Pages Navigation Menu

A free summer seminar for experienced high school journalism advisers


Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is in her second year advising The Whirlwind student media staff at West Albany High School in Albany, Oregon. After 11 years advising in Silicon Valley, Balmeo relocated and helped a group of students restart the school’s century-old publication after a 10-year hiatus. She experienced the print-only to digital-first transition in media firsthand. She has been a JEA Web curriculum leader, a contributor to the JEA Digital Media Committee’s blog, and a contributor to the textbook Journalism: Publishing Across Media. Balmeo was a 2014 DJNF Distinguished Adviser and 2011 California High School Journalism Teacher of the Year.



Natalie Bieber is from Omaha, Nebraska.  While “honestly, it’s not for everyone,” may be our state tourism slogan, I am proud to be a life-long Nebraskan. I have a spunky 2-year-old daughter, Scarlett, and I can’t wait to spend the summer with her!  I teach in Bennington, a growing community North of the Omaha metro, and run the journalism and yearbook programs. We hope to add an on-line newspaper and radio podcast to our program next school year.  I participated in the 2015 ASNE Institute at KSU, and I look forward to growing professionally with you this July!




Hillary Blayney teaches at Omaha Central High School, located in downtown Omaha. It has a very diverse student body with about 2,600 students.  It pulls from neighborhood schools as well as the suburbs out west. She advises both the yearbook (O-Book) and the newspaper (The Register), which is online and prints six 28-page issues a year.  She also teaches an intro to journalism course and a photojournalism course. Blayney has been teaching 11 years, and advising the publications for a little more than 7 years.  Her school has a strong history of high school journalism, but was at a low when she took over with only 10 students in the program overall. She has rebuilt the program and now has a yearbook staff of 28 and a newspaper staff of 30.  She also implemented the photojournalism class.


Scott Collins, CJE, advises a middle school newspaper, a high school newspaper and a yearbook at University Prep, a 6-12 independent school in Seattle. This is his second year at the school, and last year he also advised the literary magazine staff. Collins previously advised the newspaper, yearbook and broadcast programs at Raytown High School outside of Kansas City, Missouri, for four years, and taught English in Eugene, Oregon. Before teaching, he worked as a TV news producer in Seattle and Portland. Collins has a bachelor of journalism from the University of Missouri and a master of education from the University of Oregon.



Stephenie Conley, MJE, brings a unique mix of experience to the teaching and advising table as an Air Force veteran. She has taught desktop publishing, video journalism, journalistic writing, pop culture studies, yearbook and newspaper at Bellevue East High School for 11 years. Conley enjoy traveling, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family. She obtained her undergrad from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in secondary education with endorsements in journalism and English, and Master’s in curriculum and instruction from Doane College.



Sandra Coyer, MJE, is the director of student media at Puyallup High School. She teaches AP Senior Literature; Sophomore Journalism; Broadcast 1, 2 and 3; and Media Arts. She graduated with a Communications Degree in 1998 from Washington State University. She is the current Washington Journalism Education Association past president and has served as a JEA regional director and local chair for the 2017 JEA/NSPA Spring National Convention.




Kaitlin Edgerton, CJE, advises The Tower at Grosse Pointe South High School in Michigan. The Tower is a 91-year-tradition and the last weekly scholastic broadsheet in the country. Her students receive high rankings and have won numerous awards at the state and national level including a Silver Crown from the CSPA in 2019. Edgerton has spoken at state and national conferences to students and educators from across the country, including speaking at Columbia University at the CSPA spring conference. Edgerton is the vice president of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. Her focus is on the student voice and helping new advisers develop their programs.


Stacy Gerst, CJE, currently teaches English 11 and Journalism I/II at Hammonton High School in NJ (nestled between Philadelphia and Atlantic City). She’s been teaching in the classroom for 14 years, and over half of those have included a journalism class. First asked to advise journalism in 2005 as a second-year teacher with no experience, she have been in constant pursuit of knowledge and experience, including the ASNE Reynolds Institute (2009), her state press association (GSSPA), and JEA. She earned her CJE status in the Fall of 2014 and has been enrolled in Kent State’s online graduate program since 2016.



