Keynotes & Speakers

Sir Ken Robinson

SirKenAn internationally recognized authority in creativity and innovation in education and business, Sir Ken Robinson is also one of the world’s leading speakers. Videos of his famous talks to the prestigious TED Conference are the most viewed in the history of the organization and have been seen by an estimated 300 million people in over 150 countries.

Sir Ken works with governments in Europe, Asia and the US, international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and leading cultural organizations. He led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government, was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, and was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for a strategy to become the creative hub of SE Asia.

Called “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” by Fast Company magazine, Sir Ken has received numerous awards and recognitions for his groundbreaking contributions. He was included in Thinkers50 list of the world’s leading business thinkers and has been named one of TIME/Fortune/CNN’s Principal Voices. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts. His 2009 book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, is a New York Times best seller and has been translated into 21 languages. A 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, was published in 2011. Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, was published by Viking in May 2013 and is also a New York Times best seller. His latest book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Viking, 2015), written with Robinson’s trademark wit and engaging style, includes groundbreaking research and tackles the critical issue of how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system.

Dr. Christopher Emdin

Dr. Christopher Emdin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University; where he also serves as Director of Science Education at the Center for Health Equity and Urban Science Education. He is also the Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is an alumni fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, and currently serves as Minorities in Energy Ambassador for the U.S. Department of Energy and the STEAM Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State.Dr. Emdin is a social critic, public intellectual and science advocate whose commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in dozens of influential periodicals including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

Dr. Emdin holds a Ph.D in Urban Education with a concentration in Mathematics, Science, and Technology; Masters degrees in both Natural Sciences and Education Administration, and Bachelors degrees in Physical Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry.

He is the creator of the #HipHopEd social media movement, and a much sought-after public speaker on a number of topics that include hip-hop education, STEM education, politics, race, class, diversity, and youth empowerment. He is also an advisor to numerous international organizations, school districts, and schools where he delivers speeches, and holds workshops/ professional development sessions for students, teachers, policy makers, and other education stakeholders within the public and private sector.

Dr. Emdin provides regular commentary on Al Jazeera and the Huffington Post; where he writes the Emdin 5 series. He is the author of the award winning book, Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation and For White Folks Who Teach In the Hood and the Rest of Ya’ll too, which is currently on the New York Times best sellers list.

Principal Kafele

Recipient of the National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame Award, the New Jersey Education Association Award of Excellence and the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, Principal Baruti Kafele is ON FIRE! He has distinguished himself as an award-winning educator, an internationally-renowned speaker and a best-selling author.

As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, Principal Kafele was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.  As a middle and high school principal, he led the transformation of four different urban New Jersey schools, including “The Mighty” Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national acclaim, which included U.S. News and World Report Magazine recognizing it as one of America’s best high schools.

One of the most sought-after education speakers in America, Principal Kafele has delivered more than 1000 conference keynotes, professional development workshops, parental engagement seminars and student empowerment assemblies since leaving his principalship 5 years ago. An expert in the area of “attitude transformation,” Principal Kafele is the leading authority for providing effective classroom and school leadership strategies toward closing what he coined, the “attitude gap” – defined as, “the gap between those students who have the WILL to achieve excellence and those who do not.”

A prolific writer, Principal Kafele has written extensively on professional development strategies for creating a positive school climate and culture, transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations, motivating Black males to excel in the classroom and school leadership practices for inspiring school-wide excellence. In addition to writing several professional articles on these topics for popular education journals, he is the author of seven books which include his national best-sellers, Closing the Attitude Gap, Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life and The Principal 50. His eighth book, The Teacher 50 will be released in August, 2016.

Principal Kafele is married to his wife Kimberley, and is the father of their three children, Baruti, Jabari and Kibriya. He earned his B.S. degree in Management Science/Marketing from Kean University and his M.A. degree in Educational Administration from New Jersey City University. He is the recipient of over one hundred fifty educational, professional and community awards which include the City of Dickinson, Texas proclaiming February 8, 1998 as Baruti Kafele Day.

Carrie Bauer

Carrie BauerCarrie Bauer, LBSW is the Director of Hamilton’s Academy of Grief & Loss where she provides grief related information, education, and support to families served by Hamilton’s Funeral Home but also the community as a whole. She has been the Academy Director since December 2012.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa in 2005. Carrie had worked in hospice for six years before joining Hamilton’s. She worked at two hospices as the social worker, bereavement counselor, and volunteer coordinator. It was during this time that she developed her passion for working with the dying and those who are grieving.

In addition to directing the day-to-day operations of the Academy, Carrie facilitates the Academy’s two children’s grief groups and Pet Loss Support Group, is involved with local schools, presents on various grief topics, and speaks twice a year at Hamilton’s Coping With Grief Symposium. She is a co-founder of the Young Bereavement Professionals Group, and helps facilitate the Central Iowa Death Cafés.

