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 middle and high school students for all of his 40 years in education. His experience includes teaching, coaching, curriculum and program design, and administration. Since his retirement in 1999, 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 departments of education.
Known primarily as a practitioner, he has presented at more than 40 state and national conferences. He has assisted school districts in 47 states and two foreign countries in developing and refining 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 with Sherrel Bergmann and Judy Brough for Eye on Education publishers about improving parental support in schools.
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.
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David Sanders is a passionate educator known for his wit and engaging strategies. Teachers love his ability to connect and provide great ideas that are motivational. David has presented internationally and nationally for schools, school systems, and universities, and at numerous conferences as a keynote speaker, presenter, and consultant.
His works have been published by AMLE/NMSA, Middle Matters, Education Digest, and Incentive Publications. He has been a social studies, reading, language arts, and gifted and talented teacher in 6th through 12th grade, as well as a coach. In addition, he has served as a director of professional development, chief academic officer, and an educational consultant. For the State Department of Education, David has also been a leadership facilitator and a director with Needs Improvement Schools.
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Dr. Howard Ormond provides outstanding services to schools, school divisions, administrators, students, and parents about the effect of a positive learning environment and the role they play in making school a success for all students. He provides motivational insight about the importance of positive attitudes, behaviors, and communication with each other to help middle level teachers and staff grow so they can help students.
He is currently involved with the Effective School-wide Discipline Program in the state of Virginia and serves as a coach to administrators in the state. He has been a keynote and featured speaker at many conferences.
Listen to a podcast interview of Howard Ormond:
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Dr. Cedrick Gray is formerly the proud lead teacher of the Jackson Public School District. He was appointed superintendent by the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees in 2012. He is widely praised for leadership and guidance that have revived the District and given it a new focus. He’s known for an innovative and effective strategic direction process: "Wearing WIGs (Wildly Important Goals), having FITs (Focused Instructional Teams), and saying ABCs (Attendance, Behavior, Coursework)," which applies a research-based focus to school improvement and student achievement. Since being appointed superintendent by the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees in 2012, Dr. Gray has been acclaimed as an innovator, motivator, risk taker, outside-of-the-box thinker, and true educational visionary. His recent achievements include the following:
- Superintendent of the Year, National Association of School Superintendents, 2016
- Superintendent of the Year, National Alliance of Black School Educators, 2015
- Educator of the Year, Young Gifted and Empowered Awards, Savvy Life Magazine, 2016
- Outstanding Administrator Advocate, Mississippi Association of Gifted Children, 2015
Dr. Gray's career has been guided by his vision to embody breakthrough leadership by inspiring others to see the leader in themselves. He previously served as the superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools in Fayette County, Tennessee. Prior to becoming a superintendent, Dr. Gray was principal of Craigmont Middle School and Lester Pre-K-8 School, both in Memphis, Tennessee. Currently, he is the Director of Aspiring Principals for New Leaders – Southeast Region. Dr. Gray and his wife, Karen, are the proud parents of their daughter, Peyton.
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Gretchen Goodman spent 34 years as a public school teacher. She was involved with children who had learning and behavioral problems. Gretchen was an instructional support teacher, an RtI coordinator, and assisted in her district's professional development.
In addition to her time teaching, Gretchen has been an international and national education consultant since 1990. She has spoken at schools, universities, and national conferences. Gretchen is the best selling author of The More Ways You Teach, RtI interventions, I Can Learn, and Inclusive Classrooms A to Z.
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As a middle school language arts teacher for 36 years, Jane Feber's innovative approach to instruction has earned her several awards including the AMLE Distinguished Educator Award; the Gladys Prior Award for Teaching Excellence; Florida Council of Teachers of English Teacher of the Year; Duval County, FL, Teacher of the Year; and the NCTE Edwin A. Hoey Award. Jane was a National Board Certified Teacher and is also the author of Creative Book Reports: Fun Projects with Rubrics for Fiction and Nonfiction, Active Word Play, Student Engagement is FUNdamental, and Engage Striving Students in the Common Core Classroom published by Maupin House/Capstone. Engage Striving Students in the Common Core Classroom received the LMC/ARBA award for Best Professional Guide for School or Youth Librarians. Jane's workshops are based on the premise that "learning sticks" when students are engaged. Her workshops are fast-paced as participants create sample activities to take back to model in the classroom.
Listen to a podcast interview of Jane Feber:
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Sharon Faber has more than 40 years of experience as a teacher, building and district administrator, university professor, consultant, and author. She is the author of How to Teach Reading When You’re Not a Reading Teacher, How to Teach Academic Vocabulary, three staff development guides on literacy and leadership, reading, and discipline with the brain in mind, and joint author of Interactive Learning.
An internationally known speaker, Faber has delivered keynote presentations and conducted workshops for educators at all grade levels throughout the United States and Canada. She has presented at ASCD conferences and conferences of many other national organizations. She is noted for her high energy, sense of humor, and the practicality of her presentations.
Faber is president of Faber Consulting and a member of the AMLE and ASCD faculties. She received a bachelor's degree in English and Education from Midwestern State University, a master's degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Virginia.
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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.
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Dr. Neila A. Connors is presently the founder and president of N.A.C. (Networking And Client), CONNECTIONS INC., a corporation dedicated to the implementation of positive attitudes and actions in people. Her primary focus is to coach people on how to "build their own bridge for a successful life." Her philosophy is based on Napoleon Hill's quote: "if you can conceive it and believe it—YOU can ACHIEVE IT." Throughout her career, Neila has had the privilege of working with students in grades K–12. She has been an elementary teacher, a middle school teacher, and an administrator. She currently is an adjunct professor at Florida State University teaching a doctoral course on Leadership and Technology.
Previously, Neila worked at the Florida Department of Education, responsible for coordinating the development of the middle and high school state curriculum frameworks, working with middle and high school teachers and administrators throughout the state. She also was the Director of Middle Grades and later was responsible for the state International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs. She also served as a tenured professor in the Department of Middle Grades Education at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia and helped begin the first "unique" Department of Middle Grades in the country.
Neila has presented to public and private school educators, school boards, superintendents, state and national organizations, parents, counselors, international school educators, and corporations in the 50 states, Canada, and Europe. For more than 20 years she has also worked with business partnerships. Her first was with Champion Paper Company assisting more than 50 junior high schools in their transition to effective performance-based middle schools. For the last 10 years Neila has worked with Educational Partnership Incorporated (EPI) and Union Pacific Railroad as a personal consultant to more than 350 high school principals in 21 states. She has worked with fortune 500 companies (Champion Paper, International Paper, Kellogg’s, Union Pacific Railroad).
Neila has helped middle schools become greater!
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Kim Campbell has been a proud middle level geography teacher for the past 19 years and loves it!! She is very involved in her school and has a variety of roles. Currently, she is a part-time 7th grade geography teacher as well as the PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Specialist) coordinator for her school. She has also been a team leader and a member of her school's Equity Team and Literacy Team. She is also the founder and coordinator of an after school program called Students on Academic Rise (SOAR), a program created to address the achievement gap. In 2004, she was a semi-finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year, and in 2007, she was chosen by Fox 9 News as one of their nine "Top Teachers" of the year, and recently she was named Minnesota Middle School Teacher of the Year. Kim is a consultant who has facilitated workshops around the country and world.
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