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Leadership Forum Testimonials
- "Very interesting, worthwhile, inspiring, yet candid and direct."- Anne Manning, Vermillion, SD
- "A refreshing professional experience, interactive and informative."- Marian Lothian, Quebec, Canada
- "Thought-provoking and grounded in practical solutions."- Irene Ricci Sullivant, Camden, NJ
Andrés Alonso was named chief executive officer of the Baltimore City Public Schools in 2007, and immediately launched a series of innovative programs. In the first three years of his tenure, Baltimore students reached their highest outcomes in every measurable metric of performance, across all No Child Left Behind categories, and the district reversed a 40-year decline in student enrollment. In 2009, the district exited “corrective action” status, and it reached a historic settlement agreement in a special education lawsuit after 26 years of litigation. That same year, Alonso was appointed to the prestigious No Child Left Behind Commission for the Aspen Institute. Alonso emigrated from Cuba with his family at the age of 12. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University, and earned a J.D. and a doctorate in education from Harvard University. After practicing law in New York City, he changed course to become an educator. Applegate will be speaking in Chicago.
James Applegate is the vice president for program development at the Lumina Foundation for Education, located in Indianapolis. He leads the development of funding programs supporting achievement of Lumina’s “Big Goal” of dramatically increasing higher-education attainment in the United States, especially for low-income, first-generation-college, minority, and adult students. That work includes strategic implementation of effective practices and policies supporting increases in the number of students prepared to enter higher education, the number of students succeeding in college, and the productivity and capacity of the system to provide many more people high-quality degrees and other credentials. Applegate will be speaking in Chicago.
Cynthia G. Brown is vice president for education policy at the Center for American Progress and served as director of the “Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future” National Task Force on Public Education, a joint initiative of the center and the Institute for America’s Future. Brown has spent over 35 years working in a variety of professional positions addressing high-quality, equitable public education. She was appointed by President Carter as the first assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education (1980). She serves on the boards of directors of the American Youth Policy Forum and Hyde Leadership Public Charter School, and on the education advisory committee for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Brown will be speaking in Chicago.
Milton Chen is the senior fellow and executive director emeritus at the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), a nonprofit foundation based in San Rafael, Calif., that utilizes multimedia and documentaries to communicate a new vision for 21st-century schools. His career has spanned four decades at the intersection of pre-K-12 education, media, and technology. In the 1970s, he was the director of research at Sesame Workshop in New York City, helping develop the acclaimed children’s television program “Sesame Street.” His newest book, Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in Our Schools, published by Jossey-Bass in 2010, examines ways to revolutionize learning through innovative reform and the use of technology. . Chen will be speaking in Chicago.
Barbara Chow became the education program director of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in the fall of 2008, coming from the House Budget Committee, where she served as policy director. From 2001 to 2007 she was the executive director of the National Geographic Education Foundation and vice president for education and children’s programs at National Geographic. Chow served in both terms of the Clinton administration. From 1993 to 1997, she was a special assistant to the president for legislative affairs, acting as White House liaison to Congress on economic, budget, and appropriation matters. From 1997 to 2001, Chow worked in the Office of Management and Budget, where she was the program associate director for education, income maintenance, and labor. Starting in 2000, she kept the OMB position and added the position of deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Chow will be speaking in New York.
Timothy Daly is the president of The New Teacher Project (TNTP). Since his appointment in 2007, he has helped lead the organization’s efforts to end educational inequality by aligning policies and systems to better support teacher effectiveness. Previously, Daly served as vice president for policy, helping to launch a team that has released a series of acclaimed studies of the policies and practices that affect the quality of the nation’s teacher workforce, including The Widget Effect (2009) and Teacher Evaluation 2.0 (2010). Daly joined TNTP in 2001 and helped launch TNTP’s flagship teacher-pipeline program, New York City Teaching Fellows, which today has more than 9,600 active teachers in more than 1,100 schools across New York City. He began his career in education as a Teach For America corps member at Northeast Middle School in Baltimore. Daly will be speaking in New York.
Xavier De La Torre is currently the Superintendent of the Socorro Independent School District – a TEA Recognized District and a two-time finalist for the prestigious Broad Award for Excellence in Urban Education. Prior to joining the Socorro family, De La Torre spent four years as the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources in the Elk Grove Unified School District, a large, urban and nationally recognized school district outside of Sacramento, California. Before joining the Elk Grove Unified School District, he was hired to provide leadership over all aspects of personnel and labor relations as the Associate Superintendent, Human Resources in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. De La Torre will be speaking in New York.
