Todd Whitaker

Professor – Indiana State University

Dr. Todd Whitaker has been fortunate to be able to blend his passion with his career. Recognized as a leading presenter in the field of education, his message about the importance of teaching has resonated with hundreds of thousands of educators around the world. Todd is a professor of educational leadership at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, and he has spent his life pursuing his love of education by researching and studying effective teachers and principals.

Twitter Handle:  @ToddWhitaker


What Great Educators Do Differently

What are the specific qualities and practices of great educators that elevate them above the rest? This session reveals what the most effective teachers and administrators do differently than their colleagues.  Participants will focus on what the most successful educators do . . . that others do not. Everyone will leave knowing what great educators do differently, why these things make them more effective, and learn how to immediately implement each of these into your own classrooms and schools.

Jeff Zoul

Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning – Deerfield Public Schools

Dr. Jeffrey Zoul is a lifelong teacher, learner, and leader, currently serving as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning with Deerfield Public Schools District 109 in Deerfield, Illinois. Prior to working in this capacity, Jeff served as a district administrator in Rock Island, Illinois, and a school improvement specialist with Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit school improvement network. Jeff also served as a principal with Forsyth County Schools in Cumming, Georgia, and with North Shore School District 112 in Highland Park, Illinois.

Twitter Handle:  @jeff_zoul


Great Educators Lead the Way (with Jimmy Casas)

This session will focus on leadership–regardless of your role in education. Whether you are a teacher, administrator, coach, or secretary, if you serve students in any capacity, you are a leader. We will share a framework for exemplary leadership, exploring essential leadership practices and how to live these behaviors on a regular basis. We will discuss key aspects of school climate and school culture and identify ways to create a community of leaders. You will learn not only why this matters, but also how you can enhance your leadership skills.

Jimmy Casas

Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker

Jimmy recently completed his 22nd year in educational leadership, the last fourteen years as principal of Bettendorf High School in Iowa.

Jimmy was named the 2012 Iowa Secondary Principal of the Year and was selected as one of three finalists for NASSP 2013 National Secondary Principal of the Year.   In 2014, Jimmy was invited to the White House to speak on the Future Ready Schools pledge. He is the Co-Founder of EdCampIowa and also the Co-Founder of #IAedchat, an on-line discussion chat that takes place every Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. CST.  Jimmy is the co-author of two popular educational books with Todd Whitaker and Jeff Zoul entitled, “What Connected Educators Do Differently,” and “Start. Right. Now.  Teach and Lead for Excellence”

Jimmy currently serves as a Senior Fellow for the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) and also serves as an adjunct professor for Drake University, teaching a graduate course on Educational Leadership.

Twitter Handle:  @casas_jimmy


Great Educators Lead the Way (with Jeff Zoul)

This session will focus on leadership–regardless of your role in education. Whether you are a teacher, administrator, coach, or secretary, if you serve students in any capacity, you are a leader. We will share a framework for exemplary leadership, exploring essential leadership practices and how to live these behaviors on a regular basis. We will discuss key aspects of school climate and school culture and identify ways to create a community of leaders. You will learn not only why this matters, but also how you can enhance your leadership skills.

LaVonna Roth

Learning Specialist, Author, Speaker, and Consultant

Self. Heart. Inspire. Navigate. Exceptional.  These are the words that capture the path LaVonna Roth uses in challenging others to find out how they can ignite the S.H.I.N.E. in their students, others and self. As a learning specialist, author, keynote speaker and consultant, LaVonna bridges her passion for how the brain learns with education by helping every individual realize the value they bring. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education, a Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching, as well as a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. LaVonna taught at the elementary and secondary school levels and is the author of 8 books. She has presented in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Middle East on increasing engagement, the fun factor in learning and fostering the S.H.I.N.E. that every person possesses. She is the founder of the Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.™ movement where every person is encouraged to use his or her skills, talents and gifts… to illuminate the world.

Twitter Handle: @LaVonnaRoth


Great Educators Ignite the S.H.I.N.E. in All They Do

This is a FUNshop where all will experience PD like never before! Motivating, involved and focused on how EVERY child is gifted and talented in their own way, as is every individual in a school. This experience is all about our obligation in finding, fostering and flourishing that gift so students have pride and a mindset that believes in their ability and future. No student fits into a box of reading, writing, math and science.  They are more than that! They are a whole child. Thus, we focus on Self, Heart (passion), how to Inspire and Navigate our journey to create the Exceptional people our students are meant to be. So how do we meet the demands of school and testing, while meeting the needs of these students? By taking a good look at how each student learns and the gifts they bring to the table. In this FUNshop, be ready to be inspired, leave with an action plan, and the desire to truly watch every child succeed!  But, wait! There’s more. I’m also talking about the staff in your school. We ALL count! So, get ready for a SHINETASTIC culture shift as you experience a great time of celebrating you and those you teach!

