Annual Conference 2018: Keynote Speakers and Panelists

Annual Conference 2018: Keynote Speakers and Panelists
Keynote Speakers

Michael Fullan
Internationally Renowned Educator and Speaker
Author of Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems  



Mandy Manning is the 2018 National Teacher of the Year. She teaches English to newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington. Manning uses experiential projects like mapmaking to help her students process trauma, celebrate their home countries and cultures, and learn about their new community. She has taught for the past 18 years, six of which have been in her current role. Manning is a National Board–certified teacher.



Kris Amundson, NASBE’s president and CEO, brings more than two decades of experience as a policymaker to NASBE. She represented the 44th District in the Virginia General Assembly from 1999 to 2009. During that time, she was a member of Virginia’s P–16 Council and the Southern Regional Education Board. Amundson—a former teacher—served for nearly a decade on the Fairfax County, Va., School Board, including two years as its chairwoman, and she was senior vice president for external affairs at Education Sector. In 2017, she was appointed by Governor McAuliffe to serve as one of Virginia’s commissioners on the Education Commission of the States.

Jeremy Anderson is president of the Education Commission of the States, where he works with all state education leaders, from governors to chief state school officers—from both political parties—to provide unbiased information, personalized support, and opportunities for collaboration. Previously, Anderson built a strong public service record working with public officials and education policy organizations around the country. He also provided strategic leadership on education policy design and implementation through projects with the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, among others.

Katy Anthes was named Colorado’s commissioner of education in 2016, becoming the state’s first female commissioner in 65 years. She has been with the Colorado Department of Education since 2011, serving as interim commissioner, chief of staff, interim associate commissioner for achievement and strategy, and executive director of educator effectiveness, where she led the department’s efforts to support and retain highly effective educators in the state. As a partner with the Third Mile Group, Anthes led and researched major education initiatives for state, district, and national organizations. She worked on school and district leader effectiveness at the Education Commission of the States.

Brooke Axiotis is president of the Iowa State Board of Education. She works at Drake Law School as the director of academic success programs and is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association. Her community activities involve participating in the Goodwill of Central Iowa board, the Urban Ag Academy board, chairing the Public Education Positions Committee for NASBE, and Links Inc.

Sandy Boyd is co-founder and CEO of Seek Common Ground. Previously, she held leadership positions at Achieve, where she was named COO in 2013. Boyd began her career as a contracts and labor and employment lawyer, started the FLECS coalition, and led the Compete America coalition. She held leadership positions at the National Association of Manufacturers, eventually serving as senior advocate before Congress and federal agencies. Boyd also served as a board member for the National Immigration Forum and a member of the National Workforce Flexibility 2010 commission.

John Carroll is a member of the Vermont State Board of Education. His particular interests are in the governance, cost, and effectiveness of public education. He formerly served in the Vermont State Senate, where he rose to chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Majority leader. As an entrepreneur, Carroll has started and managed a handful of companies. In his spare time, he mentors leaders of educational and health care initiatives serving needy and marginalized children in western Kenya.

Ruth Cross, member of the Illinois State Board of Education, began her 34-year career as a classroom teacher, also serving as building principal and assistant superintendent before retiring. Then she began work for the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as an SEL trainer and project manager for the CASEL and DuPage County Regional Office of Education partnership. In 2018, The Illinois state board approved an SEL Administrator Academy created by the partnership as one option for professional development requirements. Cross co-chaired the School Policies and Standards Committee for the Illinois Children Partnership and the DuPage Anti-Bullying Task Force Best Practices Committee. 

Charles Curtis has worked as a psychologist in the District of Columbia for the past 10 years. Currently, he serves at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, working to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline while empowering “young kings” of color in DC to be their best selves. Dr. Curtis also has a private practice of therapy and consultative services. He has worked with students who have severe emotional and behavioral difficulties and in comprehensive high school settings to create complex, multidisciplinary programs for students with the most severe behavioral difficulties.

Nell K. Duke is a professor in literacy, language, and culture and serves in the combined program in education and psychology at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in poverty, and she was named one of the most influential education scholars in the U.S. by Education Week. Duke was co-principal investigator of projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and George Lucas Educational Foundation. Among other roles, she is advisor to the Aspen Institute’s Urban Literacy Leadership Network, expert for the NBC News’ Parent Toolkit, and advisor for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Ready to Learn Initiative.

Michelle Exstrom is a program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), where she oversees work on educator effectiveness, finance, college and career readiness, assessments, accountability, school choice, and education data, and where she tracks state education legislation. Exstrom also staffs NCSL’s Education Standing Committee. Previously, Exstrom was a senior legislative assistant in the Colorado General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Legal Services.

