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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Sheryl Abshire
Chief Technology Officer in the Calcasieu Parish School System in Lake Charles, Louisiana

As a leader in technology integration, she has served as the catalyst to initiate the integration of technology into all curriculum areas throughout her school district, the state, and internationally. She serves on numerous national, state, and district committees focusing on the role of technology and curriculum integration in changing educational practice. She has been involved in diverse staff development programs throughout the nation and in Great Britain involving restructuring schools through the infusion of technology and curriculum enhancements. As a member of the ISTE NETS Writing Team and the Technology for School Administrators Writing Team she is deeply involved in infusing technology into standards based instruction. Additionally, she is a member of the ISTE Standards and Accreditation Committee working on the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Refresh Project.

Sheryl has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education, a M.Ed. in Elementary Education, an Educational Specialist in School Administration and Supervision and a Ph.D. from the University of New Orleans in Educational Leadership and Administration. She is an accomplished grant writer and regularly conducts institutes to fund innovative technology programs throughout the nation. A thirty-six year veteran educator, she has worked as a school principal, K-5 teacher, a library/media specialist, a classroom teacher, and as an adjunct professor at McNeese State University, Louisiana Tech University and Lamar University (2010).

Presently Dr. Abshire serves on the national advisory boards for Dell, Blackboard, eSchool News, Pearson Digital Learning and Scholastic Administrator. She is the Chairman of the Louisiana Department of Education Committee to Advance Technology Standards and since 1997 has served as Chairman of the Louisiana Technology Advisory Commission with the responsibility to oversee and approve proposals for the expenditure of over $200 million in technological advancements in the Louisiana schools. In May of 2009, ISTE awarded Dr. Abshire the first Public Policy Advocate of the Year Award for her decades of work promoting educational technology.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

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