Keynote Speakers

Dr. Brené Brown

Researcher and Storyteller

Dare to Lead

First General Session | 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. | Monday, January 30

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. She also holds the position of visiting professor in management at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

Brené has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is the author of six No. 1 New York Times best sellers and is the host of two award-winning Spotify podcasts, Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead.

Brené’s books have been translated into more than 30 languages, and her titles include Atlas of the Heart, Dare to Lead, Braving the Wilderness, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection. With Tarana Burke, she co-edited the best-selling anthology You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience.

Brené’s TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world, with over 50 million views. Brené is the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix, and in March 2022, she launched a new show on HBO Max that focuses on her latest book, Atlas of the Heart.

Brené spends most of her time working in organizations around the world, helping develop braver leaders and more-courageous cultures.

She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie, and a weird Bichon named Lucy.

First General Session Sponsor

Michael Jr.

Comedian, Author, Inspirational Speaker

Funny How Life Works

Second General Session | 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. | Tuesday, January 31

Michael Jr. proposes that life is more similar to comedy than we know. Rather than assuming that our days are random and obstacles are unfortunate, Michael Jr. encourages attendees to strategically embrace each life event as part of a setup, leading to their punchline.

About Michael Jr.

Known as one of today’s most gifted communicators, Michael Jr. brings laughter and encouragement to audiences all over the world. Using comedy and dynamic storytelling, he inspires audiences to discover and activate their purpose.

This unique skill set has landed him on stages including “The Tonight Show” on NBC, TEDx talks, and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” His mission to make laughter commonplace in uncommon places means that he also seeks opportunities to share his gift with those in homeless shelters and prisons.

You can find him in Sony Pictures’ feature film “War Room,” as well as starring roles in “Selfie Dad,” “Laughing on Purpose,” and “More Than Funny.”

Second General Session Sponsor

Conversation with the Commissioner

In addition to the keynote presentation by Michael Jr. during the Second General Session, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath will participate in a moderated discussion with the TASA officers: President Gonzalo Salazar, Los Fresnos CISD; President-Elect LaTonya Goffney, Aldine ISD; and Vice President Martha Salazar-Zamora, Tomball ISD.

Appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott, Mike Morath has served as Texas Commissioner of Education since January 2016. As commissioner, he heads the Texas Education Agency, which oversees pre-kindergarten through high school education for more than 5.4 million students enrolled in the state’s public schools. 

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo

School Superintendent, Speaker, Author

Lead From Where You Are

Third General Session | 9:45 - 11:15 a.m. | Wednesday, February 1

“I’m just…” It’s a phrase we hear all the time. I’m just a teacher, I’m just an assistant principal, I’m just a tech director, I’m just a custodian. … The list goes on and on and is always followed by reasons something CAN’T happen. Leadership is not a title, it’s an action, and it starts with you. Leading with INTENTION creates purpose. Leading with CONNECTION creates momentum. Leading with DIRECTION creates a collective efficacy. Leading with all three in mind will not only build your capacity but foster an environment where everyone in your organization has a chance to lead from where they are.

About Dr. Sanfelippo

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo is the superintendent of Fall Creek, a small, rural school district in Fall Creek, WI. Fall Creek was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education.

Joe holds a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from St. Norbert College, an MS in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, an MS in Educational Leadership, and a PhD in Leadership, Learning, and Service from Cardinal Stritch University.

Joe has authored multiple books, including the best-selling Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love and his latest Lead From Where You Are: Building Intention, Connection, and Direction in our schools.

He was selected as one of 117 Future Ready Superintendents in 2014 and one of 50 superintendents as a Personalized Learning Leader by the US Department of Education in 2016. Education Dive named Joe their National Superintendent of the Year in 2019.

Third General Session Sponsors
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