Keynote and Featured Speakers for the 2018 Connections Conference.

Crystal Kuykendall
March 7, 2018

Crystal A. Kuykendall is a gifted and gracious business executive, child advocate, public speaker, administrator, educator, attorney and human resource/human relations consultant. She has been lauded extensively for her expertise in facilitating institutional and organizational success and student achievement. She is a powerful, dynamic and inspiring speaker and leader. Her audiences connect instantly with her high energy, charm, charismatic delivery, insightful information and moving messages. Her clients commend her ability to bring out the best in others. Her acumen, insight, rhetorical savvy and determination have enriched countless lives. She facilitates self-analysis and inspires personal and organizational change, growth and powerful results. It doesn't matter who she addresses: cafeteria workers, CEOs, educators, counselors, health professionals, entrepreneurs, private & public employees, parents, students or senior citizens -- the results are the same -- lives are transformed and institutions and organizations are improved.

Crystal's presentations reflect her unique experiences and professional responsibilities. A member of the D.C. Bar, she has been Founder, President and General Counsel of her own firm, Kreative and Innovative Resources for Kids, Inc. (K.I.R.K.) since 1989. She has provided consultant services to over 2,000 clients in 49 states and on 4 continents. She has received over 350 plaques and awards for her outstanding efforts. She is also Founder of her own law firm, The Kuykendall Company. A former full time University Professor at Seton Hall University, she has been Adjunct Faculty at Montclair State University and Strayer University and member of the Advisory Board in the School of Education and Urban Studies at Morgan State University. In 2016, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Montclair State University where she earned a Master's Degree in Sociology.

In addition to serving as CEO and CFO for 2 companies for over 27 years, Crystal is also former Executive Director of the Nat'l Alliance of Black School Educators, Director of Urban & Minority Relations for the Nat'l School Boards Association, Director of Marketing for RLA, Inc., and Director of the Citizens Training Institute of the Nat'l Committee for Citizens in Education. A former public school teacher and Juvenile Justice Attorney, she holds 2 Masters Degrees, a Doctorate in Educational Administration and a Law Degree. A member of 4 Boards of Directors, she has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Family Life Center Foundation of DC for 9 years.

She is also a life member of NCNW, the Nat'l Urban League, NAACP & Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and also received the Honorary Doctorate, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in 2002. Appointed by a U.S. President to the National Advisory Council on Continuing Education, she served as Council Chairperson for 2 years. Author of 4 books, including the highly acclaimed national best seller, From Rage to Hope: Strategies for Reclaiming Black and Hispanic Students, she is Mother of 5, mentor, school & church volunteer and the ultimate "Merchant of Hope" for she enriches the lives of thousands.

Chad Foster
March 7, 2018
March 8, 2018

Chad Foster is a successful entrepreneur, credited with developing and marketing the soft rubber playground surface seen at McDonald's restaurants around the world. Chad has spent the past 21 years creating and implementing critical real world readiness resources for students and educators. He is the author of three best-selling books, Teenagers Preparing for the Real World, Financial Literacy for Teens, and Career Readiness for Teens. Chad's books have been read by more than one million students and his dynamic 21st Century skills curricula are used in 4,500 middle school and high school classrooms nationwide.

Chad is passionate in his belief that students must be prepared, not just educated, if they want to succeed. His mission is clear... all students can be successful if we provide them with relevant knowledge and critical 21st century skills.

This entrepreneur, best-selling author, and nationally-acclaimed speaker also hosted, for eight years, his own television show, Fly Fishing America, seen on ESPN.

Corinne Hoisington
March 7, 2018

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".

Robert Jackson
March 7, 2018
March 8, 2018

Robert Jackson began his teaching career over 20 years ago in Indianapolis Public Schools with a No More Excuses teaching approach with all of his students. As an educator he didn't allow his students to feel sorry for themselves or let their circumstances define their futures. He set high expectations for his students and expected them to do well. As a Coach, the same rules applied. Those same students went from low performing students to successful Pastors, Lawyers, School Administrators, Teachers, Pharmaceutical Sales Reps, Business Owners, Pro Athletes, Entertainers and more. He has become one of the most sought after speakers in the country, delivering keynote addresses and workshops to educators, administrators, parents and students. He has delivered 100's of presentations and has become an expert in teaching cultural diversity, restorative practices, socio emotional learning and how to retain troubled students in school. His goal is to teach educators and administrators how to use their power more effectively to Educate, Activate and Motivate all Students to be Successes, challenge parents to take a more active roles in their children's education and work with students to overcome pain and hardships through discipline and accountability.

