Conference Speakers

Keynote Speakers

John C. Maxwell and George Couros will hold book signings outside Exhibit Hall 5 immediately following their respective general sessions. If you would like to purchase a book to be signed, please visit the book signing kiosk outside Exhibit Hall 5 one hour prior to the First and/or Third General Sessions.

First General Session
3:30 – 5:30 p.m. | Monday, January 31
John C. Maxwell

John C. Maxwell

New York Times Bestselling Author, Speaker, Coach, and Leader

John C. Maxwell is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, speaker, coach, and leader who has sold more than 33 million books in 50 languages. He has been called the No. 1 leader in business and the most influential leadership expert in the world. His organizations — the John Maxwell Company, the John Maxwell Team, EQUIP, and the John Maxwell Leadership Foundation — have translated his teachings into 70 languages and used them to train millions of leaders from every country in the world. A recipient of the Horatio Alger Award and the Mother Teresa Prize for Global Peace and Leadership from the Luminary Leadership Network, Dr. Maxwell influences Fortune 500 CEOs, the presidents of nations, and entrepreneurs worldwide.

Maxwell will hold a book signing immediately following the general session outside Exhibit Hall 5 for his book, Leadershift. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book to be signed, please visit the book signing kiosk one hour prior to the First General Session. Books will also be sold during the signing (up to one hour after the session).

First General Session Sponsor
Second General Session
3:30 – 5:30 p.m. | Tuesday, February 1
Inky Johnson

Inky Johnson

Motivational Speaker and Author


Inky Johnson grew up living in his grandparents’ two-bedroom house with 13 other family members, sleeping on a pallet on the living room floor. Drugs and violence surrounded him in his hometown, and stability was non-existent. Johnson knew that if he was to survive, he had to get out. While playing football at the University of Tennessee, he suffered nerve damage in a career-ending injury that nearly killed him and left him with paralysis in his right arm. He used the experience to advocate for the disabled and write the autobiographical book Inky: An Amazing Story of Faith and Perseverance. Johnson is the host of the Serendipity with Inky Johnson podcast. Whether the topic is leadership, teamwork or perseverance, he inspires his audience. 

Second General Session Sponsor
Third General Session
9:45 – 11:15 a.m. | Wednesday, February 2
George Couros

George Couros

Worldwide Leader in Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leading


George Couros is a worldwide leader in the area of innovative teaching, learning, and leading, and has a focus on innovation as a human endeavor. His belief that meaningful change happens when you first connect to people’s hearts is modeled in his writing and speaking. In his 20-plus years in the field of education, he has worked at all levels of school, from K-12 as a teacher, technology facilitator, and school and district administrator, and is currently an adjunct instructor with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Couros is also the author of The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, Innovate Inside the Box, and his latest release, Because of a Teacher.

Couros will hold a book signing immediately following the general session outside Exhibit Hall 5. If you would like to purchase a book to be signed, please visit the book signing kiosk one hour prior to the Third General Session. Books will also be sold during the signing (up to one hour after the session). Couros will conduct a book signing following his Thought Leader session as well. See below for information on that session.

Third General Session Sponsors

Conversation with the Commissioner

In addition to the keynote presentation by Inky Johnson during the Second General Session on Tuesday, February 1, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath will participate in a moderated discussion with the TASA officers: President Doug Williams, Sunnyvale ISD; President-elect Gonzalo Salazar, Los Fresnos CISD; Vice President LaTonya Goffney, Aldine ISD; and Past President Brian Woods, Northside 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 million students enrolled in the state’s public schools. 

Thought Leaders

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Monday, January 31
Craig Boyan

Craig Boyan

President and COO, H-E-B

 

Craig Boyan is the president and chief operating officer of H-E-B. He joined H-E-B in 2005 as chief strategic officer and was an advisor to H-E-B for two years before joining the company. He graduated from Harvard College, cum laude in economics, and he was a member of the Harvard crew team. In his thought leader session, “Nobody Does Leadership Like H-E-B: A Conversation with H-E-B President Craig Boyan and TASA’s Kevin Brown,” Boyan and Brown, TASA’s executive director, will talk about the way H-E-B has supported the company’s team members and customized their approach for each community they serve. The pair will also discuss the toll the pandemic has taken on leaders in business and education, and the lessons they’ve learned while leading through historically challenging times.

Session Sponsor
10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
Monday, January 31
Marisol Rerucha

Marisol Rerucha

Author, Beyond the Surface of Restorative Practices

 

Marisol Quevedo Rerucha serves as the Chief of Strategy and Partnerships for the National Parents Union. As a former teacher, principal, and district leader, she uses her voice to challenge systems of oppression and, more important, amplifies the voices of others. Her book, Beyond the Surface of Restorative Practices: Building an Organizational Culture of Equity, Connection and Healing, was released in March 2021. Leave her thought leader session, “Leading Restorative Practices,” with: a basic understanding of restorative practices and tangible resources to guide circles; resources to build systems, time, and space for restorative practices; and strategies to model and coach staff/teams in having difficult conversations and for holding each other accountable in a way that is loving and respectful.

