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.
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Linda Hopping is the state director of the Georgia Schools to Watch Program, the chair of the National Forum's Schools to Watch program, lead trainer for the National Forum Early Warning Indicator project, and a school coach in California. She is a former middle grades teacher, assistant principal, principal, and middle grades staff development coordinator in Georgia. While principal at Crabapple Middle School, she established two multiage teams that were highly successful. Ms. Hopping has served on the board of trustees of AMLE as well as on the AMLE Foundation Board. She also has served as president and executive director of the Georgia Middle School Association. She is one of two authors and a lead consultant for the AMLE School Improvement Assessment. She has presented at state and national conferences and has worked as an educational trainer, lecturer, and consultant.
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Gail Heinemeyer has worked for the Ridley School District in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 1972. She has been a classroom teacher, team leader, coach, assistant principal and principal of Ridley Middle School for 17 years. Currently she serves as Director of Support Services, with a variety of responsibilities including overseeing new teacher induction, gifted education, ESL services, counselors, nurses, and the student assistance program. Gail is also responsible for state reporting, child accounting, residency and enrollment. She also maintains the district website and cable TV system. Gail was a long time member of the Pennsylvania Middle Level Association State Board, serving two terms as president. Gail has presented at the state and national level and has been on the AMLE Institutes for Middle Level Leadership Faculty since 2004.
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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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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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Judith Conk is an educator who has taught and administered at all levels of education from preschool to graduate school in a career that spans almost 40 years. Working in both urban and suburban settings, the school systems she has led as a principal, assistant superintendent, and for 16 years, superintendent, have won recognition for their outstanding educational programs that recognize the individual in each student. She presently heads her own educational consulting firm, Consulting for Results, with varied national and international partnerships spanning PreK-University level education and concentrating on leadership, teaching and learning, middle grades, and the arts. She also serves as an adjunct professor for University of Massachusetts - Amherst.
A frequently requested speaker, author, professional developer, and school coach, Mrs. Conk has spoken and written on a variety of topics. She has worked extensively with schools in the area of curriculum development for the 21st century. She served on the national selection committee to select the Disney Teacher of the Year. She was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Service Award for Educational Leadership from the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, following a similar award at the county level. Mrs. Conk also received a Governor’s Award in Arts Education as Outstanding Superintendent of the Year.
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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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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.
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