GaynellJamisonGaynell Jamison, a Southeast Arkansas educator and author of children’s books, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet on February 1 at St. James A.M.E. Church in Warren. The banquet begins at 6 p.m.

The church will also honor Donald Baldwin, Luther Dangerfield, Linda Davis, Bettye Edwards, Martha Reed, George Walker, Mary Green Walker, and Datrick Walker, all local community members. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from members of the church or at the door. Everett Wallace is the program coordinator and Rev. Barry Spencer is the pastor.

Jamison, the keynote speaker, is a product of the north as well as the south. Born in Flint, Michigan, Jamison she spent her summers in Michigan for 17 years but attended public schools in Arkansas, graduating from Eudora High School. She is a graduate of Henderson State University with a BSE in Elementary Education. She also holds a MSE from University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and an Educational Specialist Degree in reading from UALR.

Jamison has been an educator for 34 years in the Monticello School District, mostly in the field of reading. She was instrumental in helping to establish the Southeast Arkansas Reading Recovery Consortium — the first Reading Recovery Consortium site in the state of Arkansas — in collaboration with UALR and Monticello School District. She is employed as the teacher leader for the consortium serving four school districts: Crossett, Dermott, McGehee, and Monticello. In addition to serving as a teacher leader, she is presently employed in her first year as the director of Monticello Pre-K, serving 3 and 4 year olds.

Jamison has written five children’s books which are featured in the Kaleidoscope Collection, a series of early readers published by Hameray Publishing Group, Inc. of San Diego, Calif. Her books are: Halloween Night, My Loose Tooth, Where Can I Read, Big and Little, and Getting Dressed. Two of her books include live photos of local residents from Monticello. Five students and staff members from Monticello Elementary School as well as Jamison’s daughter are featured in the book, ‘Where Can I Read?’ A photo from that book was also selected as the cover of the 2012 Hameray PreK – 8 catalog which was distributed to schools across the United States.

Hameray is an educational publishing company which publishes early literacy and high interest/low vocabulary book collections that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Copies of Jamison’s books will be available for purchase.