Thought Leader Sessions

  • Monday, January 30, 8:15–9:15 a.m.

    Travis Allen
    Travis Allen

    Presenter: Travis Allen, Education Visionary, College Student and CEO, iSchool Initiative
    Twitter Handle: @iSchoolTravis

    Becoming a Lifelong Learner
    Take a journey with college student Travis Allen and learn what it means to be a lifelong learner, a concept that has an entirely new definition in today's Information Age. It requires us to create new skills as we embrace our inner student. Discover how schools, teachers, and students unintentionally obstruct their own path for the best possible education, and learn how to cultivate the right environment to break past these barriers.

    Session Sponsor: Cisco
    Damen Lopez
    Damen Lopez
    Presenter: Damen Lopez, Founder, No Excuses University Network of Schools
    Twitter Handle: @noexcusesu

    No Excuses Leadership: Nine Bold Choices Exceptional Leaders Make
    To say the road to becoming an exceptional leader is an adventure would be an understatement. The word “adventure” conveys a level of fluidness in your travels that, while filled with many ups and downs, still tends to lead to your destination with a high level of certainty. This might be appropriate if you seek to become a leader, but to become an “exceptional leader” is altogether different. The road to becoming an exceptional leader is more like a journey. Average people don’t take journeys. Journeys are both led and participated in by exceptional leaders willing to make bold choices along the way. There is a direct correlation between exceptional leaders — whether they are teachers, administrators, counselors, or parents — and the choices they make. No Excuses Leadership guides you on a journey to make nine bold choices that have the potential to change the lives of your students, colleagues, and community, but only if you choose to live by them.

    Book Signing: No Excuses Leadership (immediately following session)
    Session Sponsor: NWEA

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

    Fenwick W. English
    Fenwick W. English

    Presenter: Fenwick W. English, Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Educational Leadership in the Age of Greed
    The ethos of corporate managerialism has permeated education and the politics of education. A key to that emphasis is pay for performance. What is the effect of this approach on ethics and values? This presentation explores some of the implications of personal incentives on educational leadership.

    Book Signing: Educational Leadership in the Age of Greed (immediately following session)
    Kathy Hurley
    Kathy Hurley
    Ann McMullan
    Ann McMullan
    Presenters: Kathy Hurley, CEO, Girls Thinking Global, and Ann McMullan, Founder, McMullan Consulting
    Twitter Handle: @Ann_McMullan

    Leading — and Surviving — Change in Challenging Times
    Leadership is the essence of the role of any district or school leadership team. Understanding how to lead and navigate change — especially in today's ever-changing K-12 education climate — will be at the heart of this highly collaborative discussion. In this interactive session, you will learn from the presenters as well as through collaborative activities and exchanges with peers.

    Book Signing (immediately following session)
    Real Women, Real Leaders by Kathy Hurley and Priscilla Shumway

    Life Lessons in Leadership: The Way of the Wallaby by Ann McMullan and Michael Barrett
    Session Sponsor: SunGard K-12

    Monday, January 30, 10:4511:45 a.m.

    Mike Patrick
    Mike Patrick

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

    Discovering the Proven Power of Transformational Leadership
    Milliken & Co. — located in Spartanburg, South Carolina — is innovative in every aspect of their organization, constantly looking to customers’ needs and paying close attention to their culture and leadership. Milliken overcame significant challenges with the decline of the U.S. textile industry and now thrives as a global innovator. The story of their journey has great value for school leaders who are in the midst of transformational change. Discover Milliken’s proven approaches and their ability to inspire educators and students to embrace education in a new way, adapting to the ever-changing technological landscape through ownership and engagement.

    Session Sponsor: Milliken

    Jordan Tinney
    Jordan Tinney
    Presenter: Jordan Tinney, Superintendent of Schools-CEO, Surrey School District, British Columbia
    Twitter Handle: @jordantinney

    System Change in an Era of Transformation
    School districts around the world are embracing “21st century competencies” to modernize systems in response to an increasingly globalized and technological world. In response to these changes, every district can highlight pockets of innovation and creativity. The question is “How do you take these wonderful pockets and move them to scale?” British Columbia is undergoing substantial curricular and assessment changes. The Surrey School District’s innovation and leadership has resulted in ISTE’s 2015 Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation, the Cmolik Prize for contributions to public education in British Columbia, and recognition by the National Centre on Education and the Economy as one of the highest performing systems in the world because of steps taken on teacher collaboration. In this session, Surrey Superintendent Jordan Tinney will share how Surrey embraced innovation and change through modernizing curriculum and assessment.

    Session Sponsor: FreshGrade

    Monday, January 30, 1–2 p.m.

    Doug Christensen
    Doug Christensen

    Presenter: Doug Christensen, Ph.D., Emeritus Commissioner of Education (Nebraska), Director of Education Specialist Degree Program, Professor of Education Leadership, Doane University
    Twitter Handle: @DougChristense1

    Leading vs. Managing: Should We Fuss?
    Join Doug Christensen for a conversation about leading, including: how leading and managing are co-dependent; how leading and managing are potentially pathological to the individual and the organization; how effective leading and managing are products of the concept of “design”; and how leading and managing “by design” is critical to leading change and improvement.

    Martha Burns
    Martha Burns
    Presenter: Martha Burns, Adjunct Associate Professor, Northwestern University, and Fellow, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

    Effects of Poverty on the Brain and Learning
    Poverty may be the main problem we face in education today. This session will review the newest educational neuroscience research that reveals the negative effect poverty has on brain maturation, specifically in the regions of the human brain necessary for learning math and reading. The good news is that there are evidence-based neuroscience solutions as well.

     Session Sponsor: Scientific Learning

    Monday, January 30, 2:15–3:15 p.m.

    John Tanner
    John Tanner

    Presenter: John Tanner, Executive Director, Test Sense, and Author,
    The Pitfalls of Reform

    Twitter Handle: @testsensejt

    Next-Generation Assessment and Accountability: Why A-F is a Mistake
    In fall 2017, in accordance with existing legislation and unless there is a change in state policy, Texas will join 16 other states in implementing a public school rating system that assigns letter grades to schools and districts. In this session, John Tanner, author of The Pitfalls of Reform, will review the research associated with A-F school rating systems and discuss why they fail as an indicator of school quality, create confusion among educators, and fail to offer the public useful or accurate information about their schools. He will also explore, why, to be meaningful, next-generation assessment and accountability systems must be community-based and not focused on state testing mandates. The TASA Accountability Series of essays, published in November 2016, addresses these topics in detail.

    Book Signing: The Pitfalls of Reform (immediately following session)

    Ernest Morrell
    Ernest Morrell
    Presenter: Ernest Morrell, Macy Professor of English Education and Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University
    Twitter Handle: @ernestmorrell

    Powerful Readers and Writers in Diverse 21st Century Classrooms: A Leader’s Call to Action!
    What can educational leaders do to create comprehensive literacy learning environments in schools and classrooms that increase student engagement, develop literate identities, and promote academic achievement? This talk employs a sociocultural framework to explain key reasons why students who want to do well end up failing, and it helps leaders and teachers imagine ways to eliminate these causes of failure. Ultimately, it offers a socially, culturally, and digitally relevant model of literacy education that draws upon multicultural literature, contemporary events, and youth research in neighborhoods and communities to inspire students as social actors while also developing them as powerful readers, writers, speakers, and users of emergent digital technologies.

    Session Sponsor: Scholastic

    Tuesday, January 31, 910 a.m.

    Rosa Apodaca
    Rosita Apodaca

    Presenter: Rosita Apodaca, Senior Fellow, Institute for Learning, University of Pittsburgh
    Twitter Handle: @Mita11Rosita

    When It Comes to Profound Learning, Let the Students Do the Work
    Learn how the Institute for Learning’s Principles of Learning make thinking visible and engage learners with high thinking demand tasks, complex texts, and Accountable Talk practices. You will see ELs take charge of their learning and show their thinking in ways that allow teachers to mediate. Professional development for educators is done in apprenticeship and in community. Evidence is provided to show how our approach increases student learning, develops teachers, and deepens leaders’ understanding of their roles.


    Ken Kay
    Ken Kay

    Karen Garza
    Karen Garza

    Presenters: Ken Kay, CEO, EdLeader 21, and Karen Garza, CEO, Battelle for Kids
    Twitter Handles: @kenkay21 and @FCPSSupt

    Leading a 21st Century District
    Superintendents in Texas and around the country are leading the effort to transform their districts by focusing on what 21st century competencies their students need to succeed in their future lives and careers. Join Ken Kay, CEO of EdLeader21, as he moderates a panel of district leaders in a discussion about the critical elements of their transformation efforts. Panelists include Dana West, superintendent, Amarillo ISD, and Christine Caskey, chief academic officer, Katy ISD. The session will include a focus on: creating a profile of a graduate; creating the requisite school and district culture and leadership; and focusing on 21st century pedagogies and 21st century assessment strategies.

