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

Elite Weekend

Curriculum Highlights:

  • Hot design ideas
  • Theme copy to rev up your readers
  • Leadership
  • Headline design/Secondary coverage
  • Specialty design
  • Photography

Dates and Locations:

  • Nashville: Sept. 7-9, 2018
  • Kansas City: Sept. 14-16, 2018
  • Southern California: Sept. 21-23, 2018
  • Orlando: Sept. 21-23, 2018
  • Dallas-Fort Worth: Oct. 12-14, 2018


  • $175 (all locations)

Instructors (vary by location)

  • Martha Akers (Orlando)

    Martha Akers, the 2005 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, has been advising yearbook and teaching photojournalism at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Virginia, for three decades. The Saga has received NSPA Pacemakers, CSPA Gold Crowns and VHSL’s Trophy. Akers speaks at and directs conventions and workshops nationwide and is a contributor to various scholastic journalism publications. She co-authored CSPA’s Scholastic Yearbook Fundamentals and the CSPA yearbook critique.

  • Renee Burke (Kansas City, Orlando)

    Renee Burke, NBCT, MJE, is the former yearbook and newspaper adviser at William R. Boone High School in Orlando, Florida. Burke is JEA's 2015 Yearbook Adviser of the Year, a JEA 2014 Distinguished Adviser, 2012 OCPS Teacher of the Year, 2011 FSPA Journalism Teacher of the Year, and a 2011 CSPA Gold Key recipient. She just wrapped up her 18th year advising yearbook and her 19th year advising the newspaper. She also teaches national yearbook workshops and coordinates Camp Orlando. Both publications have earned CSPA Crown awards and been a NSPA Pacemaker Finalist; the 2017 yearbook earned a Silver Crown.

  • Jim Jordan (Anaheim, 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.

  • Crystal Kazmierski (Anaheim)

    With a background in commercial art, Crystal Kazmierski is the former adviser of the Wings yearbook at Arrowhead Christian Academy in Redlands, California, and teaches design and photography at journalism workshops and conventions across the country. In 2000, Crystal was selected the National Yearbook Adviser of the Year by the JEA. She was also awarded a Gold Key award in 2002 by the CSPA and a Pioneer Award in 2007 by the NSPA. Under Crystal’s guidance, Wings received multiple CSPA Gold Crown and NSPA Pacemaker awards; including winning a Yearbook Pacemaker 18 times in 19 years.

  • Gary Lundgren (Dallas-Fort Worth, Orlando)

    Gary Lundgren, associate director of the National Scholastic Press Association, has received the CSPA Gold Key, NSPA Pioneer, JEA Medal of Merit, ILPC Edith Fox King and TAJE Friend of Journalism Award. In his 10 years at the University of Arkansas, the Traveler newspaper and Razorback yearbook staffs he advised were consistent CSPA Crown and NSPA/ACP Pacemaker winners. Lundgren worked in the yearbook industry for 20 years as a Senior Marketing Manager before joining NSPA.

  • Leland Mallett (Kansas City, Nashville)

    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 18 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.

  • Susan Massy (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 18th 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.

  • Lori Oglesbee (Dallas-Fort Worth)

    Lori Oglesbee, M.Ed., MJE, has advised high school publications for the past 32 years. She was also a Track 2 instructor at last year's Walsworth Adviser Academy. Oglesbee was named the 2009 National Yearbook Adviser of the Year by JEA. In 2005, she was named the Texas Journalism Teacher of the Year. Her yearbook and newspaper staffs have won Gold Crowns, Pacemakers, Best of Show and numerous other state, regional and national awards.

  • Becky Tate (Nashville)

    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 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.

  • Mike Taylor (Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Orlando, Nashville)

    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.

  • C. Bruce Watterson (Anaheim, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City)

    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.