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General Sessions Speakers | Featured Sessions Speakers | Keynote Luncheons Speakers
The following speakers are scheduled to appear at ASCD Empower18.
Dr. Jill Biden has been an educator for more than three decades. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., she taught English at a community college in Delaware, at a public high school, and at a psychiatric hospital for adolescents.
As Second Lady, Dr. Biden worked to bring attention to the sacrifices made by military families; to highlight the importance of community colleges to America's future; and to raise awareness around areas of particular importance to women, including breast cancer prevention—all while continuing to teach as a full-time English professor at a community college in Northern Virginia.
Dr. Biden earned her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in January 2007. Her dissertation focused on maximizing student retention in community colleges. She also has two master's degrees—both of which she earned while working and raising a family.
Saturday General Session
Saturday, March 24, 2018
See General Session information
An original Freedom Writer whose story is told in part in the 2007 hit movie Freedom Writers, Manny Scott has energized more than 2 million leaders, educators, volunteers, and students worldwide with his authentic, inspiring messages of hope. Speaking to more than 125 groups a year for the past decade, he is the speaker of choice for conferences, conventions, schools, fundraisers, and banquets.
Manny is the founder of Ink International, Inc, an education consulting firm that has empowered millions of people to improve the quality of not only their own lives, but also the lives of those around them. Ink has helped hundreds of organizations raise student achievement and leader effectiveness in 48 states and four continents and has helped prevent thousands of dropouts and suicides. He is helping people begin new chapters in their personal and professional lives.
He is the author of the new ASCD book Even on Your Worst Day, You Can Be a Student's Best Hope.
Sunday General Session
Sunday, March 25, 2018
For more than 50 years, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), has devoted his life to public service. Powell served in the United States Army for 35 years, rising to the rank of four-star-general. He served as National Security Advisor for President Ronald Reagan (1987–89), as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton (1989–1993), and as secretary of state for President George W. Bush (2001–05). He has earned numerous U.S. Military awards and decorations, as well as awards from more than two dozen countries.
Powell is the chair of the board of visitors of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at his alma mater, the City College of New York; the founder and chairman emeritus of the America’s Promise Alliance; a strategic adviser at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a board member of Bloom Energy, Salesforce.com, and the Smithsonian Institution's African American Museum of History and Culture. Powell is also the author of two books: My American Journey and It Worked for Me.
Monday General Session
Monday, March 26, 2018
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Additional speakers will be listed as they become available.
Michael Bonner is an inspiring 2nd grade teacher at North Carolina's South Greenville Elementary, where the majority of students have strenuous familial dynamics, and many are homeless. The school is 100 percent FRL (free and reduced-price lunch) and is located in an impoverished neighborhood. His unique, rap-filled teaching methods that encourage students to go above and beyond have gained national attention and earned numerous funding opportunities for his school.
Bonner appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" after his teaching approach went viral. A month later, 20 children from Mr. Bonner's class received an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles. The students recorded in a professional studio; had class on a Hollywood set; and made a professional music video with Ellen, Big Sean, Ice Cube, Migos, Ty Dolla Sign, and Lin-Manuel Miranda!
Bonner's efforts to change the proficiency learning culture have also captured attention from other national news outlets, and he has spoken to multiple audiences, delivering powerful messages on improving student performance and resilience.
See session information
Joe Dombrowski is a 4th grade teacher who infuses his classroom approach with humor, creativity, and passion. He has been sharing his ideas on social media since he began his teaching career, and when his April Fool's Prank video—of giving his students a fake spelling test with invented words—went viral with some 20 million views, Dombrowski appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to share his approach and highlight selfless teachers across the country who use their own money to create top-notch classroom experiences.
Dombrowski earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Central Michigan University and a master's degree in educational leadership from Oakland University. He has also worked as a camp counselor and advisor and performed improv comedy. Every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. eastern time, Dombrowski hosts his own Instagram Live show called "The Teacher's Lounge," covering a range of topics. He can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @mrdtimes3 and on YouTube as Joe Dombrowski.
A U.S. cultural diplomat who creates programs worldwide that foster cultural exchange and mutual understanding.Ravi Hutheesing is a cultural entrepreneur whose philosophies and strategies have helped people and organizations around the world bridge generational and cultural divides.
Hutheesing is also a musician (he was a guitarist for the band Hanson), an author, and an aviator. As "The Raviator," he created a niche market within aviation by performing concerts at air shows, becoming the spokesman for products targeting pilots, and developing a signature model folding guitar to fit in small airplanes.
As a cultural diplomat with the U.S. State Department, Hutheesing has traveled and worked in Russia and Indonesia, and he is a judge for the prestigious 2017/2018 American Music Abroad program, for which a select group of artists will tour and represent American culture overseas. Currently, he serves as the Director of Youth Engagement and Cultural Entrepreneurship for the Association of American Voices. Hutheesing also partners with Shanti Bhavan Children's Project in India. He is the first American-born member of India's Nehru-Gandhi family, who created and governed the world's largest democracy for more than 40 years.
Alex Kajitani is the 2009 California Teacher of the Year and a top-four finalist for National Teacher of the Year. His book, Owning It: Proven Strategies for Success in ALL of Your Roles as a Teacher Today, was named "Recommended Reading" by the U.S. Department of Education. A leading authority on teacher leadership, Kajitani is a highly sought-after keynote speaker who supports and motivates teachers nationwide. He is also known around the world as "The Rappin' Mathematician," and is the creator of Multiplication Nation, an interactive, online program devoted to getting all kids to learn their times tables (without the stress). He has a popular TED Talk; has been honored at the White House; and has been featured in numerous books and media outlets, including The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
Alex Kajitani's session is sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul®.
