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. 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.
Listen to a podcast interview of Kim Campbell:
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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!
Charles Beaman was a middle school English teacher and principal for 30 years, consults frequently for Staff Development for Educators, and works with schools nationally and internationally. He recently studied international educational practices in Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Finland. A dynamic and energetic speaker, Charles is known for his practical and humorous presentations.
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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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