MATE’s MTS Professional Development Day in October is all about building a community of ELA teachers who support young learners in the application, art, and humanity of ELA.


Dr. Troy Hicks

Sonya Ballantyne

Dr. Troy Hicks is a former middle-school teacher and current professor of English and education at Central Michigan University who focuses his work on the teaching of writing, the intersections of literacy and technology, and, more broadly, teacher education and professional development. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Learning, Design & Technology program. Dr. Hicks is author of the Heinemann titles Crafting Digital Writing (2013) and The Digital Writing Workshop (2009) as well as a co – author of Because Digital Writing Matters (Jossey – Bass, 2010), Create, Compose, Connect! (Routledge/Eye on Education, 2014), Connected Reading (NCTE, 2015), Research Writing Rewired (Corwin Literacy, 2015), Coaching Teacher-Writers (Teachers College Press, 2016), Argument in the Real World (Heinemann, 2017), and From Texting to Teaching (Routledge/Eye on Education, 2017). His edited collection, Assessing Students’ Digital Writing (Teachers College Press, 2015) features the work of seven National Writing Project teachers. Hicks has authored or co – authored over 40 additional scholarly contributions and blogs regularly at He is the father of six digital natives and is always learning something new about writing and technology from them. Follow him on Twitter: @hickstro

Sonya is a filmmaker, writer and public speaker from Misipawistik Cree Nation. Her short films have played in festivals worldwide including most recently the Vancouver International Film Festival. She was the winner of the 2016 ImagineNative Short Film Pitch Competition and the 2014 winner of the RBC Emerging Filmmakers Pitch Competition. Her work focuses on Indigenous women and girls in non-traditional genres and presenting them as the heroines they are. Sonya recently published “Kerri Berry Lynn” a children’s book about a little Cree girl and her 7 dogs. She has spoken at such events as We Day 2017, San Diego Comic Con 2018, and New York Comic Con 2019. Sonya is currently the Partnership and Communications Specialist at Manitoba Moon Voices Inc, a local non-profit organization that represents and advocates on behalf of Indigenous women and gender diverse people in Manitoba. She is currently working on two graphic novels: her own memoir and a biography about Michael Champagne as well as her first feature film WWSHE. Follow her on Twitter: @sonyaballantyne