Pernille Ripp

Teacher and Author – Oregon, WI Middle School

Mass consumer of incredible books, Pernille Ripp, helps students discover their superpower as a former 5th grade teacher, but now 7th grade teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin. She opens up her educational practices and beliefs to the world on her blog and is also the creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, a global literacy initiative that since 2010 has connected more than 1,000,000 students. Her book “Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students” has been published by Routledge. Her second book “Empowered Schools, Empowered Students” was published by Corwin.

Twitter Handle:  @pernilleripp


Great Educators Create Passionate Learning Environments

Would you want to be a student in your own classroom? In this session, based on the book Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students, 7th grade teacher Pernille Ripp will help both novice and seasoned teachers create a positive, interactive learning environment where students drive their own academic achievement. You’ll discover how to make fundamental changes to your classroom so learning becomes an exciting challenge rather than a frustrating ordeal. Attendees will discover practical strategies for how to build a working relationship with your students based on mutual trust, respect, and appreciation, be attentive to your students’ needs and share ownership of the classroom with them, and break out of the vicious cycle of punishment and reward to control student behaviour.  Whether you are just beginning or well on your way in your teaching career, this session is meant to inspire you, help you take some risks, and eagerly pursue your journey toward a classroom filled with passionate learners.

Great Educators Help Students Fall in Love with Reading

We have the books to help us teach reading but how do we create passionate reading environments? In this session, attendees will discover all the extra things we can implement in our classrooms as we help students become more passionate about books and reading.  We will explore how to build meaningful classroom libraries, how to foster a better student reading identity, as well as how to include picture books in our instruction as a means to teach complex reading and writing skills.  Attendees will leave with a plethora of new strategies, tips and tricks to infuse more passion into their literacy classroom.

Joe Sanfelippo

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo is the Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, WI. The Fall Creek School District was named 1 of 10 Innovative Districts in 2016 by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Joe holds a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, a MS in Educational Psychology, a MS in Educational Leadership, and a PhD in Leadership, Learning, and Service.  He is also an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department at Viterbo University. Joe has taught Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, 5th Grade and was also a school counselor and high school coach prior to taking on an elementary principal position in 2005.  He co-hosts the Successful Schools Podcast and co-authored The Power of Branding: Telling Your School’s Story, Principal Professional Development: Leading Learning in a Digital Age, and Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love.  Joe was selected as 1 of 117 Future Ready Superintendents in 2014 and 1 of 50 Superintendents as a Personalized Learning Leader in 2016 by the US Department of Education. Go Crickets!!

Twitter handle @joesanfelippofc


Great Educators Tell Their School Story

When is the last time something amazing happened in your school? How many people knew about it? The work done in schools all across the globe is spectacular. Kids gather…learn…leave…and make the world we live in a better place. So…amazing things happen all the time. Telling the story of schools helps create a narrative that builds culture and gives everyone in your community an identity. Utilizing social media and being the chief storyteller in your district is a great way to celebrate the success of students with parents and the community. FIND YOUR AUDIENCE…BUILD YOUR BRAND…CELEBRATE KIDS!!

Great Educators Lead the Learning

Ever feel like you arrive at school, go through the day, and wonder if anything actually got done? The day-to-day operations tend to impede our opportunity for administrators to grow and learn in their position. The administrator in a school is responsible for leading a learning organization. If we are going to lead the learning in schools we need to find a way to do it together. Too often administrators are left on an island because they are the only person in the building with a particular role. This session provides a road map for taking ownership of your learning, while still leading the work done at the building level.

Kayla Delzer

Kayla Delzer is a 3rd grade teacher and technology champion in North Dakota. She is a columnist for Edsurge and blogger for Edutopia, where she writes about a variety of edtech and design topics. She is also the creator of her blog, Top Dog Teaching. She has nine years of teaching experience in second and third grade. Kayla holds her master’s degree in Elementary Education and is currently in the process of becoming National Board Certified, the highest mark of professional accomplishment. On July 23, 2015 she delivered her first TEDx Talk, Reimagining Classrooms: Students as Leaders and Teachers as Learners. Kayla frequently travels around the United States as a featured and keynote speaker, and she is proud to be an international speaker with Best Keynote coalition. Her work with classroom redesign and flexible seating has become the standard worldwide. She is highly sought after by educational and technology companies to preview and review their products. Kayla sits on several advisory boards of educational companies, and works closely with Remind, Go Ennounce, GoNoodle, Amazon Education, Seesaw, and Creative Teaching Press to name a few. She was also recently selected as North Dakota’s Lead Digital Innovator by PBS. She is authoring her first book for educators based on best 21st century teaching practices for digital natives, due to be published in December 2016.

