Keynote Speakers

Kevin Honeycutt

Kevin Honeycutt

Wednesday
Opening Keynote

Kevin Honeycutt is a nationally recognized speaker on a variety of topics dealing with student engagement, technology integration, and change in schools. He is a change agent and believes in preparing students to be future ready and empowering teachers to do the same. He is a technology integration specialist. His blog is Tradigital Learning. Kevin’s book, Midnight Run: My Narrow Escape to a Better Future is the story of his life, mainly his childhood and early adult years. His intent in writing his story was to encourage us to support those who we may encounter who are struggling in life make a “midnight run” to a brighter future.

Kevin is married to Michele Honeycutt and they have two sons, Ben and Gibson. In addition to being an inspirational speaker and passionate teacher, Kevin is an artist, musician and dedicated school board member.

Kevin is often on the road so his free time is spent enjoying the company of family and friends but he also finds time to drive his beloved Camaro.

Doug Fisher
SPONSORED BY

Doug Fisher

Thursday
Session Keynote

Douglas Fisher, PhD, is professor of educational leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College in California. He teaches courses on instructional improvement, lesson design and delivery, policy, research, and literacy. As a classroom teacher, Dr. Fisher focuses on English language arts instruction. He works to create classrooms and schools that ensure all students develop literacy and critical-thinking skills as they prepare for careers.

Dr. Fisher received an International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award for his work on literacy leadership and the Exemplary Leader Award from the Conference on English Leadership of the National Council of Teachers of English. He has served on the boards of directors for the California Reading Association, International Reading Association, and Literacy Research Association.

Dr. Fisher has written numerous articles on reading and literacy, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design. His books include Checking for Understanding, Better Learning Through Structured Teaching, and Rigorous Reading.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in communication, a master’s degree in public health education, an executive master’s degree in business, and a doctoral degree in multicultural education. He is a credentialed English teacher and administrator in California.

Anese Cavanaugh

Anese Cavanaugh

Thursday
Lunch Keynote

Anese Cavanaugh is a mom, entrepreneur, writer, speaker and all-around leadership and collaboration expert. She’s considered a trusted adviser, teacher and thinking partner to some of today’s most savvy business leaders and organizations like IDEO, Cooper, Chevron, IBM, Doorsteps, Citicorp and others. Anese has been called a “game changer,” a “miracle worker” and even “wonder woman” by clients (though we had to coerce this factoid out of her, she did not write this.)

A noted writer and speaker, Anese has been seen in Shape Magazine, Prevention Magazine, The New York Times, The Miami Herald, Western Suburban, TNG, Leadership Digital, Inc Small Giants and on stages across the country. She has received numerous awards for writing and impact, including an award for Professional Woman of the Year for Coaching & Mentoring by the NAPW.

Creator of the IEP Method and Crafting Impact Leadership Programs, her methodology has been integrated into core curriculum and processes in various leadership institutes and training programs including Youth Guidance Organization, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses and the ISAE Leadership Institute, where she served as faculty for their executive leadership program.

Spencer West

Spencer West

Friday
Closing Keynote

Whether headlining corporate conferences, mesmerizing audiences in 20,000- seat stadiums, or leading volunteer excursions for youth and adults, Spencer’s words and actions have encouraged millions to stand up, face challenges and embrace change. Everyone leaves with pertinent lessons they can apply to redefine what their possible is.

Spencer’s incredible story is documented in both film and print. His journey is featured in the documentary Redefine Possible: The Story of Spencer West, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and in his book Standing Tall: My Journey.

The life lessons Spencer has learned on his personal journey speak profoundly to audiences facing their own challenges. Spencer’s inspiring words have reached millions of listeners around the world, including corporations, students, educators, faith-based groups and families.

Infused with humor and humility, Spencer’s talks over take-home tips and life- lessons on how to find opportunity in every challenge, while instilling hope and empowering leaders to motivate others to create positive change.

When Spencer is not inspiring audiences from the speaking platform, he is helping others to create lasting change by facilitating international volunteer trips in communities where ME to WE’s charity partner works.

Featured Speakers

Carol Jago

Carol Jago

Carol Jago has taught English in middle and high school for 32 years and is associate director of the California Reading and Literature Project at UCLA. She served as president of the National Council of Teachers of English and chair of the College Board's English Academic Advisory committee.

Carol has published many books including With Rigor for All: Meeting Standards for Reading Literature; Papers, Papers, Papers; Classics in the Classroom; and Cohesive Writing: Why Concept Is Not Enough. She has also published books on contemporary multicultural authors for NCTE. Carol wrote an education column for the Los Angeles Times, and her essays continue to appear in educational journals and online forums.

In 2015 Carol was awarded the International Literacy Association's Adolescent Literacy Thought Leader Award and in 2016 the CEL Exemplary Leadership Award. She has been named by the U.S. Department of Education to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board overseeing the NAEP assessments.

She can be reached at cjago@caroljago.com or on Twitter @CarolJago.

Sara Ahmed

Sara Ahmed

Sara K. Ahmed is currently a literacy coach at NIST International School in Bangkok, Thailand. She has taught in urban, suburban, public, independent, and international schools, where her classrooms were designed to help students consider their own identities and see the humanity in others.

Sara is the author of Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension and coauthor with Harvey "Smokey" Daniels of Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry.

She has served on the teacher leadership team for Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization devoted to developing critical thinking and empathy for others. You can find her on Twitter @SaraKAhmed.

Kenneth Morris

Kenneth Morris

Mr. Morris descends from two of the most influential names in American history: he is the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington. His mother, Nettie Washington Douglass, is the daughter of Nettie Hancock Washington (granddaughter of Booker T. Washington), and Dr. Frederick Douglass III (great-grandson of Frederick Douglass). Ken's life until the year 2007 could be described as distinguished yet decisively disengaged from his lineage until Providence called.

