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E. Pauline Riall Lecture Series

About the Series

Begun in 1988, the E. Pauline Riall Lecture Series brings to the University and community outstanding national lecturers in the field of education. The series was established by the late Miss Riall, long-time principal and teacher of the former Salisbury University's Campus School. A generous bequest was provided by Miss Riall's will to fund this special program.

Spring 2018:

Aaron Hogan

April 26,2018 at 7:00 pm in Holloway Hall Auditorium


Dr. Ron Siers, Chair and Coordinator, Riall Lecture Series or call 410-677-0256

2018 Spring Riall Lecture:

Aaron Hogan
April 26, 2018

Aaron Hogan is a husband, a dad of three, and an educator who is committed to helping those around him be their best. Since he entered the classroom, he has been trying to reimagine education to serve students best. He currently serves as the Coordinator of English, Language Arts, and Reading in College Station ISD where he previously served as a campus administrator and high school English teacher. Aaron is an author, blogger and speaker.

His book, Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth: 6 Truths Will Help You THRIVE as an Educator, highlights his passion for social emotional learning, innovation in education, and connecting educators for professional growth. Toward that end, Aaron created two weekly Twitter chats (#CSISDchat, a chat that focuses on issues important to his school district, and #TeacherMyth chat, a chat that weekly seeks to shatter the myths that are present in education and highlight the truths that will help teachers thrive in their work). Both exist to connect, encourage, and challenge educators who are tackling the hard work that our profession demands.

2017 Spring Riall Lecture:

Ashley Rhodes-Courter
April 13, 2017

Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years in foster care. She recounted the horrors she suffered — and opened the eyes of many to a broken system — in her 2008 New York Times bestselling memoir Three Little Words.

Despite her ordeal, which lasted from ages 3-12, she excelled in school because she believed that “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.” She earned Eckerd College’s full-tuition Trustee Scholarship, graduating with honors and ahead of schedule with a double major in communications and theatre before going on to complete her M.S.W. at the University of Southern California. As an undergraduate, she was selected as one of 20 students in the nation for USA Today’s All-USA Academic team and was named one of Glamour’s “Top Ten College Women,” in part due to her advocacy for children in abusive foster homes. Rhodes-Courter has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, Nightline, Nancy Grace and The Montel Williams Show, among other national media outlets. In 2009, she hosted the State of Florida-produced TV program Explore Adoption, which won an Emmy. In addition to her efforts domestically, Rhodes-Courter has spent time studying and advocating in Europe, South Africa and China. In her local community, she has served as a volunteer guardian ad litem and as a foster parent, caring for more than 25 children. Her eldest son was adopted from foster care. She chronicled many of these efforts in her second book, Three More Words, which debuted as a No. 1 bestseller in 2016.

2016 Spring Riall Lecture:

Dr. Pasi Sahlberg
March 22, 2016

Author of Finnish Lessons, an account of the dramatic and successful reform effort in Finland.  Dr. Sahlberg, currently on the faculty at Harvard, played a seminal role in shaping Finland's education policies.

2015 Fall Riall Lecture:

Dr. Juli Dixon and Alex Dixon
October 13,2015

The 28th year of the Riall Lecture Series kicks off with an inspiring presentation by a mother- daughter team. Juli Dixon, PhD, is noted professor of math education at the University of Central Florida. Her daughter, Alex, is a high school student in Orlando. When she was undergoing brain surgery at age 12, Alex suffered of a debilitating stroke that left her partially paralyzed and with severe speech impairment. The story of Alex's remarkable progress is chronicled in a presentation by both mother and daughter, featuring actual videos at several stages of her recovery. Their message of hope, perseverance, determination and patience has relevance for teachers at all levels. The Riall Lecture is free and open to the public. The Dixons will be available to sign copies of the book written by Juli and Alex's sister Jessica, A Stroke of Luck: A Girl's Second Chance at Life, following the lecture.

2015 Spring Riall Lecture:

Rafe Esquith
March 31,2015

Once-in-a-lifetime educator, Rafe Esquith may be the most inspiring school teacher in America. He's been called "a modern day Thoreau" by Newsday, "a genius and a saint" by The New York Times, and "the most interesting and influential classroom teacher in the country" by The Washington Post. For the past two decades, Esquith has taught fifth graders at a public school in a Los Angeles neighborhood plagued by guns, gangs, and violence. His exceptional classroom at Hobart Elementary - known simply as Room 56 - is unlike any other in the country.

