Meet Katie & Friends!

This powerhouse team of experts merges serious content with practical application. As researchers and practitioners, their content is proven to deliver results and can be implemented immediately into a classroom. As practicing improv comedians, their delivery is witty, playful, and engaging. 

Learn how to increase achievement AND bring joy back into the classroom with these remarkable educators.

Dr. McKnight is an author, educator and consultant. Her career in education began as a high school English teacher in the Chicago Public School system more than 25 years ago. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently serves as a Distinguished Professor of Research at National Louis University. She travels worldwide as a professional development consultant and a sought after speaker in the fields of adolescent literacy, inclusive classrooms, Interdisciplinary literacy, and integrating technology in the 21st century classroom. Dr. McKnight has authored and published 15 books.

Full Bio

Jennifer French is a teacher, administrator, literacy and language arts coach, lecturer, and student teacher supervisor. As an instructional coach and member of the school administration team at Highland Middle School in Anderson, IN, Jennifer has experience in launching professional learning communities (PLCs), developing instructional maps and formative assessments, staff evaluation and support, and a wide range of school improvement programs. In addition to teaching courses such as Language Arts Methods and Reading Methods for Elementary Students, Introduction to Education and Lesson Planning, and Educational Psychology, at Indiana University Kokomo, Jennifer is highly regarded as a coach and mentor for prospective teachers. She is in a unique position to assist schools in developing curricula to improve student literacy, while supporting teacher growth and encouraging community involvement.

Lisa Hollihan Allen is a teacher, literacy coach and author. Her education career began as a middle school ELA and literature teacher.  She currently is a K-12 reading specialist for the West De Pere School District in Wisconsin where she works with students 6-12 as a literacy interventionist. She serves as an adjunct instructor at St. Norbert College where she teaches the course Language Analysis and Applied Linguistics. Her role in education expanded when she worked as a literacy leader and literacy team facilitator for Wisconsin CESA 7 (Cooperative Educational Service Agency) extending educational opportunities to all corners of the state and across the nation. Lisa was a state finalist for the Kohl Teacher Fellowship and she is co-authoring a book on secondary literacy intervention with Dr. McKnight.


Katie McKnight has made the job of being a teacher in today’s world do-able. The strategies she shares have improved instruction in our district tremendously! We have seen an increase in the use of brain-researched pedagogy through literature circles, centers, and an increased use of academic vocabulary. Katie’s sense of humor and realistic approach to teaching has resonated with our educators. She has made our new state standards manageable by giving them a starting point to focus on. They have since moved on to the next levels of implementation with confidence and a strong base on which to build. Our staff looks forward to her visits to our district and we always have a tremendously positive response when she is here. Katie has been working with our district for several years now and the Title I school where she began her work in our district has skyrocketed. In fact, they received the highest scores in the district on our standardized achievement tests this past spring. It is always a pleasure to have her spend time here and her impact is felt long after she leaves. She has made a difference for our teachers and our students.

Holly Edds, Ed.D. 
Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services, Orcutt Union School District


Over the past two years, Katie has provided incredible learning opportunities for our teachers as we implement the secondary workshop model in our English language arts classrooms. Often, secondary English language arts teachers struggle to meet the needs of students performing two to three years below grade level in reading. Katie provides ready to use strategies that benefit the struggling reader without affecting the rigor of instruction in the classroom. In the future, Katie will work with other content area teachers in our district to boost literacy practices in their classroom. Katie's real and practical approach to professional learning promotes high levels of teacher buy in and capacity building.

Ryan Glaze
Assistant Superintendent, Anderson Community School Corporation, Anderson, IN


We have been fortunate to have Katie work with teachers throughout our district for several years now. She brings fresh ideas that are supported by authentic research. Our teachers always leave with something viable to use in their classrooms the very next day. Katie McKnight is definitely a ‘teacher's teacher’.

Edie Emery
Language Arts Instructional Specialist, Rutherford County Schools, Murfreesboro, TN

Katie's work with Farmington has been contagious to say the least. Her visits provide guidance, support and clarity to a new world of standards, teaching practices and student learning. As she continues working with our schools, the more we learn, grow and accomplish the goal of successful classroom practices. Her ability to bring research from around the Nation provides concrete examples of success, struggles and celebrations – that through hard word, dedication and changing the norm... we will have highly engaged classrooms. Katie is able to connect to teachers on a level that provides not only support, but empathy with a plan of attack to break common barriers and find confidence in a profession that is often scrutinized.

Nicole Lambson
Director, Elementary Curriculum Farmington, NM Municipal Schools


Katie's dynamic personality and engaging professional development sessions have been the catalysts for some amazing steps in our school's curriculum. Not only has she taught our teachers the value of increasing the amount of literature and choice in our curricula, Katie has also answered questions and encouraged us every step of the way. I was already a very hands-on literature teacher, but Katie has challenged me to step up my choices and create centers in my class. Because of the increased reading time, centers, literature circles, and other tools I have incorporated into my classroom, I am seeing students' Lexile levels increase by leaps and bounds! Katie's approach to teaching teachers is very personable and her methods are easy to incorporate into any classroom.

Elizabeth Knost
English teacher, Anderson Community High School, Anderson, IN