Legislative Conference 2020: Keynote Speakers and Panelists

Legislative Conference 2020: Keynote Speakers and Panelists

**Watch this space for the keynotes and speakers for Legislative Conference 2020. Below is a sampling of experts and officials who spoke at last year’s conference.**

Keynote Speakers

Frank T. Brogan is assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education. Previously, Brogan was chancellor of Pennsylvania’s public universities. He began his career as a fifth-grade teacher in Martin County, Florida, and served as a dean of students, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent before being elected Florida’s commissioner of education. Brogan also served as Florida’s lieutenant governor, president of Florida Atlantic University, and chancellor of Florida’s public universities.

Congresswoman Jahana Hayes was elected to represent the Fifth District of Connecticut in November 2018, making her the first African American woman to represent the state of Connecticut in Congress. Hayes first garnered notoriety while serving as a teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, when she was selected as the Connecticut Teacher of the Year, before going on to earn the distinction of 2016 National Teacher of the Year. As NTOY, Hayes traveled the country and the world as an ambassador for public education. Congresswoman Hayes’s story is one of achievement despite the odds and of overcoming obstacles. She has been quoted as saying that “education saved her life” and is a fierce advocate for ensuring that equitable access to educational opportunities exists for all students and families.

Hadi Partovi is a tech entrepreneur and investor and CEO of the education nonprofit Code.org. He began his career during the browser wars in the 1990s, when he led the Microsoft Internet Explorer team. In a second stint at Microsoft, he was general manager of the MSN portal, delivering its first year of profit. In 2013, Partovi and his twin brother launched Code.org. Code.org has established computer science classes in 25 percent of U.S. classrooms, created the most popular curriculum platform for K-12 computer science, and launched the global Hour of Code movement, which has reached over 100 million students.


Timothy Shriver is the chairman of the board of directors for Special Olympics International. Shriver co-founded and chairs the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). He is co-chair of the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, president of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, member of the board of directors for the WPP Group, LLC, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a co-founder of Lovin’ Scoopful Ice Cream Company. He has produced four films and is the author of the New York Timesbest-selling book Fully Alive – Discovering What Matters Most.


Scott Stump is assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education at the U.S. Department of Education. He serves as principal adviser to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on high school, career, technical and adult education as well as community colleges, the workforce, and economic development. Previously, Stump was chief operating officer of Vivayic, Inc., and he was assistant provost and state director for career and technical education with the Colorado Community College System, during which he served as state Future Farmers of America advisor, agriculture program director, and interim president of Northeastern Junior College during the institution’s presidential search process. He was an officer in the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education. Stump also on the Prairie RE11-J school board and on the Colorado Association of School Boards board of directors.


Deborah S. Delisle is president and CEO of the Alliance for Excellent Education. Previously, Delisle was executive director and CEO of ASCD, a professional community of more than 120,000 education professionals. She also was U.S. assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education, senior fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education, state superintendent of public instruction in Ohio, and superintendent of the Cleveland Heights–University Heights (Ohio) City School District. In July 2014 she was identified by the National Journal as one of five women in America who influence and shape national education policy.


Jeff Eakins is superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools, one of six participating districts in the Principal Pipeline Initiative. Eakins began his career as a fifth grade teacher and principal. Previously, he directed Hillsborough’s Title I program and was the district’s deputy and then acting superintendent.



Susan M. Gates is a senior economist at RAND and is co-leading evaluation of The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, an effort to enhance the quality of school leadership in six urban districts through preservice preparation, principal standards, recruitment and selection, and early career support. Gates also co-leads evaluations of principal preparation and support programs run by New Leaders and the New York City Leadership Academy. Gates directs RAND’s Office of Research Quality Assurance and is a professor in the Pardee RAND Graduate School.  



Monica Goldson is interim CEO for Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, one of the six participating districts in the Principal Pipeline Initiative. Goldson has spent her 27-year career in the county, moving from classroom to district leadership. Previously, she was deputy superintendent of teaching and learning, leading a team that supports curriculum and instruction, special education, testing, college and career readiness, and student services.


