Project

Keynote and featured speakers for the 2009 Connections conference


Raymond J. McNulty
March 25, 2009
  • Opening Keynote Speaker - Ballroom - 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - Promising to Proven: Lessons Learned
  • Plaza I - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Everyone's Got the Message That We Need to Change, So Now What?
  • Plaza I - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Everyone's Got the Message That We Need to Change, So Now What?

Raymond J. McNulty is Senior Vice President of the International Center for Leadership in Education. Prior to coming to the International Center, he was a Senior Fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he worked with leading educators from around the country to reinvent our nation's high schools. Ray also is a Past President of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

An educator since 1973, Ray has been a teacher, vice principal, principal, and superintendent. From 2001-03, he served as Vermont 's education commissioner. During his tenure, McNulty focused on aligning the Department of Education's work on three key issues: early education, educator quality, and secondary school reform.

Ray has presented on the state, national, and international levels concerning the need for school systems to accept the challenges that lie ahead. He is committed to raising the performance standards for both teachers and students and building solid connections between school and communities. Ray believes strongly that educational systems cannot wait for children and challenges to arrive at school; rather, schools need to reach out and help forge solutions.

Jason Dorsey
March 26, 2009
  • Closing Keynote Speaker - Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - How an Educator Saved My Life
  • Plaza I - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Better Schools on a Budget
  • Plaza I - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Inspiring Hard-To-Reach Students

Jason Ryan Dorsey knows the difference educators can make, because an educator changed his life forever. Growing up in a rural community, Jason faced seemingly few opportunities and abundant challenges. At a critical time, a teacher inspired Jason to leave his "troublemaker" friends behind and start college early. Jason went on to write his first bestselling book, Graduate to Your Perfect Job, at age 18. This book became a supplementary course in over 1,650 schools and colleges.

Now 30, Jason has spoken on-site at over 700 schools and colleges across the United States and as far away as Finland and India. Exposure to so many different schools prompted Jason to write his acclaimed book, 50 Ways to Improve Schools for Under $50. In recognition of his achievements, Jason won the Austin Under 40 Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Education at age 25. He has been featured as a Generation Y expert on 60 Minutes, 20/20, NBC's Today Show, ABC's The View, and in Fortune Magazine. His newest book is titled My Reality Check Bounced!

Steve Barkley
March 25, 2009
  • Plaza H - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Tapping Student Effort and Increasing Student Achievement
  • Plaza H - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Tapping Student Effort and Increasing Student Achievement

Steve Barkley, Executive Vice-President of Performance Learning Systems, Inc., began his career in education 30 years ago as an elementary school teacher. For the past 20 years he has served as a consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education and colleges throughout the United States and Canada. He has designed and conducted short and long term inservice training for teachers and administrators of all levels. He has extensive experience guiding districts through the process of school restructuring and site based management, as well as working with both teachers and students to develop School-to-Work programs. He has been a keynote speaker and presenter at National Staff Development Council Conferences, the High Schools that Work Summer Conferences, and has also presented for the European Council of International Schools, the Mediterranean Association of International Schools, Aruba Institute of Pedagogy and Enka Schools of Istanbul, Turkey. Recently, Steve has been concentrating on working with several districts in leadership training, coaching skills, and teacher growth. With the publication of his recent books Quality Teaching in a Culture of Coaching and WOW: Adding Pizzazz to Teaching and Learning, Steve stands out as an authority on developing and sustaining quality school mentoring and coaching programs. His newest book, Tapping Student Effort: Increasing Student Achievement, further captures Steve's energy as he shares the formula for creating exciting and useful classroom practices where students exert effort to learn.

Steve is a highly motivational and riveting speaker who is extraordinarily knowledgeable about life in the classroom. A catalyst for growth - he is a true role model who practices what he teaches.

Lois Barnes
March 25, 2009
  • Plaza C - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Step Away From the Podium! Active Engaging Learning Strategies
  • Plaza C - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Step Away From the Podium! Active Engaging Learning Strategies

Lois J. Barnes is Director, State Services for School Improvement with the Southern Regional Education Board's High Schools That Work, where she has also worked as a school improvement consultant in several school districts through the Urban Initiative of HSTW. Prior to SREB, Lois had over twenty-five years in public education as a middle and high school social studies teacher, assistant principal, director of secondary schools, and assistant superintendent for K-12 curriculum and instruction. She also worked for the Kentucky Department of Education implementing aspects of Kentucky's Education Reform Act and as an adjunct professor at The University of Kentucky. She has had articles published in educational journals and has critically read textbooks for three publishing companies. Lois was the National Endowment for the Humanities Teacher-Scholar from the state of Kentucky, and she has received numerous awards for teaching and international study, including a Fulbright-Hays fellowship. Lois has presented at national and state conferences, including national workshops for High Schools That Work.

