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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Ruthie Smith Stevenson, Ph.D., is a professor and coordinator of the doctoral program in educational leadership K–12, at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. She is a member of the Mississippi Board of Examiners (NCATE), an AMLE Institutes for Middle Level Leadership faculty member, and president of the Beta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma. She has been a junior high school teacher, assistant principal, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, executive director of middle school programs, and director of school improvement services for Mid South Middle Start. She has presented at AMLE, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas middle level conferences, and Fordham Principals' Institute. She was nominated in 2010 and 2011 by the School of Education as Distinguished Professor at Mississippi College.
Listen to a podcast interview of Ruthie Smith Stevenson:
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Janet Vernon has served middle schools, teachers and students in many ways. In her various roles, including as an school principal, Janet has mentored other school leaders, supervised and supported faculty and staff, provided a climate and culture for school improvement, developed rigorous performance goals, and trained staff to use student achievement data to increase student success and create standards-based classrooms. She has also been an Executive Director of Secondary Schools, an Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, and has served AMLE as a board member as well as the board president.
Listen to a podcast interview of Janet Vernon:
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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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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.
Listen to a podcast interview of Kim Campbell:
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Nancy Doda is an internationally renowned speaker, workshop leader, and author. Regarded as one of the world's foremost experts on middle grades education, she has devoted much of her career to improving middle grades education. Recipient of AMLE's most prestigious award, the John H. Lounsbury award, Nancy has supported thousands of middle grades educators in their efforts to improve learning for young adolescents. She has a broad range of expertise from school organization and climate, to curriculum and instruction. She is best known for customizing professional development.
Listen to a podcast interview of Nancy Doda:
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Cathryn has provided professional and organizational development programs throughout the United States and the world, including conference keynotes, in-depth institutes, and exceptional education and learning resources on service learning, 21st century competencies, youth engagement, effective teacher strategies, and environmental sustainability around the world. All of her work aligns with current Common Core standards. Cathryn also works with the International Baccalaureate Organization to advance service learning and student action.
A former teacher, Cathryn has been called an "edu-tainer," capturing participants with interactive experiences that reinforce key concepts, practical ideas that work, poignant stories that inspire, and strategies that enliven education. She is known for high level engagement and always modeling best teaching practices.
Bring Cathryn Berger Kaye to your school!
After earning degrees from Haverford College and the University of Chicago, Mr. Springer taught for 35 years at Radnor Middle School in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Early in his career, Mr. Springer developed and taught interdisciplinary humanities, creative writing, and American studies courses. He also co-directed the school’s gifted program for six years before creating, along with co-teacher Ed Silcox, the award-winning Watershed Program, which he taught for 12 years. In 1998, Mr. Springer pushed his student-centered philosophy even further by creating the Soundings Program, an integrative and democratic curriculum for eighth graders. He implemented this curriculum until retiring from the classroom in 2010.
Mr. Springer now serves as a consultant for schools across the United States and around the world. His audiences include private and international schools, as well as public school districts in the US, and he has presented workshops at annual conferences such as AMLE, ELMLE, and SRB. In addition, Mr. Springer has served as a faculty member with several professional development institutes, including five years with AMLE's Institutes for Middle Level Leadership, and 15 years with the Maine Association of Middle Level Educators' MLEI. In addition to other honors, Mr. Springer received AMLE's first Distinguished Educator Award in 2004.
Listen to a podcast interview of Judith Baenen:
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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.
Listen to a podcast interview of Cedrick Gray:
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Dr. Vernita Mayfield is an internationally recognized speaker and consultant on research proven instructional and leadership practices, culturally responsive practices, and innovative school improvement. Prior to founding her consulting firm, Leadervation Learning, Vernita served as a classroom teacher, middle and high school principal, an executive director of schools and successfully managed school improvement grant programs in two state education agencies. While Vernita’s research and experience is grounded in increasing academic success for culturally and linguistically diverse students, she is equally adept in helping schools design innovative approaches for addressing the diverse needs of all students. As the former host of an internet radio program, Vernita interviewed trailblazing people and organizations on the forefront of innovation. The lessons learned from CEO’s of innovative organizations helped her design a research based framework of innovation for schools. Vernita brings a high level of energy, wit, and active participant engagement to her delivery of research proven strategies and has presented at numerous national and international conferences as a keynote and featured speaker.
Vernita holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, an Ed.S. in Educational Administration, and a MBA in Business Administration.
Bring Vernita Mayfield to your school!