Carrie resides in Des Moines, and in her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, cooking, and reading.

Dr. Allison Bruhn

Allison Leight BruhnDr. Allison Bruhn, a former middle school teacher and graduate of Vanderbilt University, is an assistant professor of Special Education at The University of Iowa. She teaches courses on social/behavioral interventions and classroom management. Her research interests include implementing multi-tiered systems of support and using technology-based self-management to help students improve behavior. This research is supported by over $1.5 million in federal, state, and local funding, including $1.2 million from the federal Institute of Educational Sciences. In addition to creating a self-monitoring iPad app and training schools in designing, implementing, and evaluating PBIS, she has authored over 40 publications including a book Managing Challenging Behaviors in Schools: Research-Based Strategies That Work. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Teaching Exceptional Children and Behavioral Disorders. Dr. Bruhn is active on the national conference speaking circuit and in 2014, she received the Early Career Publication Award from the Council for Exceptional of Children Division of Research.

Dr. Colleen Capper

Dr. Colleen CapperColleen A. Capper is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-founder and co-director of the National Leadership for Social Justice Institute and Academy. With expertise in equity and social justice, her research and teaching focus on systems change in educator preparation and in schools and districts that advance the learning of all students and eliminate opportunity and achievement gaps. She has published extensively on leadership for social justice and equity, including three books: Leading for Social Justice: Transforming Schools for All Learners; Meeting the Needs of Students of All Abilities: Leading Beyond Inclusion (2nd edition) (both with Elise Frattura), and Educational Administration in a Pluralistic Society. Professor Capper is editor of the Routledge series: Leadership for Equity and Diversity. After completing her undergraduate work in special education at Indiana University, Bloomington, Dr. Capper spent five years as a United Methodist missionary in the Appalachian Mountain region of southeastern, Kentucky where she served as a special education teacher, administrator of special programs, and founding director of a nonprofit agency for preschool children and adults with disabilities. She then completed her masters and doctorate at Vanderbilt University. In 2007, she received the University Council for Educational Administration Master Professor of the Year. She works with universities, schools, and districts across the country on redesigning service delivery and maximizing achievement for all students in integrated ways.

Brad Chapin

Brad Chapin is a master’s level psychologist and a recognized speaker in the area of Self-Regulation. He is also the Director for Children’s Services at Horizons Mental Health Center. Brad has a passion for teaching parents and school professionals the importance of helping children develop healthy Self-Regulation skills. He continues to create innovative strategies utilizing technology to engage children in the process. Brad believes that Self-Regulation provides an easy-to-learn and easy-to-implement framework for addressing many of the problem areas children and families experience including ADHD, anger/behavior problems, academic issues, social/emotional problems, Autism Spectrum Disorders and anxiety/depression. . Brad is the author of Helping Young People Learn About Self-Regulation and Helping Teens Learn About Self-Regulation. He is also creator of the Challenge Software DVD/online program ( as well as the Self-Regulation Training Board.

Dr. Tim Hodges

Tim HodgesTim Hodges, PhD, is Director of Research for Gallup’s Education Division. He consults with K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and leads research projects in strengths development, employee selection, employee engagement, parent engagement, and well-being. Dr. Hodges has written journal articles and research reports and is a frequent conference keynote speaker. He is focused on helping transform schools into great places to work and learn. Among his volunteer activities, Dr. Hodges is a public board member for the Center to Advance CTE, a nonprofit organization providing oversight and direction for the implementation of Career and Technical Education across the United States.

Brian Mendler

Brian MendlerBrian Mendler has extensive experience working with challenging students in general ed, self-contained, and inclusion settings. He provides staff development training for K-12 educators throughout the world with the focus on how to be successful with even the most difficult students. He trains tens of thousands of educators every year and is a highly regarded dynamic speaker. You will find that Mr. Mendler has a unique prospective that he teaches from, that of a former student who struggled with a learning disability and severe ADHD. Educators love his seminars, because he is able to provide strategies that work immediately for today’s youth.

Mr. Mendler has recently authored a book titled, That One Kid. The book provides educators with easy to use strategies for preventing and responding to difficult, disruptive, defiant and unmotivated behavior. He has also authored The Taming of the Crew and co-authored books, Strategies for Successful Classroom Management, Power Struggles 2nd Edition, and the best seller Discipline With Dignity 3rd Edition: New Challenges, New Solutions.

Jessica Minahan

Jessica MinahanJessica Minahan, MEd, BCBA, is a licensed and board certified behavior analyst and special educator, as well as a consultant to school’s nationwide. Jessica has over seventeen years of experience supporting students who exhibit challenging behavior in urban public school systems. She is a blogger on The Huffington Post, as well as the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, with Nancy Rappaport (Harvard Education Press, 2012) and author of The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools, and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors (Harvard Education Press, 2014).