Barbara Blackburn
March 25, 2009
  • Plaza I - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Motivating the Unmotivated
  • Plaza I - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Motivating the Unmotivated
  • Plaza I - 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. - Engaging Instructional Strategies That Increase Student Achievement

Barbara R. Blackburn has taught early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school students and has served as an educational consultant for three publishing companies. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Now an Associate Professor, she received the 2006 award for Outstanding Junior Professor at Winthrop University, where she coordinates a graduate program for teachers, teaches graduate classes, supervises student teachers, and collaborates with area schools on special projects. Dr. Blackburn is the author of seven books, including Classroom Motivation from A to Z, Classroom Instruction from A to Z, and Literacy from A to Z. Her newest book, Rigor is NOT a Four Letter Word shows teachers how they can raise the level of rigor in their classrooms and provide challenging learning experiences for their students. Eye on Education also just released The Principalship from A to Z, which she wrote with Dr. Ron Williamson of Eastern Michigan University.

Gwendolyn Bryant
March 26, 2009
  • Plaza G - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - PART 1: What is Culturally Responsive Teaching? What Does it Look Like?
  • Plaza G - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - PART 2: What is Culturally Responsive Teaching? What Does it Look Like?
  • Plaza G - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - 18 Strategies to Use When Teaching African American Students

Gwendolyn L. Bryant began her career as an educator 31 years ago. She holds a Master of Education from Kent State University. She has experience in early childhood education, elementary, middle, and adult education levels. She has taught learning disability and college students over the course of her career. Ms. Bryant facilitated and supported building leadership teams through the continuous planning process, to create site based improvement plans.

Gwendolyn is currently an adjunct professor at Ashland University and The University of Akron and a school improvement coach for Perkins Middle School in Akron, Ohio. As a coach she supports educators with implementing content standards, instructional practices, and strategies which impact instructional delivery. In addition, Ms. Bryant plans and facilitates high quality professional development in literacy, differentiated instruction, technology, and cultural responsive teaching. She has been a presenter at National Staff Development Conference, National High School That Work Conferences, Ohio's Association of Black School Educators Conference and Kent State University's Early Childhood and SOAR Conferences. Aside from being featured at state and local conferences, television spots and urban and rural professional development, she has recently been certified as an Ohio Master Teacher.

She enjoys working in urban schools. Gwendolyn's professional goal is to commit her scholarship, experience and role as an educator to be a vehicle for change in order to enhance others in becoming lifelong learners, thus making their lives better by obtaining an education with distinction.


Jason Dorsey
March 26, 2009
  • Plaza I - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Better Schools on a Budget
  • Plaza I - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Inspiring Hard-To-Reach Students

Jason Ryan Dorsey knows the difference educators can make, because an educator changed his life forever. Growing up in a rural community, Jason faced seemingly few opportunities and abundant challenges. At a critical time, a teacher inspired Jason to leave his "troublemaker" friends behind and start college early. Jason went on to write his first bestselling book, Graduate to Your Perfect Job, at age 18. This book became a supplementary course in over 1,650 schools and colleges.

Now 30, Jason has spoken on-site at over 700 schools and colleges across the United States and as far away as Finland and India. Exposure to so many different schools prompted Jason to write his acclaimed book, 50 Ways to Improve Schools for Under $50. In recognition of his achievements, Jason won the Austin Under 40 Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Education at age 25. He has been featured as a Generation Y expert on 60 Minutes, 20/20, NBC's Today Show, ABC's The View, and in Fortune Magazine. His newest book is titled My Reality Check Bounced!

Susan Goodale
March 26, 2009
  • Plaza A - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - De-Escalating "Tiers" for RTI While Escalating Student Success in EVERY Subject
  • Plaza A - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - De-Escalating "Tiers" for RTI While Escalating Student Success in EVERY Subject
  • Plaza A - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Don't Separate--Integrate! It's Good for the Brain and Awesome for Learning!

Susan Goodale is a dynamic and versatile educator and trainer with more than 30 years experience in education and human behavior. With masters degrees in both educational administration and mental health counseling, she has been a teacher of high school, community college, and university graduate students, a school administrator, feature writer, marriage and family therapist, and a business and educational consultant who presents to audiences across the nation. She is a highly requested and often featured speaker at state and national conferences and holds membership in a national speakers' bureau and the International Platform Association.

In addition, Susan is a certified school counselor and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has received state and national recognition for her work with families and young people. She is also approved to do both Administrator Academies and Counselor Academies, and is an approved Professional Development Provider for teacher recertification in the State of Illinois.

Bob Greenleaf
March 26, 2009
  • Plaza H - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Brain Based Teaching
  • Plaza H - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Memory, Recall & the Brain: Bi-modal (Verbal /Visual) Memory
  • Plaza H - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Changing Mindsets: Movies of the Mind: Developing Responsible Behaviors

Robert Greenleaf was formerly a professional development specialist at the Education Alliance at Brown University. Having taught in all grades K-12, he has 20 years experience in public education ranging from superintendent of schools to assistant superintendent of schools, elementary school principal, teaching principal, teacher, and special education assistant. He served as adjunct professor at Thomas College in Maine.

