General Sessions

  • First General Session — Monday, January 29
    Chip Heath
    Chip Heath

    Chip Heath is a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching courses on business strategy and organizations. He is also the co-author (along with his brother, Dan) of Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work (2013), Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard (2010), and Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

    Creating Moments That Matter
    Some experiences are vastly more memorable and meaningful than others: a moment of extraordinary service that a customer can’t stop talking about; a moment of insight that helps a group of employees embrace a new vision; a moment of compassion that makes a patient’s burden feel lighter. Everywhere you look, people are trying to craft memorable experiences—from customer experiences to patient experiences. Leaders are working hard to boost employee engagement, student engagement, and parishioner engagement. But these discussions have been dominated by a focus on fixing problems (what Chip Heath calls “filling pits”), rather than creating memorable experiences (“raising peaks”). Yet Heath’s research suggests that it’s far more valuable to build peaks. How do you build peaks for the people you care about? In his keynote presentation, drawing from his latest book, The Power of Moments, Heath will reveal the four elements that create defining moments. Armed with an understanding of these elements, we can be the authors of moments that spark delight, connection, and insight.

    Second General Session — Tuesday, January 30
    Mike Morath
    Mike Morath

    Mike Morath is the Texas Commissioner of Education. Prior to that, he served on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees for more than four years.

    TEA Update
    Mike Morath took office as Texas commissioner of education in January 2016. He heads the Texas Education Agency, which oversees pre-kindergarten through high school education for more than 5 million students enrolled in both traditional public and charter schools. Commissioner Morath will discuss TEA’s four strategic priorities: recruiting, supporting, and retaining teachers and principals; building a foundation of reading and math; connecting high school to career and college; and improving low-performing schools.

    Third General Session — Wednesday, January 31

    Peter DeWitt
    Peter DeWitt

    Dr. Peter DeWitt is a former principal and teacher. He is a freelance writer for
    Vanguard Magazine, and his syndicated blog, Finding Common Ground, is published by Education Week. A successful author with Corwin Press, he released School Climate: Leading with Collective Efficacy in 2017, and his 2016 release, Collaborative Leadership: Six Influences that Matter Most, has become a bestseller.

    Collaborative Leadership: Six Influences That Matter Most
    To significantly impact student and teacher effectiveness, educational leaders must let parents in on the secret of school, encourage teacher and student voice through a positive school climate, and maximize teachers’ levels of self-efficacy and collective-efficacy. That’s a pretty tall order, and it takes collaborative leadership to get there. In his keynote presentation, Dr. DeWitt will focus on how district leaders can leverage six of John Hattie’s high-effect influences on learning to foster growth in teachers and put the focus on learning for students. He will demonstrate that placing leadership focus on self-efficacy (effect size .63) and collective efficacy (effect size 1.57) is vitally important to maximizing teacher effectiveness and moving schools forward. Since increasing self-efficacy and building collective efficacy is not possible without first fostering a supportive school climate, he will take Midwinter attendees through the research regarding efficacy and offer practical suggestions on how leaders can build supportive school climates.