Houston Session Titles/Descriptions and Schedule:

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

Schedule for event:

7:45 – 8:15
Breakfast/Sign In/Registration

8:15 – 9:50
Welcome: Jimmy Casas
Opening Keynote: Dave Burgess

10:00 – 11:05
Concurrent Sessions A: Jimmy Casas, Katie Martin, Rick Wormeli, Amy Fast, Derek McCoy, David Geurin, Joy Kelly

11:15 – 12:20
Concurrent Sessions B: Jimmy Casas, Jeff Zoul, Katie Martin, Amy Fast, Derek McCoy, David Geurin, Joy Kelly

12:20 – 2:20
Lunch and General Plenary Session w/ Rick Wormeli

2:30 – 3:35
Concurrent Sessions C: Jeff Zoul, Katie Martin, Rick Wormeli, Amy Fast, Derek McCoy, David Geurin, Joy Kelly


Dave Burgess

Opening Keynote: Teach Like a PIRATE

Join New York Times Best-Selling author Dave Burgess for a high-energy, entertaining, and inspirational program that will transform the way you look at your role as an educator. Learn how to dramatically increase student engagement, design wildly creative lessons, and build a course that is a life-changing experience for your students.

Using a unique combination of magic and humor, he will reignite your passion for the education profession and show you exactly how to make school an amazing place that has students wanting to knock down the walls to get in.

Teach Like a PIRATE has sparked a full-scale revolution in the educational world and has inspired teachers from all over the globe to achieve new levels of excellence in their schools and classrooms. This program is your chance to experience the one-of-a-kind presentation style of unbelievable intensity and outrageous energy that has transfixed audiences at packed venues across the nation.

Jeff Zoul

Great Educators are Change Agents

As school leaders, we must regularly ask ourselves: Have we grown complacent? Have we settled for the status quo? Rather than asking how we can simply function more effectively, we must ask ourselves how we must function differently. Doing things better is good. Doing better things is even better. In education, we always have and always will strive to do things better. The time is now, however, to also do better things. You will learn what it takes to raise expectations school wide, foster the belief in one’s ability to achieve, and create an environment where everyone—students, staff, parents, and the community—takes pride in supporting each other through inevitable times of change to ensure a commitment to excellence and ongoing improvement.

Jimmy Casas

Great Educators Know the 10 Steps to Addressing Under performance

One of the greatest challenges in managing employees is dealing with under performance. In a time of increased accountability and demands for student success, it is imperative that school staff consistently do their best to improve. Join Jimmy Casas as he walks participants through ten personnel strategies that initiate improvements to address under performance in a way that strengthens your organization and cultivates under performing employees into exemplary performers.

Katie Martin

Great Educators Evolve to Meet the Needs of Learners in a Changing World

Most educators in our schools and district offices have gone through their own education without the access and opportunities that exist today. Access to technology has transformed how we learn and interact with the one another. To meet the needs of the learners in our classrooms today and align school with the world we live in there is a need to embrace new mindsets about learning, along with new tools and resources available to make these shifts across diverse classrooms. Making these shifts requires more than equipping schools with technology or creating creative learning spaces, instead, it is about us, as educators, evolving to meet the needs of those we serve.

Participants will leave this sessions with

  • Examples of professional learning that will empower educators to learn and evolve to meet the needs of learners they serve.
  • Ideas to shift your mindset and those of others to make desire changes in your context.
  • Strategies to leverage the strengths and talents to make desired shifts.

Great Educators Spark Curiosity, Ignite Passion, and Unleash Talent

When we tell learners to complete an assignment, we get compliance. When we empower learners to engage in authentic projects and make an impact on the world, we inspire problem solvers and innovators. Great educators create authentic contexts and experiences for learners to develop skills and content knowledge aligned with desired outcomes. We will focus on the characteristics of learner-centered innovation and how we can create experiences that spark curiosity, ignite passion, and unleash genius.

Participants will leave this sessions with

  • A deepened sense of purpose and passion for your role of educator
  • An understanding of characteristics of learning experiences that empower learners
  • Examples and strategies to create learner centered experiences and a desire to try something new

Derek McCoy

Great Educators Start Revolutions!

We’ve been doing middle school the same for years and it’s time for a change!
Instead of refining practices that have been passed down for years, it’s time for us to accept the challenge to change our thoughts, beliefs and practices for our middle schoolers – be the Revolution@ries they deserve. Join this share and brainstorm session to re imagine middle school, and education, in general! Hear some real steps and practices in reinventing learning!

