Keynote and featured speakers for the 2008 Connections conference

Mark Milliron
March 5, 2008
  • Opening Keynote Speaker - Megacenter - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - A New Generation of Learning
  • Theater - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - The Power of Practical Magic
  • Theater - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - The Power to Know You're Making a Difference: Embracing Insight Initiatives

Dr. Mark David Milliron is an award-winning education leader, author, speaker, and consultant known for exploring leadership development, future trends, learning strategies, and the human side of technology change. Mark works with K-12 schools, community colleges, universities, corporations, associations, community groups, and government agencies across the country and around the world. He serves as President and CEO of the private consulting and service group, Catalyze Learning International (CLI). He also sits on numerous education, nonprofit, and corporate boards, including serving as Chair of the Board for the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education and as a Trustee for Western Governors University. In addition, he is a guest lecturer at educational institutions nationally and internationally and author and moderator of the Catalytic Conversations Blog.

Mark brings to this work broad experience, having previously served as an Endowed Fellow, Senior Lecturer, and Director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin; Vice President for Education and Medical Practice with SAS, the world's largest private software company; President and CEO of the League for Innovation, an international association of more than 850 education institutions and 160 corporate partners; and as Vice President for Academic and Student Services at Mayland Community College (NC).

While teaching at Arizona State, Mark received the International Communication Associations Teaching Excellence Award. More recently, the University of Texas at Austins College of Education honored Mark as a Distinguished Graduate for his service to the education field. He was also named one of the top Shapers of the Future by Converge Magazine in August 2000. In 2005, PBS Adult Learning Service named Mark the recipient of its annual O'Banion Prize for transformational work in support of teaching and learning. And in 2007, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) presented Mark with its National Leadership Award for his outstanding accomplishments, contributions, and leadership.

Regardless of all of these activities and accomplishments, he will quickly tell you that the most important job and the greatest blessing in his life is serving as Julias husband, and as father to Alexandra, Richard and Marcus.

Craig Zablocki
March 6, 2008
  • Closing Keynote Speaker - St. Charles Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Lighten Up and Laugh For the Health of It
  • Theater - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Communication: Talk, Laugh - Communications Skills for the Workplace
  • Theater - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Teaching Techniques: Humor in the Classroom - Humor Techniques for Immediate Use

Craigs success in using humor and a lighter approach has encouraged and inspired thousands!

A nationally known speaker and consultant, Craig has spoken to over 600,000 people internationally and in all 50 states. Craig has shared the platform with President George Bush, Al Gore, and Tom Peters. He was the first outside speaker to address the student body of Columbine High School after its tragedy.

Craig presents to Fortune 500 companies, legislators, public service and healthcare professionals, college campuses, non-profit service organizations, and victim rights groups. He has authored Improv 101, Unleash Your Creative Spirit and co-authored the book, Humor Me as well as authored many articles for major publications. He has appeared on countless radio and television programs, including Nation Public Radio which gives practical tools to loosen up, become more creative, and live in the moment.

A background in business, teaching in an inner-city school, and performing in a professional improvisational comedy troupe allows Craig to speak from a unique perspective. His unscripted style has been compared to a hybrid of Robin Williams and Wayne Dyer. One participant wrote, We should harness his energy - it could power a small city. His passion and commitment to making a difference is contagious!

Craig's Website:

William Ducett
March 5, 2008
  • Theater - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Improving Literacy Skills in High Needs Schools
  • Theater - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Improving Literacy Skills in High Needs Schools

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.

Lea Ann Fairall
March 6, 2008
  • Preservation Hall A - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Connecting with Students to Increase Motivation
  • Preservation Hall A - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Connecting with Students to Increase Motivation

Once described as the heart and soul within the team of teachers for a school-within-a school program, Lea Ann Fairall knows what it takes to overcome personal obstacles which plague our students in todays world. Utilizing her life challenges and personal experiences, she motivates students by connecting with them on a one-to-one level. Lea Anns techniques have inspired students in high school and college to push beyond self defeating behaviors and pursue their dreams. As an educator for 13 years, Lea Ann is keenly aware of the challenges teachers face on a daily basis and what it takes within the classroom environment to engage students in ways which enhance performance and retention.

Lea Ann Fairall is an award-winning educator, speaker, consultant and professional trainer known for leadership/teambuilding training, career development, workforce initiatives and preparation, school-to-work vocational programs, and employing Generation Y. She is an alumnus of Illinois State University and has her masters degree in educational counseling and has worked predominately with at-risk students as a teacher, coordinator of programs, and counselor. Currently, Lea Ann lives in Pennsylvania and is a faculty member in the Business Administration Department at Pittsburgh Technical Institute. She is on the Board of Directors for Women in Film and Media in Pittsburgh and is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.

Lea Ann is available to custom-design and deliver dynamic training programs. Her professional development for industry, employers, and educators in-service days are sure to increase motivation, performance, and effectiveness in achieving organizational and educational goals.

Susan Goodale
March 5, 2008
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Teaching in Their Right Mind
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Anhedonia: Thrilled to Death and Bored in the Classroom
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Reaching and Teaching the Puzzling Adolescent Brain
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - I Know My Subject, and I Don't Wanna Integrate!

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.

Dave Shepard
March 5, 2008
  • Broadway A - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Rules of Engagement - Winning the War Against Student Apathy
  • Broadway A - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - The 4th "R" - Relationships With Students
  • Broadway A - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Why Small Learning Communities (SLCs)?
  • Salon IV - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Effective Action Planning to Change School Cultures (Principals Roundtable)
  • Salon IV - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Best Practices for Instruction in a Nutshell (Teachers Roundtable)

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.

Sherrie Sweat
March 6, 2008
  • Broadway A - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Connecting High School Freshmen to Their Future
  • Broadway A - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Connecting High School Freshmen to Their Future

Sherrie Sweat has been a secondary Family and Consumer Sciences teacher for twenty-eight years. Although she has enjoyed teaching the FACS curriculum for many years, her greatest passion is teaching freshmen students. After realizing that a students high school success is dependent upon the freshman year, Sherrie wrote a transition course called PACE (Personal, Academic, and Career Excellence). The course is based on standards developed by George Washington Universitys freshman transition initiative directed by Dr. Rebecca Dedmond. This course has been adopted by the state of Tennessee as an official career technical course for the 2008-09 school year.

Kim Worley
March 6, 2008
  • Broadway A - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Connecting High School Freshmen to Their Future
  • Broadway A - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Connecting High School Freshmen to Their Future

Kim Worley is the secondary curriculum supervisor for the Dyersburg City Schools System in Dyersburg, Tennessee. In 2005, Dyersburg High School began investigating and planning better methods of reaching freshmen students. As a result, Dyersburg High School began the Academy of Excellence, a freshmen transition program which incorporates interdisciplinary teaching in a high school environment. Kim has witnessed a paradigm shift for these high school teachers and has seen a group of at-risk students become successful.

Wayne Zako
March 5, 2008
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Integrating IQ and EQ in the Classroom Connecting Both for Student Success
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Contextual and Integrated Learning Understanding How the Brain Works
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Integrating IQ and EQ in the Classroom Connecting Both for 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.