Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference

speaker bios

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Katie Bazzani

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Katie Bazzani a K-12 Professional Learning Specialist in Northside ISD working at the district level to provide support to beginning teachers, teacher coaches, and teacher leaders.  She is passionate about providing assistance to teachers in order to ensure that all students have the best learning experience possible. She has taught at the college and high school levels, has worked as a middle school administrator, and currently provides professional learning support to elementary level teachers.  She is currently a Learning Forward Texas presenter of both virtual and in person sessions. Connect with her on Twitter at @KBazzani. 

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Romain Bertrand

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Romain Bertrand is known for his work as an innovative personalized learning leader, consultant, coach and practitioner.  During his 20 years in education he led numerous education innovations including coding and robotics courses, as well as Blended and Personalized Learning programs. He pioneered Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s math blended learning curriculum and was integral to the development of their Multi-Classroom Leader role. Romain has supported hundreds of teachers and in-school coaches across the US to use personalized learning as a tool for equity. He’s presented at numerous conferences including the National Conference of School Superintendents, ISTE and iNACOL. Romain is a well known blogger and has written numerous blogs for EdSurge, Education Next and BetterLesson. He currently serves as the Senior Manager of Innovative Learning Experiences for BetterLesson.

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SUE CHAPMAN

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Sue Chapman, Ed.D. is a professional educator, presenter, and author who has devoted over 40 years to instructional improvement and mathematics education. During her career, Sue is proud to have served as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, district curriculum coordinator, and school administrator. She currently supports the education community as a Coach and Professional Learning Consultant with Math Solutions and an Adjunct Faculty Member with the University of Houston – Clear Lake.

Sue has published numerous articles about professional learning and school improvement in The Learning Professional and Teaching Children Mathematics. She regularly blogs and hosts Twitter Chats about instructional coaching and professional learning. Sue’s passion for teaching and learning and her ability to inspire educators to come together around a shared vision of success have been instrumental in helping schools and districts develop internal capacity to achieve continuous improvement of instruction.

Sue is currently writing a book on mathematics coaching with colleague Mary Mitchell. The book will be published by Math Solutions and is scheduled for release in October 2020. 

You can read Sue’s blog posts and sign up for her newsletter Learning Matters at SueChapmanLearning.com. Connect with her on Twitter @SueChapmanLearn.

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ELITA DRISKILL

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Elita Driskill currently serves as an administrator, consultant, researcher, ICF Professional Certified Coach, and Gallup Certified Strength Coach.   As a middle and high school teacher, instructional coach, RtI testing specialist, district mentor coordinator, Education Service Center regional consultant, Director of Instructional Technology, and Director of Professional Learning,  Driskill has worked with K-12 preservice teachers, support staff, child nutrition staff, teachers, teacher leaders, administrators, and superintendents. She is the author of several professional articles, blogs, vlogs, and co-author of research articles.  In 2015 she became a member of the Learning Forward Texas Board of Directors and President during 2017-2018. Elita served on Learning Forward’s 2018 Dallas Host Committee. Because Elita believes that “a wise teacher makes learning a joy,” she infuses her work with interaction, laughter, and collaboration.  Connect with Elita on Linkedin and Twitter @DriskillElita.

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Arden McLean

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Arden is a Professional Learning Specialist in Northside ISD focused on teacher support, from the district’s newest hires to its teacher leaders.  She loves being able to “pay forward” all the support she received when she first started teaching and as she moved into leadership roles in her district.  She strives to help teachers improve their practice each and every day because, as Jim Knight says, “When teachers stop learning, so do students.”  This year she was added to the LFTX Board of Directors and as a trainer.  Connect with her on Twitter at @arden_mclean.

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mary mitchell

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For more than twenty years, Mary has supported students, teachers, coaches and administrators across the country. For eleven years she worked as a classroom teacher and math coach in a local school district in Cincinnati Ohio. For the last ten years she served a variety of roles with Math Solutions. Currently, she is a part time professional learning consultant with Heinemann. Mary is co-author of the book MathVentures: 33 Teacher-Coach Investigations to Grow Students as Mathematicians. She is passionate about connecting to her roots as an elementary classroom teacher and math coach to collaborate with teachers to build students into budding mathematicians.