Michael Fullan is the global leadership director of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning, a prolific author, and a worldwide authority on educational reform with a mandate of helping to achieve the moral purpose of all children learning. A former dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in education of the University of Toronto, Fullan advises policymakers and local leaders around the world to provide leadership in education. He received the Order of Canada in December 2012 and holds honorary doctorates from several universities in North America and abroad.

Jane Goff has been a member of the Colorado State Board of Education since 2008 and has served as a mentor for new members of the board. She had a 34-year career with Jefferson County (Jeffco) Public Schools as a French and Spanish teacher and director of the district’s World Languages and International Student Exchange programs. She was a legislative aide for the Colorado House of Representatives, president of the Jefferson County Education Association, and vice president of the Colorado Education Association. She also chaired NASBE’s board of directors in 2014.

Kristen Harper is director for policy development at Child Trends. She served seven years in the U.S. Department of Education, where she was a chief architect of the agency’s efforts to improve conditions for learning. Harper was senior policy advisor for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, working to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the identification, placement, and discipline of children with disabilities. Harper also worked for four years in the agency’s elementary and secondary education offices. She also provided consultation to an after-school volunteer organization in Cambridge, Maryland, and data support for a character education program for middle and high school girls in Washington, D.C.

Robert Hull, NASBE’s executive vice president, leads its work on teaching, leading, learning, and governance after a 40-year career as an elementary teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent. Previously, Hull was assistant superintendent of schools in the division of teaching and learning and associate state superintendent at the West Virginia Department of Education.

John Kelly is chair of NASBE’s Board of Directors and is a member of Mississippi’s State Board of Education, having served a two-year term as its chair. He has been Gulfport’s chief administrative officer since 2007. Kelly was regional director for community and family support with Navy Region Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida, and managed his own consulting firm, Resources Management Inc. Kelly was an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Mississippi–Gulf Park Campus, chairman of the National Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society, and president and chief volunteer officer for South Mississippi’s United Way.

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.

Mandy Manning is the 2018 National Teacher of the Year. She teaches English to newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington. Manning uses experiential projects like mapmaking to help her students process trauma, celebrate their home countries and cultures, and learn about their new community. She has taught for the past 18 years, six of which have been in her current role. Manning is a National Board–certified teacher.

Karen Hawley Miles is chief executive officer of Education Resource Strategies Inc., where she has worked with school systems nationwide to analyze and improve funding systems, resource use, and human capital and professional development systems. She has taught school leaders at Harvard University, in school districts, and for New Leaders for New Schools. She co-authored The Strategic School: Making the Most of People, Time and Money with Stephen Frank, was senior advisor to the Aspen Institute Education and Society Program, and was a commissioner on the Equity and Excellence Commission for the U.S. Department of Education.

Carissa Moffat Miller was named executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in March 2018. She previously served as deputy executive director of membership and outreach at CCSSO where she oversaw all work of the membership services, leadership academy, advocacy, communications, and data and information services departments. Moffat Miller also served as deputy superintendent at the Idaho State Department of Education and led the implementation of statewide online testing for the Idaho State Board of Education.

Susan Payne is a 27-year law enforcement veteran. She served a 17-year career with the Colorado Springs Police Department and was the first special agent dedicated to school safety within the Colorado Department of Public Safety. She has provided expertise on restoring a safe learning environment in the aftermath of trauma to schools including Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook. She also provides subject-matter expertise to agencies including the Federal Commission on School Safety, FBI, Homeland Security, and Secret Service. Payne is founder and executive director of Safe2Tell™ and director of Safe Communities ~ Safe Schools with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

Stephen Pruitt is the sixth president of the Southern Regional Education Board. Previously, he was Kentucky’s state commissioner of education and the Georgia Department of Education’s science and mathematics program manager, director of academic standards, associate state superintendent for assessment and accountability, and chief of staff. He was a board member on the Council of Chief State School Officers, president of the Council of State Science Supervisors, and member of the writing team for the College Board Standards for College Success for science. He also served on the National Academies of Science Committee on Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards that developed the Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Mireya Reith is founding executive director of Arkansas United, a nonprofit based in Springdale that empowers immigrants and their communities through rights advocacy and closing service gaps. Reith spent the first 14 years of her career in the field of international political development, working across five continents with American nonprofit organizations, Peace Corps–El Salvador, and the United Nations to engage marginalized communities in democratic processes. Reith was the first Latina appointed to the Arkansas State Board of Education and the youngest chairperson in state history. She also served on the boards of directors for NASBE, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, and the National Partnership for New Americans, among others.

