Keynote and featured speakers for the 2007 Connections conference

Willard Daggett
March 13, 2007
  • Opening Keynote Speaker - Megacenter - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Components and Characteristics of the Most Successful Schools
  • Amphitheater - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Academics and CTE at the Crossroads
  • Amphitheater - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Rigor and Relevance

Willard R. Daggett, Ed.D., President of the International Center for Leadership in Education, is recognized worldwide for his proven ability to move education systems towards more rigorous and relevant skills and knowledge for all students. He has assisted a number of states and hundreds of school districts with their school improvement initiatives, many in response to No Child Left Behind and its demanding adequate yearly progress (AYP) provisions. Dr. Daggett has also collaborated with education ministries in several countries and with the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Governors Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many other national organizations.

Before founding the international Center for Leadership in Education in 1991, Dr. Daggett was a teacher and administrator at the secondary and postsecondary levels and a director with the New York State Education Department, where he spearheaded restructuring initiatives to focus the state's education system on the skills and knowledge students need in a technological, information-based society.

Dr. Daggett is the creator of the Application Model and Rigor/Relevance Framework, a practical planning and instructional tool for determining the relevance of curriculum and assessment to real-world situations. Dr. Daggett's Rigor/Relevance Framework has become a cornerstone of many school reform efforts throughout the United States.

Dr. Daggett is the author of six books about learning and education, 12 textbooks and numerous research studies, reports, and journal articles. He also serves on a number of advisory boards, including the USA Today Education Advisory Panel.

Dr. Daggett has spoken to hundreds of thousands of educators and education stakeholders in ail 50 states. His enlightening, entertaining, and motivating messages have helped his listeners to look at education differently by challenging their assumptions about the purposes, benefits, and effectiveness of American schools. Dr. Daggett inspires his audiences both to embrace what is best about our education system and to make the changes necessary to meet the needs of all students in the 21st century.

Dr. Daggett has a special commitment to individuals with disabilities. He and his wife, Bonnie, volunteer their time and lend their support to Wildwood Programs in upstate New York. Wildwood serves the needs of people of all ages who, like their daughter Audrey, have neurological impairments/learning disabilities or autism, by enabling them to become the best that they can be.

Steve Gilliland
March 14, 2007
  • Closing Keynote Speaker - St. Charles Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Teaching With Passion
  • Amphitheater - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Dealing with Negative Attitudes in the Workplace
  • Amphitheater - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - If Leadership is a Game, These are the Rules

Since the turn of the century, Steve Gilliland is one of the most sought-after and top rated speakers in the country. Steves motto is: If you take care of people, the business will follow. Implementing this principle, he has helped people grow their business and expand their life by teaching them to rethink their work, their relationships, and themselves. Organizations throughout the world have grown more profitable by improving their #1 resource their people. Steve learned great compassion for people and commitment to a hard-work and balanced-life ethic, at the knee of this highly principled Christian mother.

A talented speaker and author, Steve Gilliland has an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture, and occupation. Steve is one of only 423 speakers in the world, among the 4,700 who belong to the International Federation of Professional Speakers, to hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional. He was also recognized by Whos Who for Speakers and Business professionals. Steve has shared the platform with such distinguished people as Dr. Warren Bennis, Governor Ann Richards, Bruce Jenner, and Bob Eubanks, as well as Jack Canfield, creator and co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Speaking the language of active business leaders, he is featured in the book Conversations on Leadership, and has also been a guest on many radio programs. His audiences and clients are of Whos Who list in American business and non-profit organizations.

Steve launched his full-time speaking career and built a million dollar corporation on the same philosophy he expounds to his audiences If you continually learn more about your company, your industry, your customer and yourself, you will always be a leader. You will be purpose-driven rather than process-driven and you will make a difference. He speaks to more than 250,000 people annually and influences the lives of millions through his seminars, books, CDs, videos and DVDs. An extensive array of these products has been utilized by small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Government agencies, churches, school districts, and non-profit organizations.

Whether he is kicking off an event, training all day, or closing a convention, Steve Gillilands entertaining and interactive style helps audiences connect and relate as he shows them how to open doors to success in their careers, their relationships, and their lives. They leave with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for who they are and for what really matters. He is not only a speaker who challenges people to change, he motivates them to do so.

Pam Bishop
March 13, 2007
  • Amphitheater - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - HSTW Key Practices= High Graduation Rates and Student Achievement

Pam Bishop is a 19-year high school educator who has a passion for working with students. She has implemented a variety of reading initiatives including a gender-based reading course. Pams reading program was featured as part of the 2005 PBS documentary Making High Schools Work.

