The only organization dedicated solely to helping state boards advance equity and excellence in public education.

Annual Conference 2019: Conference Sessions

View the full conference program book here

Conference Sessions

Conference Pre-Session at the Henry Doorly Zoo 
We are delighted to give NASBE members access to one of the premier education programs in the country! During this Wednesday afternoon session, state board members will learn about the Henry Doorly Zoo’s acclaimed Zoo Academy and its unique partnership with school districts in the Omaha area to provide students with knowledge and career explorations relating to life sciences, fully aligned to state standards. State board members will walk away with key insights on policy and regulatory ideas to help establish such a program in their states. This session is not included with Annual Conference registration. There is a small fee of $35/person for the session, payable at the time of registration.

Chair’s Opening Reception at Henry Doorly Zoo 
We’re kicking off Annual Conference with an adventure in the jungle! We will welcome attendees to the conference with a reception at the Henry Doorly Zoo’s Durham Tree Tops Restaurant, which overlooks the world’s largest indoor rainforest. Guests will also be able to walk through and enjoy the Lied Jungle as part of the experience. 

State Night at the Durham Museum 
State Night is one of the most popular social events at NASBE’s Annual Conference. This year, we’re excited to bring conference attendees to one of Omaha’s most unique treasures, the Durham Museum, housed in the historic art-deco Union Station. The museum provides a relaxing and educational environment for all attendees to network, exchange ideas, and simply have fun! Conference attendee guests are welcome for an additional fee.

Opening Plenary and Keynote Address
Keynote Speaker: Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year

 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson shares how he uses a whole-child approach to help students at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, and how he provides a civic-centered education to promote his students’ social-emotional growth

Concurrent Session: Educating Incarcerated Youth
Presenters: Hailly Korman, Bellwether Education Partners; Antonio Parés, Donnell-Kay Foundation; Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year; Nina Salomon, Council of State Governments Justice Center

Who ensures that the needs of incarcerated youth are met? In most states, the lines of authority are blurred or nonexistent. Learn how state boards can boldly lead to create better systems of support in the juvenile justice system.

Concurrent Session: Amplifying Teacher Voice in Policymaking
Presenters: Jordan Koch, Hickory Hill School, Nebraska; Sydney Morris, Educators for Excellence; Maureen Nickels, Nebraska State Board of Education

Panelists examine a national survey of teachers for insight into their views on a variety of issues and examine what state boards can do to assure teachers that their voices are heard.

Thursday Afternoon Plenary
Keynote Speaker: Dan Goldhaber, CALDER, American Institutes for Research, Discussants: Angelika Schroeder, Colorado State Board of Education and Ruth Wattenberg, DC State Board of Education. 

Issue number one on state board agendas is teachers—from preparation to recruitment and retention. Top researcher Dan Goldhaber dives into the national data and policymaking opportunities that will help state boards deliver on the promise of excellence and equity for all students

Board Chairs Roundtable: A Colleague-to-Colleague Discussion 
Presenters: Brooke Axiotis, NASBE Chair-Elect; Linda Darling-Hammond, California State Board of Education; Robert Hull, NASBE President/CEO; Rachel Wise, NASBE Chair

In a rare opportunity for state board chairs and vice chairs to gather for a closed-door conversation on how state boards can leverage their collective voice to lead the national dialogue on education, Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, esteemed researcher and now a board chair herself, shares her perceptions of the national landscape and the meaningful leadership opportunities before state boards. This session is closed to the press.

Boardsmanship Sessions
Being an effective state board member requires leadership skills and knowledge in many areas. To help build these skills, participants can choose two out of four topics during this quickfire round of sessions. These sessions are closed to the press.

Student Voice: State boards increasingly recognize the importance of incorporating student voice in policymaking, and some boards choose to formalize a process for students to serve on the board or on advisory councils. (Presenter: Martha Harris, Maine State Board of Education)

Defending State Board Authority: Legislatures, governors, and others sometimes attempt to restrict a board’s authority, change its makeup, or eliminate it altogether. Presenters discuss how to effectively defend the board’s authority as the stable center of education policymaking and the citizen’s voice in education. (Presenters: Stephanie Bell, Alabama State Board of Education; Vic Lenz, Missouri State Board of Education)

Strategic Planning: State boards understand the importance of establishing a long-term vision for education in their state but may not know how best to go about it. Presenters discuss how to make sustained growth and improvement over time by committing to collaborative strategic planning. (Presenters: Olivia Holmes Oxendine, North Carolina State Board of Education; Peter Maier, Washington State Board of Education; Deanna Townsend-Smith, North Carolina State Board of Education)

Stakeholder Engagement: To be the citizens’ voice in education, state boards must actively, meaningfully engage diverse stakeholders in policymaking. Learn how your state can bring all voices to the table on important policy issues. (Presenters: Byron Ernest, Indiana State Board of Education; Jim McNiece, Kansas State Board of Education)

Friday Morning Plenary: Unlocking the Potential: Science of Learning and Education Policy
Presenters: Amy Nicholson, Turnaround for Children; Jennifer DePaoli, Learning Policy Institute

How do children learn and how can state leaders best support that learning through policy? Nicholson and DePaoli will explore the “science” behind learning and considerations for policymaking.

Assessment Innovation: Is Your State Ready? 
Presenter: Chris Minnich, NWEA

What policy and political conditions are necessary for assessment innovation and effective collaboration? Leading experts discuss what’s on the frontier for assessment, including ideas on how to create an assessment system that is integrated with classroom instruction and is valid, reliable, and relevant to teachers, parents, and students.

Put Early Learning on Your State Board’s Agenda
Presenters: Kenneth Mason, Georgia State Board of Education; Samuel Meisels, Buffett Early Childhood Institute

The NASBE Early Childhood Education Workgroup presents policy recommendations that it will release in its final report. Dr. Samuel Meisels discusses how Nebraska has engaged a spectrum of stakeholders to support better planning and policies for Nebraska’s children, including some lessons and best practices for other states, and strengthen connections between state policies and local implementation.

Transforming Civics Education in an Era of Polarized Politics
Presenters: Jay Barth, former Chair, Arkansas State Board of Education; Adam Morfeld, Nebraska Senator and executive director, Civic Nebraska; Darren Reisberg, Illinois State Board of Education; Fez Zafar, Student Member, Iowa State Board of Education

As bastions of civil dialogue and governance, state boards should not only model but also advocate for building broader, deeper civic knowledge and skills across K-12. Panelists explore the importance of state policy engagement, as well as avenues and obstacles to championing civic-ready students.

Aligning Career and Technical Education with State Workforce Needs
Presenter: Georgia Heyward, University of Wisconsin

Workforce development dominated the governors’ state of the state addresses in 2019. Experts present data on CTE programs and student outcomes and discuss how K-12 programs can align with state workforce development goals.

Friday Afternoon Plenary: A Look at the National Landscape of Education
Presenter: Valerie Calderon, Gallup

Gallup, the world’s leader in public opinion polling and stakeholder research, presents the latest data and insights on the attitudes and behaviors of U.S. students, teachers, and the general public. Tabletop discussions connect state board members with partners to investigate state intersections with the national data.

Leadership Is a Team Sport
Presenters: Jason Dean, Mississippi State Board of Education; John Kelly, Mississippi State Board of Education; Gray Tollison, Mississippi Senator; Carey Wright, Mississippi State Superintendent

Education Week’s 2018 Quality Counts report recognized Mississippi as one of the five most improved states in the nation. Mississippi’s education governance leaders discuss how they leverage collaborative methods of leadership to focus on comprehensive improvement and share how a strong vision, strategic policy initiatives, and collective leadership can make systemic improvement possible.

NASBE Night at the Movies: A Special Screening of The Peanut Butter Falcon

With remarks by Congressman Don Bacon, Nebraska

Join us for a special screening of this heartwarming new film that celebrates the friendship of three unexpectedly kindred spirits and the differences between them. After the screening, we will discuss the film and policy issues that impact those with special needs with Nebraska Loves Public Schools. We thank Armory Films, Roadside Attractions, and Lionsgate for making this screening possible. 

About the film: A modern Mark Twain style adventure story, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON tells the story of Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home to follow his dream of attending the professional wrestling school of his idol, The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). A strange turn of events pairs him on the road with Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), a kind nursing home employee charged with Zak’s return, to join them on their journey.