Esquith's student are mostly immigrants or children of immigrants, living in poverty and learning English as a second language. Yet under his tutelage, they voluntarily come to class at 6:30 in the morning and often stay until five in the afternoon. They learn math, reading, and science. But they also play Vivaldi, perform Shakespeare, often score in the top one percent on standardized tests, and go on to attend the best universities. For his near-heroic work, Esquith is the only teacher to be awarded the President's National Medal of the Arts. He has received the National Teacher of the Year Award and won accolades from Oprah, the Queen, and the Dalani Lama. He's also written four books, with his most recent being the critically acclaimed Real Talk for Real Teachers, published in 2013. His other books include Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, There Are No Shortcuts, and Lighting Their Fires. Esquith has also been featured, along with his students, in the PBS documentary The Hobart Shakespeareans.

2014 Fall Riall Lecture:

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
October 8, 2014

TIME magazine has named Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

The transformational president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and chair of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans is the next speaker in Salisbury University’s E. Pauline Riall Lecture Series in Education.

A child leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Hrabowski, a native of Birmingham, AL, earned his Ph.D. in higher education administration and statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at age 24.

He came to UMBC as vice provost in 1987, becoming president in 1992. Under his guidance for the past 22 years, the university has become one of the nation’s leading undergraduate and research institutions, lauded by U.S. News & World Report and other publications.

Hrabowski has earned the Heinz Award for his contributions in improving the “human condition.” The Washington Post and Harvard University’s Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership have named him among the seven “Top American Leaders.”

Other honors have included the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, McGraw Prize in Education, General Electric’s African-American Forum ICON Lifetime Achievement Award, and honorary degrees from more than 20 institutions, including Harvard, Princeton and Duke Universities. The Baltimore Sun has named him Marylander of the Year.

In addition to serving as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and a number of Maryland-based boards and councils, he also has co-authored two books – Beating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds – on parenting and high-achieving African Americans in science.

60 Minutes feature on Dr. Hrabowski that aired on CBS in 2011:

2014 Spring Riall Lecture:

Alfie Kohn
April 8, 2014

Alfie Kohn has been described by Time as “perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades [and] test scores,” he originally spoke at SU in 2001. This year, he discusses “The Standards and Testing Juggernaut: Rescuing Education from ‘School Reform.’”

Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education and parenting. His 13th book, The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting, is scheduled for publication this spring.

Pervious works include No Contest: The Case Against Competition (1986),Punished by Rewards (1993), The Schools Our Children Deserve (1999) and Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason (2005).

His criticisms of competition and rewards have helped shape the thinking of educators – as well as parents and managers – across the country and abroad. Kohn has been featured on hundreds of TV and radio programs, including Today and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He has been profiled in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, while his work has been described and debated in many other publications.

His articles on education include a dozen widely reprinted essays in Phi Delta Kappan from 1991-2008. Among them are “Choices for Children: Why and How to Let Students Decide,” “How Not to Teach Values: A Critical Look at Character Education,” “Test Today, Privatize Tomorrow” and “Why Self-Discipline is Overrated.”


2013 Fall Riall Lecture: Daniel Willingham

October 15, 2013

Daniel Willingham, a leading cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia, will speak.  He is the author of two best-selling books, Why don't Students Like School? and When Can You Trust the Experts?”


2013 Spring Riall Lecture: Les Sternberg

March 12, 2013

Dr. Sternberg is Dean Emeritus of the College of Education at the University of South Carolina and currently serves as a special assistant to the Provost at USC for public service and outreach projects.  He is a strong supporter of teachers taking advocacy roles on issues of public policy and school reform.  As Dean at USC, Dr. Sternberg championed the cause of Professional Development Schools, leading to his being the first individual ever honored by the National Association for Professional Development Schools for his contributions to the PDS movement.  Since PDS is the modern day incarnation of the "campus school" that many universities once sponsored, we believe it is especially appropriate to highlight Dr. Sternberg’s PDS work as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Riall Lecture series.


2012 Fall Riall Lecture: Dr. Lee Shulman

October 2, 2012

Born and raised in Chicago, Lee Shulman is the son of immigrant parents who operated a delicatessen that he claims gave him an appreciation for “pastrami and the well-marbled life.” After receiving degrees from the University of Chicago, he joined the faculty of the College of Education at Michigan State University. There he earned notice for his collaboration with a colleague in the University's medical school on cognition and decision-making in medical practice. From this investigation emerged a recurrent theme in Shulman's work about how professionals make decisions and acquire expertise, especially under conditions of uncertainty.