John DeStefano, Jr. has served nine terms as the mayor of New Haven, Conn. In 2009, he and the city’s school board announced the School Change Initiative, which includes a portfolio approach to school management, a focus on teacher talent through a progressive teacher-evaluation construct, and a commitment to see that every child has the aspiration for and is prepared to complete college. Virtually every public school in the city has been rebuilt under the $1.5 billion Citywide School Construction Program, which supports universal pre-K services, the largest interdistrict-enrollment and magnet school program in the state, and college-level lab and technology facilities. DeStafano will be speaking in New York.
Susan Frost began her commitment to the education of children on the front lines as a 6th grade public school teacher in Kansas. After moving to Washington, she worked for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Health, Education, and Labor Committee. She was then chosen by an emerging coalition of national education groups, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), to lead its effort in making the case for the federal role in education. Over the next 10 years, the CEF became a powerful voice for the education of children. During the Clinton administration, Frost served as a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. In 2001, she started the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national policy and advocacy organization that makes the case for ensuring that every child graduates from high school and is prepared for college and work. Most recently, she joined The Sheridan Group, a progressive policy consulting firm in Washington. Frost will be speaking in Chicago.
Peter C. Gorman has more than two decades of experience in education. He has been the superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina since July 2006. Gorman, a native of Dearborn, Mich., began his education career in Orlando, Fla., in 1987. He worked as a teacher, principal, and administrator in Florida’s Orange and Seminole counties before being named superintendent of schools in Tustin, Calif., in 2001. Gorman is active in the Charlotte community, serving on the boards of several agencies and organizations. He is also a member of several national advisory boards for public education. Gorman, a native of Michigan, will be speaking in Chicago.
Terry B. Grier became the Houston Independent School District’s superintendent of schools in September 2009. He is especially well-regarded for his work in reducing high-school dropout rates with innovative programs for at-risk students. Among them are special schools that boast classes of no more than 15 students and evening schools for working students. Also, he has redesigned the district’s process for selecting teachers and principals, and reorganized the district’s senior staff and organizational structure for maximum efficiency and effectiveness in supporting schools with services and resources. Grier will be speaking in New York.
Kaya Henderson was named chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools on March 9, 2011. She came to DCPS as deputy chancellor in 2007, and she led the district’s human-capital efforts and served as chief negotiator for the groundbreaking 2010 contract between the school system and the Washington Teachers’ Union. Henderson’s team also led the development of IMPACT, a new and innovative teacher-assessment system designed to ensure that an effective teacher is leading every classroom. Prior to joining the school district, she worked with the New Teacher Project, where she eventually became the vice president for strategic partnerships, overseeing the organization’s work on improving teacher hiring for districts from a process, policy, and capacity-building perspective. Henderson will be speaking in Chicago.
Terry Holliday was selected as Kentucky’s fifth commissioner of education in July 2009. He served as the superintendent of North Carolina’s Iredell-Statesville district, which enrolls more than 20,000 students, from 2002 until 2009. Under his leadership, the district received the 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which was created by an act of Congress in 1987 to recognize companies, organizations, and other entities that have shown long-term improvement in quality and productivity. Holliday has received recognition in a variety of areas, including being named the 2009 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year; receiving the 2009 Grayson Medal for Innovation in Quality from the American Productivity Quality Council; and being selected as the 2008 North Carolina Music Educators Association Superintendent of the Year. Holliday will be speaking in Chicago.
Michael B. Horn is the co-founder and Executive Director, Education of Innosight Institute, a not-for-profit think tank devoted to applying the theories of disruptive innovation to problems in the social sector. He is the coauthor of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (McGraw-Hill: June 2008) with Harvard Business School Professor and bestselling author Clayton M. Christensen and Curtis W. Johnson, president of the Citistates Group. Horn has been a featured keynote speaker at many conferences including the Virtual School Symposium and Microsoft’s School of the Future World Summit. Tech&Learning magazine also named him to its list of the 100 most important people in the creation and advancement of the use of technology in education. Horn will be speaking in New York.
