Smartiecon 2018Donna's Smartiecon Conference 2018


  • "I have known Donna for nearly 20 years as a mentor, colleague, and friend, and I have had the opportunity to observe her speaking and discuss her educational philosophies. Her enthusiasm, knowledge and professionalism are contagious. Donna acted as a mentor to me when I began speaking. I have now delivered over 3,500 presentations to audiences worldwide, and I have always valued Donna’s feedback and support – especially in her capacity as a reading specialist. While I have been blessed to work with some of the leading reading experts of our time (including Jim Trelease, Stephen Krashen, Elfrieda “Freddy” Hiebert, MaryEllen Vogt, Laura Robb and Tim Rasinski, to name a few), what has always separated Donna is her passion for developing simple, practical strategies for teachers to use in their classrooms.
    Effective reading teaching is both a science and an art, and Donna has modeled the best research-based, classroom-tested practices to tens of thousands of educators. I have always been impressed with Donna’s desire to improve the ways we serve our students, especially those who live in under-resourced areas. She has tirelessly worked on making her lessons and those of the teachers she trains more interesting and relevant to students, and – as a result – she has earned raves for her ingenuity, common sense, and kind heart.
    Like all educators, Donna is bombarded with responsibilities: lesson planning, conferencing, reviewing the latest research and reflecting on its use in classrooms, etc. And the pandemic presented its own set of challenges. What sets Donna apart is her constant enthusiasm for what she does. She accepts every challenge she is presented with and strives to do a better job than anyone else. Donna makes the people around her better, and I am grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity to work with her and witness her success." Video Testimonial
    Danny Brassell, Ph.D. Faculty Advisor – CalStateTEACH
  • "I have worked with Mrs. Whyte for the past 10 years and can speak personally to her outstanding commitment to improving the lives of all children through literacy. I currently employ Mrs. Whyte as our only literacy consultant as district Superintendent of Sparta District #140.
    Prior to my superintendency, I was the Director of School Improvement for the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, transforming the lowest performing schools on state testing in the state of Illinois. Mrs. Whyte was our lead literacy consultant and reading specialist for over five years. Her ability to identify gaps in literacy, review and communicate data trends, and create interventions for student progress is outstanding. She has brought integral programs to our region that she personalized for each district to address skill remediation in reading. She also presents professional development on reading and writing instruction, intervention, and behavior adaptations for the Regional Office of Education #50.
    Mrs. Whyte has worked diligently to inform and drive the recent changes in the science of reading with her schools to create systems-based phonics programs to address the gaps discovered with new research. I have witnessed the relationships Mrs. Whyte builds with teachers and administration throughout the years, but with students, as well. That speaks to the high amount of respect shared by all, as a professional educator working to improve conditions for all learners. Her ability to support implementation of change takes hard work, honesty, and hard conversations. She is a master of all three."
    Dr. G. Rodriguez - Superintendent
  • "Donna brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to your district. She creates a sense of urgency with teachers, coaches, and administration. Her passion is to create classrooms that are child-centered places where instruction is rigorous and tailored for each student. She has the ability to speak to thousands of teachers and coach one-on-one with equal success. Donna will be a tremendous asset to your efforts at school improvement!
    Susan Sarfaty - Regional Superintendent - State of Illinois, St. Clair County
  • "Donna is knowledgeable, passionate about education, and provides outstanding research, activities and information for all teachers."
    Randall Kincaid - Supervisor of Instruction for Sevier County, Tennessee State Coordinator for Reading for TN Reading and IRA, Governor Bredeson's Reading Panel Co-Chair for Tennessee
  • "Without a doubt Donna is by far, one of the top, if not the best, educators I have known in my 35 years in the education field. Her commitment, positive attitude and relentless amount of energy are contagious to children, their families and her colleagues."
    Nancy B. Chase - Former Superintendent, NY Public Schools
  • "Donna's workshops are full of useful tips and practical ideas. She is realistic and enthusiastic! Donna really motivated me to overcome the constant challenges educators face each day."
    Stephanie Stachura, Teacher, Fell School Simpson, PA
  • "Donna's heart bleeds "Students First". Through her coaching support in our district, she has shared a great wealth of knowledge, resources, and strategies. She has helped our teachers design practical and effective ways to meet the needs/demands of all of our students."
    Antionette Johnson, ELA Content Specialist, East St. Louis Public Schools