Robert Hull is NASBE’s president and CEO. Hull came to NASBE as the inaugural director of the Center for College, Career, and Civic Readiness following a 40-year career in education reform at the school, district, and state levels. After starting his career as an elementary school teacher in West Virginia’s Putnam County School District, Hull served as a principal for eight years prior to moving to district administrative positions. He served as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and directed early childhood education, federal programs, and community outreach for the school district during his tenure there. In 2010, Hull joined the West Virginia Department of Education as assistant superintendent of schools in the division of teaching and learning. As the associate state superintendent of schools, Hull oversaw state programs on educator quality, early learning, career and technical innovation, federal programs, and policy development and deployment for Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced assessments. 

Reg Leichty, co-founder of Foresight Law + Policy, advises national education associations, state education agencies, school districts, nonprofit leaders, and companies about federal education, student data privacy, and technology law. His work includes a focus on ESEA, FERPA, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He counsels a wide range of entities about how to work effectively with Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and the FCC, and frequently speaks and writes about emerging policy and legal issues in education reform.


Pam Loeb is a principal at Edge Research, where she works with marquee brands to design studies and provide insights that drive their businesses. Loeb has managed hundreds of studies for NGOs and professional associations to improve their communications and public awareness efforts. She has co-authored and presented studies examining the attitudes, values, and behaviors of charitable donors and professional association members. Her studies have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and The NonProfit Times.


Maya Mathews, student representative on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, is a high school senior and class president at Newton North High School, and she chairs the State Student Advisory Council. Mathews has studied at a Montessori school, a private college preparatory school, and two public schools. She is a student athlete (volleyball D1 MIAA State Champion), honor student, vocational student (TV Media Arts), and has reached master level in acting. The Massachusetts Scholastic Press Association honored her recently for her news story on the Students March for our Lives.


Will Miller, a leader in business, civic revitalization, and philanthropy, became the second president of The Wallace Foundation in 2011. The former chairman of investment management firm Irwin Management Co., Miller served on the boards of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Yale University, and Public Radio International, and he played key roles in civic and educational reform efforts in Indiana. He was a founding member of the Community Education Coalition of Columbus, a partnership of school superintendents, community college leaders, business executives, and others that implemented an initiative on education and careers in advanced manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality/tourism for 10 counties in southeastern Indiana. 

Tom Nelson, president and CEO of Share Our Strength, overseeing its long-term strategy and management, including for the No Kid Hungry campaign. Previously, Nelson was COO for AARP, where he led the buildout of its state strategy and the reinvention of the AARP Foundation, which serves those at risk of falling through the nation’s safety net. Nelson has a long history of service to civic organizations, and he is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, teaching in the MBA program about nonprofit leadership and management.


Sonja Brookins Santelises, CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools, has spent close to 30 years building high-quality teaching and learning. Previously, she was chief academic officer for Baltimore City Public Schools and vice president for K-12 policy and practice at The Education Trust, a nonprofit focused on closing achievement gaps.



Deborah Temkin is senior director of education research at Child Trends, where she focuses on the intersections between education and healthy social and emotional development. Previously, she led the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts on bullying prevention. She now leads the policy analysis and development arm of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Together for Healthy and Successful Schools Initiative, an evaluation of a school climate framework in Washington, DC, funded by the National Institute of Justice, and ongoing support for the DC Office of Human Rights’ implementation of DC’s Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012.

Kate Walsh is president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, where she spearheads efforts to instill transparency and high standards among institutions that exert influence and authority over teachers. She launched the first-ever review and rankings of teacher preparation programs. Walsh worked at The Abell Foundation in Baltimore, the Baltimore City Public Schools, and the Core Knowledge Foundation. She started and ran a boarding school located in Kenya in order to educate at-risk boys from Baltimore; one of the nation’s premier STEM programs; and the first alternative certification program for teachers in Maryland. Walsh served on the Maryland State Board of Education.


Alvin Wilbanks is CEO and superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia, one of the six participating districts in the Principal Pipeline Initiative. He was the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources and continuous improvement and president of Gwinnett Technical College, which he opened as its president in 1984. Wilbanks came to Gwinnett from the Georgia Department of Education’s Industrial Development Unit. He also was a teacher and administrator in DeKalb County Schools.




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