Dr. Barb Mitchell

Barb MitchellBarbara Mitchell, Ph.D. has been involved with special education for the past 19 years. She began her career as a classroom teacher for students with disabilities teaching in elementary and middle school special education settings. Currently Barbara is an Assistant Research Professor for the University of Missouri. Her work focuses on Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (E/BD), School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SW-PBS), and classroom management.

Dr. Anthony Muhammad

Dr. Anthony MuhammadDr. Anthony Muhammad is an author and international thought leader. He currently serves as the CEO of New Frontier 21 Consulting, a company dedicated to providing cutting-edge professional development to schools all over the world. He served as a practitioner for nearly twenty years. Dr. Muhammad served as a middle school teacher, assistant principal, middle school principal, and high school principal. His tenure as a practitioner has earned him several awards as both a teacher and a principal.

Dr. Muhammad is recognized as one of the field’s leading experts in the areas of school culture and Professional Learning Communities (PLC). His work has allowed him to work with schools in all 50 U.S. states, 10 Canadian provinces, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

Dr. Muhammad is a best-selling author. He is the author of the books Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap: Liberating Mindsets to Effect Change (2015); The Will to Lead and the Skill to Teach; Transforming Schools at Every Level (2011); Transforming School Culture: How to Overcome Staff Division (2009); and a contributing author to the book The Collaborative Administrator: Working Together as a Professional Learning Community (2008). He has published 26 articles in education journals and publications in seven different countries.

Kaye Randall

Kaye Randall is a nationally known author and speaker who has led professional seminars throughout North America on student mental health, bullying, self-injury, depression, anxiety and anger — as well as youth leadership and student empowerment. Kaye has inspired seminar participants through her practical insights, humor, and proactive strategies for helping children and adolescents. She continues to provide clinical services to both children and adolescents and has been named social worker of the year by the Council on Adoptable Children. She is co-author of See My Pain, Creative Strategies & Activities for Helping Young People Who Self Injure (featured in USA Today), 102 Creative Strategies for Working with Depressed Children & Adolescents, and Mean Girls: 101½ Creative Strategies and Activities for Working with Relational Aggression.

Dr.Terrance M. Scott

Terrance ScottDr. Terrance M. Scott is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville and is Director of the Center for Instructional and Behavioral Research in Schools (CIBRS). Having received his Ph.D. in Special Education at the University of Oregon in 1994 (with an emphasis on emotional and behaviors) he has previously been a faculty member at the Universities of Kentucky, Florida, and Oregon. He has over 120 articles, chapters, and media publications, including four books on a variety of issues in the areas of behavioral disorders and behavioral support systems and has conducted over 1000 presentations and training activities throughout the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway. Dr. Scott has successfully competed for more than $13 million in external grant funding and was a 2-term editor of Beyond Behavior. In 2004 he received the Distinguished Early Career Award from the Research Division of the International Council for Exceptional Children and in 2012 he received the Outstanding National Leadership Award from the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders and was elected President of this organization in 2013. As a former counselor and teacher of students with seriously challenging behaviors, his research interests focus on school-wide prevention systems, the role of instructional variables in managing student behavior, functional behavior assessment/intervention, and scientific research in education.

Daniel Spikes

Dr. Daniel SpikesDaniel Spikes is an Assistant Professor of Educational Administration at Iowa State University. His research interests focus on racial disparities in education and the practices of school districts, schools, and school leaders that serve to perpetuate and/or ameliorate these disparities. Specifically, his research focuses on the following:
• school leadership, in general, with a specific focus on social justice and anti-racist leadership
• pre-service and in-service training of educators on cultural proficiency and/or anti-racism
• urban education
• social justice
• school tracking policies
Prior to working at ISU, he served as a middle school English/Language Arts teacher and high school administrator. As a doctoral student, he worked as a Graduate Research Assistant and Assistant Director for Pre-College Academic Readiness Programs and as the District Site Coordinator for the federally funded Principalship Program at UT-Austin. He is the proud husband of Garisa Spikes and the proud father of three beautiful daughters: Madeline, Hannah, and Gabriella

Aaron Wiemeier

Aaron Wiemeier serves as executive director of the Rocky Mountain Trauma Institute and is Dean of Students as s charter school in Colorado. He works extensively with at-risk children in the foster care and adoptive system. A specialist in the area of attachment and trauma, with a particular emphasis on the neurophysiology of trauma, he uses a practical, and often experiential, community-based approach to help families and individuals overcome the effects of trauma. An adjunct professor and a regular trainer for multiple organizations in Colorado, Aaron is the author of My Feelings Workbook, which helps traumatized children understand the emotions associated with a traumatic experience. Aaron specializes in working with PTSD, anxiety, anger, attachment children and adolescents, attachment disorder, depression and conduct/oppositional defiant disorder.