2023 Elite Weekend

"My editors and I walked out of Elite Weekend in awe of what
we accomplished in a short amount of time. The feedback we
get from the trainers is invaluable and we get time to put that
feedback into action. We get to make the changes to our theme,
to our design, to our book and it's in real time."
- Karla Sprague, yearbook adviser
Har-Ber High School, Springdale, Arkansas

Photo by Carlos Giron

Elite Weekend

Curriculum Highlights:

  • Four workshops will once again be held in person this year!
  • Hot design ideas
  • Theme copy to rev up your readers
  • Leadership
  • Headline design/Secondary coverage
  • Specialty design
  • Photography

2023 Dates:

  • Sept. 8-10 – Kansas City
  • Sept. 15-17 – SoCal
  • Sept. 22-24 – Orlando
  • Sept. 29-Oct. 1 – Dallas/Ft. Worth
  • Oct. 13-15- Virtual Weekend

To Register:

Access our registration form at elite-weekend.com.

2023 Elite Weekend Instructors

  • Emily Pyeatt Arnold, CJE (Anaheim)

    Emily Pyeatt Arnold began advising student media at Haltom High School and currently advises the Ledoian yearbook, the Cat’s Eye online news site, Bearcat TV and Catalyst literary arts magazine at Aledo High School in Aledo, Texas. Her passion for storytelling began with her own high school photography, journalism, English, theatre and speech classes. She attended the University of Nebraska where she worked for The Daily Nebraskan and graduated with a bachelor’s in film studies. Pyeatt Arnold also earned her master’s in liberal arts from Texas Christian University. She is a former JEA Rising Star.

  • Alyssa Boehringer (Orlando)

    Alyssa Boehringer, CJE, began advising journalism at her alma mater, McKinney High School, in 2005. She advises the MHS1 broadcast, The Lion yearbook and online news site Manestream News. She loves taking kids to journalism conventions all over the state and country, where her students are consistently ranked as some of the top in the nation, including multiple Pacemakers and Best of Show wins from NSPA and a UIL State Championship. A recipient of the Trailblazer Award from TAJE, the Edith Fox King Award from UIL and the Rising Star Award from JEA, she is president-elect for the Texas Association of Journalism Educators and is the 2017 National Broadcast Adviser of the Year for JEA.

  • Judi Coolidge (Dallas/Fort Worth, Kansas City)

    Judi Coolidge was an AP English teacher, creative writing and yearbook adviser at Bay High School, Bay Village, Ohio for 34 years. Her yearbooks won Gold Medalist and All-American ratings from 1977 to 2006, as well as NSPA Pacemaker and Pacemaker finalist, CSPA Trendsetter, Silver Crown and Gold Crown awards. She has been inducted into the Great Lakes Interscholastic Press Hall of Fame and the Scholastic Journalism of Fame in Norman, Okla. In addition to receiving a Gold Key (CSPA) and a Pioneer Award (NSPA), Coolidge was named JEA’s National Yearbook Adviser of the Year in 2002.

  • Jim Jordan (Dallas/Fort Worth, Kansas City)

    Jim Jordan is the former yearbook adviser at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California, and now a special consultant for Walsworth. His books at Del Campo consistently won national awards, with the 2015 Decamhian most recently earning an NSPA Pacemaker. He was a yearbook adviser for more than 30 years, and over the years the Decamhian yearbook earned numerous Pacemaker and CSPA Gold Crown honors. Jim was the 1996 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and shares his expertise with students and advisers at workshops and conventions across the country. He was among the first to embrace desktop technology and apply it to yearbook, and remains an innovator in the yearbook industry.

  • Tiffany Kopcak (Kansas City)

    Tiffany Kopcak, MEd, CJE, NBCT, is the yearbook adviser at Colonial Forge High School in Northern Virginia. Her students' work has earned consistent Gold Medals with All-Colombian Honors, two CSPA Silver Crowns, NSPA All-American recognition, two NSPA Pacemaker Finalists, and top awards at the state level. In her 13-year career, she has judged for CSPA and NSPA and taught at workshops from NYC to Atlanta, where she promotes interviewing over writing and matching story formats to their purpose. In her free time, she has camped in the Sahara, been on a hit NBC crime drama, married her college sweetheart, worked as a catalog model and traveled to Narnia. She has the pictures to prove it.

