Laura McBain is the K12 Lab Director of Community and Implementation at the Stanford d.school. In this role she leads the K12 Lab network and aims to use design thinking to transform education and the world. As a human-centered designer, her work focuses on understanding the ecosystem of education and finding meaningful opportunities for disruptive design. She is advocate for equity and social justice work and is leading experiments to ensure more students have access to an innovative educational experience that will help them thrive in a changing world.
Mike Walker is currently the Head of School at the San Francisco Day School. Mike moved to California from Honolulu, Hawaii where he served as the K-8 Head at Punahou School for seventeen years. Mike was worked at four independent schools including the American School Foundation in Mexico City, where he grew up. Mike’s doctoral work focused on the neuroscience of learning and leading. He has presented at national, international, and state level conferences and has had articles published in the NAIS Independent School magazine and other journals.
Luke Ritchie is an active board member of the Association of Independent Schools in South Australia and the current Principal of the rapidly expanding Annesley Junior School. Annesley is a progressive independent school where students agentic action is visible in the recruitment of staff, their dynamic start-up businesses, their mentoree relationships with leading global experts, their creative mud and tree-climbing play; and rigorous development of strengths, passions and transversal skills.
Valerie Bayne Carroll has been with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts since 1983. As a Master Teaching Artist, Valerie trains new Institute Teaching Artists and leads teacher professional development workshops in music and drama around the country. She has a BFA in Theater from Boston University, School for the Arts.
Paul Singer joined Assets School in 2008 from The Country School in Los Angeles where he was the Head of School for nearly 30 years. He has served on the faculty at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) since 1975, has a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education, an M.A. in Educational Administration and Supervision, and he completed his doctoral coursework at the University of Southern California in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Singer is currently Assets' Head of School through June 2019 and will remain as Head of School emeritus through June 2020. He will become President of the Board for HAIS in July 2019 and currently serves on the boards of Hanahauoli School and Kahi Mohala - Sutter Health.
Godwin Higa was born and raised on a farm in Kaneohe, Hawaii. He is recently retired and the ex-principal of the first Trauma Informed School in San Diego, Cherokee Point Elementary School. His school was recognized by the Huffington Post/CA Endowment as one of few Trauma Informed Schools in the nation. He has been a principal, with San Diego Unified School District for 20 years in Elementary and Secondary schools. Cherokee Point Elementary School has had zero suspensions/expulsions for the four years.
Bill Bass currently serves as the Innovation Coordinator for Instructional Technology, Information, and Library Media in the Parkway School District in St. Louis, MO and as the President of the ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) Board of Directors. During his 20+ career in education, he has also held positions as an English teacher, adjunct professor, technology integration specialist, instructional coach and consultant. As a speaker, writer and developer, he focuses on systemic and sustainable integration of technology into classrooms at all grade levels and seeks to empower students and teachers with authentic learning experiences. He is often called upon to share his thinking as a speaker and presenter and has been fortunate to learn with educators from around the world. He has also written numerous articles, book chapters and has authored three books, Leading from the Library, From Inspiration to Red Carpet and Digital Reading: What’s essential in grades 3-8.
Christel McGuigan High School Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs at Mid-Pacific Institute. Christel will be the Equity and Diversity Featured Speaker.
Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa is a native of California and is Professor of The Neuroscience of Learning: An Introduction to Mind, Brain, and Education Science at the Harvard University Extension School, and an educational researcher affiliated with the Latin American Social Science Research Faculty (FLACSO) in Quito, Ecuador. She is a former member of the Organisation For Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) expert panel to redefine Teachers’ New Pedagogical Knowledge due to contributions from Technology and Neuroscience and is the founder of Connections: The Learning Sciences Platform, which provides evidence-based resources to teachers. Conexiones and MESH, a UK-based charity, have constructed a new, free, online, evidence-based platform to help fill in gaps of pedagogical knowledge for the 21st century, which was presented to the UNESCO 10th Policy Dialogue on the Teaching Profession in September 2017.
Kate Blanchard,is the Managing Director of the Learner Variability and Special Education Initiative at Teach For America. The Initiative works to propel Teach For America staff and participants forward in their leadership development for systems change and educational equity – particularly when it comes to addressing ableism, and the ways in which it intersects with racism, classism, and other forms of systemic oppression. Kate collaborates with internal and external partners and advocates on disability justice, the neuroscience and theory behind Learner Variability and Universal Design for Learning, and the mindsets, knowledge, and skills leaders need to use the system of special education as a tool of empowerment, rather than a tool of oppression.
Kate has worked in education for more than a decade. She started as an elementary special education teacher in Las Vegas and then moved in teacher coaching, teacher preparation, and special education systems. Kate holds a Juris Doctor, a Master’s degree in Special Education, and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska.
Amber Duonnolo graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science, a Master’s Degree in Education from Wilmington University, and received her Education Specialist’s Degree in School Supervision and Administration from National Louis University. Amber started her teaching career in Clayton, Delaware and relocated to Florida in 2005, to serve as a Specialist in Academic Intervention Education and School Administrator. In 2010, Amber transitioned into educational publishing and sales and has worked to bring high quality educational curriculum, resources and support, to school districts and educational organizations.
Dale Erquiaga is the President and CEO of Communities In Schools, the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization. He previously served as Nevada’s 27th the state’s superintendent of public instruction and as a key advisor to Governor Brian Sandoval. Dale also worked for the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada as executive director of government affairs, public policy & strategic planning. He also served as director of the Nevada State Department of Museums, Library & Arts and was Nevada’s chief deputy secretary of state. His private sector experience includes managing a successful consulting practice and work with an advertising firm in both Nevada and Arizona.
The grandson of Spanish Basque immigrants to America, Dale holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nevada, Reno and a master’s degree in leadership from Grand Canyon University. He is a board member with Buck Institute for Education and the University of Nevada Reno’s Center for Basque Studies. He is a proud father and grandfather.
Ali Nourbakhsh from Rachels Challenge
Southern California/ New Jersey / Loyola Marymount University, Bachelor of Liberal Arts, English & Spanish Literature, Dance / College Athlete - Division 1 Tennis / Multi-Lingual - Spanish, English, Farsi / Writer - Editorial Contributing Writer (Quarter Life Magazine) / Co-Executive Producer/Host - Diablo Heat (Community Docu/News Television Show) / Journalist - Award Winning Documentary premiered on History Channel / Co-Creator - RC Music / Songwriter/Producer / Dance Instructor / Artist/Speaker