Session Sponsor
1 – 2 p.m.
Monday, January 31
Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell

Superintendent, Ross School District, CA

 

Michael McDowell, Ed.D., is the superintendent of the Ross School District in Ross, California. Prior to being a school administrator, he was a leadership and instructional coach for the New Tech Network, supporting educators in designing, implementing, and enhancing innovative schools across the country. His thought leader session, “3 Key Practices for Developing Systems for Learning through Leadership: Clarity, Capacity, and Coherence,” will focus on developing educational systems that ensure more than one year’s growth in one year’s time for all learners in 21st century skills and academic content. McDowell will review the latest research in learning, leadership, and systems, and provide practical guidance for providing clarity of message, coherence of systems, and capacity development of employees to meet the growth demands articulated in the latest research.

Session Sponsor
1 – 2 p.m.
Monday, January 31
Paul Bloomberg

Paul Bloomberg

Founder of The Core Collaborative, Author

 

Dr. Paul Bloomberg is the founder and Chief Learning Officer of The Core Collaborative (TCC), a professional learning network that specializes in learner-centered approaches to learning. Bloomberg is the co-author of the bestselling book and professional learning pathway, Leading Impact Teams: Building a Culture of Efficacy, and is the lead author of Peer Power! Unite, Learn and Prosper: Activate an Assessment Revolution. In his thought leader session, “Strengthening Teacher Agency with Impact Teams,” attendees will explore how Impact Teams leverage the sources of efficacy to amplify the most powerful influence over learning, collective teacher efficacy, which refers to a learning organization’s collective belief that through evidence-based, collective actions, they can positively advance student learning, including those students who are not contributing actively to their own learning or the learning of others.

Session Sponsor
2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
Monday, January 31
Tricia Zucker

Tricia Zucker

Professor and Co-Director, Children's Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

 

Dr. Tricia Zucker is an expert in early literacy and language development, including development of inferential language skills. In her thought leader presentation, “Building Language Skills to Create a Positive Early Learning Environment,” Dr. Zucker will explore evidence-based practices that help accelerate young children’s language, literacy, and social-emotional development. Participants will learn how to utilize purposeful serve-and-return conversation to help children acquire the social-emotional, oral language, and vocabulary skills they need to thrive in a positive classroom environment, implement best practices that enhance language skills, and understand types of questions that are developmentally appropriate for promoting vocabulary at school and home.

Session Sponsor
2:15-3:15 p.m.
Monday, January 31
Karen Mapp

Karen Mapp

Senior Lecturer on Education and the Faculty Director of the Education Policy and Management Master’s Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education

 

Dr. Karen L. Mapp is a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the faculty director of the Education Policy and Management Master’s Program. She is also the leading national expert in fostering positive partnerships between schools and families. In her thought leader presentation, “Now More Than Ever: Family Engagement is Essential for Student Success,” Dr. Mapp will share what is known, given the extensive research on family engagement, about the powerful impact of effective family–school partnerships on students, parents, teachers, and schools. She will discuss what we have learned from the COVID-19 crisis and the national racial reckoning about the critical role of home-school partnerships to support student success and school improvement.

Session Sponsor
9 – 10 a.m.
Tuesday, February 1
Ruby Payne

Ruby Payne

CEO, aha! Process, Inc.

 

In her two decades as a consultant on education and economic class, Dr. Ruby Payne has published more than a dozen books and spoken extensively around the globe. Her thought leader session, “Relational Intelligence: Strategies to Reduce the Impact of Social Isolation,” will tackle the ongoing social effects of the pandemic on students. The former teacher, principal, and curriculum writer believes that future-ready students will need relational intelligence, and a key issue for schools is how to mitigate the impact on brain development of social isolation. Dr. Payne will define relational intelligence, identify the impact of social isolation on adolescent brain development and relational intelligence, and highlight strategies to lessen the impact of social isolation as a result of COVID.

Session Sponsor
10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
Tuesday, February 1
Michele Gay

Michele Gay

Founder & Executive Director, Safe and Sound Schools

 

Michele Gay is the executive director of Safe and Sound Schools, which she co-founded with Alissa Parker after both lost children at Sandy Hook Elementary. Safe and Sound Schools is a national nonprofit school safety advocacy and resource center that provides research-based tools and support for crisis-prevention, response, and recovery. Her thought leader presentation, “An Encompassing Approach to School Safety: Prepare, Prevent, Protect,” will share tools, resources, and programs designed to bring all stakeholders in the school community together for a holistic and comprehensive approach to school safety.

Session Sponsor
1 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, February 1
George Couros

George Couros

Worldwide Leader in Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leading


George Couros is a worldwide leader in the area of innovative teaching, learning, and leading, and has a focus on innovation as a human endeavor. In his thought leader session, “The Innovator’s Mindset,” Couros will share compelling examples of the innovator’s mindset that will make you laugh, cry, and think while reminding us to not only share the incredible stories from our schools but to create the stories we want to tell about our communities. Innovation in education is not about the “latest” technology but about creating new and better opportunities for our students. You will walk away from this session not only feeling reaffirmed but challenged to move your learning to the next level!

Book Signing Following Session

Session Sponsor
2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
Tuesday, February 1
John Tanner

John Tanner

Founder, bravEd

 

John Tanner is the founder of bravEd, which is convening a mission-driven network of school leaders to rethink the formal, top-down accountability structures in favor of a new model of school performance. He has conducted research and written books on the topic of accountability, and worked with hundreds of school districts in nearly every state during the past 30 years. In his thought leader session, “The Future of Educational Accountability Now,” Tanner will talk about what educational accountability should look like going forward and why having the wrong accountability system in place over the past few decades has failed to produce the watershed moment many policymakers thought it would. He believes there is still a chance to create that watershed moment, but it will require an accountability system designed to get there. 

Session Sponsor
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