Nicole Brock
March 13, 2007
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Session I: Algebra I Plus 3: Requiring Math Success for All Students

Nicole Brock has taught high school mathematics for the past 14 years at Corbin High School. Nicole earned her Bachelors degree and Rank I from Eastern Kentucky University in Mathematics Education. Currently, Nicole teaches AP Calculus and serves her department as the Math Coach and Team Leader. For the last four years, Nicole has shared how Corbin Highs high expectations of all stakeholders have increased student success with educators at regional and state meetings, High Schools That Work national conferences and most recently at Model Schools Conference when Corbin High was named Kentuckys first Model school. Nicole resides in Corbin with her husband, Scott, and their two children, Taylor (6) and Will (4).

Steve Broome
March 13, 2007
  • Broadway A - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Providing Access to High Quality CTE and Adding Relevance to Academic Standards
  • Broadway A - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Providing Access to High Quality CTE and Adding Relevance to Academic Standards

A 1987 graduate of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Steve Broome was awarded Bachelor of Science degrees in both history and chemistry from Millsaps College in 1992. He also was a two-year recipient of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research grant at Millsaps. While teaching chemistry and physics at Jim Hill High School in Jackson, Mississippi, Dr. Broome continued his education at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, receiving a Master of Education degree in School Administration and Supervision in 1995. In 1995, Dr. Broome accepted the position of assistant principal and later became principal of Grenada High School in Grenada, Mississippi. In 2003, he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Mississippi, Oxford, in Educational Leadership. From 2003 to 2006 he was Assistant Superintendent for High Schools, Jackson Public Schools. The JPS High School Division demonstrated remarkable progress during this time including increased graduation rate, decreased dropout rate, over a 400% increase in AP enrollment, and achieved the highest ACT scores in five years. Dr. Broome is now the Director of State Development for High Schools that Work and Making Middle Grades Work with the Southern Regional Education Board.

Karen Collins
March 13, 2007
  • Amphitheater - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - The Driving Force behind Rigor, Relevance and Relationships The Advisory Program

Karen Collins is a 26 year education veteran experienced in teaching, counseling, program implementation, and presenting. She has an all inclusive view of education due to her experience in teaching required English, teaching electives in language arts and business, and now in administration as a guidance counselor. Karen has served as a consultant on numerous education issues such as the Kentucky online Individual Learning Plan for students and several articles including Maximizing the Potential of the Individual Graduation Plan appearing in the national publication for the Council of Chief State School Officers. Because she sees the value of adult-student relationships and how they relate to student and teacher success, Karen has been a proponent and designer for advisory programs at the high school level for eight years.

William Ducett
March 13, 2007
  • Broadway C - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Practical Strategies to Increase Student Literacy and Achievement
  • Broadway C - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Practical Strategies to Increase Student Literacy and Achievement

William Ducett is an instructional assistant professor in the College of Education at Illinois State University (ISU). He currently teaches content literacy and teaching methods courses in the secondary program sequence. His education career spans 35 years. He has been an elementary and high school teacher and administrator. In 1999 he received the ISBE Those Who Excel Excellence Award as a high school assistant principal. Ducett has worked in rural public schools, the ISU laboratory schools, and alternative schools in Bloomington-Normal. He is an instructor and clinical supervisor at the ISU/Peoria Woodruff Professional Development School. He lives in Normal with his wife Diana. His daughter Colleen is an ISU student, and his son Michael is a high school English teacher in Wisconsin.

Chad Foster
March 14, 2007
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - High School 101
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Financial Literacy for Teens
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - High School 101

Chad Foster entered the business world in Louisiana at age 19, parlaying an unsuccessful attempt at professional tennis into a business surfacing tennis courts. Eventually, Chad expanded his recreational surfacing vision by converting millions of pounds of recycled tire rubber into a soft, safe playground surface. That product, SAF DEK, can be seen on thousands of McDonalds Playlands around the world. The SAF DEK surface also provides a safe play environment for millions of visitors to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

At age 33, Chad took an indefinite sabbatical and joined the team at Special Olympics International. As Tour Director, he traveled across America with a mobile museum that served as an educational and awareness tool highlighting the valuable contributions made by the Special Olympics organization.

The following year Chad set out on a two-year, cross-country fact finding trip. His travels and research convinced him that young people in America were receiving an incomplete education in that they were not being fully prepared with 21st Century skills for their inevitable entry into the world of work.

Chads concern for young people prompted him to write two best-selling books, Teenagers Preparing for the Real World and Financial Literacy for Teens. Chads books have been read by more than 750,000 students. Both books have been developed into 10-day project based curricula used in 4,000 middle school and high school classrooms nationwide.

Chads latest release is High School 101. Co-authored by Dr. Mike Hall, High School 101 is an innovative strategy that focuses on preparing students for the transition from middle school to high school. This comprehensive 10-unit resource addresses a multitude of 21st Century skills that young people will need to succeed in the classroom as well as the workplace.

