Thought Leader Sessions

  • Monday, January 29, 8:15–9:15 a.m.

    Jamie Casap
    Jaime Casap

    Presenter: Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist, Google, Inc.
    Twitter Handle: @jcasap

    Iteration and Innovation in Education
    As the world gets more connected, it also gets more complex. We now operate on a global scale and our job in education is to help learners develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities they will need to thrive in this new environment. We are preparing them to solve global problems we haven’t defined yet, using technology that hasn’t been invented, in roles that do not exist. To thrive in this new era, learners need to know how to learn, problem solve, iterate, create, collaborate, communicate, and to think critically. What we need more than anything in education is a culture of innovation and iteration in order to build new learning models supported and enabled by technology to foster student-focused learning.

    Monday, January 29, 9:30–10:30 a.m.

    Robert Corbin
    Robert Corbin

    Presenter: Robert Corbin, Director, Global STEM Initiatives, Discovery Education
    Twitter Handle: @STEMancipate

    Crystallizing a Purposeful Culture of STEM
    In 2018, educators and students are hyperfocused on the “what” of teaching and learning. What course are you taking? What scores are you achieving? What is your dream school? What is lost is the ever important “why.” In this session, participants will begin to learn to crystallize the personal and shared “why” of STEM in order to create a purposeful and effective culture of teaching and learning.

    Richard Erdmann
    Richard Erdmann

    Presenter: Richard Erdmann, Co-Founder and CEO, Syfr Learning LLC; Co-Author, Pursuing the Peak: Perfecting Practice

    Pursuing the Peak: Perfecting Practice
    Although we know that peak performance requires practice, we pay little attention to the design of practice. Learning is a complex process with remarkably simple principles. Often, we appreciate the complexity but ignore the simplicity. For 50 years, we have been working on raising the bar and closing gaps. Through the lens of the applied science of learning we can raise the bar and close the gaps through a better design of student work.

    Monday, January 29, 10:4511:45 a.m.

    Holly Kaptain
    Holly Kaptain

    Presenter: Holly Kaptain, Executive Director, Curriculum Management Solutions, Inc. (CMSi)
    Effective Instruction with At-Risk Populations: What Does the Research REALLY Say?
    School districts across the U.S. continue to struggle with raising the achievement of their students who come from low-income homes. These students many times experience additional challenges, such as low English proficiency, learning disabilities, inadequate vocabulary knowledge, and low expectations because of their culture or ethnicity. This session explores what the most recent research says about the types of environment and instruction that significantly raise test scores for our most at-risk students, improves their self-efficacy, and most important, improves their learning and engagement in the classroom.

    Monday, January 29, 1–2 p.m.

    Trevor Packer
    Trevor Packer

    Presenter: Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President, AP and Instruction, The College Board
    Twitter Handle: @AP_Trevor

    The Advanced Placement Program in Texas
    Join Trevor Packer, the College Board’s Senior Vice President for Advanced Placement & Instruction, as he addresses how Advanced Placement (AP) coursework can improve outcomes for Texas’ students. Packer will provide an overview of the new ninth grade official Pre-AP courses, provide insights into the results of the AP program in our state, and discuss best practices for successfully implementing AP courses. He will also preview new, free resources and supports for AP teachers and students coming in the 2019-2020 school year.

    Christopher Lloyd
    Christopher Lloyd

    Presenter: Christopher Lloyd, Founder and CEO, What on Earth Publishing; Author, the Wallbook Timeline series

    Using Student Choice to Create Curiosity
    Christopher Lloyd, a former newspaperman who studied history at Cambridge University, had an 8-year-old daughter who wasn't happy at school. “Everything was focused on tests, and beyond that, somebody with a bit of curiosity and precocity didn’t have a lot to do,” says Lloyd. Traditional learning separated areas of study rather than encouraging children to look at associations between them. The result was rethinking the design of a book. To develop curiosity, he designed the books around narrative, visuals, and choice with pages that extend for several feet and allow the student to choose and follow a story of science, mathematics, or even sports through time. His design is about personalized learning. He has now partnered with the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian to bring his design into American education.

    Monday, January 29, 2:15–3:15 p.m.

    Troy Hutchings
    Troy Hutchings

    Troy Hutchings, Senior Strategic Advisor, Educational Testing Service

    Educator Ethics: Embrace the Gray!
    Make no mistake about it, “ethics” is a loaded word. Its mere mention often results in value-laden discussions of what is considered right or wrong. When placed within the context of a profession, however, ethics acknowledges the complexities inherent within a practitioner’s work and is meant to serve as a guide in nuanced situations. Research indicates that few educators have been prepared in educator ethics, yet they are expected to address the academic, personal, and social needs of society’s most vulnerable population. This interactive workshop will focus on the premise that all P-12 educators are susceptible to decision-making that may lead to incremental boundary violations. The professional risks and vulnerabilities of the teaching profession will be framed through multiple lenses including case studies, research, and engaging models of understanding. Hutchings will build a case that, in our profession, ethics should actually be a higher threshold than law. Educator decision-making is not always about right and wrong, but rather how to operate within the gray.
    Donyall Dickey
    Donyall Dickey
    Presenter: Donyall Dickey, Renowned National Authority on Curriculum, Instruction, Organizational Development, and Administration of Schools
    Twitter Handle:

    Classrooms as a Promise of Practice: Effective Early Literacy Learning for All Children
    Teacher effectiveness is one of the greatest factors for positive student academic outcomes. Join Dr. Donyall D. Dickey, renowned and national authority on literacy, as he outlines those essential skills highly effective teachers have to support students in literacy. This session is highly energetic and motivating; participants will walk away with action steps to take classrooms from problems of practice to a promise of practice.

    Tuesday, January 30, 910 a.m.

    John Almarode
    John Almarode

    Presenter: John Almarode, Associate Professor, James Madison University
    Twitter Handle: @jtalmarode

    Leading Inspired and Passionate Teachers – Clarity on What Works Best
    Inspired and passionate teachers are by design, not by chance. Whether you are a district or campus administrator, instructional coach, lead teacher, or teacher mentor, the fostering and nurturing of highly effective teachers is absolutely necessary for student achievement and success. This action-packed workshop will explore the practices and characteristics of inspired and passionate teachers, and, drawing from the exciting research on the science of learning, introduce a cutting-edge framework for fostering and nurturing highly effective teachers. Each participant will actively participate in the "unpacking" of practices and characteristics of inspired and passionate teachers. From this, they will apply the science of learning to develop a professional learning progression that fosters and nurtures the development of these practices. Each participant will create an actionable plan for professional learning that centers on formative evaluation and feedback. From novice to expert, this workshop will leave each leader ready to be an agent of change in their own district by seeing learning through the eyes of teachers.

    John Tanner
    John Tanner
    Presenter: John Tanner, Founder and Executive Director, Test Sense; Author, The Pitfalls of Reform; Co-Director of the Texas Performance Assessment Consortium
    Twitter Handle: @testsensejt

    The Power of True Accountability
    School accountability in its current form is not actual accountability. In fact, it isn’t even a measure or an indicator of quality. Educational policy makers have long insisted that a few limited metrics designed for an entirely different purpose masquerade as accountability. The net result is alarming: We risk thinking we know something about the quality of our schools when we do not. Forty-three Texas district leaders and their boards agree and have formed a consortium to ask a profound question: What would a true school accountability system look like? Their work is quickly being recognized across the country as a watershed moment given its unique theory of action: Build a better system and let it eclipse those that already exist. John Tanner will show the richness of the system being built, its advantages over what exists, and why such an effort is essential for the future of public schooling.

    Tuesday, January 30, 10:1511:15 a.m.

    Kushal Kadakia
    Kushal Kadakia

    Presenter: Kushal Kadakia, Angier B. Duke Scholar, Duke University, and recent graduate, Clear Creek High School, Clear Creek ISD

    Accelerating the Growth of Learner-Centered Education
    A new century demands a new education system that enables all learners to achieve their potential. Shifting away from a factory model of school-centered education requires both a framework for transformation and a network of change agents to support innovators within their communities. Learner-centered education offers a paradigm for change that identifies the aspirations and elements needed to effectuate change in classrooms and communities. Early evidence for reforms comes from Pioneer Lab, a rapidly growing community of practitioners and policymakers working nationwide to improve the uptakes and scaling of learner-centered models. This session will describe the vision for reform in the context of school district experiences, and offer opportunities for future engagement and support.

     Kimberly O'Malley
    Kimberly O'Malley

    Presenter: Kimberly O’Malley, Senior Vice President, Education and Workforce Development, RTI International
    Twitter Handle: @KimberlyOMalle1

    Assessment Futures: Next-Generation Assessment and Beyond
    With digital learning environments, data proliferation, and new tools for understanding learning data, assessment is going to change. In this session, we will share current advances in future assessment methods. We will illustrate progress made in the area of stealth, game-based, and competency-based assessment. Attendees will learn who is doing the cutting-edge work in these areas so they can track progress in the future. We will debate the advantages and disadvantages of these new methods.

    Tuesday, January 30, 11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.

    Shelby McIntosh
    Shelby McIntosh

    Presenter: Shelby McIntosh, Managing Director, Southwest, K12 Insight

    Twitter Handle: @Shelby9903

    Boosting Your District's Brand in the Age of School Choice
    Whether we like to admit it or not, America’s public schools face stiff competition. You may be competing with charters and private schools for students, or with neighboring school districts for the best teachers and school leaders to staff your schools. Either way, your district is competing. To become your region’s district of choice, your schools must provide the best stakeholder experience possible. Great teaching and learning alone will no longer keep students in your schools. Today’s parents expect a customer experience that proves their child’s school cares about them. Teachers must believe that they are well-supported and that they can communicate with district leaders when needed. Students want to feel they have a voice in decisions about their learning. The bottom line: In today’s education landscape, customer service is as vital to school success as great academics. This session will outline eight practical steps to providing a stellar customer experience and building a strong district brand.

    James Stronge
    James Stronge
    Presenter: James Stronge, Heritage Professor, Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership, College of William and Mary

    What Makes a World-Class School and How We Can Get There
    This session will explore the key qualities of world-class schools, lessons learned from top-performing national school systems around the globe, and how to apply these qualities and lessons to improve our own schools or districts. One of the most reliable factors associated with world-class schools is sustained, insightful, highly capable leadership — in essence, world-class leaders. Highly effective principals and other school leaders are the key that unlocks school improvement and success, as well as increased student learning. This session will feature lessons learned from the world's best school systems for supporting and sustaining the best leaders.

    Tuesday, January 30, 2:153:15 p.m.

    Anthony Kim
    Anthony Kim

    Presenter: Anthony Kim, Entrepreneur and Author, The New School Rules, 6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools

    The NEW School Rules
    Throughout his career as an entrepreneur, Anthony Kim has noticed patterns about how our ways of working can sometimes hold us back, rather than move us forward. School districts across the country spend millions of dollars on a long list of programs and initiatives to improve student outcomes, yet we’re grateful if we see student academic gains of a couple of percentage points. Decisions take too long. Increasing and changing demands lead to confusion and too many things falling between the cracks. Everyone’s energy is sapped in the effort to defend decisions rather than taking action. Kim knew that changes to processes and protocols might lead to better academic results, teacher retention, and higher quality school systems. In his new book, The NEW School Rules, 6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools, co-authored with Alexis Gonzales-Black, a design principal at IDEO, Kim presents the changing conditions education is dealing with and provides specific case studies in how schools are responding to these factors. In this session, Kim will highlight the six practices of planning, decision-making, teams, roles, sharing information, and learning organizations. These practices will help any organization feel more alive, have a motivating purpose, and drive toward aiming higher.

    Mike Patrick
    Mike Patrick

    Presenter: Mike Patrick, North America Sales Leader, Milliken
    Twitter Handle: @MillikenandCo

    Discovering the Power of Transformational Leadership
    Milliken & Company is a global innovator that has a powerful message of transformation in a challenging industry. The story of their journey has great value for school leaders who are in the midst of transformational change. Mike Patrick has been at the forefront of these changes for more than three decades and will share Milliken’s transformational experience and how it relates to continuous improvement in public schools. Creating a culture of continuous improvement around values, collaboration, innovation, attitudes, and innovation is critical to success in business and in education. In this session, you will learn what to do, how to do it, and why it matters.