Thought Leaders

Thought Leader sessions are large-format educational sessions that touch on some of the most critical topics facing public education in America. They are located in the Knowledge Exchange Theater in the NCE Exhibit Hall or Room 6D.

9 – 10am
Principal Pipelines: A Cost-Effective Strategy to Improve Principal Retention and Student Achievement

Moderator: Dan Domenech, Executive Director, AASA
Alexandria, VA

Douglas Anthony
Chief Consultant, Anthony Consulting Group
Bowie, MD

Jeff Eakins
Superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools
Tampa, FL

Monica Goldson
Chief Executive Officer, Prince George County Public Schools
Upper Marlboro, MD

Nicholas Pelzer
Senior Program Officer, Wallace
New York, NY

Research indicates that, of school-related factors, quality of school leadership is second only to quality of teaching in level of impact on student learning. Learn how six districts invested in a principal pipeline initiative with support from the Wallace Foundation, resulting in improved student achievement in literacy and improved principal retention. The “pipeline” refers to four mutually reinforcing components the districts put in place to boost principal effectiveness: rigorous standards that spell out what their principals are supposed to know and do; high-quality pre-service training for aspiring principals; data-informed hiring; and well-aligned support and evaluation of principals, especially newcomers to the job.

9 – 10am
A Nation at Hope: Social and Emotional Learning and Success

Sheldon Berman
Superintendent, Andover Public Schools
Andover, MA

Stephanie Jones
Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Cambridge, MA

Timothy Shriver
Chairman, Special Olympics International
Washington, DC

Gene Wilhoit
Executive Director, Center for Innovation in Education
Lexington, KY

Members of the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development share insights and recommendations from the commission’s recently released report, “A Nation at Hope.” Join the commission’s co-chair, Timothy Shriver, and leading members of the policy, practice, and research working groups to hear about the science of social and emotional learning, its role in schools and schooling, and key recommendations for the next generation of practice, policy, and research.

10:15 – 11:15am
Special Screening and Discussion, The Atlanta Public Schools Story
High-Stakes Testing, Poverty and Race: A Cautionary Tale

LaRuth Gray
Scholar-in-Residence, Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, New York University
New York, NY

Even after 10 years, the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal still reverberates. You know that teachers, principals and administrators were accused of cheating on state standardized tests. You know that some were convicted of racketeering by the court. You know that children were harmed. And you think this could never happen in your district. Emmy-award winning producer, Jodi Gomes, brings this cautionary tale to life in a new film that will air on Lifetime beginning in March. View pertinent clips with your peers at this session and bring your voice and perspective to a riveting facilitated conversation about high-stakes testing, poverty, race, equity and ethics that have serious implications for every public school district… even yours.

10:15 – 11:15am
Understanding the Brain: How Museum District Partnerships Improve K–12 Education with the Science of Learning

David Baugh
Superintendent, Centennial School District
Warminster, PA

John Sanville
Superintendent, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District
Kennett Square, PA

Julia Skolnik
Assistant Director of Professional Development, The Franklin Institute Science Museum
Philadelphia, PA

The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Centennial School District, and Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, all located in the Philadelphia area, will share their museum-district partnership model for advancing teachers’ and administrators’ understanding of the brain and learning to improve district-wide educational practices. Experience samples of interactive professional development modules that debunk myths about the brain and learning, as well as demonstrate research-based strategies for engaging and motivating students to learn. Evaluation results about the impact of these experiences on teachers, administrators, and students will be shared. You will receive evidence-based tools for improving K–12 teaching across all disciplines and learn about ways to partner with The Franklin Institute to offer these transformational experiences to teachers across the country.

12:45 – 1:45pm
Strengthening Superintendent Early Childhood Leadership Skills

Deborah Bergeron
Director, DHHS, Administration for Children and Families/Office of Head Start
Washington, DC

Edward Manuszak
Dundee Community School District
Dundee, MI

Join Edward Manuszak, current Superintendent and AASA Early Learning Cohort Co-Chair, as he shares an in-depth look at the current leadership frameworks and research he is using within his state and around the nation to build programs and networks that support early childhood education. Participants will explore, receive and discuss the newly co-published (AASA and NAEYC) systemic Early Learning District Self-Assessment Tool (ELDSAT), which allows superintendents and district-level leaders an in-depth review of their own district programs and emulation of best practice and research-based measurements. You can begin transforming how early childhood education is perceived, implemented and delivered in your own districts.

