2017 Annual Conference Presenters

Suzie Boss is a writer and educational consultant from Portland, Oregon, who focuses on the power of teaching and learning to improve lives and transform communities. She is the author of several popular books for educators, including All Together Now: How to Engage Your Stakeholders in Reimagining School and Reinventing Project-Based Learning (coauthored with Jane Krauss). She is a regular contributor to Edutopia and a member of the Buck Institute for Education National Faculty. She recently collaborated with award-winning global educator Stephen Ritz on The Power of a Plant, which tells his inspiring story of creating green classrooms and healthier outcomes for children and communities across New York’s South Bronx and around the world. Inspired by teachers who push the boundaries of the traditional classroom, Suzie consults with schools internationally that are ready to shift away from tests and textbooks and engage students in real-world problem solving. She has helped project-based learning take hold at schools in India, Europe, Mexico, and South America, as well as all over the United States. 

Follow her on Twitter - @suzieboss

Paul Gorski is the founder of EdChange and associate professor of Integrative Studies at George Mason University. 

His professional and spiritual passions lie in building movements and engaging in processes for creating equitable and just organizations, schools and communities. His goal is continual transformation toward equity and justice within myself within our communities and schools and within society.

In addition to his associate professorship at George Mason University, where he helped found and run an undergraduate program and minor in Social Justice and Human Rights, he is the founder of EdChange, a coalition of educators and activists providing professional development on educational equity, creating free resources for fellow educators and activists, and modeling a commitment to moving beyond celebrating the joys of diversity and toward equity literacy in schools and communities.

He has worked with schools, colleges and universities, community organizations, and other organizations all over the world to help build the competencies and literacies necessary to authenticate diversity and equity efforts.

He has written Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap, Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice in Education, and The Poverty and Education Reader: A Call for Equity in Many Voices.

Follow him on Twitter - @pgorski

Ken Kay is the chief executive officer of EdLeader21, a professional learning community for education leaders committed to 21st-century education.

Ken co-founded the Partnership for 21st Century Skills in 2002 and served as its president for eight years. Prior to his work on 21st-century education, Ken served as executive director of the CEO Forum on Education and Technology.

Ken spent 28 years in Washington, DC, where he gained a national reputation as a coalition builder on competitiveness. He founded a landmark coalition of US universities and high-tech companies focused on research and development issues and was the founding executive director of the premier CEO advocacy group in the US computer industry.

Along with Valerie Greenhill, he has written The Leader’s Guide to 21st Century Education: 7 Steps for Schools and Districts. Ken has also written the foreword to the book, 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn. Currently, he serves on the board of the Buck Institute for Education. 

Follow him on Twitter @kenkay21

Derreck Kayongo, using his trademark panache, inspires and empowers with his courageous story of survival, social entrepreneurship and humanitarianism, and the life lessons he learned along the way.

Derreck is the founder of the Global Soap Project, which recycles used hotel soap and redistributes it to impoverished populations around the world. In creating this global humanitarian initiative, he demonstrated that a simple, yet novel idea has the power to transform the lives of millions. A Top Ten CNN Hero in 2011, his passion for helping others and commitment to innovative thinking earned him his current role as CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

From Ugandan refugee to successful entrepreneur and renowned human rights activist, Derreck inspires audiences to dream big as he shares his vision for harnessing the power of observation to identify issues and solve challenges in any community or organization.

With palpable energy and enthusiasm, he brings his personal guiding principles, coined as S.E.L.F. – Service, Education, Leadership and Faith – to life in emotionally-packed presentations that linger long after his speech. Dynamic and empowering on stage, Derreck inspires a spirit of entrepreneurialism and creative problem-solving while spurring audiences to invent their own self-made motto of success so they can create tangible change in the world.

Follow him on Twitter - @DerreckKayongo

Parents for Great Iowa Schools - Iowa parents, grandparents and community members who advocate on behalf of all children in Iowa to receive world-class public education.

Follow them on Twitter - @GreatIASchools

Trevor Ragan - Big dreams and an unbelievable work ethic have taken him on quite the journey so far. He has worked for one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time - started a sushi restaurant with his two best friends and a celebrity chef - and moved to the other side of the world to help one of Australia's most successful energy companies start a business that just might change the world.
Now he travels the country speaking, learning, reading, and writing for (AKA he's living the dream).

Follow him on Twitter - @train_ugly

Carla Tantillo Philibert is a recognized expert on social-emotional learning, mindfulness and yoga practices in the school setting. She is the founder of Mindful Practices and oversees a team of 20 dedicated practitioners who have served over 4,000 students and teachers across the country. Carla has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and is a certified yoga teacher. She is a regular, featured speaker at CEC, NAESP and the Kripalu Yoga in School Symposium. Carla travels across the country to present at AASA, NSBA, NCE or keynote conferences, such as ILCEC.

Carla is the author of Cooling Down Your Classroom: Using Yoga, Relaxation and Breathing Strategies to Help Students Learn to Keep Their Cool, Everyday SEL in Elementary School: Integrating Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness in Your Classroom, and Everyday SEL in Middle School: Integrating Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness in Your Classroom.

Katy Swalwell is Associate Professor and Elementary Education Program Lead in the School of Education at Iowa State University. Her most recent research focuses on how the social studies curriculum, particularly local history, can be a site for developing students' and teachers' critical consciousness. She is also interested in how justice-oriented approaches to education can and do operate in schools serving predominantly white, affluent students. Her work has been published in multiple journals and teacher publications and she is the author of the award-winning book, Educating Activist Allies: Social Justice Pedagogy with the Suburban and Urban Elite. Born and raised in West Des Moines, Iowa, she has taught K-12 social studies in Minnesota and Connecticut and has served as a teacher educator in Madison, Wisconsin and Washington, DC. She currently lives in Des Moines with her husband and three-month old daughter. 

Rory Vaden, a "self-discipline strategist," speaks to audiences around the world about how they can leverage self-discipline to overcome procrastination and achieve their goals in life. His first book, Take the Stairs, is a #1 Wall Street Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller and it has been translated into 11 different languages. 

As an entrepreneur, he is the co-founder of Southwestern Consulting™, a multimillion dollar global consulting practice with more than 90 team members that helps clients in 35 countries to grow their business and provide a better customer experience. 

Additionally, Rory is the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline where his insights on overcoming procrastination and increasing productivity have been featured on varied media outlets. His articles and insights average more than 4 million views every month and he is the weekly host of a top 25 business news podcast called "Daily Discipline with Rory Vaden."

As a professional speaker, he speaks more than 50 times a year for some of America's best and brightest organizations. He is a Certified Speaking Professional and is the 2007 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking first runner-up.

Rory’s newest book is called Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time and became an instant national bestseller.

Get more insights and inspiration here.

Follow him on Twitter - @rory_vaden

Kenneth C. Williams shares his experience and expertise as a nationally recognized trainer, speaker, coach and consultant in leadership and education. He is the chief visionary officer of Unfold the Soul, Inc.TM, an organization dedicated to helping schools live their posters. Skilled in joining the "why" of the work to the "how" of the work, Ken is known for his powerful and engaging combinations of “heart, humor, and hammer.” He is an expert at helping schools build capacity in the collective commitments required of learning for all cultures. Ken is a distinguished teacher, mentor, public speaker, school leader and the author of two books. His latest best- seller, co-authored by Tom Hierck, is Starting a Movement: Building Culture from the Inside Out in Professional Learning Communities.

Follow him on Twitter - @unfoldthesoul