One of the first Nationally Board Certified teachers in America, Rick brings innovation, energy, validity, and high standards to his presentations and his instructional practice, which includes 30 years teaching math, science, English, physical education, health, and history, and coaching teachers. Rick's work has been reported in numerous media, including ABC's Good Morning America, Hardball with Chris Matthews, National Geographic, and Good Housekeeping magazines, What Matters Most: Teaching for the 21st Century, and The Washington Post.
With his substantive presentations, sense of humor, and unconventional approaches, he's been asked to present to teachers and administrators in all 50 states, Canada, China, Europe, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Australia, the Middle East, and at the White House. He is a seasoned veteran of many webcasts, and he is Disney's American Teacher Awards 1996 Outstanding English Teacher of the Nation. He won the 2008 James P. Garvin award from the New England League of Middle Schools for Teaching Excellence, Service, and Leadership, and he has been a consultant for National Public Radio, USA Today, Court TV, and the Smithsonian Institution's Natural Partners Program and their search for the Giant Squid.
He lives in Herndon, Virginia with his wife and two children, one in high school, one in college, where he is currently working on his first young adult fiction novel.
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Dr. Denver J. Fowler is currently the chair of the EdD program and professor of PK-12 Educational Leadership at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to his appointment at Franklin University, he served as a program coordinator and assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). In addition to this role, Dr. Fowler served as an elected senator on the faculty senate at CSUS. Dr. Fowler is starting his eleventh year in higher education (six years part-time and four years full-time). Prior to his appointment at CSUS, Dr. Fowler served as an assistant professor of educational leadership at The University of Mississippi (UM) where he taught within the PhD, EdD, EdS, Master of Education, and Principal Corps programs as well as served on several dissertation committees. In addition, he served as the elected president of the Mississippi Association of Professors of Educational Leadership (2015-2017), a state affiliate of the International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership. Prior to his appointment at UM, Dr. Fowler served as an adjunct faculty member for more than six years at The Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, and University of West Florida, where he was responsible for teaching courses (online, hybrid, and face-to-face) in educational leadership, educational technology, and teacher education, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to his experience in the higher education setting, Dr. Fowler served as a coach, teacher, athletic director, technology coordinator, and school administrator for more than a decade in the PreK-12 educational setting in both the private and public school sectors in the state of Ohio. During this tenure, he was named the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA) and National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) State Assistant Principal of the Year in the State of Ohio and was nominated for the NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year in the United States. A strong supporter of education and policy reform, Dr. Fowler has spoken on Capitol Hill to advocate for educators and school leaders nationwide. He is the author of numerous books and other publications on educational leadership. His research interests include ethics, leadership, educational leadership, and research on the superintendency and principalship. Dr. Fowler has presented his research and served as a keynote speaker both nationally and internationally, including presentations in China, Italy, Greece, Cuba, Africa, Turkey, England, Japan, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Dr. Fowler received his Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from Ohio University, Master of Arts in Education from Mount Vernon Nazarene University, and Bachelor of Science in Education from The Ohio State University. In addition to his degrees, Dr. Fowler completed a School Leadership Institute at Harvard University. Dr. Fowler is a licensed superintendent, principal, teacher, and holds a private school administrative and teaching license.
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Erik M. Francis, M.Ed., M.S. is an author, educator, and speaker who specializes in teaching and learning that promotes cognitive rigor and postsecondary (college and career) readiness. He is the author of Now THAT'S a Good Question! How to Promote Cognitive Rigor Through Classroom Questioning (ASCD). He is also the owner of Maverik Education LLC, providing academic professional development and consultation to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities on how to develop rigorous teaching learning environments and deliver inquiry-driven educational experiences that engage and encourage students to demonstrate higher order thinking and communicate depth of knowledge.
Erik has been an educator for more than 20 years, working as a middle and high school teacher, a site administrator, and an education program specialist in the Title I Unit and Office of English Language Acquisition Service in the Arizona Department of Education. He received his Master in Education Leadership degree from Northern Arizona University and his Master of Science degree in Film and Television Production and Management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Rhetoric and Communication and English from the University at Albany. Erik lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife and two daughters.
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Katie Powell began teaching in 2005, first in special education and later in Title 1. This focus on providing interventions for struggling students led to the development of strategies that leverage curiosity and fun to engage students while driving learning deeper. Now also serving as an instructional coach, Katie has fine-tuned these strategies to be easily deployable in virtually any instructional setting without sacrificing teachers' already-limited time or money. In addition to presenting at local conferences in her home state of Indiana, Katie has presented her popular Worksheet Busters and Taming the Grading sessions for AMLE. Katie believes in respecting the expertise of teachers and shares her creative process so they can address engagement and depth in their classrooms within their own teaching styles and content. Let's reclaim the wonder of learning!
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Marlena Gross-Taylor is the founder of #EduGladiators as well as a district EdLeader for Maury County Schools, Tennessee, with a proven track record of improving educational and operational performance through vision, strategic planning, leadership, and team building. A Nashville transplant originally from southern Louisiana, Marlena's educational experience spans several states allowing her to have served K-12 students in both rural and urban districts. She has been recognized as a middle school master teacher and innovative administrator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Because of her sound knowledge of both elementary and secondary education, Marlena has broad-based experience creating and implementing dynamic interactive programs to attain district goals while leveraging her flexibility, resourcefulness, and organizational and interpersonal skills to foster learning through a positive, encouraging environment.