Great Educators Make Learning Personal

Our world calls for learners to be dynamic thinkers and creators. Old paradigms and beliefs won’t help us inspire students to be the creative and bold problems solvers they will need to be to lead their future. This session is about sharing strategies to help us embrace the need to bring personalized learning to the forefront of our planning and delivery design. See some prominent, practical examples of personalized learning in schools today and the power of what happens when we prioritize the needs and abilities of each learner

Amy Fast

Great Educators Shape the Narrative of Their Schools

The daily workings of our schools become the stories that are told about us, and the stories that are told about us also shape the day-to-day culture and achievement in our schools. In this day and age (when information is at our fingertips) silence speaks volumes.We can no longer afford to stay silent on important and controversial events and issues. If we don’t shape our own narratives, someone else will. In this session, you will learn how to lead with a strong, vulnerable, and authentic voice.

Great Educators Ignite their Sphere of Influence

You have more impact on your students’, colleagues’, and your own experience in education than you likely realize. This session is designed to hold a mirror up to your unique greatness so you can gain clarity around how you can harness your distinctive skill set and passions to make a lasting impact on the students and staff you serve.

David Geurin

Great Educators are Risk Takers and Difference Makers

Are you leading with a vision for the future? The world is changing faster than ever. There are immense challenges but also great opportunities. The status quo won’t prepare your students for what they will face. It’s time to crush apathy and make learning irresistible. It’s time for bold leadership that pushes limits. Let’s explore high-leverage strategies you can use to create a dynamic, future driven learning environment. You’ll feel better equipped to make a greater impact in your school.

Great Educators Connect, Grow, Serve, and Share

Students will forget most of the lessons we teach. But they’ll always remember how we made them feel. After all, every kid…in every school…should hear an encouraging word…every day. Relationships matter. Words matter. Experiences matter. How will you create stronger connections in your school? What will inspire your students to learn and grow? How can we collectively lead and serve? Join us to answer these questions and share insights for creating an extraordinary culture of learning.

Joy Kelly

Great Educators Promote P.R.I.D.E.

This motivational session will emphasize strategies that will transform school culture by developing social-emotional competencies in students and staff. Through funny and meaningful storytelling, leaders will learn how the not-so-soft skills of poise, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence can, and need to, be nurtured. Session participants will leave with practical strategies that will benefit students and staff to promote the kind of P.R.I.D.E. that is conducive to developing future-ready skills and an optimal learning environment for students and staff.

Great Educators are Joyful, Thankful, Peaceful, and Hopeful

This uplifting session will remind you why you became an educator and how your vocation profoundly matters. You will be inspired to bolster relationships between the adults and students while fostering vulnerability, compassion, and empathy in order to build trust among school members. Join this session to learn how an abundance of patience and a minimum of pettiness is key to advancing sincere relationships and meaningful connections. Session participants will leave with a joyful, thankful, peaceful and hopeful enthusiasm about servant leadership.

Rick Wormeli


The Courage It Takes to Be a Great Educator

Ambrose Redmoon once declared, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something else is more important than that fear.” In education, what do we judge as more important than our fear of rejection, being embarrassed, local politics, making mistakes, or results that may take longer than one year to manifest? When we are brave together, we find the freedom, language and spirit to confront complacency and ineffective practice, and, even better, to do something about them. If we are not careful, though, we become trapped in echo chambers of our own creation, thinking this is all there is; our creative intellect atrophies. As students navigate a large and complex world, they need educators who are willing to transcend linear and dichotomous thinking, and who are not blind to inequities they perpetuate, deaf to the new democratization of knowledge. Join us for a candid address that affirms and provokes listeners with compelling questions about contemporary practices and specific action steps to consider if having enough courage were not a factor. Liberating, affirming and pushing all of us closer to the kind of educator we want to be, we reveal the practices and policies that cultivate educator courage best. Radical to some, validating to others and steeped in modern pedagogy, we explore the specific, bold actions we can take today that lead to real student success. Leave timidity at the door and join us for an extraordinary presentation.


Great Educators Examine Standards-Based Grading: Myth-Busting, Principles, and Gut Checks

There’s a lot at stake: Grading practices create – or destroy — very real futures; they better be accurate and ethical. In grading, we often say one thing, but employ a policy that belies that assumed integrity: “My grades are accurate reports of student proficiency,” one teacher claims, but are they? Nobody wants to be a hypocrite. Some educators and their leaders struggle with what is and is not standards-based grading, and as a result, they face pushback from those with little background in it, backing away from something unusually effective in teaching and learning. Join us for a provocative yet practical session that presents the essential elements of standards-based grading, including its merits, potential pitfalls, and candid responses to the most common concerns regarding its use. Vetted by decades of work in the U.S. and around the world, we will correct the misconceptions and make a compelling case for standards-based grading and student success.