In 1982, Dr. Shulman joined the faculty of Stanford University's School of Education, where he became the Charles E. Ducommun Professor Education. After more than a decade as President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, he rejoined Stanford in 2009 as Professor Emeritus where he has continued to write and speak about issues related to all levels of education.

Lee Shulman is a past president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and received its career award for Distinguished Contributions to Educational Research. He is also a past president of the National Academy of Education. In 1995, he was honored with the APA's E.L. Thorndike Award for Distinguished Psychological Contributions to Education. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and received the University of Louisville's 2006 Grawemeyer Award in Education for his book, The Wisdom of Practice: Essays on Teaching, Learning and Learning to Teach.


2012 Spring Riall Lecture: Dr. Sharon Draper

Literacy, Learning, Laughter: A Successful Educational Design

Dr. Sharon Draper ( is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scot King Literary Award, and is a New York Times bestselling author. Dr. Draper has been honored at the White House six times, and was chosen as one of only four authors in the country to speak at the National Book Festival Gala in Washington, D.C, and to represent the United States in Moscow at their Book Festival. She is an accomplished public speaker who addresses educational and literary groups of all ages, both nationally and internationally, with entertaining readings of her poetry and novels, as well as enlightening instructional presentations.

"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer. Come dream with me." -Dr. Draper

2011 Fall Riall Lecture:

Dr. Richard A. Villa ( has worked with thousands of teachers and administrators throughout North America and the world, to develop and implement organizational and instructional support systems for educating all students within general education settings. Rich has been a middle and high school classroom teacher, special educator, special education coordinator, pupil personnel services director, and director of instructional services. Rich works with schools, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and advocacy organizations. He has authored over a hundred articles and book chapters regarding inclusive education, differentiated instruction, collaborative planning and teaching, and school restructuring. Dr. Villa has co-edited twelve books and developed three multimedia kits for teachers, administrators, and parents. Rich possesses the conceptual, technical, and interpersonal skills required to work effectively with others and facilitate change and progress in education. He has presented at numerous national and international conferences, and is known for his enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and humorous style of presenting.

2011 Spring Riall Lecture:

Roger Taylor ( is one of the most sought-after experts in the areas of interdisciplinary, integrated curriculum, differentiated instruction, critical thinking skills, character education, multiple intelligence, gifted education, school-to-career education, and brain-based learning. Dr. Taylor has helped thousands of school districts apply local and state standards to their curriculum so that, “teachers are teaching students for lifelong learning rather than teaching for the test.” In his 36 years as a classroom teacher, administrator, professor and internationally known educational consultant, Roger has authored/co-authored thousands of integrated, interdisciplinary, thematic curriculum units for grade levels K-12. The units are written based on the AHA! (Analyzing Human Activities) model he created. This unique model includes specific application of the most recent brain research, multiple intelligences and constructivist hands-on project-centered learning in alignment with state defined benchmarks and standards. Handout (52 page PDF)

2010 Fall Riall Lecture:

Deborah W. Meier ( is currently on the faculty of New York University's Steinhardt School of Education, as senior scholar and adjunct professor as well as Board member and director of New Ventures at Mission Hill, director and advisor to Forum for Democracy and Education, and on the Board of The Coalition of Essential Schools.

Meier has spent more than four decades working in public education as a teacher, writer and public advocate. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten and headstart teacher in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City schools. She was the founder and teacher-director of a network of highly successful public elementary schools in East Harlem. In 1985 she founded Central Park East Secondary School, a New York City public high school in which more than 90% of the entering students went on to college, mostly to 4-year schools. During this period she founded a local Coalition center, which networked approximately fifty small Coalition-style K-12 schools in the city.

Between 1992-96 she also served as co-director of a project (Coalition Campus Project) that successfully redesigned the reform of two large failing city high schools, and created a dozen new small Coalition schools. She was an advisor to New York City's Annenberg Challenge and Senior Fellow at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University from 1995-1997.

From 1997 to 2005 she was the founder and principal of the Mission Hill School a K-8 Boston Public Pilot school serving 180 children in the Roxbury community.

The schools she has helped create serve predominantly low-income African-American and Latino students, and include a typical range of students in terms of academic skills, special needs, etc. There are no entrance requirements. These schools are considered exemplars of reform nationally and affiliates of the national Coalition of Essential Schools founded by Dr. Ted Sizer and currently led by Lewis Cohen.