Marlena's professional development expertise has garnered both state and national attention. She has also leveraged her past experience in corporate management to include corporate training and leadership coaching in her repertoire of consulting services focused on culture, engagement, and increased productivity. Marlena is a seasoned presenter keynoting conferences and delivering dynamic professional development sessions.
As a proud Louisiana State University alumni, she is committed to excellence and believes all students can achieve. Follow Marlena on Twitter @mgrosstaylor or visit her websites marlenagrosstaylor.com & edugladiators.com.
Bring Marlena Gross-Taylor to your school!
Chris Toy has spent 30+ years serving as a teacher, principal, university instructor, consultant, presenter, cooking instructor, and writer. In addition to being a certified Apple consultant, he has worked internationally with dozens of school districts, hundreds of schools, and thousands of educators providing exceptional workshops on leadership, teaching, and learning, resulting in greater student engagement and academic achievement. His interactive style reflects his belief that teachers and leaders must model what they expect from students, colleagues, and faculties.
Listen to a podcast interview of Chris Toy:
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Dedra Stafford is a dedicated consultant and a proud member of the Association for Middle Level Education On-Site Professional Development Cadre. She is an educational speaker and has presented at international, national, state, and local conferences across the nation sharing inspirational ideas from technology to school climate. Dedra is passionate about providing quality staff development for educators.
Dedra creates entertaining workshops that get crowds energized, motivated, and inspired to be their best for the students they serve. As a former classroom teacher, she understands the need for professional development where practical ideas can be implemented immediately in the classroom. She creates fun-filled workshops designed to be hands-on and interactive. Dedra has a unique ability to put teachers at ease as she teaches concepts and beliefs and incorporates humor in a user-friendly way.
You will laugh, learn, and have a new enthusiasm about technology, climate, curriculum, and classroom techniques in any of Dedra's sessions.
Listen to a podcast interview of Dedra Stafford:
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Dr. Bobb Darnell is president of Achievement Strategies, Inc. and an advocate for high student achievement and daily professional growth. He served as director of staff support for more than 1,700 staff members in a northwest Illinois school district and taught for more than 25 years. Bobb has served on the board of trustees for the National and Illinois Staff Development Councils, Illinois International Branch of the Dyslexia Association, and has been a member of numerous national and state task forces and committees. He is the author of ASCD's 2002 action tool kit—A Guide for Instructional Leaders, and has written four staff development guides for Wavelength's award winning educational comedy videos. Bobb's work on the 21st Century Instructional Leader is featured in ASCD's 2010 PD Quick Kits.
Dr. Darnell is an internationally known speaker who has delivered keynote presentations and conducted workshops for educators at all grade levels. Bobb's high-energy workshops are filled with "edutainment" and practical ideas about Common Core State Standards, formative assessment, data-driven instruction, literacy improvement, and intervention strategies. He helps administrators and teacher leaders fine-tune their knowledge and skills for leading school improvement initiatives. Teachers and administrators can easily sense his enthusiasm for continuous improvement, job satisfaction, and lifelong learning. He is truly committed to helping teachers build high performance classrooms and develop responsible and self-directed students.
Listen to a podcast interview of Bobb Darnell:
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Dr. Brazee is professor emeritus of education at the University of Maine where he taught for 25 years and directed the Middle Level Education Institute. With John Lounsbury, he served as book editor for the Association for Middle Level Education/National Middle School Association for 12 years and was a member of the writing team for This We Believe in 2003 and 2010. Prior to his 25-year career as the "middle level expert" at the University of Maine, he taught for two years as a high school English teacher in upstate New York and for 11 years as a Colorado middle school teacher. He has been an evaluator on school assessment projects, author, editor for AMLE/NMSA, director of the Middle Level Education Institute (for 24 years at UMaine), and more. He was also awarded the John H. Lounsbury Award from the Association for Middle Level Education on November 2010—the highest award given by AMLE for service, integrity, and leadership in middle level education.
Dr. Brazee is a consultant to schools, working with teachers, parents, and most happily, with students. He is especially interested in digital citizenship and helping schools develop student technology teams. As more and more schools use technology for learning, issues such as cyberbullying, appropriate use, sexting, and the like become more prevalent. Even now the focus is moving from the device (laptop, smart phone, tablet) to safe, responsible, respectful, and ethical use of any technology.
Similarly, schools have a great opportunity to take advantage of students’ expertise and interest in many aspects of technology by involving students in student technology teams.
He has a broad knowledge of schools, students, teachers, and parents. As an early adopter of technology and an advocate for Maine's Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), the first state-wide one-to-one laptop program in the country, he is proud to say that he has been part of that transformation in K-12 schools as well as in his own university teaching. He communicates well with parents about educational issues, and has an especially strong commitment to working with students, teachers, and parents on issues related to our digital world. His presentations are enthusiastic, energetic, and filled with humor.
Dr. Brazee has been a frequent presenter at the AMLE/NMSA annual conference, has keynoted several state middle level conferences (MI, KS, VT), presented at summer institutes, presented at New England League of Middle Schools and Maine Association for Middle Level Education conferences, and consulted with schools across the country. Since 1994, he has also served as principal evaluator or co-evaluator for 45 middle level school or school district assessment projects.
Listen to a podcast interview of Ed Brazee:
Bring Ed Brazee to your school!