Twitter Handle: @TopDogTeaching


Great Educators Redesign Their Classroom Environments

Why do some classrooms look the same now as they did 70 years ago? The world is changing, yet our classrooms are remaining much the same. Revitalizing space is a straightforward way to let students exercise choice in the learning environment and find academic success on their own terms. In this passionate workshop, third grade teacher Kayla Delzer speaks about her mission to revitalize learning and redesign her classroom environment using flexible seating and student-centered methods. Kayla explains how to release the power in the classroom by giving students ownership of their learning and making it relevant to them through student voice and choice.   Leave this session with some easy to implement ideas about how to turn your classroom into a flexible seating, student led “Starbucks for Kids” learning space.

Great Educators Embrace Purposeful Technology

Technology can give even the quietest students a voice and a chance to shine. This workshop will target several of my favorite classroom-tested apps and tools that allow students to demonstrate what they have learned using essential skills like creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and perseverance. The tools of today give all students a common language to speak and when used the right way, can transform your classroom. Come embrace purposeful technology that will bring your classrooms and schools to a new level of innovation.

Salome Thomas-EL

Head of School, Thomas Edison Charter School

The Immortality of Influence: Believing Every Child Can Achieve Their Dreams. Salome Thomas-EL, Head of School, Thomas Edison Charter School, Wilmington, DE and National Education Expert.
“Every child needs someone to be crazy about them.” These are the words of Salome Thomas-EL, award-winning teacher and principal, and nationally recognized educator. They shape his life-long commitment to answering the question, “How do we ensure that every child achieves their greatest potential?” This question lies at the heart of the national dialogue on education policy, the day in and day out work of school personnel, and the hopes of every parent. Central to this challenge is how we succeed with children who are facing the most serious barriers to success: poverty, violence, neglect, and low expectations.

For over 20 years, Principal EL has taken on this challenge with the absolute belief that every child can and will learn as long as adults in their world care enough to not give up. Starting as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School and through his years as principal at several traditional public and charter schools, Thomas-EL has transformed the attitudes and strategies of school staff, parents, and members of the community to help hundreds of troubled children not only graduate from high school but go on to earn higher degrees from major colleges and universities. He brings to the process a powerful combination of passion, caring, and leadership to craft a refreshing, common-sense roadmap to help kids achieve their dreams, no matter the odds.

Salome Thomas-EL lives in Delaware County with his wife and two young daughters. He has been a teacher and principal in Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE since 1987. Salome is currently the Head of School at Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington. Principal EL received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School, where his students have gone on to win world recognition as Eight-Time National Chess Champions. Principal EL was a regular contributor on the first season of “The Dr. Oz Show” and the author of the best-selling books, I Choose to Stay, about his Vaux Middle School experience, and The Immortality of Influence (Foreword by Will Smith), which stresses the importance of leadership, mentoring, parenting and service to others. The Walt Disney Company optioned the movie rights to I Choose to Stay. Thomas-EL speaks to groups around the world and frequently appears on C-SPAN, CNN, and NPR Radio. He has studied in Cambridge and London, England and is currently a doctoral candidate. He has received the Marcus A. Foster Award as the outstanding School District Administrator in Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania’s distinguished Martin Luther King Award. Educational Leadership and Reader’s Digest Magazine recognized Principal EL as an “Inspiring American Icon”. Principal EL has also appeared on “The Oprah Radio Network”.

Twitter Handle: @Principal_EL



Great Educators Believe Every Child Can Achieve Their Dream

“Every child needs someone to be crazy about them.” These are the words of Salome Thomas-EL, award-winning teacher and principal, and nationally recognized educator. They shape his life-long commitment to answering the question, “How do we ensure that every child achieves their greatest potential?” This question lies at the heart of the national dialogue on education policy, the day in and day out work of school personnel, and the hopes of every parent. Central to this challenge is how we succeed with children who are facing the most serious barriers to success: poverty, violence, neglect, and low expectations.

Tom Murray

Tom Murray serves as the Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, located in Washington, DC. He has testified before the United States Congress and works alongside that body and the US Senate, the White House, the US Department of Education and state departments of education, corporations, and school districts throughout the country to implement student-centered, personalized learning while helping to lead Future Ready and Digital Learning Day. Murray serves as a regular conference keynote, was named one of “20 to Watch” by NSBA, and the 2015 “Education Policy Person of the Year” by the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Connect with him online at

Twitter Handle: @thomascmurray


Great Educators are School Innovators

When we analyze today’s classrooms, we see dramatic differences and gaps in innovation. Side-by-side images of classrooms from 1916 and 2016 yield eerie similarities in many schools today, even with the 100-year difference. Some schools are creating dynamic cultures of innovation, while others still resemble those from the industrial area. Why this dichotomy? How are today’s innovators different and what qualities make their schools stand out? Future Ready’s Thomas C. Murray will share key factors in how districts are creating cultures of innovation that empower both teachers and students. Tom will also share a variety of districts and leaders who have gained national attention for creating unique learning experiences for students, who are working to overcome obstacles against all odds, and how all districts can create cultures of innovation inside their schools.