Rebekah Goode is a journalism adviser and nighttime writer. Her students at Woodward Academy – the largest, most diverse private school in the contiguous U.S. – produce a weekly Mailchimp newsletter, a monthly newsmagazine, a 600-page yearbook and a literary arts magazine, all which have earned national scholastic journalism awards. Designated a Rising Star by the Journalism Education Association in 2016, Goode believes actively writing and editing helps her better reach her students. She lives in a small house on the southside of Atlanta with a dog, a cat, a kid, and lots of books.



Kelly Johnson, CJE, is a student media adviser and English teacher at Delta High School, a small, rural high school on Colorado’s western slope. Johnson started the journalism program at DHS after attending the ASNE institute in Arizona back in 2007.  The newspaper began as an online paper and has grown into a color quarterly news magazine with a small editorial staff. In addition to publishing a magazine, students publish weekly articles in the local newspaper and dabble with social media and YouTube from time to time.  In the near future, the program hopes to add podcasting and a stronger web presence to the current repertoire.


Dan Loving has taught at Maize High in Maize, Kansas, since 2011. He teaches Newsmagazine, 21st Century Journalism, photography and speech. Next year he will also take over the yearbook. He also coaches middle school football and high school golf, he is the stadium announcer for sporting events and sponsors the school’s service and leadership club. Prior to teaching, Loving worked at newspapers in Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania for 20 years. A native of Kansas City, he has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Missouri State University and a Masters in teaching from Fort Hays State.



Elisabeth (Beth) Marshall, CJE, teaches one section of journalism and advises Endeavor yearbook, and The Rocket Review website as part of RB Publications for Richmond-Burton Community High School in Richmond, Illinois. Her school has approximately 650 students, and she typically has between 13-16 staff members each year. She is completing her sixth year of advising/teaching Journalism but has been teaching English since 1991 after graduating from Millikin University. She is a graduate student at Kent State University, a Certified Journalism Educator from the JEA and serves as board president of Kettle Moraine Press Association, a local SPA for Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.


In two decades of advising the student newspaper at Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, South Carolina, Amy Medlock-Greene and her students have gone from a monthly publication on newsprint to a full-color quarterly magazine to a weekly online publication. In addition to advising The Renaissance, she also took over the weekly broadcast news program 15 years ago. Four years ago, she added a literary magazine to her advising load. Published annually, this magazine is an extracurricular activity with the smallest of her three staffs. Medlock-Greene also teaches Journalism 1, an Introduction to Mass Media course, Fundamentals of Film and Creative Writing 1 and 2.


Sheila Moore advises newspaper, broadcast, and yearbook at a small school in central Illinois, which is situated in the middle of corn fields. She has taken a program, which included a small yearbook, and developed a publications team who tied for first place at sectional competition this year and does exceedingly well in state competitions for small schools (student enrollment of 270). Moore serves on the Illinois High School Association Journalism Advisory Committee and has worked with several All-State Journalists. She will celebrate 23 years of marriage this summer and is the proud mom of three children (ages 22, 18 and 6).


Megan Ortiz, CJE, is in her 8th year as a journalism adviser. She teaches journalism, photojournalism, newspaper and yearbook at Kingwood Park High School near Houston. She majored in journalism and mass communications at the University of Iowa. Prior to teaching journalism, she worked for The Houston Chronicle, Newsday, Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Express-News and the Des Moines Register. She focused primarily on sports and covered everything from the World Series and Super Bowls to Big Ten college football and professional tennis. She spent seven years at the Houston Chronicle covering the NBA and NFL prior to becoming a journalism teacher.


Bill Rawson has taught journalism for five years at Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, New Jersey (a suburb of Manhattan) and is in his 11th year at the school overall. He advises The Smoke Signal (, which was rated the top online student publication in NJ the last two years, and he was recently elected president of the Garden State Scholastic Press Association. Rawson was a sports writer for a small daily newspaper in NJ before embarking on his teaching career, and in his free time he enjoys hiking, weird rock music and sports (NY Giants, Mets, and Rangers).