A learning theorist, she encourages new approaches that enhance democracy and equity in public education. Meier is on the editorial board of Dissent magazine, The Nation and the Harvard Education Letter. She is a Board member of the Educational Alliance, the Association of Union Democracy, Educators for Social Responsibility, the Panasonic Foundation, and a founding member of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the North Dakota Study Group on Evaluation and the Forum for Democracy and Education, among others.

Her books, The Power of Their Ideas, Lessons to America from a Small School in Harlem (1995), Will Standards Save Public Education (2000), In Schools We Trust (2002), Keeping School, with Ted and Nancy Sizer (2004) and Many Children Left Behind (2004) are all published by Beacon Press. Her latest book is: Playing for Keeps: Life and Learning on a Public School Playground by Deborah Meier, Brenda S. Engel, and Beth Taylor.

2010 Spring Riall Lecture:

Eric (Rico) Gutstein is a math professor with a mission to help teachers and students use critical mathematics methods to investigate the social and cultural landscapes of our world.  The title of his Riall Lecture on March 1, 2010 is:  Why did Derrion Albert Die?  Using Critical Math to Understand the Conditions of Our Lives.  The lecture will take place in Holloway Hall's Auditorium, and a reception will follow in the Social Room.

Eric (Rico) Gutstein is a professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Besides mathematics education, his research and teaching interests include teaching mathematics for social justice, Freirean approaches to teaching and learning, critical and culturally relevant urban education, and mathematics education policy.

2009 Fall Riall Lecture:

Dr. P. David Pearson, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, will be our Riall Lecturer for the evening of Tuesday, October 13 and morning of Wednesday, October 14, 2009.

2009 Riall Lecture: Dr. Pedro Noguera

Pedro Noguera, PhD, has agreed to be our Spring 2009 Riall Speaker on March 10, 2009. He is a professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. He is also the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education.

Previous Riall Lecture Series Guest Lecturers


Luann Johnson, whose book inspired “Dangerous minds”.

Will Richardson.  Mr. Richardson's blog is available at:


Mr. Michael Tisserand, journalist and author of: Sugarcane Academy: How a New Orleans Teacher and His Storm-struck Students Created a School to Remember.


Crystal Arlene Kuykendahl, Author and Educational Consultant

Dr. Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Carol Ann Tomlinson, Professor of Educational Leadership, Foundations and Policy, University of Virginia


Linda Darling-Hammond, Professor of Teaching and Teacher Education, Stanford University


Erin Gruwell, Teacher, Author, Founder of Tolerance Education Foundation

Nel Noddings, Professor Emerita, Stanford University


Jonathan Kozol, Author, Activist, Teacher


Dr. Maxine Greene, Professor Emerita, Columbia University

Herbert Kohl, Center for Teaching Excellence and Social Justice, University of San Francisco


Bertice Berry, Author, Sociologist, Comedian

Dr. Cornell West, Professor of Religion and Afro-American Studies, Harvard University


Heidi Mills, Professor of Education, University of South Carolina

David Sadker, Professor of Education, American University


Susan Ohanian, Freelance Writer, Author, Reviewer and Editor

Elliot Eisner, Professor of Education and Art, Stanford University


Shelley Harwayne, Director, Manhattan New School, NYC

Perry Zirkel, Professor of Education and Law, Lehigh University


K. Nelson Butler, Provost, Salisbury University

Judy Knott, Assistant Principal, Remuera Primary School, Auckland, New Zealand

Lesley Mayn, Assistant Principal, Hobson Primary School, Auckland, New Zealand


James Comer, Associate Dean, Yale University School of Medicine

Maurice Falk, Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale University


Mary Budd Rowe, Professor of Science Education, Stanford University


Harold Hodgkinson, Director, Center for Demographic Study, Institute of Education Leadership


Richard Paul, Director, Center for Critical Thinking and Moral Critique, Sonoma State University

David W. Johnson, Professor of Educational Psychology, Cooperative Learning Center, University of Minnesota


Paul S. George, Professor of Education, University of Florida

Madeline Hunter, Professor of Education, University of California - Los Angeles


Rita Dunn, Director, Center for the Study of Learning and Teaching Styles, St. John's University

Gary Bitter, Program Coordinator, Educational Media and Computers, Arizona State University


Ernest L. Boyer, President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

The Honorable Linus Wright, Undersecretary of Education, US Department of Education

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