Chelsea Gifford

Community Engagement Specialist, TENNESSEE Save the Children
Chelsea Gifford is an alumna of Tennessee Technological University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Studies. She went on to receive a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Library Science and worked as an Assistant Director and Children’s Librarian for five years in a public library setting. Currently, Chelsea provides programmatic support around community work to improve kindergarten readiness, third-grade reading, and fifth-grade math proficiency in rural counties as an Advisor for Community Engagement with Save the Children US.

Faith Steele

Outreach and Education Librarian
Region 1 Network of the National Library of Medicine
Health Sciences and Human Services Library
University of Maryland, Baltimore
[email protected]

Faith Steele has worked in the library field for over 10 years in academic libraries and government agencies. She is currently Outreach and Education Librarian for The Network of the National Library of Medicine, Regional Medical Library (NNLM, Region 1), at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HSHSL), serving DC, DE, KY, MD, NC, NJ, PA, VA, and WV. She is responsible for providing guidance for NNLM funded projects, coordinating regional outreach and education programs, and cultivating partnerships and relationships across the region to improve access to biomedical and health information. Prior to coming to NNLM, she was a librarian at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., she also worked as a program specialist and grants management specialist at the Institute of Museum and Library Services. She is a member of the Medical Library Association, Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association and the African American Medical Librarians Alliance Caucus of the Medical Library Association.

John Clexton

Library Director
Gladwin County District Library
[email protected]

John Clexton currently serves as Library Director for Gladwin County District Library in Northern Michigan. After completing his Master of Library & Information Science in 1998 he served as a Children’s Librarian first with Ypsilanti Public Library and then with Detroit Public Library. In 2000 he joined his (then) hometown library of Grosse Pointe Public Library as Branch Coordinator, serving for 18 years there, raising his three kids with his wife, and also raising 3 dogs, 2 chinchillas, 1 rabbit, and guinea pig, hamsters, and fish along the way.

Melissa Sadorf

Superintendent, Stanfield Elementary School District
2020-2021 US Department of Education School Ambassador Fellow
National Rural Education Association (NREA) President-Elect
AZ ASCD Executive Director
NAU Rural Resource Center Executive Director

Dr. Melissa Sadorf currently serves as the Superintendent of the Stanfield Elementary School District. An educator at all levels for over three decades, Dr. Sadorf brings considerable expertise in leadership and teacher preparation, policy development and advocacy, and education in a variety of educational settings. Her commitment to giving back to the teaching profession has opened opportunities to mentor educators in both rural and urban settings, ensuring they gain the skills and background knowledge to hone their leadership. She serves as Part Time Faculty for Northern Arizona University and Central Arizona College in a variety of courses concentrated on teacher preparation and educational leadership. In the past decade, Dr. Sadorf has focused on advocating for rural education and rural leaders. In that venue, she is involved with local, state and regional organizations to help raise awareness on the unique challenges that rural educators face. She hosts a podcast that explores rural issues and also holds monthly superintendent virtual round tables to ensure rural voices are being heard. Dr. Sadorf serves as the President Elect of the National Rural Education Association and the President of the Arizona Rural Schools Association. She also is the Executive Director of the Northern Arizona University’s Rural Resource Center and of the Arizona ASCD Affiliate.

Nicholas Brown, MMus, MSLIS

Acting Co-Chief Executive Officer
COO for Communication and Outreach
Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
[email protected]

Nicholas Alexander Brown is a Honduran-American library executive and musician based in Maryland, where he serves as acting co-CEO and chief operating officer for communication and outreach at the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. He is the recipient of the 2021 Library Journal Marketer of the Year Award and was a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2019. Brown is also adjunct faculty for the Department of Library and Information Science at Catholic University and music director/founder of The Irving Fine Society. He previously worked as director of special productions and initiatives at Washington Performing Arts, program specialist (detail) for the Office of the Librarian/Office of Special Events & Public Programs at Library of Congress, music specialist/concert producer at Library of Congress, and army bandsman with the 215th Army Band. Brown is an active conductor, choral singer, and musicologist, and has performed across the U.S., Europe, and Honduras. His writing has appeared in Library Journal, The Horn Book, and HuffPost Blog. He is a contributor to The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Popular Music and Public Diplomacy (Transcript Verlag, 2017). Brown is a past president of the DC Library Association and Beta Phi Mu Iota Chapter, a past chair of Library of Congress GLOBE, a past president of the Library of Congress Hispanic Cultural Society, and has held various leadership roles with the ALA Rainbow Roundtable. He is a member of REFORMA, Maryland Library Association, and Music Library Association. He serves on advisory boards for the Financial Empowerment Center at Prince George’s Community College, the LIS department at Catholic University, and the MLIS program at the University of Maryland’s iSchool.

Noah Lenstra, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science
University of North Carolina Greensboro
Author, Healthy Living at the Library
Director of Let’s Move in Libraries

Dr. Noah Lenstra is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he brings a community engagement approach to the study and teaching of public libraries. Notably, Noah founded the Let’s Move in Libraries Initiative, which focuses on supporting healthy living in public libraries through harnessing community partnerships. He is currently the Primary Investigator of HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) at the Library via Co-Developed Programming, funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS # RE-246336-OLS-20).

Shauntee Burns-Simpson

Associate Director of School Support & Outreach
Center for Educators & Schools
The New York Public Library
[email protected]

Shauntee Burns-Simpson (MLIS) currently serves as the 2020-2022 President of BCALA. She is the Associate Director of School Outreach for The New York Public Library. An ambassador for libraries and Youth Librarian, President Burns-Simpson enjoys connecting people to the public library and its resources. She works closely with at-risk teens and fosters a love of reading & learning with her innovative programs. In addition to leading BCALA, she chairs the American Library Association Office of Diversity, Literacy, & Outreach Services (ODLOS) Committee on Diversity.

Sheila S. Umberger, M.L.S

Director of Libraries
Roanoke Public Library
[email protected]

Sheila Umberger is the Director of Libraries for the City of Roanoke. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of Kentucky and a M.L.S. in Library Science from the University of South Carolina. As Roanoke’s library director, she has led a team of library staff in developing innovative programs including the Roanoke Baby Board Book, given to every child born in Roanoke. Sheila is the 2016 recipient of the American Library Association Sullivan Award “presented annually to a single Library Director who has shown exceptional understanding and support of community service to children.” In addition, in 2018, she was named Citizen of the Year, Humanitarian by the Roanoke Chapter of the NAACP. In June of 2019, the National Civic League named Roanoke the first ever “All America Hall of Fame City” for her work with Star City Reads and the Library’s Impactful Feed Read and Grow initiative. In 2021, the library received a National Bright Spot award from the Campaign for Grade Level Reading for their impactful community work during the pandemic. In October, the Library received the Virginia Municipal League 2021 Innovation in Local Government Award (working with Youth category).

Stacy Lane

Youth Services Librarian
Laurel Public Library
[email protected]

Stacy Lane is the youth services librarian at the Laurel Public Library. She began her librarian career during the COVID pandemic, while library doors were closed. She has since served as a rural library fellow for Partners In Education, helped create a Connected Learning toolkit for small and rural libraries with the University of Washington, and continues to champion for small, rural libraries. She holds a Master of Management in Library and Information Science degree from the University of Southern California. She resides in Delaware with her husband, two children, two dogs, and one cat.