Seeger Chapel steeple against an orange sunset

Milligan to host ‘Teach, Read, Lead Conference’

Milligan teacher education professor in classroom with elementary students

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (March 2, 2020) — Milligan College and the Blue Ridge Literacy Project present the third annual “Teach, Read, Lead Conference” on Saturday, March 7. The conference will address literacy in the region and will feature two keynote speakers, Franki Sibberson and Allison Varnes.

The event will be held in Milligan’s Gregory Center from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., with registration beginning at 7:45 a.m.

Sibberson has worked in elementary schools for over 25 years and currently teaches third graders in Dublin, Ohio. She is the author of “Still Learning to Read,” “Day-to-Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop” and “The Joy of Planning.” Sibberson blogs regularly at A Year of Reading, and she is a regular contributor to Choice Literary. She is a member of literacy organizations, such as NCTE, OCTELA and The Literacy Connection.

Varnes is the author of the young adult novel “Property of the Rebel Librarian,” which Kirkus Reviews noted as “an accessible introduction to the importance of the freedom to read.” She previously taught English in special education for eight years and received her doctorate in education from the University of Tennessee.

“Milligan’s education area is excited for the ‘Teach, Read, Lead Conference’ to return to campus and help promote literacy in our region,” said Dr. Angela Hilton-Prillhart, Milligan’s area chair of education. “We look forward to bringing educators together to share ideas and knowledge regarding best practices in literacy education. This conference also serves as a great resource for our students and alumni.”

Milligan’s area of education continues to excel in teacher preparation. The Tennessee State Board of Education’s 2019 Educator Preparation Report Card ranked Milligan in the highest performance category of “Exceeds Expectations.”

This year, five Milligan education alumni were honored as Teacher of the Year throughout the school districts in the Tri-Cities. These alumni include Ben Davenport at Grandview Elementary School, Kellie Davenport for David Crockett High School, Noah Edwards at Happy Valley High School, Holly Kent for Happy Valley Elementary School and Melissa Preudhomme for Lake Ridge Elementary School. In addition, Kellie Davenport earned the honor of Washington County’s Teacher of the Year grades 9-12, and Preudhomme was honored as the K-4 Teacher of the Year for Johnson City Schools.

The Blue Ridge Literacy Project is an initiative established by professional educators dedicated to and actively engaged in advancing the level of literacy instruction within the areas of Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina.

Advance registration is $90 and for pre-service teachers, it is $40. Lunch is included. To register or for more information, email, or visit

Posted by on March 2, 2020.