Keynote speakers

Pamela Goynes-Brown

Mayor of City of North Las Vegas

Mayor Pamela Goynes-Brown, a North Las Vegas resident since 1964, is the first African-American elected to represent the City of North Las Vegas as Mayor. She previously was the first African-American woman to represent Ward 2 and was the first African American woman to serve as North Las Vegas Mayor Pro-Tempore.

Goynes-Brown is a retired assistant principal in the Clark County School District, where she dedicated 35 years to education in Southern Nevada. She holds a master’s degree from NOVA Southeastern University in elementary education, with an endorsement in educational leadership. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Prairie View A&M University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Over her years of service, Goynes-Brown has received numerous award and recognitions, including “Woman of the Year” from Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. for her dedication and support to the Las Vegas community, “Women in Business and Politics” from the Urban Chamber of Commerce, “Women’s Equality” by the Women's Democratic Club, Who's Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges and the Ella Cullins Weaver Award.

Goynes-Brown is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Tau Beta Sigma Band Sorority and Mu Alpha Sigma Music Honor Society and has been a member of the National Association of School Administrators, Clark County Educational Professionals Association, Clark County Association of Schools Administrators and Professional Technical Employees.

She is married to Romero and has two children, Bobby R. Owens, III and Michael A. Owens. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling, fishing, playing bingo, and watching and participating in various sports.

jhone ebert

Superintendent of Public Instruction

As the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jhone Ebert is proud to lead Nevada’s education system. Her responsibility is to ensure that each of the 500,000 students at the state’s 750 schools has a pathway to thrive in school and life. Reappointed by Governor Joe Lombardo in January 2023, one of her proudest accomplishments is the successful revamp of the State’s 54-year-old funding formula to the more equitable Pupil Centered Funding Plan. The new formula is getting a $2.6 billion dollar boost from the largest education budget in state history. This includes $140 million dollar investment in literacy for our youngest learners. Jhone Ebert has expanded career and technical education opportunities to ensure students are college and career ready, spearheaded effective educator retention and recruitment efforts, and turned Nevada into a leader for computer science education. Jhone is the recipient of numerous professional honors and awards, including the UNLV College of Education Alumna of the Year, the International Society for Technology in Education’s 2020 Annual Impact Award, the National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network 20 to Watch, the CCSD Excellence in Education Hall of Fame Award, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching

foRrest lewis

Director of North Las Vegas Library District

Forrest Lewis was named Director of the North Las Vegas Library District in November 2013, and serves on the City of North Las Vegas executive leadership team. He has over 27 years’ experience in public libraries. Forrest received his bachelor of science degree in English from Southern Oregon University and a master's degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 2015, Forrest was selected as the Librarian of the Year by the Nevada Library Association (NLA), and in 2020 he was elected President of NLA. The North Las Vegas Library District was named as a 2021 Finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Currently Forrest serves as Vice Chair of the State Council on Libraries and Literacy, representing public libraries in Nevada.

Marilyn Dondero Loop

Nevada State Senator

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Marilyn grew up in a family dedicated to public service. She is the product of Nevada’s public education system and is  a graduate of UNLV, where she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees. For thirty years, Marilyn worked as an educator in the Clark County School District, before being elected to the state Assembly from 2008 to 2014. In 2018, she was elected to the Nevada State Senate and currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Finance Committee, where she is tasked with crafting and passing the state budget. 

Marilyn's legislation focuses on public education and helping children who are the most vulnerable including those with special needs including Autism.  She has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Advancement & Support of Education from the NV Association of School Superintendents. She has three daughters and five grandchildren. In her spare time, Marilyn enjoys cooking, reading, and being involved in making education better for Nevada.

Jamar rahming

Executive Director of the Wilmington Institute Free Library

Jamar Rahming is a native of Denver CO. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Black Studies and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Rahming has worked in the library industry for twenty years in 8 different states including a fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Wilmington Institute Free Library, an award winning institution – Recipient of the 2022 National Medal for Museum and Library Services, 2022 John Dana Cotton Award, and recognized by the Fodor’s travel as one of the most beautiful libraries in the nation. was recently celebrated by Library Journal. He was awarded the Movers & Shakers 2023 Community Builders award for his innovative efforts in facilitating some of the most fascinating programs the library industry has ever seen. These programs have given the Wilmington community direct access to some of the brightest, most well-known luminaries in the world.

