Keynote and featured speakers for the 2004 Connections conference

Gene Bottoms
March 24, 2004
  • Opening Keynote Speaker - Megacenter - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - High Schools That Work
  • Zanie's Comedy Club - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Getting More Students to Meet Standards: Research-based Practices That Work.

Dr. Gene Bottoms has served as Director of the Southern Regional Education Board's High Schools That Work initiative since 1987. High Schools That Work is the largest effort in America to improve high schools for career-bound students. The program involves over 1,100 high schools in 30 states. Numerous other states and school districts throughout the nation are adopting the HSTW goals and key practices as a way to improve high school for all youth, especially career-bound youth.

In July 1997, Gene was promoted to Senior Vice President of the Southern Regional Education Board, reflecting his role in and SREBs interest in and commitment to the High Schools That Work initiative.

Gene has been a local schoolteacher, principal and guidance counselor. He is a native of Georgia and a product of its public school system.

Tim Gard
March 25, 2004
  • Closing Keynote Speaker - St. Charles Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Developing a Comic Vision
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 p.m. - LeadershipThe Tao of Humor

Finding humor in the workplace, Tim Gard is a humor philosopher and an authority on stress reduction. He is also the kind of guy everyone can relate to. Over three decades of realworld work and his own unique, personal experiences enable him to share his comedic gifts like no other. When his government coworkers and friends began to suffer from laughter-induced hernias, Tim realized his purpose extended beyond the small circle he was affecting. Now Tim speaks to over 100 organizations each year from Sioux City to Singapore and thousands have experienced his Comic Visions message. Every fast-paced, interactive Comic Visions program has them rolling in the aisles while the audience learns strategies for finding their own comic vision. Tims use of toys and props make him one of the most popular and original humorists on the platform. While generously sprinkling in the fun, Tim artfully slips in the serious side of laughter. Audiences leave feeling good, while being reminded that laughter is good for you and the organization.

Kevin Burr
March 25, 2004
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Reforming a Comprehensive High School By Raising Expectations
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Reforming a Comprehensive High School By Raising Expectations

Kevin Burr travels throughout the United States assisting teachers and administrators in how to improve student achievement in their schools through comprehensive school reform. Coming from a background that includes 23 years as an English teacher and high school principal, Kevin entered the world of full-time consulting earlier this year when he joined High Schools That Work and SREB; the nations leading school reform model. Kevin has a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from Fort Hays State University (Hays, Kansas) and is currently a fulltime consultant with the CSR project with HSTW and SREB. During his tenure at Garden City High School, the school was named a BEST school by the Foundation for Excellent Schools one of twelve schools nationally to receive the recognition (2500 applicants) in 1998. Kevin was named the Kansas Association Secondary School Regional Principal of the Year in 1994. He was awarded the 1999 Milken National Educator Award. In 2000 he received the Kansas Principal of the Year and was a national finalist. Kevin believes that all children can and will meet whatever expectations we (as educators) have for them. Why not create the highest and expect everyone to meet them?

Christine Holton Cashen
March 25, 2004
  • Zanie's Comedy Club - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Get What You Want With What You've Got!
  • Zanie's Comedy Club - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Why Brainstorm When You Can "Brain-el-nino?!"

Christine is an award-winning and highly recognized speaker who has presented over the past 8 years to thousands of individuals coast to coast throughout the United States, Canada, South Africa and Australia. Christine holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication and a Masters Degree in Adult Education.

What makes her unique is the real factor. Drawing from her varied background as a business owner, university admissions officer, corporate trainer, credentialing agent and broadcaster, she combines a down-to-earth attitude with a colorful artistic streak. She is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and is an authority on sparking innovative ideas to handle conflict, reduce stress and energize employees. Her program will leave you totally energized with practical and creative ideas!

Dave Shepard
March 25, 2004
  • Zanie's Comedy Club - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 p.m. - Is Learning Dead? Who Is Responsible?
  • Salon II - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Dealing Parents In: A Full Deck of Ideas
  • Salon I - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Rules of Engagement - Winning The War Against Student Apathy

A native of rural North Carolina and a product of public education in four states, Dave Shepard brings experience, common sense, and practicality to any educational gathering. Having dealt with middle and high school students for over thirty years, his experience includes teaching, coaching, curriculum writing, program design, and administration. Since his retirement in 1999, he has devoted his time and energy to helping schools become safer, more efficient, and more successful for all students. Dave currently manages his own educational consulting firm, The Middle Matters and More, in Lexington, Kentucky. He works actively with SREB, NMSA and is involved with the Kentucky Middle School Association; currently serving as its Vice President. Since the passage of the Kentucky Educational Reform Act in 1990, Dave has also worked with the Kentucky Department of Education, the University of Kentucky and over thirty Kentucky school districts to help implement this reform. Known primarily as a practitioner, he has presented at over thirtyfive state and national conferences. He has also assisted school districts in over twenty states develop and refine their educational programs by providing quality professional development and teacher in-services.

Bobbe White
March 24, 2004
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Reframe - Refocus
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Get Serious About Humor: Enhancing Your Presentation With Energy and Humor

Laughter and humor surround us daily. Bobbes insights will change your groups perception of both. You will be enlightened to the benefits of humor and laughter, to use them to communicate more effectively and include their therapeutic value in your personal and professional lives. From crisis management to team building, personal wellness to stress management, Bobbe will empower your group to a new level of confidence. Bobbes work history reflects 25 years of stability and a proven performance record of corporate training/business development with State Street Bank, the Better Bank Group and Arnold Palmers Bay Hill Club. During this time, she has served as an officer and director on boards directing elementary and college education, not-for-profit foundations and community organizations. Bobbe is a member of the National Speakers Association, Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, National Association of Womens Health and the World of Laughter Tour, Inc. Her message? Significant! Her energy? Contagious! Her delivery? More than entertaining! Interested? Come on inlet the laughter begin!