Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Kindra Hall

Kindra Hall

First General Session

Kindra Hall is president and chief storytelling officer at Steller Collective, a consulting firm focused on the strategic application of storytelling to today’s communication challenges.

What began as a storytelling assignment in fifth grade grew into a passion for not only telling stories, but a mastery for teaching others the methods and science of storytelling so they can better tell their own.

Hall was a National Champion storyteller (yes, they have those!), member of the Board of Directors of the National Storytelling Network, and holds a master’s degree in communications for which she conducted original research studying the role of storytelling in defining and revealing organizational culture.

Session Sponsor

Charles Best

Charles Best

Second General Session

Charles Best is the CEO and founder of DonorsChoose.org, the leading platform for giving to public schools. He launched the organization in 2000 out of the Bronx public high school where he taught history for five years. Teachers across America use the site to create projects, requesting resources their students need, and donors give to the projects that inspire them. To date, teachers at 82% of all the public schools in America have created classroom project requests, and more than 3 million supporters have given $800 million to those projects.

DonorsChoose.org is one of Oprah Winfrey’s “ultimate favorite things,” and Charles made the cover of Fast Company as one of the “50 Most Innovative Companies in the World,” the first time a charity has received such recognition. Last year, the New York Times covered Charles and the $29 million donation he secured to fund every DonorsChoose.org project in a single day, and ABC’s “Good Morning America” celebrated the funding of the first million DonorsChoose.org classroom requests in January.

Session Sponsor

Mike Morath

Mike Morath

Third General Session

As Texas commissioner of education, Mike Morath heads the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which oversees pre-K through high school education for 5.3 million students enrolled in both traditional public schools and charter schools. He previously served on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees. Morath is a proud graduate of Garland High School in Garland ISD. Thanks to a great public school education, he earned his BBA, summa cum laude, from George Washington University in two-and-a-half years.

In his presentation, “Supporting Improvements in Public Education,” Morath will provide an overview of the supports provided by TEA to improve public education in Texas. Additionally, he will highlight several innovations coming out of the 86th Legislature that have the potential to improve outcomes for all students.

Session Sponsors

Thought Leaders

Suhail Farooqui, CEO, K12 Insight
Suhail Farooqui, CEO, K12 Insight

Monday, 9:30–10:30 am

School Cx: ‘As Important as Textbooks’

In a new national study, school leaders named building trust and community engagement as two ingredients that are critical to school success. Yet, nearly half are ill-equipped to do this work. Why? Because school leaders spend 75% of their time putting out fires and reacting to crises. Learn how an intentional approach to school customer service helps eliminate costly distractions, while improves critical functions, from community satisfaction to parent engagement to teacher morale.

Session Sponsor

Todd Rogers, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, and Chief Scientist, InClassToday
Todd Rogers, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, and Chief Scientist, InClassToday

Monday, 10:45–11:45 am

From Research to Practice: Leveraging Behavioral Science to Reduce Absenteeism

Todd Rogers is a behavioral scientist who has developed a program that leverages behavioral science insights to empower parents to improve their children’s attendance. Dr. Rogers’ talk will address two questions at the core of his work: First, how can schools and districts implement behavioral science research to reduce absenteeism? Second, how can school leaders use behavioral science insights more broadly to mobilize students’ social supports and improve student outcomes?

Session Sponsor

Dr. Walter Gilliam, Associate Professor, Child Study Center and Psychology, Yale University
Dr. Walter Gilliam, Associate Professor, Child Study Center and Psychology, Yale University

Monday, 1–2 pm

Implicit Biases in Early Childhood Settings

Dr. Walter Gilliam, professor of child psychiatry and award-winning author of “A Vision for Universal Preschool Education,” will discuss the latest findings regarding expulsion and suspension practices in early education settings, gender and racial disproportionality, and potential causes for these disparities, including the potential role of implicit bias. Participants will hear the research findings and be exposed to emerging information about how early educators understand implicit bias and how preschool expulsions and suspensions are understood within a social justice and civil rights framework.

Session Sponsor

Dan McBride, Senior Scientist, Milliken and Company
Dan McBride, Senior Scientist, Milliken and Company

Monday, 2:15–3:15 pm

Driving Change Management in an Innovative Organization

Dan McBride will share how “Innovative Renaissance” has kept Milliken & Company relevant, cutting-edge and successful for 150-plus years. Dan will draw on his decades of research experience to discuss how culture is everything, and taking calculated risks is a requirement for fostering innovation. Common values are what draw us together, but our diversity in thought and experiences are how we each can approach a common issue or problem.

Session Sponsor

Keara Mascareñaz, Managing Partner, Organizational Design, Education Elements
Keara Mascareñaz, Managing Partner, Organizational Design, Education Elements

Tuesday, 9–10 am

Teams are the Key to Your District’s Success

Most leaders want their teams to be more inclusive, innovative, and effective. And yet very few know where or how to start changing team practices to achieve this shift. Keara Mascareñaz’s session will help leaders identify how to change their teams’ habits and introduce new habits that can increase inclusion, effectiveness, and collaboration. She is the author of “The New Team Habits: A Guide To The New School Rules” and the toolkit creator for “The New School Rules: 6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools.”

Session Sponsor

Dr. Ruby K. Payne, CEO, aha! Process, Inc
Dr. Ruby K. Payne, CEO, aha! Process, Inc

Tuesday, 10:15–11:15 am

Increasing School Safety by Addressing and Understanding Emotional Poverty

There is no doubt that having physical security devices helps keep schools safer. But keeping schools truly safe requires layers of prevention. Dr. Ruby Payne, whose efforts to fight poverty have achieved a global reach, will share how these preventative layers include understandings about emotional realities, what motivates better behavior, why safety and belonging are the basis of all emotional health, how psychological control can lead to violence, and how emotional triage can be used as a part of behavioral threat assessment. 

Session Sponsor

Dr. Martha Burns, Professor and Director of Neuroscience Education, Northwestern University and Scientific Learning
Dr. Martha Burns, Professor and Director of Neuroscience Education, Northwestern University and Scientific Learning

Tuesday, 1–2 pm

Breaking Bad: Tackling Behavior Problems at the Core

Student behavioral problems are costly to school districts because of resource allocation demands and effects on student achievement for both the students exhibiting behavioral issues and those around them. New neuroscience research indicates that behavioral issues often stem from underdeveloped cognitive control and executive regulatory functions. Dr. Martha Burns will review the neuroscience and SEL approaches to behavioral problems – going beyond symptom-focus to address core cognitive competencies that increase academic achievement.

Session Sponsor

Donna McIntire, Customer Engineer, Google
Donna McIntire, Customer Engineer, Google

Tuesday, 2:15–3:15 pm

School Safety — How to Protect Student Information in the Cloud

Public schools are an attractive target for cyber criminals seeking to commit identity theft. With adults, identity theft may be quickly apparent, but years can pass before it is discovered that it has happened to a student. School board members have a duty of care to ensure student information is protected. This session will cover what you need to know about security in the cloud, because cloud services operate very differently from traditional on-premises technology. As a cloud pioneer, Google fully understands the security implications of the cloud model. Donna McIntire, who has over 27 years in the IT industry, 15 with AT&T’s Corporate Information Security and Technology Division and Internet/Broadband division, will discuss how to protect your data, how your data is processed, and details on how organizations can meet regulatory requirements.

Session Sponsor

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