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A bit about me...

I'm an educator, writer, consultant, and Mark Twain scholar. My specializations include leadership, teacher education, ESL/ESOL, gifted education, and Mark Twain. I am the only person to have served as the Executive Director of both the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Missouri and the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut.


I have served as the Director of Education for Epic Flight Academy since 2017. Epic is where I learned to fly, inspired by my dad. I love supporting students pursuing their dreams.


In 2019, I was proud to serve as the event director for Hannibal's bicentennial celebration. Hannibal will always be my favorite hometown.


My most recent book project is a new ESOL textbook (2023) co-written with my friend and colleague Dr. Jane Govoni. I've also shared two articles about Jimmy Buffett's connection with Mark Twain, one for the Mark Twain Journal (Fall 2023), and another with Missouri Humanities magazine (Spring/Summer 2024). 

Discovery of Sam Clemens's Signature
in the Mark Twain Cave 


On July 26, 2019 during the 3rd quadrennial Clemens Conference, while touring the cave with other Twain scholars and my dear friend Linda Coleberd, then owner of the Mark Twain Cave, I discovered something I have sought for decades: the signature of Samuel Clemens. This was the 'holy grail' for me. Linda and I had looked on countless occasions throughout the cave's 260 passageways and 250,000 signatures. We were in an unlit passage with two other Twain scholars. As with every other person I'd explored the cave with, I encouraged them to look for Clemens. This was my mission each time I entered the cave.


Linda was flashing her light around to give them an idea of the challenge we perpetually faced, when suddenly I saw "Clemens" on the wall. Dr. Alan Gribben, and Kevin Mac Donnell are the Twain scholars who spent the next two months authenticating the signature as belonging to Sam Clemens. The Mark Twain Cave announced the discovery at a press conference on September 24, 2019, and the rest, as they say, is history. You can read my full account here.

Applied Linguistics Textbook (2020)

Linguistics for K-12 Classroom Applicati

What a joy it was to co-author this textbook with my friend and colleague, Dr. Jane Govoni. We both teach Applied Linguistics at the University of South Florida and found that our students, pre-service teachers, struggled with many of the technical and theoretical aspects of the topic. We spent a year or so discussing how to integrate these more abstract concepts into classroom scenarios to which our students could relate, and the result was this text.


Each chapter centers around a specific classroom scenario and the English leaners in the classroom. Our teacher candidates can picture themselves in each scenario and appreciate the immediate application for the classroom. I invite anyone who teaches Applied Linguistics at the college level for preservice teacher or those who teach ESOL endorsement classes to request a review copy of Linguistics for K-12 Application from Kendall Hunt Publishing Co.  Published in 2020.

ESOL Textbook (2021)


For those who teach foundations of ESOL at the college level or in ESOL endorsement workshops, Preparing the Way: Teaching ELs in the Pre-K - 12 Classroom covers the following:



     ■Theories of Second Language Learning


     ■Applied Linguistics Overview

     ■Special Populations (e.g., Gifted English Learners (EL), ELs with Learning Disabilities)



     ■Evaluation for K-12 English Learners

The new 4th edition includes 65 new activity pages for the college classroom or professional development workshop. Reviewers with the National Council on Teacher Quality summarized this book by saying, "When used within a program rooted in scientifically-based reading research, this textbook has the potential to enrich students' understanding and application of how to support multilingual learners." Educators can request a desk copy from Kendall Hunt Publishing Co. Published in 2021.

ESOL Activity Book (2023)


Finally, a textbook for college students and workshop participants to immediately apply what they are learning and/or reviewing. The Big Book of ESOL Activities: Preparation for Educators, Administrators, and School Counselors includes more than 200 activities designed to introduce, teach, and review more than 60 ESOL concepts. Educators can request a desk copy from Kendall Hunt Publishing Co. Published in 2023. Activities are coded for educators, administrators, and school counselors, and educator activities are coded by the arts, STEM, and reading. Check out this brief interview about the book.

To access supplemental materials for teaching ESOL/ESL at the college level or in teacher workshops, visit ESOL in Higher Ed.

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