  • Tucker Love

    Tucker Love is the journalism teacher and publications adviser at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park, Kansas. His newspaper, yearbook and photojournalism students regularly compete in local, state and national contests. Love got his start in scholastic journalism as a high school student, working on the yearbook for four years. That time inspired him to pursue a career as a publications adviser. Love was a 2020 JEA Rising Star recipient. He has also been involved in both KSPA and JEMKC as board members, and currently serves as the JEMKC board president.

  • Gary Lundgren (Orlando)

    Gary Lundgren is the associate director of the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) and manages the organization’s contests and critiques, including coordinating the Pacemaker competitions. During his 10 years as director of student publications at the University of Arkansas he received the CSPA Gold Key, NSPA Pioneer Award, JEA Medal of Merit and was inducted into the Scholastic Journalism Hall of Fame. The Razorback yearbook and The Arkansas Traveler newspaper both received Crown and Pacemaker recognition from ACP/NPSA and CSPA. Lundgren also served as director of the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association. In 2014, he received the ILPC Edith Fox King and the TAJE Friend of Journalism.

  • Leland Mallett (Orlando, Anaheim)

    Leland Mallett, CJE, is the newspaper and yearbook adviser at Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas. Legacy’s publications have won CSPA Crowns and NSPA Pacemakers in the short time the school has been open. In 2015, Mallett won Texas Journalism Adviser of the Year. He has also won the Edith Fox King Award, TAJE Trailblazer, Dow Jones News Fund Special Recognition Adviser and been named both a Distinguished and Special Recognition Adviser by JEA. This is year 19 of advising for Mallett and he continues to love the art of telling stories. But really, he’s most proud to tell stories about his three kids – of whom he’ll proudly provide a plethora of photos for you.

  • Pat Monroe

    Pat Monroe is a 30-year journalism educator, all of them at Burges High School in El Paso, Texas. The yearbook, Hoofbeats and the campus newspaper, The Stampede were consistent recipients the NSPA Pacemaker, CSPA Crown and Star awards given by the Interscholastic League Press Conference (ILPC). As part of NSPA’s recent centennial celebration, both publications were honored by NSPA as part of the Pacemaker 100. Pat is the recipient of ILPC’s Max. R. Haddick Texas Teacher of the Year, JEA Special Recognition Yearbook adviser, and most recently, a lifetime Achievement award given by JEA. Before entering the world of teaching, Pat worked as a television reporter, editor and producer for 10 years. She has taught Elite workshops both in person and virtually. She truly enjoys working with young people helping them to realize their talent and achieving their goals. She also loves her husband, her four dogs and the Dallas Cowboys.

  • Amy Morgan (Virtual)

    Amy Morgan, MJE, advises publications at Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas. The newspaper and yearbook have earned All-Kansas, All-American, Crown finalist, Pacemaker finalist and Best of Show honors. Morgan was local co-chair of the 2010 Kansas City convention. She served on the Kansas Scholastic Press Association's executive board and the board of the Journalism Educators of Metropolitan Kansas City. She was recognized as the Engel Award winner for outstanding advising in Kansas in 2011. JEA named her a Special Recognition Yearbook Adviser in 2015, and she was named an NSPA Pioneer in 2019.

  • Susan Massy (Orlando, Anaheim)

    Susan Massy is the yearbook adviser at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, Kansas, where her Lair yearbook staffs have been demonstrating excellence in writing and design for the past two decades. The Lair recently won its 19th Pacemaker award from the NSPA under Massy’s guidance. In 1999, Massy was chosen the National Yearbook Adviser of the Year by JEA. In 2013, Massy was inducted into the Kansas Scholastic Press Association Hall of Fame.

  • Susan McNulty

    Susan McNulty is The Stampede yearbook adviser at J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Florida. In her nine years as adviser, The Stampede has been named an FSPA Sunshine Standout, a NSPA Pacemaker finalist and winner, and a CPSA Silver Crown winner. The Stampede was inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame in 2022. She has been Pasco County Teacher of the Year, a JEA Rising Star, FSPA Teacher of the Year, and an FSPA Gold Medallion winner. She serves as judge and presenter at FSPA district and state workshops as well as NSPA national conferences. Her favorite part of being a journalism instructor is building relationships with students and helping them discover their passions.

