NAAC is excited to announce the featured speakers for the 2017 annual conference. Luis Cruz will be the opening keynote speaker on Thursday, March 16 at 8:30 am, and Lee Watanabe Crockett will give the luncheon address that afternoon. The closing general session speaker, on Saturday March 18 at 11 am, will be Sonja Hollins Alexander.
Dr. Luis F. Cruz is the former principal of Baldwin Park High School, located east of Los Angeles. He has been a teacher and administrator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. In 2007, Cruz led a collective effort to secure a $250,000 grant for Baldwin Park for the purpose of effectively utilizing “courageous leadership” to promote a more equitable and effective organization. He and a committee of teacher leaders at Baldwin Park received California’s prestigious Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association for significantly closing the achievement gap between the general student population and students learning English as a second language. Since becoming a public school educator, Dr. Cruz has won the New Teacher of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Administrator of the Year, and other community leadership awards. As a recipient of the Hispanic Border Leadership Institute’s fellowship for doctoral studies, he earned a doctorate in institutional leadership and policy studies from the University of California Riverside. He earned an associate’s degree from Mount San Antonio Community College, a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton, and a master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University.
Lee Watanabe Crockett is an author, speaker and the creative force behind some of the most exciting transformations in education happening worldwide today. He is the co-founder of the Global Digital Citizen Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating responsible, ethical, global citizens for a digital world. The GDCF works with educators in many countries helping them develop modern learning environments in their schools and classrooms, ones that guide students toward taking ownership for their learning. Along with creating digital learning tools for the education sector, Crockett has adapted his own corporate experience into a dynamic team-based training model. He is the co-author of Understanding the Digital Generation, The Digital Diet, Living on the Future Edge, and the best-seller, Literacy is not Enough.
Dr. Sonja Hollins Alexander leads professional development for educators and provides coaching for school leaders. In her 22 years as an educator, she has served as a teacher, social worker, assistant principal, principal, assistant director, and director of professional learning for the DeKalb County School District in Atlanta. She has led initiatives in policy development, instructional design, curriculum development, teacher and leader performance evaluations and more. Alexander has extensive experience in the development and use of online professional development for teachers and leaders, and is the author of Online Professional Development through Virtual Learning Communities.