Carol R. Johnson has been superintendent of the 56,000-student Boston Public Schools since August 2007. Under her leadership, the district has focused on closing achievement and access gaps as well as graduating all students prepared for college and career success. Boston currently has its lowest dropout rate in over two decades, and BPS students most recently outperformed their urban peers in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Johnson serves on the board of directors of the Council of the Great City Schools, the Spencer Foundation board, and the Harvard University Urban Superintendents’ Advisory Board, and she has served on the College Board. Johnson will be speaking in New York.
Ken Kay is the chief executive officer of EdLeader21, a professional learning community for education leaders, and also serves as CEO of the e-Luminate Group, an education consulting firm. He has been the nation’s leading voice for 21st-century education for the past decade. He served as co-founder and president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills from 2002 to 2010. Also, as executive director of the CEO Forum on Education and Technology, he led the development of the STaR Chart (School Technology & Readiness Guide), used by schools across the country to make better use of technology in K-12 classrooms. Kay has co-edited the book New Directions for Youth Development: The Case for Twenty-First Century Learning and has written the foreword to the book 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn. Kay will be speaking in New York and Chicago.
Pamela Livingston has spent 17 years directing educational technology programs and helping teachers integrate technology at public, private, and charter schools, and is the product manager of OnDemand Professional Development for Tutor.com. The author of the bestseller 1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs That Work, she wrote the book by spending over a year interviewing laptop-program leaders around the United States, synthesizing research and studies on 1-to-1 computing and documenting her experience running a laptop program. A frequent presenter and keynoter at national and international venues such as the International Society for Technology in Education, Lausanne Collegiate’s Laptop Institute, South Dakota’s Laptop Conference, and Penn State’s One-to-One Conference, Livingston is an adjunct professor at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and the University of Massachusetts Boston. Livingston will be speaking in Chicago.
Lydia M. Logan is the senior director of policy for The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, an entrepreneurial philanthropy that invests in the bold and innovative transformation of K-12 public education in America. As senior director, Logan leads The Broad Foundation’s work on national and federal education policy priorities, including reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, federal education appropriations, effective human-capital policy, school choice, mayoral control, and expanded learning time. Logan joined the foundation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she served as the national program manager for the Business Education Network and later as vice president and executive director of the Institute for a Competitive Workforce. In those roles, Logan was responsible for education and workforce programs, policies, and reports promoted by the U.S. Chamber, in areas such as improving the quality of K-12 education in America; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); improvement and expansion of charter schools; and early-childhood education. Prior to joining the U.S. Chamber, Logan served as vice president of programs for the Kimsey Foundation, where she managed a $10 million education grant portfolio. Logan will be speaking in Chicago.
Deborah Meier has spent more than four decades working in public education as a teacher, writer, and public advocate. She is a leading voice in national education policy discussions and co-writes, with Diane Ravitch, the Education Week blog Bridging Differences. The schools she has helped create over the years serve predominantly low-income African-American and Latino students and include a typical range of students in terms of academic skills, special needs, and other factors. Meier is currently a senior scholar at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education; a board member and director of new ventures at Mission Hill, a public school she founded in Boston; a director and adviser for the Forum for Democracy and Education; and a board member of the Coalition of Essential Schools. She was a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1987. Meier will be speaking in New York.
Bailey Mitchell has worked for the past 13 years as the chief technology and information officer for Georgia’s Forsyth County Schools, an Atlanta-area district that has garnered national attention as a leader in educational technology. He is responsible for the district’s educational and administrative technology enterprise, with a focus on personalized learning, collaborative classrooms, mobile computing, parent communication, and teacher support. He previously served as the director of instructional technology for the Georgia Department of Education. Mitchell will be speaking in Chicago.
Susan Patrick is the president and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, or iNACOL, the professional association for advocacy and research in K-12 online learning, which publishes national quality standards and best practices. Patrick previously served as the director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education and published the National Education Technology Plan in 2005. In 2008, eSchool News named Patrick one of the top 10 national education leaders who “have had a profound impact on educational technology” in the past decade, for her work at iNACOL and at the U.S. Department of Education. Patrick will be speaking in New York.
Diane Ravitch is a historian of education and the author of the best-selling The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. She is a research professor of education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She was the assistant U.S. secretary of education for research from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, and President Bill Clinton named her to the National Assessment Governing Board, where she served from 1997 to 2004. She has published 10 books and edited 14. She co-writes, with Deborah Meier, the Education Week blog Bridging Differences. Ravitch will be speaking in New York.