Erin Klein is an award-winning educator, national keynote speaker, author, and mother who has been twice selected to serve on the Scholastic, Inc. Top Teaching Team based in New York. Her recent publication, Amazing Grades, was a collaboration with experts from 13 countries around the world. Klein's other books include Redesigning Learning Spaces through Corwin and Assessing Students' Digital Writing through Teachers College Press at Columbia University. She travels the country speaking about the power of student voice, how meaningful technology integration can enhance learning experiences, and the effect classroom design has on today's learner.
Klein has also hosted webinars for the United States Department of Education to share her perspective on future-ready schools. She was one of nine professionals selected to be a featured speaker on this topic at the national Digital Learning Day in Washington, D.C.
Her work can be found on her award-winning educational blog, Kleinspiration.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @KleinErin.
Todd Nesloney (also known as TechNinjaTodd) is the principal and lead learner at a preK–5 school in Texas. He is an award-winning author for Kids Deserve It! (as coauthor), Flipping 2.0: Practical Strategies for Flipping Your Class, and his children's book Spruce & Lucy. Nesloney is passionate about education and innovation. He was a classroom teacher for seven years before taking the leap straight from classroom teacher to campus principal in Navasota, Tex., and has earned national education recognition.
Nesloney travels and speaks about his innovative practices and how we have to stop making excuses about why we can't do things for our students. He also speaks about his use of technology in the classroom and with his school and gives all educators ideas on how to continually utilize the tools at our disposal to create the best possible learning environment for children.
Nesloney actively blogs and share his stories through many different social media avenues, especially Twitter. He is a cofounder or board member of several education organizations and cohosts the podcast series "Kids Deserve It."
Kyle Schwartz is a 3rd grade teacher at Doull Elementary in Denver, Colo., where about 90 percent of students live below or near the poverty line, and about half are English learners. She was named a Distinguished Teacher by Denver Public Schools and has led professional development at national and local conferences.
Ensuring that all children receive a high-quality education has been the driving force in Schwartz's career. She has worked with education-focused organizations such as City Year, the Denver Teacher Residency, America Achieves, and TeachStrong.
Recently, a simple yet powerful lesson created in Schwartz's classroom received international attention. She asked her students to finish the sentence "I wish my teacher knew _____." Her students' candid responses inspired the #IWishMyTeacherKnew movement and were covered by every major media outlet and sparked a conversation about the realities American students face and how schools can support all students. To continue this dialogue, Schwartz has written a book called, I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids (2016).
One of today's most internationally recognized voices for high-quality education and women's empowerment, Tererai Trent is a symbol of hope for children around the world. Her picture book, The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can (October 2015), is based on her story of perseverance. Trent grew up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe and always dreamed of getting an education but, limited by traditional Zimbabwean culture, she was married with three children by the time she was 18. Undeterred by traditional roles and cultural norms, Trent taught herself to read and write from her brother's schoolbooks.
From those humble beginnings, she has become a world-renowned scholar, humanitarian, motivational speaker, educator, mentor, and inspiration, leading the global charge in the fight for high-quality education for all children. She also founded the Tinogona Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to build, repair, and renovate schools in rural Zimbabwe. Today, Trent is a senior consultant with more than 18 years of international experience in program and policy evaluation, and she has worked on five continents for major humanitarian organizations.
Marie Hubley Alcock is president of Learning Systems Associates, an education consulting company, and founder of Tomorrow's Education Network, which is a nonprofit association dedicated to improving literacy development.
She has been an educator for more than 20 years and has worked nationally and internationally to promote high-quality learning environments. Marie lives with her family in New Jersey.
Andy Hargreaves holds the Thomas More Brennan Chair in Education at the Boston College Lynch School of Education, where he specializes in teacher education, special education, whole person education, and curriculum and instruction.
Robyn R. Jackson, PhD, has been an educator for more than a decade. As a National Board–certified English teacher, she increased the enrollment of minority and nontraditional students in her AP Language and Composition classes and tripled her overall course enrollment within one year without a decrease in her students' test scores.
As a middle school administrator in Montgomery County, Md., she has worked to revise the district's gifted and talented policy to be more inclusive of all students and helped craft the district's critical Middle School Reform Plan. She also helped lead the largest middle school in the district to state and national Blue Ribbon status.
As an educator, she has served as an adjunct professor and has presented her own research at several national conferences.
Heidi Hayes Jacobs is founder and president of Curriculum Designers, providing professional services to schools, organizations, and agencies to create modern learning environments, upgrade curriculum, and support teaching strategies to meet the needs of contemporary learners. Her models on curriculum mapping and curriculum design have been featured in numerous books and software solutions throughout the world. She has taught courses at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York City since 1981.
Russ Quaglia is a globally recognized pioneer in the field of education, known for his unwavering dedication to student voice and aspirations. His commitment to young people is driven by his passion to ensure the voice of each student is heard, honored, and acted upon. His aspirations are to keep challenging the status quo in schools.
Todd Whitaker has been fortunate to be able to blend his passion with his career. He is a leading presenter in the field of education and a professor of educational leadership at the University of Missouri and professor emeritus at Indiana State University.
Whitaker is the author of more than 40 books and previously served as both a teacher and a principal. His focus is on leadership, teaching, and motivation.
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