President of Greenleaf Learning, a human resource development company he founded in 1987, Bob specializes in educational strategies for understanding behaviors, building esteem and achievement, and brain-based learning. Bob is the author of 8 instructional books, the creator of two double-sided albums and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter. He is the 1991 recipient of the "Outstanding Educator Award" from the Waterville Public Schools in the state of Maine. Bob holds a doctorate in education from Vanderbilt University, a masters in educational administration from Southern Maine and a bachelor's degree from Nasson College in psychology.

A past member of the National Speakers Association and Toastmasters International, he won several area and district speech events in the 1980's.

Travis Park
March 25, 2009
  • Plaza F - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - CT Teachers Can Advance Reading Achievement and Mastery of Technical Content and Skills
  • Plaza F - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - CT Teachers Can Advance Reading Achievement and Mastery of Technical Content and Skills
  • Plaza F - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Why Do I Have to Read?: Questioning and Inferencing in the Disciplines
  • Plaza F - 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. - Why Do I Have to Read?: Questioning and Inferencing in the Disciplines

Travis Park is a professional agricultural science teacher educator. He focuses his teaching on the implementation of experiential learning in agriculture and leadership and on content area reading and literacy. Travis is an active member of the CALS Department of Education, as well as a productive contributor to the agricultural education profession.

Travis is the project director for a National Research Center for Career and Technical Education project investigating the effects of content area reading strategy instruction on students' reading comprehension and motivation to read within career and technical education. The project involves interviewing teachers and students, as well as conducting an experimental pilot-study. As an offshoot of the research, Travis has assisted career and technical education teachers with developing reading strategies for inclusion in instruction across the country.

Dave Shepard
March 25, 2009
  • Ruby - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - The Third R: Relationships with Students
  • Ruby - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - The Third R: Relationships with Students

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 ION Educational Publishers. 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 forty 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. Dave has been published in several educational journals and co-authored a book titled, Teach My Kid, I Dare You! An Educators Essential Guide to Parent Involvement.

Bert Simmons
March 25, 2009
  • Plaza G - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - High Expectations Resulting in Greater Academic Success for All Students
  • Plaza G - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - High Expectations Resulting in Greater Academic Success for All Students

Bert Simmons is motivated by the conviction that we all have an obligation to young people, our selves and our country to provide the best education in the world. He believes that with training, persistence and dedication, this goal can be reached. Bert has furthered his cause as an advocate for education through his many years as a teacher and principal, and as a consultant and owner of Simmons Associates-The Education Company.

A humorous, dynamic and motivational speaker, Bert has been featured nationwide on television and radio, and at conventions, state conferences and urban and rural school districts. His accomplishments have earned him numerous honors, including Outstanding Teacher and Teacher of the Year Designation.

In addition to working as a teacher and principal, Bert served the State of Oregon as the Assistant Executive Director and Seminar Presenter for the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators and as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Secondary Principals. Twenty-five years ago, Bert and his wife Betty Jo Simmons founded Simmons Associates-The Education Company as an educational consulting firm providing "Safe Schools" training and consulting.

Mr. Simmons has presented his "Comprehensive Safe Schools Program" in schools throughout this country in various formats including motivational speeches, on-site consulting and workshops for teachers, administrators, mentors, paraprofessionals and resource personnel.


Helen Soule'
March 25, 2009
  • Plaza G - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - An Introduction to 21st Century Skills
  • Plaza H - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Bringing 21st Century Skills to all Illinois' Students

Dr. Helen Soule' is a Senior Consultant with State Leadership Initiatives, Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Dr. Soule is a long-time educator and consultant with extensive experience in education technology.

Previously, Dr. Helen Soule' served as the Executive Director of Cable in the Classroom, the cable telecommunication industry's education foundation. The mission of Cable in the Classroom is to foster the use of cable content and technology to expand and enhance learning for children and youth nationwide.

Dr. Soule' formerly served as both chief of staff and special assistant for technology to the assistant secretary for the Office of Post Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education. In these positions, Dr. Soule' led the development and production of the Secretary's Annual Report on Teacher Quality and served on the Executive Team that developed the National Education Technology Plan.

Dr. Soule' formerly served as director of the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Technology, which provides leadership to educators in planning, coordinating, directing and supporting Mississippi's education technology initiatives and programs.

Dr. Soule' is one of the founders and past chairman of the State Education Technology Directors Association, member and Treasurer of the International Society for Technology in Education, and is a member of the George Lucas Educational Foundation Advisory.

Dr. Soule' has been involved in the integration of educational technology since 1982, when she was a classroom teacher with the Meridian, MS school district. There, she held a variety of posts, including teacher, curriculum assistant, Director of Elementary Education, and Director of Technology.

Dr. Soule' holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Mississippi State University, M.A. in Educational Administration from Mississippi State University and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi.