Keynote and featured speakers for the 2012 Connections conference

David Zach
March 14, 2012
  • Opening Keynote Speaker - Megacenter - 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - An Owner's Guide to the Future
  • Theater - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Strategic Futures

David Zach is one of the few professionally trained futurists in the United States, having earned a master's degree in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston Clear Lake. As a futurist, Dave has worked with over 1000 corporations, schools and associations offering insights on the personal and professional impact of strategic trends. As a speaker, he guides his audience on an entertaining, futuristic tour of technology, economics, business, education, and society.

Dave gets his facts and ideas from a daily study of books, magazines, newspapers, on-line explorations and a spectrum of coffee shop discussions.

Dave previously worked at Johnson Controls and Northwestern Mutual Life in the roles of environmental scanning and strategic planning. He also taught Future Studies in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Dave is a member of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center Advisory Council. Past activities include: Future Milwaukee Advisory Board, Community Advisory Board for public radio station WUWM, board member of eInnovate, member of the downtown Rotary Club of Milwaukee, board member of the American Institute of Architects-Wisconsin, chairman of the Goals for Greater Milwaukee 2000 Education Committee and co-chair for Design Milwaukee.

Eric Chester
March 15, 2012
  • Closing Keynote Speaker - St. Charles Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Reviving the Work Ethic of Today's Students to Assure Their Success Beyond Graduation

Eric Chester is the premier expert on school-to-work transition and the emerging workforce. As a former teacher and coach-turned motivational speaker for millions of students, Eric soon became a highly sought after speaker for hundreds of leading companies that needed to know how to manage and motivate post-Generation X'ers.

Eric is the Founder and CEO of The Bring your A Game to Work Initiative, a comprehensive work ethic training and certification program for teens and young adults. With work ethic being a primary concern for today's employers, Chester frequently appears on national media to provide insight and perspective to business leaders and concerned adults. Bring your A Game to Work is an entertaining, spirited, compelling compilation of ideas Eric garnered through more than two decades of interactions and interviews with innumerable employers and teenagers in various work environments. He has also authored the books Employing Generation Why and Getting Them to Give a Damn before writing Reviving Work Ethic A Leader's Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Workforce the first business book on work ethic since 1904, which is due to be released in January 2012.

Eric and his wife Lori are parents of four Generation Y aged young adults, and live in Golden, Colorado.

Ron Actis
March 15, 2012
  • Salon III - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - SOS-2 - Strategically Operated Schools Strengthen Our Students.
  • Salon III - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - SOS-2 - Strategically Operated Schools Strengthen Our Students.

Our speaker today is a native of DePue, Illinois, a Management graduate of the University of Illinois, a former General Motors executive and an Accredited consultant member of the Public Relations Society of America.

He began his career as a manufacturing supervisor at GM's Delco Remy Division, in Anderson, Indiana and was promoted to general supervisor of manufacturing and to the Labor Relations Staff. Then 15 years later, out of nowhere, he was asked if he would be interested in becoming a member of the division's Public Relations Staff. He asked for a week to checkout what public relations is all about and after doing that, accepted the position. He was active in the Anderson, Indiana community serving as Little League Baseball coach, Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, president of the Parent Teacher Organization, president of the Madison County Junior Achievement, president of the Madison County Historic Home Commission and on the board of directors of a variety of organizations including Red Cross, Salvation Army, and YMCA.

He was promoted to Administrator of PR at the GM's Fisher Body Division, in Warren, Michigan and three years later to Director of PR at Saginaw Steering Gear Division in Saginaw, Michigan. He served as chairman of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and on several other boards of directors. He co-founded the Saginaw County Business- Union-Government Group for Economic Development and co-founded Leadership Saginaw which trains emerging civic leaders in community development.

He was advanced again to Group Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the newly formed GM Automotive Components Group which consolidated 15 divisions and 300,000 employees, around the world, under a new group vice president. The group subsequently was spun-off by GM as Delphi Automotive.

He left GM four years later to join Dow Corning as Corporate Manager of External Communications and Community Affairs, and was in charge of legal communications regarding Dow Corning's breast implant controversy. He left the company a few years later to start Actis Consulting, a change management company, where he continues as president and CEO.

While at GM, he developed a strategic planning and communications process that became GM's worldwide model. He recently published a book about the system - titled Management's Last Frontier: A Communication's System to Focus and Sustain a Culture of Achievement - which is also being used in college curricula.

He has implemented that process in a variety of organizations including school districts, corporations, municipalities and nonprofits, along with a unique organizational culture management system.

Steve Barkley
March 15, 2012
  • Theater - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - The Magic of Excellent Teaching
  • Theater - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - A New Paradigm for Learning
  • Theater - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Raising Student Expectations/Tapping Student Effort

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 14, 2012
  • Salon IV - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - The Counselor's Role in School Improvement: Building A Culture of College- and Career-Readiness
  • Salon IV - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - The Big Picture of Ninth-Grade Success: Guidance and Advisement's Role
  • Salon IV - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Achieving Curriculum Integration By Embedding the Common Core State Standards

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 14, 2012
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. - Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Motivation + Engagement + High Expectations = Student Success.
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Motivation + Engagement + High Expectations = Student Success.

Dr. Barbara Blackburn has dedicated her life to raising the level of rigor and motivation for professional educators and students alike. What differentiates Barbara's eleven books are her easily executable concrete examples based on decades of experience as a teacher, professor, and consultant. Barbara's dedication to education was inspired in her early years by her parents, Bob and Rose. Her father's doctorate and life-time career as a professor taught her the importance of professional training. Her mother's career as school secretary shaped Barbara's appreciation of the effort all staff play in the education of every child.

Barbara has taught early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school students and has served as an educational consultant for three publishing companies. She holds a master's degree in school administration and is certified as a school principal in North Carolina. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 2006, she received the award for Outstanding Junior Professor at Winthrop University. She recently left her position at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to write and speak full-time.

Gwendolyn Bryant
March 15, 2012
  • Preservation Hall A - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - How Culture Colors Learning: "Culturally Relevant Pedagogy the Neglected Learning Style" (8:15am - 10:30am)
  • Preservation Hall A - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - How Culture Colors Learning: "Culturally Relevant Pedagogy the Neglected Learning Style" (8:15am - 10:30am)
  • Preservation Hall A - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Vocabulary - How will I Learn These Words?

Gwendolyn L. Bryant began her career as an educator 34 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 is a consummate professional and a "teacher's teacher." She took her experience and served as a Lead Teacher for the Akron Public Schools. This job encompassed being a trainer and facilitator by providing support to principals, leadership's teams and teachers of grades K-12. She works on continuous improvement planning, creates individual school improvement plans, provides team building and incorporates effective teaching strategies and leadership skills in her presentations.

Since 2004, she has served as a middle school improvement coach and currently a literacy coach for Akron Public Schools. As a coach, she supports educators with implementing content standards, instructional practice, 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. Gwendolyn sees this as her opportunity to insure that no child is left behind by assisting and facilitating the qualified professional development of her fellow educators.

Gwendolyn is also an adjunct professor at Ashland University and The University of Akron. She has been a presenter at National Staff Development Conference, 2009 and 2010 Illinois State University's Connections Conference, National High Schools That Works 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 been certified as an Ohio Master Teacher. Additionally, she is the lead facilitator for Lantern Professional Development Services.

Gwendolyn has received numerous honors for her outstanding work. Some of her accolades include being awarded the Ohio' Master Teacher Certification recently granted the 2010 Marilyn Parks Lifetime Educator Achievement Award. 2005 Nominee for Disney Teacher's Award by National Alliance of Black School Educators, Honoree for Ohio Black Women Leadership Caucus, Inc. Nominee YWCA Black Women of Excellence Award in Education, and was winner of the Ambassador Award from the Akron Public Schools seven times just to name a few.

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.

Susan Goodale
March 15, 2012
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Strategies for Formative Assessment: Checking Achievement Before the Big Test
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - I Think, Therefore I Am: Teaching Thinking in Every Classroom
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Be the Wind Beneath Their Wings: Leaving a Legacy

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 14, 2012
  • Preservation Hall A - 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. - Memory, Recall, the Brain & Learning: The Nonlinguistic and Visual Attributes of Memory & Recall
  • Preservation Hall A - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Brain Based Teaching: Making Connections for Long-Term Memory & Recall
  • Salon IV - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Brain Based Teaching: Making Connections for Long-Term Memory & Recall
  • Salon IV - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Formative Assessment

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.

