Literacy Experts


President & Lead Consultant | Smekens Education

Teachers feel empowered and encouraged after participating in professional development led by Kristina Smekens. Whether it’s in person or on video, she has a gift for making the complex seem simple – for showing teachers how to meet the needs of readers and writers by bridging the gap between education research and  practical, classroom-tested strategies that work.
President and lead consultant for Smekens Education, Kristina is a highly sought after speaker and author who has spent more than a dozen years supporting K-12 educators with on-site school trainings, regional seminars, and an always-growing pool of print, digital and video resources. 

She is well known for offering innovative ideas, but also for the energetic and enthusiastic way in which she delivers every professional development session. 

A certified 6-Traits trainer, Kristina is the author of several books and resources including Launching the Writer’s Workshop; Grades K-2, Launching the Writer’s Workshop; Grades 3-12, Trait-Based Writing: Lessons and Activities, The Writing Parent Pack, and more. 

Workshop excerpts featuring Kristina Smekens

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Launching the Writer's Workshop                                     Planning & Facilitating a Close Reading

What Others Are Saying...

"Kristina totally understands how teachers think. I love how she did so much legwork for us by cross referencing the standards & the Common Core." C. Douthett
"Best workshop ever! Kristina's a master of organization, a wealth of information, and makes it all fun!" B. Cieplak
"The last two days have been the best PD I've had in 14 years. I want to attend more of your workshops! This PD is the most useful ever attended." K. Roberts
"After 27 years, there is still so much to learn. You, Kristina, can teach an old dog new tricks!" M. Steves-Brown
"Kristina has so much energy and keeps everything moving. She is very 'in tune' with her audience. She provides many examples for various grade levels." Y. Pence
"The best part is how Kristina shows how to apply and integrate her ideas into your own classroom. She provides many examples for various grade levels." E. Vosses



Literacy Consultant | Smekens Education 

Teachers love the authentic, “from-the-trenches” insight that Kristi McCullough offers during her professional development sessions with K-5 teachers. Her own experience as a reading and writing teacher and literacy coach provide the perfect backdrop for Kristi to share practical ways to deliver research-based best practices. 

As a full-time literacy consultant with Smekens Education, Kristi has worked with thousands of teachers across the United States delivering regional seminars and customized on-site school trainings that focus specifically on teaching reading.  In addition, she is also the author of the “6-Week Planning Guide for Launching the 90-Minute Reading Block,” a popular resource for K-5 teachers.

Kristi wore many hats in public schools for 13 years during which time she was trained in Reading Recovery® and many other well-known instructional models. She is passionate about helping teachers implement a balanced literacy approach focused on real-life, purposeful literacy activities that result in improved student achievement.

Workshop excerpts featuring Kristi McCullough

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Small-Group Reading Instruction                                     An Introduction to Literacy Stations

What Others Are Saying...

Kristi has been in the trenches, teaching real kids and making it all work! She has helped me see how it can be done!" D. Estelle

"Kristi McCullough uses her real-life classroom experiences to engage her listeners in valuable learning experiences that leave you feeling excited and empowered to take the learning back into your own classroom." S. Bertsch

"Kristi speaks with her heart and passionately puts kids first!" M. Ingalls

"Kristi has lived the experiences & ideas she has shared with us today! She knows what works because she was a classroom teacher herself who has a love for learning and sharing." B. Schauss

"Kristi is a vibrant speaker who is passionate about lifelong learning!" Melanie F.

"I love the energy and 'true-teacher' feeling of [Kristi] McCullough. She's real and entertaining and fantastically knowledgeable about the material. I love being taught by someone who has been there before." G. Frazier