    Tuesday, January 31, 10:1511:15 a.m.

    Nigel Nisbet
    Nigel Nisbet

    Presenter: Nigel Nisbet, Vice President of Content Creation, MIND Research Institute
    Twitter Handle: @nigel_nisbet

    The Science of Learning: How Understanding Brain Function Increases Student Math Success
    To ensure that we are creating a level but rigorous playing field for all students to succeed, regardless of their primary language and socio-economic background, we have to better understand the science behind how students learn. This presentation will demonstrate how neuroscience, motivational research, and innovative technology can transform math education for ALL students. Participants will gain knowledge of the brain’s perception-action cycle and leave with a solid understanding of why the transition from a passive environment to an active learning environment is key to deeper conceptual levels of understanding. Participants will also take away how these methods, tools, and insights can support the design of instructional materials that are engaging, effective, and supportive of 21st century learners that are better prepared for success in school and our knowledge-based economy.

    Session Sponsor: MIND Research Institute
    Richard Erdmann
    Richard Erdmann
     Peter Negroni
    Peter Negroni
    Presenters: Richard Erdmann, Co-founder, Syfr Learning, and Peter Negroni, Former Senior Vice President for K-12 Education, College Board

    The STEM of Learning
    Does STEM apply to how we design learning? Actually there is a science and mathematics to learning but for the most part we do not use it. With all the focus on STEM, one would think that we would apply it in how we design our students' learning but our experience is that while schools continually try to figure out how to teach STEM, they do not use STEM to figure out how to teach. Spend some time exploring STEM as it applies to learning and see a preview of how the TASA-Chevron STEM program will be extended in the years to come. You might be surprised.

    Tuesday, January 31, 11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.

    Fred Bentsen
    Fred Bentsen

    Presenter: Fred Bentsen, Director of Business Development, Source4Teachers

    Improving Student Learning – The Solution to Filling Absences in School Districts
    In today’s educational landscape, it has become increasingly necessary to provide students with effective, consistent education, even in the absence of regular district staff. Year after year, districts are challenged with hiring enough qualified substitute talent to meet their needs. Without a substantial enough substitute pool to cover employee absences, districts are forced to consider unappealing options such as combining classrooms or sacrificing teacher preparation time for classroom coverage. These options come at significant financial cost, and more important, at the cost of student productivity and engagement. Taking a step toward improved student experience, Fred Bentsen will highlight and share best practices on how districts can increase their fill rate.

    Session Sponsor: Source4Teachers

    Scott Kinney
    Scott Kinney
    Presenter: Scott Kinney, Senior Vice President of Educational Partnerships, Discovery Education
    Twitter Handle: @scott_kinney

    Re-Envisioning Teaching and Learning for Today’s Digital Students
    Today’s students engage with content differently than any previous generation. Yet even though learners have a clear preference for how they interact with information, we largely ignore them when considering educational content. Drawing on more than 25 years of experience in professional learning and education technology, Discovery Education’s Scott Kinney will take attendees into the minds of today’s students and help participants re-envision the future of teaching and learning.

    Session Sponsor: Discovery Education

    Tuesday, January 31, 2:153:15 p.m.

    Jamie Casap
    Jaime Casap

    Presenter: Jaime Casap, Global Education Evangelist, Google
    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.

    Session Sponsor: Google for Education

    Gary Troia
    Gary Troia

    Presenter: Gary Troia, Associate Professor, Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, Michigan State University
    Evidence-Based Practices for Writing Instruction and Approaches for Building Capacity
    This session will introduce participants to 10 core components of effective writing instruction and assessment that encompass 36 evidence-based practices. Several high-leverage practices will be highlighted and suggestions for building school and district capacity for using evidence-based writing practices will be shared.
    Session Sponsor: Turnitin

    Wednesday, February 1, 8:309:30 a.m.

    Cynthia Uline
    Cynthia Uline

    Presenter: Cynthia Uline, Professor of Educational Leadership, San Diego State University, and Director, National Center for the 21st Century Schoolhouse

    Leadership for Green Schools
    This session will explore the planning, design, and construction of school facilities from a learner-centered perspective through communication, research, and training. Dr. Uline's research focuses on the influence of built learning environments on students' learning, as well as the role the public plays in shaping these learning spaces, with special emphasis on school leadership for learning and school change and improvement.

    Session Sponsor: LPA, Inc.