Joe Hendershott
March 14, 2012
  • Theater - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Understanding and Reaching the Wounded Student
  • Theater - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - The Impact of Empathy: Tuning in to Students
  • Theater - 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. - Seven Ways to Transform School Culture

Joe Hendershott, who resides in Ashland, Ohio, is a graduate of The Ohio State University and holds a Masters Degree in school administration from Ashland University. His career spans more than twenty years as a teacher and school administrator.

Joe has an extensive background dealing with difficult and troubled youth in the school system. He has been a high school assistant principal, head principal, alternative school principal and principal at Boys' Village School (residential treatment facility). Joe is currently the Director of Field Experiences at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.

As president of his own consulting firm, Joe has presented at national educational conferences as well as staff trainings in the area of alternative education and reaching the wounded child. His workshops are designed to educate and empower anyone working with children that are wounded and how to get them to achieve through various programs that include esteem building and emotional development.

Corinne Hoisington
March 14, 2012
  • Ruby - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Extreme Makeover 2012: Digital Teaching
  • Ruby - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - The Mobile Movement- iPad and Beyond
  • Ruby - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Extreme Makeover 2012: Digital Teaching
  • Ruby - 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. - The Mobile Movement- iPad and Beyond

Corinne Hoisington is a full-time professor of Information Systems Technology at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, VA with over 25 years of teaching experience. Corinne also travels over 200,000 miles a year speaking to college & university professors and K12 venues in over 50 cities this year for such customers as the Microsoft Corporation, Cengage Learning, and many other universities and K12 groups. Professor Hoisington is the recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in Computer Programming. Corinne presently has authored over a dozen books with the Shelly Cashman series and video series such as the "The Guided Tour of Hot Technologies, version 3". Her newest book is "Android Boot Camp: Programming the Android for Beginners" is available in April 2012.

Todd Luke
March 14, 2012
  • Salon III - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - What Really Works to Improve Student Achievement
  • Salon III - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - What Really Works to Improve Student Achievement
  • Salon III - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - What Really Works in the Classroom?

  • Senior Staff Technician for Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA)
    • Received Merit Award in 1991 for Individual Job Performance
    • Received Merit Award in 1991 for Team Job Performance
  • Returned to Lenape in 1992:
    • 1996 Excellence Foundation Educator of the Year for IU28
    • 2002 Vocational Teacher of the Year for Lenape Tech (Student Award)
    • Featured in Techniques Magazine September 2003
    • 2004 Vocational Teacher of the Year for Lenape Tech (Student Award)
    • Featured in Welding Journal October 2007
  • Member of Pennsylvania Bureau of Career and Technical Education steering committee to Improve Literacy in CTE
  • 14 years classroom
  • 3 years administration
  • MAX Teaching staff development for 7 years
  • Currently Vice President of MAX Teaching

Dave Shepard
March 14, 2012
  • Salon II - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Rules of Engagement: Winning the War against Apathy
  • Salon II - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Tips For Improving Special Education Inclusion Classes In Your School
  • Salon II - 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Don't Blame Me !!! The Teacher Started It!!
  • Salon II - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - 50 Ways to Improve Parental Involvement in Your School
  • Salon II - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Learning Dead ?? Who Is Responsible ??

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.

William Symonds
March 14, 2012
  • Salon V - 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Harvard's Pathway to Prosperity Project: Why We Must Change the Nation's View of Career Education
  • Salon V - 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Harvard's Pathway to Prosperity Project: Why We Must Change the Nation's View of Career Education

Bill Symonds is the director of the Pathways to Prosperity Project, which is based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The Pathways Project was created in 2008 to find promising solutions to our increasing failure to prepare many young adults for success. In early 2011, the Pathways Project will release a major report summing up its work to date. The report is entitled, "Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century."

Symonds helped create the Pathways Project while he was a senior fellow at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2007-8. Prior to that, he spent nearly 25 years as a senior correspondent and bureau chief for Business Week. During his career at Business Week, he led bureaus in Pittsburgh, Denver, Boston, Toronto and Rome, Italy. He also served as Business Week's chief education correspondent for many years, and wrote extensively about the role of U.S. business in school reform.