General Session Speakers

General Session speakers are selected to help you take your leadership to new heights so you can move your district and community forward. All General Sessions take place at the San Diego Convention Center, Hall A.


4:15 – 6:15pm
Educating the Heart and Soul

David Brooks
Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times, Author
Washington, DC

We know that students have cognitive abilities, the ability to learn and master information. We know that they are emotional creatures. But they are also moral animals. They want to lead good and meaningful lives. How do schools arouse their moral motivations and help them lead lives of moral purpose?

9 – 11am
The Possibilities and Challenges of Personalizing Education

Linda Darling-Hammond
President and CEO, Learning Policy Institute
Palo Alto, CA

Grounded in the sciences of learning and development, this keynote will discuss why and how thoughtful personalization, through strong relationships and connections to learners’ prior knowledge and experiences, is critical to effective education and can help reverse the results of adverse conditions in children’s lives. Understand how thoughtless approaches to “personalization” that substitute technology for teachers and reduce opportunities for collaboration can undermine learning. The goal of the discussion will be to help leaders consider how to design schools and systems for effectively personalization that supports student success for the wide range of learners in today’s schools.

10:30am – 12noon
Social Emotional Learning that Changes Lives

Mawi Asgedom
Founder, Mawi Learning, and Strategic Advisor for ACT, Social and Emotional Learning
Elmhurst, IL

Mawi Asgedom will share his amazing story going from a refugee camp to Harvard University and offer insights on how to apply Social Emotional Learning (SEL) from his work with more than one million students around the world. You will be inspired and learn evidence-based strategies to drive academic growth and student well being through the application of SEL.