Daniel Reyes-Guerra is associate professor and coordinator at Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) School Leadership Program and FAU project director for the Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative. He directs the Principal Rapid Orientation and Preparation in Educational Leadership program in Broward County; Leadership for Excellence and Equity in Palm Beach; and Educational Leadership: Internship to Excellence in St. Lucie and Martin County school districts. He was past president of the Florida Association of Professors of Educational Leadership, chair of an American Educational Researchers Association leadership group, and board member of the Journal of Research on Leadership Education.

Dina Rocheleau is assistant superintendent of curriculum & instruction for the Ferndale Public Schools in Michigan. Previously, she was principal for Roosevelt Primary School; early childhood special education consultant for Oakland Schools Intermediate School District; and assistant principal and varying exceptionality teacher with Pinellas County Schools in Florida. She has been an adjunct professor at Easter Michigan University and provided professional development for districts in support of social emotional learning, multitiered systems of support, equitable quality systems/processes, district/school improvement planning, and ensuring a positive school culture.

Terri Rowenhorst is director of member services at The NROC Project.

Jennifer Sattem is vice president for policy & research at Achieve. Sattem has worked on college- and career-ready policies at the local, state, and national levels with a focus on high school pathways, postsecondary engagement, assessment, accountability, and reporting. In her previous roles at the U.S. Department of Education and the New York State Education Department, she led the development of statewide initiatives to offer multiple pathways to graduation and implemented strategic engagement efforts with postsecondary institutions to establish new policies for supporting the alignment of college- and career-ready standards, assessments, and placement policies.

Melody Schopp is retired as South Dakota’s state secretary of education. Her term lasted from 2011–17, rendering her the longest-serving secretary of education in the history of South Dakota. Schopp also served as national president of the Council of Chief State School Officers. With 40 years of experience in public education in South Dakota, she taught for 23 years in the Lemmon school district, before working her way up the department’s organizational chart, with promotions to director of teacher certification and accountability and then to deputy secretary.

Angelika Schroeder is a former tax CPA and college professor of accounting and is a member of the Colorado State Board of Education. She served on the Boulder Valley School Board as treasurer and vice president and on the Teacher and Special Services Professional Standards Board. Schroeder also served on boards and executive committees of the Colorado Association of School Boards and the Alliance for Quality Teaching and participated in the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network. She is presently on the Teacher Quality Commission, liaison to the Colorado Association of School Boards, and Western Area director on NASBE’s Board of Directors.

Marlyn Tillman is a parent, community activist, and co-founder of the Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline (Gwinnett SToPP), a parent-led, community-centered organization focused on reversing the school-to-prison pipeline trend. She serves on the Child Trends Healthy School Environments Initiative advisory committee, Gwinnett County Public Schools GEMS Committee, and is an alumna of the Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute. She is a past recipient of the ACLU of Georgia’s Georgia Civil Liberties Award for community activism. Tillman also served on the steering committees of the national Dignity in Schools Campaign and the Gwinnett County Human Relations Commission.

Stacia Tipton is a senior analyst at Edge Research, where she has been advising clients on communications strategy for more than 15 years. Tipton has extensive knowledge of education, environment, and public health issues, and she has worked with many D.C. area communications firms. Recent research projects supported NASBE, The Wallace Foundation, Wellesley College, and the National Indian Education Association, among others.

Joanne Weiss, president of Weiss Associates, is an independent consultant to organizations on education programs, technologies, and policy. From 2009 to 2013, she served in the U.S. Department of Education, first as director of the Race to the Top program, then as chief of staff to U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan. Previously, Weiss was partner and COO at NewSchools Venture Fund. She also spent 20 years pioneering ways to increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning—first by leading curriculum development, then as CEO—for companies providing technology-based products and services to underserved students.

Rachel Wise, elected to the Nebraska State Board of Education in 2013, has been involved in education for over 30 years, beginning her career as a teacher in Tekamah, Nebraska. Wise also taught at Winnebago Public Schools, Logan View Public Schools, and Wayne State College. She has held positions in administrative and management at Martin Luther Home in York, Nebraska; Educational Service Unit #7 in Columbus, Nebraska; and Omaha Public Schools and Building Bright Futures in Omaha, Nebraska. She is NASBE’s chair-elect.

Stephanie Wood-Garnett, president of the Institute for Student Achievement, is an accomplished educator with extensive experience in leading complex P–20 education and equity reform initiatives at the local, state, and national levels. Her previous roles include vice president of Policy to Practice at the Alliance for Excellent Education; assistant commissioner of teacher and leader effectiveness for the New York State Education Department; district central office leader in the District of Columbia Public Schools and Washington State; directing two special education technical assistance centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation; and directing the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement.

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