PeterRodrigues, CJE, has taught social science at Berkeley High School for 10 years, mostly Theory of Knowledge for their IB program, and has advised the Berkeley High Jacket newspaper for five.  It has been a five-year trial by fire, having had no previous journalism experience. Peter is halfway through the Kent State scholastic journalism program and is excited to learn more about digital tools for reporting.




Julie Rowse has her dream job, teaching Photojournalism/Publication Design, Journalistic Writing, and Popular Culture Studies in Bellevue, Nebraska. She advises The Thunderbeat, both print and web editions, as well as live sports broadcasts. She is always looking for ways to help her students catch the vision of how journalism can affect change. When she isn’t in the journalism lab, she is playing the piano for her high school’s musical, watching basketball, podcasting with her friends, or writing creative non-fiction.


A 21-year veteran teacher, Karla Sprague has been a member of the Har-Ber High School staff for 13 years after moving back to Arkansas from Arizona in 2006, where she was an English teacher, newspaper adviser and softball coach at Cienega High School. She previously taught journalism for three years at Ray-Pec Middle School and Language Arts for one year at Our Lady of Peace Catholic School in Missouri. She currently serves as the President of the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association and has been a member of the Journalism Education Association and National Scholastic Press Association for the past 20 years. She is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, where she wrote for The Echo and The Arkansas Democrat Gazette. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and was most recently chosen the 2019 Har-Ber High School Teacher of the Year, the 2019 Arkansas Scholastic Press Association Adviser of the Year and the 2019 Arkansas Educator of the Year by the Arkansas Press Association. When she’s not at school, she enjoys reading good books, floating on a raft in the lake and spending time with Steve and Braden.


Steven Tolly teaches Language Arts in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and directs a little theatre on the side. He says his students will tell you he appears tough, but not to worry. They will also tell you he is not afraid to give them the occasional life lecture (or as they say “dad talk”). He currently runs a newspaper and yearbook program. With his free time, Tolly enjoys running the concert hall and auditorium at his school. He has always loved theatre and usually directs a show or two a year. When Tolly is not on campus working on a publication or a production, he loves working in his woodshop and spending time with his family.


Carolyn Wagner, MJE, is a veteran teacher, having survived five superintendents, six principals, and three department chairs, not all of whom embraced free speech or free press for students. Her staff only suffered prior review once, but that’s only because Carolyn didn’t know who Ron Jeremy is. Carolyn’s students don’t tend to continue in journalism beyond high school despite winning awards for their news magazine and website, but she knows the lessons she teaches are not just about writing and design; she believes journalism classes are the vehicle to teach vital skills essential to society, democracy, and life. She teaches three levels of journalism at Lake Zurich (Illinois) High School, as well as several senior literature classes.



Sheena Zadai, CJE, teaches Honors English 10 and advises the North Ridgeville (Ohio) High School Carousel yearbook. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education, specializing in Integrated Language Arts and a Master of Education in School Counseling, both from Kent State University. She is the Gender & Sexuality Alliance Advisor for NRHS, a board member of GLSEN Northeast Ohio, and the secretary for the Kent State University LGBTQ+ Alumni Association. She lives in Cuyahoga Falls with her husband, who is also a teacher, and her two dogs.



Bretton Zinger currently teaches English and Journalism and advises The Whaler Post, the student newspaper, at New Bedford (Massachusetts) High School. This was the first year of publication for The Whaler Post (though the school did have a newspaper many years ago). Previously, he taught in Virginia and Missouri at the middle- and high-school levels. He has advised newspaper, news website, literary magazine, broadcast and yearbook, and his students have earned Crowns from CSPA and numerous state and national awards. A frequent speaker and judge at national conventions, he was awarded a Gold Key from CSPA and was named a Dow Jones News Fund Distinguished Adviser and Special Recognition Adviser