Ken continues his family's legacy of anti-slavery and educational work as co-founder and president of the Atlanta-based nonprofit Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI). His career and life path are driven by a clear focus on FDFI's mission "to Advance Freedom through Knowledge and Strategic Action.” He could not have predicted that one day he would so fully embrace and be defined by the characteristics that so closely defined his famous ancestors.

Ken received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion degree from the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies at the University of La Verne. Ken received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of La Verne in California in January 2012.

He strongly believes, as did Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, that education is the pathway to freedom.

Kate Kinsella

Kate Kinsella

Dr. Kate Kinsella develops custom coursework for employed K–12 educators in San Francisco State University's Center for Teacher Efficacy. She provides consultancy to state departments of education throughout the U.S., school districts, and publishers on evidence-based instructional principles and practices to accelerate academic English acquisition for language-minority youths.

Her professional development institutes, publications, and instructional programs focus on career and college readiness for English learners, with an emphasis on high-utility vocabulary development, informational text reading, and writing. She is the author of instructional programs to support English learners and under-resourced classmates, including READ 180 Universal, English 3D, and the Academic Vocabulary Toolkit.

Her career, devoted to English Language Development (ELD) scholarship and classroom practice, includes extensive experience teaching high school English learners and bilingual first-generation college students. As a teacher-educator, she maintains active involvement in Grade 4-12 classrooms by regularly coaching teachers and administrators and co-teaching lessons across grade levels.

Kristin Anderson
SPONSORED BY

Kristin Anderson

Kristin R. Anderson is an incredibly passionate educator who strives to bring joy, hope, and empowerment to learners across the globe by helping them unleash their brilliance. She motivates system leaders, educators, consultants, and students to leverage their strengths and apply research principles that have the greatest impact on student learning.

Kristin is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Brilliance Project and has authored several books including, Data Teams Success Stories Volume 1, Real Time Decisions, and the co-author of Getting Started with Rigorous Curriculum Design with Larry Ainsworth. Over the past six years, she has studied Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn research under John Hattie and was recognized as the United States delegate and speaker at the first annual International Conference on Visible Learning in Brisbane, Australia. Since then, she has spoken at each annual International Conference on Visible Learning in San Diego, London, Washington D.C., and at multiple National VL institutes and symposiums in North America and Australia.

Michael McDowell
SPONSORED BY

Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell, Ed.D. serves as the Superintendent of the Ross School District. During his tenure, the Ross School District 
has progressed to the top of California districts in relation to student connectedness and well-being as well as being in the top tier of districts in academic achievement and growth. The Ross School District has emerged as a beacon of innovation, creating over 65+ different electives from virtual game design and broadcast journalism, sponsoring the first TEDxYouth event in the Bay Area.

Prior to serving as a superintendent, Dr. McDowell worked as an associate superintendent of instructional and personnel services and as a high school principal of a Title I and California Distinguished School. Before entering administration, he used his experience teaching science and mathematics to provide leadership and instructional coach consulting to schools, districts, higher education institutions, and state departments on educational leadership. Dr. McDowell is the author of Rigorous PBL by Design and The Lead Learner.

Afrika Afeni Mills
SPONSORED BY

Afrika Afeni Mills

Afrika Afeni Mills is an instructional coach who works with teachers, coaches and administrators to transform instructional practices and empower all students to thrive. Afrika believes that all teachers can be motivated, engaged, dynamic educators and leaders when provided with the supports needed to create student-centered, culturally responsive learning environments that inspire wonder and creativity and nurture diversity, equity and inclusion.

The former teacher and administrator spent over a decade in schools before transitioning to full-time instructional coaching and consulting. A prominent thought lea She has been featured on podcasts discussing the school-to-prison pipeline and white fragility and co-presented Required Reading Reconsidered and Interrogating the Curriculum at conferences across the US.

Afrika holds a master's degree in Elementary Teaching from Boston College's Lynch School of Education, where she graduated first in her class. She also serves on the board of the Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning, and Creativity.

Monica Washington
SPONSORED BY

Monica Washington

Monica Washington is a transformative educator who has spent over 20 years supporting teachers and empowering students. The 2014 Texas Teacher of the Year served as a team lead, department head, new teacher mentor, and school improvement chairwoman in Tennessee and Texas before becoming an instructional coach for BetterLesson.

Outside of instructional roles, Monica is known as a thought leader and advocate, writing for publications such as Education Week and Education Post and presenting at national and regional conferences across the US. Her post 4 Things Great Principals Don't Do was the most read and shared post on Education Week in 2017. The NAACP Special Achievement Award winner serves on the ETS advisory board for equity and assessments and for TeachingPartners. Monica is currently a doctoral candidate researching the benefits of virtual coaching.

BetterLesson works with educators and instructional leaders to develop the skills and strategies needed to develop the next generation of resourceful, compassionate, and resilient learners. Through virtual coaching, Design Workshops aligned to classroom and district goals, and free, high quality lesson plans from some of the nation's most effective teachers, BetterLesson provides the support educators and leaders need today to prepare students for tomorrow.

Sharroky Hollie
SPONSORED BY

Sharroky Hollie

Sharroky Hollie is the Executive Director of the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing stellar professional development for educators desiring to become culturally responsive. He is a cofounder of the nationally acclaimed laboratory school, Culture and Language Academy of Success (CLAS) in Los Angeles. Dr. Hollie is also the author of numerous publications and professional resources including one of Teacher Created Materials' best sellers Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom Practices for Student Success.