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.
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.
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.