Sanée Bell

Dr. Sanée Bell is the principal of Morton Ranch Junior High in Katy, Texas. She has also served as an elementary principal and was recognized as the 2015 Katy ISD Elementary Principal of the Year. Sanee has served as an administrator since 2005. During Sanée’s tenure as a teacher, she taught English and coached basketball at the middle and high school level. She earned her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Sanee is passionate about authentic, purposeful learning for students and teachers, and she also has a strong passion for leadership and its impact on teacher engagement, student learning and school culture.  Sanée recognizes her impact as a leader and uses her role to inspire, motivate, and empower others. Sanée has presented at local, state and national conferences, and has written publications and several guest blog posts focused on leadership and its impact on students and teachers. Sanée shares her thoughts on leadership on her blog and via

Twitter Handle: @SaneeBell



Great Educators Transform Lives

In order to successfully meet the challenging demands facing public school educators, schools are in need of teachers and principals who are intentional about transforming the public school experience for students. This session will focus on how educators can make a significant impact in their classrooms and schools through influence, relationships, inspiration, and empowerment.

Great Educators Challenge the Status Quo

The decisions that we make today about public education will significantly impact the future. Great educators understand that the disruption of the status quo is a necessary gateway to innovation. The narrative of public education can only be written by those who are dedicated to challenging the “system” by being the change they want to see. This session will focus on how educators can use their voice to purposely disrupt themselves and challenge others to grow.

Weston Kieschnick

Weston Kieschnick is a Senior Fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education. His thought leadership around blended pedagogy has been published in Education WeekEd-Tech Magazine, and The Learning Transformation: A Guide to Blended Learning for Administrators. He also created and hosts Teaching Keating, an acclaimed podcast where pop-culture and pedagogy collide. Mr. Kieschnick has worked with teachers and school leaders from every state in the US and more than 30 countries around the world.  Districts where Weston provides keynotes, teacher development, and coaching have been recognized among the top ten in the country for their work in educational technology. During his tenure in education, Weston has served as an award winning Teacher, Assistant Principal, and District Level Administrator. Weston resides in Colorado with his wife Molly and his children, Everett and Charlotte.



Great Educators Make Personalization a Priority

This session allows participants to distinguish between differentiation, individualization, and personalization. It challenges the notion that designing rigorous and relevant personalized learning experiences has to be cumbersome. Experience real examples from the classrooms the country’s finest blended educators. See how they match high effect size instructional strategies (reciprocal teaching, explicit direct instruction, self-assessment, feedback, and vocabulary programs) with transformative digital tools for personalized outcomes. This session is centered entirely on masterful personalized instruction for immediate implementation.

Great Educators Coach for Competency

Coaching teachers on how to effectively use technology is about modeling. If you don’t know it, you can’t grow it. What do you want students to be doing with technology? How about the adults? During this session, Weston will demonstrate effective tools and strategies leaders can implement to support teachers as they improve their practice. Building on effective coaching strategies, and strong relationships between peers, the culture you create focused on professional growth can take on a new and exciting direction.

Brian Mendler

Brian Mendler has extensive experience working with challenging students in general ed, self-contained, and inclusion settings. He provides staff development training for K-12 educators throughout the world with the focus on how to be successful with even the most difficult students. He trains tens of thousands of educators every year and is a highly regarded dynamic speaker. You will find that Mr. Mendler has a unique prospective that he teaches from, that of a former student who struggled with a learning disability and severe ADHD. Educators love his seminars, because he is able to provide strategies that work immediately for today’s youth.

Mr. Mendler has recently authored a book titled, That One Kid. The book provides educators with easy to use strategies for preventing and responding to difficult, disruptive, defiant and unmotivated behavior. He has also authored The Taming of the Crew and co-authored books, Strategies for Successful Classroom Management, Power Struggles 2nd Edition, and the best seller Discipline With Dignity 3rd Edition: New Challenges, New Solutions.



Great Educators Build Strong Relationships

Plagued by severe undiagnosed ADHD and reading difficulties, I began disrupting class in 4th grade. I called teachers names, flipped over desks, and loved to break rules. I was kicked out of school in the middle of 6th grade. Two weeks later in a brand new school I had one teacher dramatically change my life. He did in about five minutes what nobody had done between kindergarten and 6th grade. And the amazing thing is that it is something any of you can do with any of your students immediately! Do you want to know what he did? Do not miss this session!

Great Educators Defuse Power Struggles

This high energy session teaches specifically how to defuse power struggles with any student in any situation at any time with our proven step by step process. Discover two words guaranteed to stop mouthy kids in their tracks. Learn exactly what to say when removing a student so they want to return to your class.