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Grace Educational Resources was founded in 2007 with the mission to serve students and teachers.  We represent some of the highest quality publishers in the market to meet the diverse needs of students.  Our work with schools is based on a strength-based model of learning that celebrates students' diversity of talents.


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Jim Burnette founded Grace Educational Resources in 2007, drawing on his 25 years of experience working in educational resources and publishing to create an organization dedicated to helping teachers succeed in the classroom. He formed the company, named after his 15-year-old daughter Grace, with the goal of transforming classroom instruction by providing not only the best curricular resources but also the professional development needed for educators to use them to their full potential.

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Education Consultant


Raschele Himalaya has taught elementary school in Chicago Public Schools for six years, taught 3rd grade in Shanghai for three years, and coached teachers for a couple of years before starting her work consulting and leading workshops for Grace Educational Resources.  She leads literacy workshops at Grace Ed and within schools, manages the operations of Grace Ed, and is pursuing a master’s degree in reading education from Concordia University. She lives in Bucktown with her husband, three children and her cat.


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Adelfio J. García is an advocate of students learning in two or more languages.  His experiences in education range from Bilingual Teacher, Special Education Teacher, District Facilitator, Assistant Principal, and K-8 Principal within the Chicago Public Schools and Suburban School Districts. In his different teaching and administrative roles in urban education serving students from Latin America, he supported teachers implementing strategies and methodologies that best apply to the student population they serve. Adelfio recently earned his doctorate in Reading and language inspired by his work with Mexican families and students. His research interests include biliteracy, transnational literacies, translanguaging and teacher development. He provides professional development in Spanish and English for teachers, parents, and administrators.  He currently serves as a board member for the Illinois Writing Project. He actively participates in the Reading Leadership Institute from National Louis University, Chicago Area Reading Association (CARA) and Suburban Council of the International Reading Association, International Literacy Association and Illinois Reading Association.  

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Dr. Debra Gurvitz, is a published author and respected educator who speaks at International, National and Local Educational Conferences. She completed her doctorate degree in Reading and Language from National Louis University where she continued as an Associate Professor in the Reading and Language program, taught the graduate clinical reading specialist courses and continues to direct the Urban Campus Summer Reading Program. Prior to joining National Louis, she taught kindergarten, first, and multiage 1-­‐2, mentored classroom teachers as the building reading specialist/literacy coach and also served as the K-­‐8 district reading specialist.  Recent publications include Complete Guide to Tutoring Struggling Readers: Mapping Interventions to Purpose and CCSS (Fisher, Bates, Gurvitz, 2014) and Partnering for Content Reading, Chapter 6 (Ogle, 2012).  Dr. Gurvitz has authored and consulted with Publishers in developing Core Reading Programs.

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Lisa Vahey, a former award-winning Chicago Public Schools classroom teacher, founded an induction program at the University of Chicago and then opened the New Teacher Center's Chicago office. She grew program, staff and funding to support over 1000 new teachers across Chicago, while increasing the retention rate and efficacy of teachers in the city’s hardest-to-staff schools. Her policy worked focused on advocating for state and district leaders to closely examine induction policy, costs, and implementation of rigorous statewide program standards. She has also been a principal, coach and academic leader in both district and charter school settings. Lisa now works with local and national clients on issues of teacher quality, instructional coaching, and nonprofit leadership and talent development. A graduate of Lesley University (early childhood regular and special education) and Northwestern University (school leadership), she lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband and two teenaged children, who she still tries to read with every night.

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Nawal Qarooni began her career as a journalist, but moved into education from a desire to make real change in children's lives. She taught in Brooklyn, NY before moving to Chicago and taught on the southwest side of the city before becoming a literacy coach and staff developer. Now, Nawal works with teachers and instructional leaders across Chicago to increase student achievement in reading and writing through balanced literacy. Nawal earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and two masters degrees from Syracuse University and Brooklyn College in journalism and teaching. With three little ones of her own, she is zealous about teaching reading and compelling others to feel passionate about it too.  

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Deborah Shefren is an educational consultant with more than 35 years of experience as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, and adjunct faculty member at National Louis University where she teaches graduate courses in reading and supervises student teachers. Deborah received her BA degree from the University of Iowa and her MA in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University. She also has a reading endorsement. Deborah has presented on numerous occasions at the International Reading Association Conventions and at the Illinois Reading Council Conferences. She has provided professional development on writing, comprehension, assessment, balanced literacy, inquiry based instruction, word study, differentiation, and classroom management. She has written units for publication. Deborah plans sessions to meet the needs of all participants. She is enthusiastic and passionate about literacy.

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Clare Donovan-Scane brings over fifteen years of experience working with schools in support of the cultivation of passionate literacy communities.  Her dedication for literacy and teacher development has led to exciting collaborations at both school and district levels.   Clare is a career educator; starting with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from University of Iowa and later a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University.  She has worked as a classroom teacher, new teach coach, professional developer, and instructional coach/administrator.  For the past four years Clare has worked as the director of literacy for READ Worldwide in their support of strong literacy programming for schools around the country.  Clare is currently a doctoral candidate in Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Rachel Dahl is an experienced teacher, staff developer, and literacy specialist. She started teaching on the West Coast and worked with children new to the country as a dual language classroom teacher and earned her masters degree at Cal State LA. She's been in the Chicago area the past 8 years, most recently working with teachers across the city and suburbs to implement balanced literacy instruction. She is passionate and excited about the transformational role reading plays in children's lives.

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