  • Christina Porcelli (Anaheim)

    Christina Porcelli is the literary magazine, newspaper and yearbook adviser at H.B. Plant High School in Tampa, Florida. Plant’s publications have won CSPA Crowns and NSPA Pacemakers since she began advising at the school in 2015. Prior to that, she advised the Pacemaker finalist yearbook program at Coleman Middle School in Tampa, Florida.

  • Sabrina Schmitz, CJE (Dallas/Fort Worth, Anaheim)

    Sabrina Schmitz is a Walsworth Yearbooks sales representative in Florida. Before joining Walsworth, she taught graphic design and journalism in addition to advising The Stampede yearbook staff and The Hoofbeat newspaper staff at J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Fla. In her six years of advising, The Stampede yearbook was awarded two CSPA Silver Crowns, a Gold Crown, a NSPA Pacemaker Award, and was an NSPA Design of the Year finalist in 2012. She was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2013 as well as a District Teacher of the Year Finalist and has taught at workshops and conventions around the country.

  • Becky Tate, CJE (Orlando)

    Becky Tate, CJE, is the newspaper and yearbook adviser at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kansas, where her staffs have consistently earned All-American and Medalist ratings along with CSPA Crown and NSPA Pacemaker awards. Tate was selected as the 2019 Yearbook Adviser of the Year by JEA. She has also received a CSPA Gold Key in 2010, the JEA Medal of Merit in 2008 and the Jackie Engel Award for the Outstanding Kansas Journalism Teacher of the Year in 2001 from the Kansas Associated Collegiate Press. She was named a newspaper Special Recognition Adviser by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund in 1997 and a JEA Special Recognition Adviser in yearbook in 1999.

  • Dow Tate (Dallas/Fort Worth)

    Dow Tate advises the yearbook, newspaper and news website at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas. He is co-author of Scholastic Journalism, 12th edition and his students’ publications are consistent winners of the NSPA Pacemaker and the CSPA Gold Crown. Dow is in the Scholastic Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of Oklahoma and has been named a Texas Legend, as one of the most influential people in the state’s scholastic journalism history. Tate was the 1997 Dow Jones News Fund Journalism Teacher of the Year and was chosen a JEA Distinguished Adviser in 2007.

  • Brit Taylor (Kansas City)

    Brit Taylor, CJE, is the yearbook, newspaper and news website adviser at Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida. He is the president of the Florida Scholastic Press Association and a 2020 Special Recognition Adviser for JEA. His yearbook staff was inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame in 2020, and both his newspaper and yearbook staffs have won multiple national awards, including NSPA Pacemakers and CSPA Crowns, over the past 12 years. When he is not on deadline, which is rare, Brit loves to hike in national parks with his wife and three kids.

  • Mike Taylor (All)

    Mike Taylor, CJE, is a Key Accounts Manager with Walsworth Yearbooks. He taught yearbook, newspaper and television production at Lecanto High School, Lecanto, Florida, for 13 years, where his publications staffs won numerous awards. Taylor has been awarded the JEA Medal of Merit, CSPA Gold Key and Florida Scholastic Press Association Gold Medallion. As a well-known instructor at workshops and conventions across the country, he has consulted with countless yearbook staffs to help them realize their potential in creating journalistic yearbooks.

  • Tod Traughber, CJE

    Dr. Tod Traughber, CJE, worked in the publications industry in Central Arkansas for ten years and has just begun his ninth year as the adviser to The Wildcat yearbook and the director of the Harding Academy Photography Staff, Traughber pushes his students to maximize their vision through journalistic legwork and creative use of technology. In photography, he challenges his students to see life differently and capture those visions through a lens. He has been married to his college sweetheart for 30 years and has two sons.

  • Bruce Watterson (Dallas/Fort Worth)

    A public relations professor and communications consultant, C. Bruce Watterson, Ph.D., currently chairs CSPA’s Judging Practices and Crown Awards competition. Watterson has received top honors from national and regional scholastic journalism associations, the latest being CSPA’s Joseph W. Murphy Award in 2011. Known for his work with yearbook and magazine trends, particularly in design, graphics and packaging, Watterson has taught more than 500 workshops in 48 states plus China, Europe and Australia.