Session speakers

Nick glass



Nick Glass is a nationally known educational partner focused on improving literacy opportunities for all students. Equity work is how he defines his professional charge. He has a Master's in educational policy and the history of multicultural education from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and runs TeachingBooks.net -- a literacy service he created to empower every reader with meaningful connections to whatever books they are reading. As a long-time student of multicultural education, he strives to give all readers culturally relevant, primary source insights into the literary journeys they are experiencing. Nick has published in many educational journals, spoken at dozens of conferences, and has served on many children’s book award committees, including the Newbery, Legacy, Sibert, and Green Earth Book Award juries. And one other curious note about Nick -- he is one of the few children’s book experts who has worked in Major League Baseball. He was the statistician for the San Francisco Giants in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

Frances Gonzalez-Garcia 

Executive Director

Literacy Consultant at Trinity Elite Education & Co.

Dr. Frances L. Gonzalez-Garcia is a fervent champion of literacy, bringing over twenty years of invaluable experience in education to the forefront. Her multifaceted career has been marked by professional roles ranging from fostering young minds as an educator to assuming leadership positions at district and university levels. 

Throughout her career, she has served as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, adjunct instructor/lecturer, university reading clinic supervising assistant, district job-embedded trainer, and a district-level ELA and Dyslexia coordinator. Currently, she serves as an independent literacy consultant, offering professional development services to educational institutions, agencies, and affiliations nationwide.

A sought-after presenter at local, state, and national conferences, Dr. Gonzalez-Garcia shares experiences and insights on topics such as research-based metacognitive strategies, text sets and multimodal texts, technology integration, literacy motivation, game-based instructional practices, literacy leadership, literacy spaces by design, and practical instructional approaches in multilingual/multicultural contexts. Her commitment extends to advocating for equity in literacy and cultivating inclusive learning environments that are supportive of diverse learners.

Recognized for her contributions and efforts, Dr. Gonzalez-Garcia has been honored with prestigious awards such as the International Literacy Association Legends in Literacy Award on a national scale and the HEB Excellence in Education Award in Leadership at the state level. 

Kelly May

Assistant Director

Mater Academy Charter School

Kelly May is an experienced and dedicated professional in the field of early childhood education, currently serving as the Assistant Director of Mater Academy Charter School Pre-K Programs. With a passion for fostering the growth and development of young minds, Kelly brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to her role.

In her previous position as the Early Childhood Outreach Education Coordinator at The Library District, Kelly played a pivotal role in enhancing early childhood education in the community. Through engaging story time sessions for pre-K children and facilitating professional development for educators, she demonstrated her commitment to providing enriching experiences for both children and those responsible for their education.

Kelly is known for her unwavering support and uplifting approach, bringing joy to the teaching community. By empowering educators, she ensures they can deliver high-quality, developmentally appropriate experiences to the children under their care. Her dedication to fostering a positive and nurturing learning environment is evident in her collaborative efforts with teachers and staff.

As residents of Henderson for 26 years, Kelly and her husband have witnessed their community thrive. Their three children, raised in Henderson, have grown into wonderful adults that are enjoyable to hang out with! Outside of her professional endeavors, Kelly channels her passion for making a difference into dog rescue. Her commitment to animal welfare reflects her broader dedication to creating positive impacts both in and beyond the classroom.

Jessica Russell

RTL Coordinator

Las Vegas PBS

A member of the Vegas PBS staff for over two decades, Jessica has helped expand the station’s childhood health and education initiatives. As RTL Coordinator, she oversees and implements all Ready To Learn outreach programs and activities, including the coordination of family workshops focusing on literacy, health and mathematics in the community. 


Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and two master’s degrees in Technology and Literacy Education from UNLV.  She is the recipient of two Pacific Southwest Emmy Awards for her work as producer and writer on two original Vegas PBS children's programs, The Vegas PBS KIDS Writers Contest Presented by Janice Allen and Vegas PBS STEAM Camp.