visit she made to the Hill in October, explained how she made connections between her work as a teacher with NCTE position statements, and provided tips for how others can do the same.

Ninth-grade English teacher Victoria Orepitan told an inspiring story of challenging inustice in her community in her presentation, Finding Your Voice: A Censorship Story. Orepitan was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award for publicly opposing her district’s ban of Angie Thomas’s bestselling novel, The Hate U Give. 

Attendees practiced the conversations they’d have with legislative offices. They also had the opportunity to make connections with new colleagues from 26 different states. Here, Dr. James Hill (GA) talks with Danna Pearsall (KY).

On Monday night attendees enjoyed a meal in the historic Folger Shakespeare Library. Before the dinner they had the opportunity to browse rare books from the collection, including first folios.

Former high school English teacher and founding director of education at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Peggy O’Brien welcomed guests and reaffirmed her commitment to teachers and to “inventing and reinventing Folger Ed” to keep up with what teachers and students need.

A high note of the evening at the Folger Shakespeare Library was the keynote presentation from Laura Wides-Muñoz, based on a new book that is the result of her nearly two decades of reporting on immigration, politics, and policy: The Making of a Dream: How a Group of Young Undocumented Immigrants Helped Change What It Means to Be American.

Naderia Wade meets with a legislative staffer from the office of her representative Rob Woodall. She and Rep. Woodall have kept in contact since she first visited his office for the Advocacy and Leadership Summit last year.

Award-winning NPR reporter and editor Elissa Nadworny outlined some of the current themes she’s working on and encouraged attendees to suggest ideas they’d like to see covered.

What is the Advocacy and Leadership Summit like?

This event is FREE to all NCTE members and includes:

  • One-and-a-half days of workshops, featured speakers, and other learning opportunities focused on teacher impact on education policy
  • Visits to legislative offices on Capitol Hill
  • The opportunity to network with members from across the country
  • Complimentary dinner, breakfast, and lunch


Participants are responsible for securing their own lodging and transportation to and from the summit.


2019 Featured Speakers


Laura Wides-Muñoz is the author of The Making of a Dream: How a Group of Young Undocumented Immigrants Helped Change What It Means to Be American, her first book. It is based on nearly two decades of reporting on immigration, politics, and policy, much of it done while she was a staff writer for The Associated Press.

Previously, Wides-Muñoz also served as Vice President for Special Projects and Editorial Strategy at Univision’s English-language Fusion Network in Miami and as a senior story editor for the network’s award-winning TV and digital investigative teams.

Wides-Muñoz broke into journalism covering the end of the Guatemalan civil war and has reported from Cuba and throughout Central America. Her writing has been published inThe Washington Post,TheMiami Herald, The Guardian,The Providence Journal Bulletin, and The Los Angeles Times, among other outlets.


Elissa Nadworny is a reporter and editor for NPR. She covers education—from the research about preschool to why teenagers should learn about their own brains. She’s spent the last six months telling stories about who goes to college today and how schools can be more student-ready. In 2017, she won a Murrow Award for excellence in innovation. In addition to education, Nadworny has covered the Obama White House, Syrian refugees in Jordan, the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and investigated the story behind her high school’s skeleton.

After the 2016 election, she traveled with Melissa Block  across the U.S., telling stories about how people’s identity is shaped by where they live. Their reporting won a 2018 James Beard Award.

A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, Nadworny has a bachelor’s degree in documentary film from Skidmore College and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.


2019 Member Voices


Vikki Orepitan is a 9th grade Pre-AP English teacher at Cinco Ranch High School in Katy, TX. This year she was awarded the Mercedes Bonner Leadership Award by TCTELA (Texas Chapter of NCTE) as well as the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award for publicly opposing her district’s ban of Angie Thomas’s novel, The Hate U Give. She has taught multiple levels of English as well as Ethics (Civics) to students in Abu Dhabi and in Texas in grades ranging from 7 to 12. Inspired by her childhood teachers, her college instructors, and her mentors, she wishes to empower educators (and students) to challenge injustice and model leadership in their communities.



Grace Eunhye Lee is a current NCTE Kent D. Williamson Policy Fellow, a teacher at Hinckley Big-Rock Middle School in Big Rock, Illinois, and a doctoral student at the University of Illinois. Her research involves education policy related to diversity and equity in the K-12 school setting.

2019 Agenda


Monday, April 8

Location: Hall of the States 

2:00 p.m.
Welcome and Overview

2:30–5:00 p.m.
Learning Sessions to Prepare for Advocacy on Capitol Hill and Beyond, Including:

  • Finding your Voice: A Censorship Story
    Victoria Orepitan, 2018 NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award Winner
  • Using NCTE Positions to Advocate for Policy and Practice
    Grace Lee, NCTE Kent Williamson Fellow

5:30–7:00 p.m.
Dinner at the Folger Shakespeare Library
Keynote by author Laura Wides-Muñoz followed by book signing


Tuesday, April 9

Location: TBA
9:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Breakfast and Logistics from NCTE

10:00–11:30 a.m.
Hill Visits / Guided tours of the Capitol

12 p.m.–1:30 p.m.
Lunch and Keynote Address by Elissa Nadworny
Remarks from Ranking Member Virginia Foxx of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

2:00 p.m.–3:30
Hill Visits / Guided tours of the Capitol

4:00 p.m.     Closing

Advocacy Day 2018 Recap


Take a peek at what last year’s event entailed. We look forward to more great experiences this year!