2018 Featured Speakers

Keynote Speaker: William Martinez

Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
You Have Changed My Life

Through American Sign Language paired with singing, YOU HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE shares the true story of a boy who grew up in a deaf household with little exposure to TV, radio, or movies. Because of his incredible 8th-grade music teacher, Mrs. Norma Freeman, William came out of his silent world and discovered his voice through music. Watch how ASL (American Sign Language) and song lyrics meld together into a beautifully unique art form. This presentation is a heartwarming celebration of the incredible impact teachers have on each child’s life… regardless of their struggles.

Keynote Speaker: Principal Baruti Kafele

 Thursday, April 5, 2018, 8:30 – 9:40 a.m.
Preparing Teachers for Effectiveness in their Classrooms

A highly-regarded urban public school educator in New Jersey for over twenty years, Principal Baruti Kafele distinguished himself in the classroom and as a school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, Kafele was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.  As a middle and high school principal, he led the transformation of four different New Jersey urban schools, including “The Mighty” Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national acclaim.  An expert in the area of “attitude transformation,” Principal Kafele is the leading authority for providing effective classroom and school leadership strategies toward closing what he coined the “attitude gap.” 

Keynote Speaker: Erin Jones

Friday, April 6, 2018, 3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
Passion for Change

Erin Jones has been involved in education for the past 24 years. She was the first teacher in Washington state to earn alternative certification. She received an award as the Most Innovative Foreign Language Teacher in 2007 while working at Stewart Middle School in Tacoma and was the Washington State Milken Educator of the Year in 2008 while teaching at Rogers High School in Spokane. She received recognition at the White House in March 2013 as a “Champion of Change.” She has served as an instructional coach, as an executive for two State Superintendents and as an administrator at the school district level. She ran as a candidate for State Superintendent in 2016. Jones was the first Black woman to run for any state office in Washington state, a race she lost by a mere 1%. She now devotes her time to consulting and speaking on the urgent need for more diverse and equitable schools and education.