Mr. Jackson has written and published 5 books and has written articles for ASCD EL Leadership Magazine. He is currently writing a new book for ASCD. His "No More Excuses" Curriculum has been featured in publications nationally and Is being utilized in K-12 Schools and Colleges and Universities. His books include, "Black Men Stand Up", "A Boys Guide to Manhood", "A Young Woman's Guide to Womanhood", "Put a Stop to Bullying" and "Solutions to Educating Black and Latino Males."

He attended Western Kentucky University where he received his BS Degree in Industrial Technology while lettering 4 years in both Football and Track and Field. After being cut from the NFL Minnesota Vikings he began his teaching career. There he met many young students, both young men and women who had been broken by life changes, dealing with issues much greater than school work. Instead of focusing on the problem, he decided to focus on teaching solutions by helping students cope with their inner pain and navigating more effectively through the school system. He has remained deeply rooted in his commitment to serve his community as a speaker and mentor to many. He has spoken at national conferences including ASCD, SDE, CAAASA, NABSE, HSTW, School Discipline National Conference and SAAB National Conference.

Mr. Jackson is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. the NFL Players Association and Bachelor Benedict. He has received numerous awards for his work including NOBLE Justice by Action Youth Award, the Key to the City of Miami Florida from Congress, Collaborate to Save our Sons Award 2016 and the Do Something Positive, Be Something Positive Award, 2016. He has spoken at National Conferences, Harvard University, Nova Scotia, Canada and Hawaii just to name a few. 1000's of youth and adults nationally are being transformed through his speeches and presentations. He is married to Essence Best Selling Author, Tajuana "TJ" Butler-Jackson and they have 3 children. "His motto is, "For Every Problem, there is a Solution"

Meg Ormiston
March 7, 2018
March 8, 2018

Meg Ormiston, in her role as a consultant, partners with school systems that have committed to 21st century learning experiences for everyone. Meg creates a unique partnership in each district, reflecting the mission, vision, and direction that local leaders identify. Her districtwide projects include guiding teams through the visioning process, designing and delivering professional development, facilitating classroom modeling, developing student leaders in technology, and educating parents.

Meg is a teacher, a keynote speaker, and an author of twelve books, including Creating a Digital-Rich Classroom, which received an honorable mention in the education category for the 2010 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. After twelve years teaching and coaching in the classroom, Meg volunteered on her local school board, facilitated grant projects, and continued researching and writing about best practices.

Meg has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the National College of Education at National Louis University and travels globally, sharing her passion for real change in the classroom. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Brian; her sons, Danny and Patrick; and her golden retriever, Sonoma.

To learn more about Meg's work, follow @megormi on Twitter.

Dave Shepard
March 7, 2018
March 8, 2018

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. He has dealt with elementary, middle and high school students for all of his forty three years in education. His experience includes teaching, coaching, curriculum and program design, and many levels of administration. Since his retirement, he has devoted his time and energy to helping schools become more efficient and effective for all teachers and students.

Dave currently manages his own educational consulting firm, "The Middle Matters and More," in Lexington, Kentucky. He works actively with SREB, AMLE, KMSA and many state education departments. Dave has also worked with the Kentucky Department of Education, the University Of Kentucky and over 150 school districts across the country.

Known primarily as a practitioner, he has presented at more than sixty state and national conferences. He has assisted school districts in 47 states and two foreign countries, to help develop and refine their educational programs by providing quality professional development and teacher in-services. Dave has been recognized as Coach of The Year, Principal of The Year and most recently received his highest honor, The President's Award for Lifetime Achievement, from the Kentucky Middle School Association.

He has authored or co-authored articles for the NAESP web page, NASSP's Principal Leadership publication, The Committee for Children, and the Virginia Journal of Education. He most recently co-authored a book for EYE on EDUCATION publishers regarding improving parental support.

The programs Dave delivers are characterized by a high-energy format, a simple, yet practical style, a down to earth sense of humor and an easy going manner. These elements make the programs both informative and digestible.