Chad is one of Americas most sought-after speakers on the subject of motivating students and preparing them to succeed in the real world. His keynote and workshop audiences have included more than 500,000 students and educators. Chad also serves on the advisory board of the Heart of America Foundation, a national organization created to encourage Americas youth to participate in community service. This entrepreneur, best-selling author and nationally-acclaimed speaker also hosted, for eight years, his own television show, Fly Fishing America, seen on ESPN.

For more information on Chad Foster and his dynamic educational resources for students and educators, go to

Susan Goodale
March 13, 2007
  • Preservation Hall A - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Follow the Yellow Brick Road: Building Successful K-12 Career Pathways
  • Preservation Hall A - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - The NEW Social/Emotional Intelligence: Roadmap for Success!
  • Preservation Hall A - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Teaching HOT! Higher Order Thinking in the Classroom

Susan Goodale is more than a dynamic and inspiring trainer. She is a writer, teacher, workshop leader, administrator, counselor, and consultant with nearly thirty years' experience in education. She has masters degrees in both counseling and administration, is a national speaker, and has led school reform as project director of a model Tech Prep high school in Illinois. Susan has taught graduate courses on change, worked with Iowa's Vision 2020 project, and provided personal/professional development training to educators across the nation. She is a Midwest leader in Tech Prep and School-to-Work, and is highly rated at state, regional and national conferences. She takes a proactive attitude and can custom design staff-development workshops on an array of topics. Susan's work offers participants hands-on interaction, high energy, and a blend of quality content with the humor and inspiration to reach both the head and heart of an audience.

Gregory Michie
March 14, 2007
  • Preservation Hall A - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - The Trouble with Ruby Payne: Why "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" Misses the Mark
  • Preservation Hall A - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - The Trouble with Ruby Payne: Why "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" Misses the Mark

Gregory Michie is an assistant professor in the College of Education at Illinois State University (ISU). He taught for nine years in Chicago public schools, where he developed a media literacy course for middle school students and an award-winning student video-production program. In 1996 he received the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. For the past six years he has worked as a teacher educator, preparing undergraduates and career-changers for work in urban classrooms. He has published numerous essays and articles about his work with children, and is the author of a book about his teaching experiences, Holler If You Hear Me: The Education of a Teacher and his Students (Teachers College Press, 1999), and the editor of a chapbook of oral histories, Reflections: Young Men in Back of the Yards Look at Their Lives (Santa Cruz Press, 2001). His latest book, See You When We Get There: Teaching for Change in Urban Schools (Teachers College Press, 2005), received the 2006 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Associations Narrative and Research SIG. Currently, Michie is ISUs faculty liaison to a new Professional Development School in the Little Village neighborhood on Chicagos south side.

Ruben Perez
March 13, 2007
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - A Framework for Understanding Poverty
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Boys in Crisis
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - A Framework for Understanding Poverty

Ruben Perez of Houston, Texas has been in education since 1988. He taught general education and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in K - 8. Ruben is currently an administrator with Cypress-Fairbanks I.S.D. He is a student advocate in the Department of Academic Achievement. The department focuses on district wide dropout intervention programs. The interventions vary from mentoring, peer & college tutoring, staff development, and after school dance organizations. He is also a director at one of the district's off-campus tutoring sites located in a Section Eight apartment complex. He started using the strategies recommended by aha! Process in 1996 and became passionate about the information and its effectiveness. Ruben is co-author of the article "Bullying Among Ninth Grade Hispanic Students" (2005). In 1998 he was awarded Wal-Mart's teacher of the year. He is the recipient of a State Proclamation, an honorary life time Parent Teacher Association (PTA) member, awarded spotlight teacher 2001-2002 and received the Outstanding Young American award. He was also a board member for Urban Harvest; a non-profit organization that supports school and community gardens. His motto is, "To be educated is to be liberated".

Olive Poliks
March 14, 2007
  • Amphitheater - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Hope-Sowers: Our Identity as Educators

Olive challenges and empowers her audience to share a laugh-filled journey of learning to manage stress and conflict, while sowing seeds of hope. Dr. Olive Poliks is director of The Olive Branch of Stress Management and Conflict Mediation. She is a Teacher, Staff Developer, Author, Conflict Mediator, Prevention Specialist, Yoga Teacher, Masseuse, and Stress-Magnet. She has spent a life time dealing with stress management and conflict mediation, both personally and professionally. Author of three books and many articles on the topic of stress, she has received many awards and grants for her work in counseling and prevention, Olives special concern is helping individuals and teams deal with stress, both individually and collectively. Olive travels the country sharing her wealth of skills, talents and abilities with audiences in all sectors- including education, health care, business, human services, and faith communities. Her presentations are sprinkled heavily with light humor and lightly with heavy issues of assertive communication, boundary setting, and self-care. Olive Poliks has a Doctorate in Education and is adjunct faculty at Aurora University.