Pasi Sahlberg is the director general of the Center for International Mobility and Cooperation (CIMO) at the Ministry of Education of Finland. He is an educator, researcher, and school improvement activist who has experience in advancing educational reforms, training teachers and leaders, coaching schools to change, and advising education policymakers around the world. He has worked in schools, universities, state-level administration, and in international-development organizations, including the World Bank in Washington. His main areas of interest are educational change, school improvement, cooperative learning, and global education policies. He is currently working with policymakers and researchers in the United States and Canada on system-level education development. Sahlberg will be speaking in New York.
Eric Schwarz is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen Schools, a leading education nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low-income children. He served on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Task Force on 21st Century Skills, the Center for American Progress’ working group on expanded learning time, the transition team of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, and New Profit Inc.’s Social Entrepreneur Advisory Board. He is the author of Realizing the American Dream: Historical Scorecard, Current Challenges, Future Opportunities, and the co-editor of The Case for Twenty-First Century Learning. Schwarz wrote a chapter, “Calling All Citizens,” in the recently published best-selling book “Waiting for Superman: How We Can Save America’s Failing Public Schools.” Previously, Schwarz served as a Public Service Fellow at Harvard University and vice president at City Year. Schwarz will be speaking in New York.
Jim Shelton was appointed assistant deputy secretary to run the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education in April of 2009. Previously, Shelton was a program director for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversaw education programs, including next-generation models, school replication, college access and scholarships, and numerous state and district partnerships. Jim began his career developing computer systems; and later became a senior consultant to CEOs and other for-profit and nonprofit leaders while working for McKinsey & Company. He transitioned into education full-time as a private equity investor, which led him to co-found and lead a company with the mission of opening and running high-quality schools in high-need communities. After selling the company, Shelton worked with Joel Klein, chancellor of New York City Schools, leading the planning for his reform strategy, Children First, then followed by launching the East Coast office of the NewSchools Venture Fund, a nonprofit venture fund focused on education. Shelton will be speaking in New York.
Regis Shields leads the human-capital practice area at Education Resource Strategies (ERS), a nonprofit organization based in Watertown, Mass., that is dedicated to helping urban school systems organize talent, time, and money to create great schools at scale. She has led work in many districts, including Boston, Philadelphia, Prince George’s County, Md., and Rochester, N.Y., helping them examine current resource use and reallocate resources to support district priorities, including extensive work analyzing the impact of union contracts as well as support for low-performing schools. Shields has worked closely with Rochester over the past few years to help implement a weighted student funding system that supports the district’s academic goals. She also directed ERS’ in-depth study of small high schools, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, examining how high-performing small high schools allocate their people, time, and money. Before joining ERS, Shields served as the director of high school reform in the Providence, R.I., district and was responsible for design and implementation of a strategic framework to transform Providence high schools into small, personalized learning communities. Shields also served as special assistant to the superintendent of the Providence schools, leading strategic planning, redesigning systems and procedures, and developing policy. Shields will be speaking in Chicago.
Christopher Steinhauser has served as the superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District in California since 2002. As a 29-year veteran educator in Long Beach’s diverse school system, Steinhauser has gained a national reputation for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps. His district has earned the national Broad Prize for Urban Education and has qualified as a finalist for the award five times. In 2009, high school graduates in the Long Beach district earned a record $40 million in college scholarships—double what they won in 2007. Steinhauser will be speaking in New York.
Randi Weingarten is the president of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school-related personnel; higher-education faculty and staff; nurses and other health-care professionals; local, state, and federal employees; and early-childhood educators. She was elected in July 2008, following 11 years as an AFT vice president, and also served for 10 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, the AFT local in New York City. Weingarten has launched major efforts to place education reform and innovation high on the nation’s agenda. In September 2008, she led the development of the AFT Innovation Fund, an initiative to support sustainable, innovative, and collaborative reform projects conceived by members and their local unions to strengthen public schools. Weingarten will be speaking in Chicago.
Todd Yohey is the superintendent of Ohio’s Oak Hills Local School District in suburban Cincinnati. Under his leadership, the district recently launched an initiative that allows students to use their own mobile devices as educational tools in the classroom. The district also provides mobile devices to some students for learning purposes. Yohey has 23 years of experience in Ohio public schools and served as an adjunct professor at Wright State University. Yohey will be speaking in Chicago.
*We are continually adding speakers. Check back for updates.