Keynote and featured speakers for the 2001 Connections conference

Patrick Grady
June 12, 2001
  • Opening Keynote Speaker - Ballroom - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - All Stressed Up and No Place to Go
  • Plaza F - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Bored of Education
  • Plaza F - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Bored of Education

Every choice counts. Making strategic decisions that create positive actions is the message of Patrick Grady. Patrick grabs attention with an energetic and challenging presentation that delivers hard-hitting content while captivating students, educators and staff. With a refreshing and engaging approach to humor, Patrick has inspired and motivated audiences across America with his fast-paced and light-hearted messages. His spirited enthusiastic delivery, humor and insights inspire and communicate the qualities necessary to be our best. Patrick will revive memories of your childhood! Through the use of humor and his true-to-life stories, he will provide solutions and keys for improving both your personal and professional lives. His southern style is humorous - yet compelling and meaningful.

Craig Zablocki
June 13, 2001
  • Closing Keynote Speaker - Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Humor in the Classroom
  • Plaza F - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - We is Greater Than I Plus You
  • Plaza F - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - We is Greater Than I Plus You

Craig's background as a businessperson, a teacher in an inner-city school, and a performer in a professional improvisational comedy troupe gives him a unique perspective: he understands the tough realities of living a balanced life, yet believes in the importance of lightening up and laughing. His gift is teaching people exactly that - to live every day with positive humor. His web site,, contains tips on how to keep laughter in your life. Craig began displaying his outrageous sense of humor to others at birth. In recent years, he has been sharing with others how to bring more humor into everyday livingand why it's essential. His program participants - teachers, students, healthcare workers, business executives, victim's rights groups and more have learned to let laughter do its magic in their lives. Craig's program has reached people in such organizations as IBM, Oracle, Lucent Technologies, US West, and the National Principals Association. In addition, he has been the featured keynote presenter for dozens of national association conferences.

Mary Byers
June 12, 2001
  • Plaza F - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Cultivating Creativity
  • Plaza F - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Cultivating Creativity

Mary Byers is a member of the National Speakers Association and has been speaking professionally for over a decade. She specializes in presenting practical and purposeful information designed to help people live and work more fully. Mary has a degree in telecommunications from Indiana University and has been an advertising manager, a senior level association executive and an entrepreneur. She utilized her own creativity in all of these positions and has been teaching others how to be more creative since the late 80's. Mary will challenge you to think; to think differently; and to think upside down and backwards as she focuses on what it takes to be creative - and how full life is when you unleash your own creative powers.

Diane Hodges
June 12, 2001
  • Plaza I - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Looking Forward to Monday Morning
  • Plaza H - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Looking Forward to Monday Morning
  • Plaza H - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - The Portfolio: Your Passport to HIRE Education

After thirty years as an educator, Diane is sharing her passion for speaking with groups throughout the world. She has served as a human resources director, university and community college instructor, central office administrator, secondary school principal, and as an elementary and middle school counselor. She retired from the position of Executive Director of the School-to-Career program in Austin, Texas. Diane earned her doctorate from Michigan State University and her specialist and masters degrees from Western Michigan University.

Wayne Zako
June 13, 2001
  • Plaza G - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Teaching Thinking Skills A Necessary Skill
  • Plaza G - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Proactive Leadership: A Workshop for Administrators, Team Leaders, and Department Chairs
  • Plaza G - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Teaching Thinking Skills A Necessary Skill
  • Plaza G - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Involving Parents: Important Key to Student Success
  • Plaza G - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Involving Parents: An Important Key to Student Success

Wayne Zako travels throughout the U.S. and Canada training teachers and administrators in how to make the classroom experience more rewarding for the students and teachers alike. Wayne provides extensive training in how people learn and what teachers can do to create a more natural learning environment. Wayne has his Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from South Dakota State University. Wayne is a member of the part-time staff at Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City, South Dakota and is President of Human Options, an educational consulting company committed to individual success. Human Options is built on the premise that Everyone deserves to be successful at school, work, and in relationships. Miracles happen when people feel successful and worthy.