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Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature

Arne Nixon Center Advocates (ANCA)
Board Members

The Arne Nixon Center Advocates board consists of twelve community members who serve three-year terms.

Kari Johnson~ President

Kari Johnson

Kari Johnson, is the Youth Programming Librarian for Fresno County Public Library, she currently coordinates all countywide library programming for youth, manages grant funded projects, implements Early Learning Centers (ELC), and coordinates the Summer Reading Program and Lunch at the Library Program. Employed with FCPL for 9 years, she has a B.A. in Anthropology and a Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS). Kari has worked on numerous events, including the Big Read, Dia de Los Ninos Events, Poetry Contest and Summer Reading Program planning.

Audry Hanson ~ 1st Vice President

Audry Hanson

Audry Hanson is a retired school librarian, receiving her MLS from San Jose State. In her positions as teacher librarian, she promoted reading and taught information skills at local area middle and high schools. She is a past member of the California Young Reader Medal Committee, a program that promotes the reading and enjoyment of children's and young adult literature.

Judith Neal ~ 2nd Vice President

Judith Neal

Judith Chibante Neal is professor and immediate past chair of the Department of Literacy and Early Education at Fresno State. She directed the Central California Reading Recovery Project for 16 years which provided early literacy services to over 30,000 struggling children in five western states. Judith has published articles in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Reading and Writing Quarterly, ERS Spectrum, and Literacy Teaching and Learning. A major aspect of her service to the field is serving as founding editor of the Journal of Reading Recovery; she continues service on three editorial boards. Currently she is helping to found the Reading Laboratory at Fresno State as an outreach service to the community.

Jennifer Crow ~ Recording Secretary

Jennifer Crow

Jennifer Crow is the curator of the Arne Nixon Center where she has worked for the past fifteen years. She earned her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University in 2009. She served on the 2013 California Library Association’s Beatty Award committee and currently serves on the Center for Creativity and the Arts committee and the LGBT Allies Network on campus.

~ Corresponding Secretary

Cynthia MacDonald ~ Treasurer

Cynthia MacDonald

Cynthia MacDonald is currently the librarian for the Willow International Community College Center. Prior to this position she managed Youth Services for the Fresno County Public Library system. She teaches children's and young adult literature courses, presents workshops on youth literature in a variety of venues, and serves as a consultant to California's Department of Education on their Recommended Literature Lists for PreK - 12th grades.

Cheryl Caldera ~ Director

Laurel Ashlock

Cheryl Caldera is a lecturer in the Department of Literacy and Early Education at California State University, Fresno and the Regional Director of the California Reading and Literature Project. She retired in 2005 from the Fresno Unified School District after teaching for 30+ years.

Shivon Hess ~ Director

Shivon Hess is currently a librarian at Reedley College. She holds a B.A. in Painting and Drawing with a minor in Art History, and a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS).

Ruth Kallenberg ~ Director

Ruth Kallenberg

Ruth Kallenberg is a librarian, retired from the Henry Madden Library, where she was head of the Acquisitions Department. Her husband was Fresno County Librarian for many years and her son is a librarian at the New York Public Library. Ruth enjoys travel, reading and being a grandmother to four young ladies. She values her continuing association with Fresno State's library serving on the ANCA Board.

Denise Sciandra ~ Director/Founding President

Denise Sciandra

Denise Sciandra graduated from California State University, Fresno, in 1975 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She had the privilege of studying with Professor Arne Nixon, whose passion for children's literature was contagious. Once Dr. Nixon made it clear that his books would be donated to establish a research center, she planned to be a part of that and she has been. She was the first volunteer for  the Arne Nixon Center in 1999 and was the Founding President of the Arne Nixon Center Advocates. She was recognized as a Fresno State Top Dog in 2010 for her work in helping the Center and ANCA grow from the ground up and for her vision and dedication in creating the award-winning Leo Politi Garden.

Ellis Vance ~ Director

Ellis Vance

Ellis Vance has a master's degree in Education. He worked for 40 years as teacher and school administrator, and supervised library services to children in 38 school districts in Fresno County for a number of years before retiring. From 2004-2007 he was project director for the California Learning Resource Network. He has received numerous awards in the fields of education and reading. Currently he devotes most of his time to the United States Board on Books for Youth (USBBY) and the International Board on Books for Youth (IBBY), serving as IBBY Vice President from 2006-2008 and currently (2008-2010) as IBBY Treasurer.