12:45 – 1:45pm
Trauma-Sensitive Teaching: Personalizing Culture

Moderator: Ray McNulty
President, Successful Practices Network and the National Dropout Prevention Center
Rexford, NY

Susan Cole
Harvard Law Professor and Director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Advocates for Children
Cambridge, MA

Michael Muñoz
Superintendent, Rochester Public Schools
Rochester, MN

Ryan Powers
Assistant Superintendent, Bridgewater-Raynham School District
Bridgewater, MA

For optimal learning to occur, students need to feel safe and supported. When a school’s faculty develops a deep understanding of the effects of trauma and chronic stress on learning, pathways to culture emerge. Through collaboration and fostering empowerment, educators can meet students’ needs for safety and belonging. Focus on the research behind trauma-sensitive teaching, learning, and leading that supports personalization of culture for students.

11:15am – 12:15pm
5 Pivots for Education Leaders to Support World-Class Execution

Ted Fujimoto
President, Landmark Consulting Group, Inc.
Burbank, CA

The entrepreneur, co-designer and co-founder of what has become the New Tech Network shares practices of world-class innovation teams. Ted will discuss how these shared pivotal practices are important to superintendents to lead their districts through complex change and sustain these changes.

11:15am – 12:15pm
Superintendent Leadership for Youth Apprenticeship Pathways: Advancing Student Success, Equity, and Readiness

Susana Cordova
Superintedent, Denver Public Schools
Denver, CO

Dan Domenech
Executive Director, AASA
Alexandria, VA

M. Ann Levett
Superintendent, Savannah-Chatham County School System
Savannah, GA

Scott Siegfried
Superintendent, Cherry Creek School District
Greenwood Village, CO

Superintendents are working to make new college and career pathways a reality for all students. This interactive session will feature four superintendents that are at the forefront of implementing youth apprenticeships to enhance students success, equity and readiness. Learn how and why the youth apprenticeships strategy is rapidly increasing across the country.

12:45 – 1:45pm
Investing in Principal Supervisors to Lead School Improvement

Moderator: Max Silverman
Executive Director, Center for Educational Leadership, University of Washington
Seattle, WA

Gary Bloom
Former Superintendent, Santa Cruz City Schools
Aptos, CA

Sito Narcisse
Chief of Secondary Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools
Washington, DC

Mike Lord
Director of K-8, Des Moines Public Schools
Des Moines, IA

Jackie Wilson
Director, Academy for School Leadership and Executive Director for the National Policy Board Educational Administration
Reston, VA

Educating all children at high levels depends largely upon having effective school building principals. Yet, skill at implementing quality systems for recruiting, developing and evaluating principals, is not universally strong. Gain strategies and tools developed by school districts and researchers with support of the Wallace Foundation that assist districts in selecting and developing principal supervisors.

12:45 – 1:45pm
Leading Personalization of Learning

Moderator: Tom Vander Ark
Chief Executive Officer, Getting Smart
Federal Way, WA

Mark Bedell
Superintendent, Kansas City Public Schools
Kansas City, MO

Lydia Dobyns
President and CEO, New Tech Network
Napa, CA

Michael Hinojosa
Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District
Dallas, TX

Katrina Stevens
Director of Learning Science, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
San Carlos, CA

Personalization of learning requires intentionally developing an ecosystem that supports growth for all learners, including students and staff. Elements of re-designing teaching and learning to foster conditions in which increased personalization can thrive include providing strategies for teaching that encourage risk-taking, considering impact on assessment, re-thinking pace and space for learning, and increasing infrastructure. Learn from pioneers in personalization how educators can foster a growth mindset in schools and districts.

2:30 – 3:30pm Superintendent/School Board Relations — A Discussion Between NSBA Executive Director Tom Gentzel and AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech

Dan Domenech Executive Director, AASA Alexandria, VA Tom Gentzel Executive Director, NSBA Alexandria, VA Come hear an informative discussion between the AASA and NSBA executive directors who agree that an effective superintendent/school board management team is essential to a school system’s success. Learn how the two organizations work together to accomplish common goals.

3:45 – 4:45pm
Where Teachers Thrive: Organizing Schools for Success

Susan Moore Johnson
Research Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Cambridge, MA

How do schools become places where teachers thrive and students succeed? In her new book, Where Teachers Thrive: Organizing Schools for Success, Susan Moore Johnson draws on rich case studies of 14 low-income urban schools to explain why some schools failed to improve while others achieved remarkable results. Johnson explores what this means for principals and district administrators.