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jim knight

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Jim Knight, Senior Partner of ICG, is a research associate at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has spent more than two decades studying instructional coaching, writing several books on the topic.  Jim’s articles on instructional coaching have been included in publications such as The Journal of Staff Development, Principal Leadership, The School Administrator, and Teachers Teaching Teachers. Jim directs several research projects, including Pathways to Success, a comprehensive, district-wide school reform project in the Topeka, Kansas, School District. Jim also leads the Intensive Instructional Coaching Institutes and the Teaching Learning Coaching annual conference. Jim has presented and consulted in more than 40 states, most Canadian provinces, and around the world. He has also won several university teaching, innovation, and service awards.

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Marcus Miller

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Marcus Miller is a Coordinator for Professional Learning in Plano ISD. He has served as a middle school teacher, Digital Learning Specialist, and a Coordinator for Instructional Technology. He is passionate about professional learning, building capacity, and employee wellness. This year he was added to the Learning Forward Texas Board of Directors and a trainer. When he isn't working, he likes cats and video games. Don't ask him about Dungeons and Dragons unless you have a lot of free time.

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DIANE SWEENEY

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Diane Sweeney is a respected voice in the field of instructional coaching. While teaching and coaching in the Denver Public Schools, Diane grew interested in how her coaching could more directly impact student learning. As a result, she has authored Student-Centered Coaching (Corwin, 2011), Student-Centered Coaching at the Secondary Level (Corwin, 2013), Student-Centered Coaching: The Moves (Corwin, 2017), and Leading Student-Centered Coaching (Corwin, 2018). This developing body of work has influenced countless coaches, teachers, and leaders to get more from their coaching efforts.

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Edna Phythian

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Edna Phythian serves in the Plano Independent School District as Coordinator of Professional Learning where she proudly serves teachers and students. She considers being an educator a true honor and is constantly amazed by the work and commitment of students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members on a daily basis. Edna is a member of the Learning Forward Academy Class of 2020. Edna is presently obsessed with fire pits, tiny homes, and uber eats. She may never cook a meal for herself again. If you sit down with Edna, be prepared to share deeply personal details about your life; she wants to know your story.  Edna is currently a Learning Forward Texas presenter.

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JOE SANFELIPPO

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2019 Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo is the Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, WI...home of the Fall Creek Crickets. The Fall Creek School District was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Joe holds a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, an MS in Educational Psychology, an MS in Educational Leadership, and a Ph.D. in Leadership, Learning, and Service. Joe co-hosts the Hacking Leadership Podcast and co-authored The Power of Branding: Telling Your School’s Story, Principal Professional Development: Leading Learning in a Digital Age, and Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love. He was selected as 1 of 117 Future Ready Superintendents in 2014 and 1 of 50 Superintendents as a Personalized Learning Leader by the US Department of Education in 2016. Education Dive named Joe 1 of 5 K-12 Administrators to watch in 2018 and their National Superintendent of the Year in 2019. 

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Eric Sheninger

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Eric is an Associate Partner with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). Prior to this, he was the award-winning Principal at New Milford High School. Under his leadership, his school became a globally recognized model for innovative practices. Eric oversaw the successful implementation of several sustainable change initiatives that radically transformed the learning culture at his school while increasing achievement. His work focuses on leading and learning in the digital age as a model for moving schools and districts forward. This has led to the formation of the Pillars of Digital Leadership, a framework for all educators to initiate sustainable change to transform school cultures. As a result, Eric has emerged as an innovative leader, best selling author, and sought after speaker. His main focus is using research and evidence-based practices to empower learners, improve communications with stakeholders, enhance public relations, create a positive brand presence, discover opportunity, transform learning spaces, and help educators grow professionally in the digital age. Eric has received numerous awards and acknowledgments for his work. He is a CDE Top 30 award recipient, Bammy Award winner, NASSP Digital Principal Award winner, PDK Emerging Leader Award recipient, winner of Learning Forward’s Excellence in Professional Practice Award, Google Certified Innovator, Adobe Education Leader, and ASCD 2011 Conference Scholar.

Monica Washington

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Monica Washington is the Director of Inclusive and Responsive Educational Practice and an instructional coach for BetterLesson supporting teachers and education leaders across the country as they make positive shifts in instruction and leadership. A decorated educator of twenty-three years, Monica has received honors and awards from a wide variety of organizations for her leadership, advocacy, and classroom instruction. She is a 2015 Milken Unsung Hero Fellow and a 2015 NEA Foundation Global Fellow. In addition to instructional coaching, Monica supports teachers through workshops, speaking engagements, and blogging for Education Week and Education Post. Her, “4 Things Great Principals Don’t Do,” was the most read and shared Education Week opinion post of 2017. She is passionate about creating equitable and inclusive school environments that celebrate teacher and student voice, and she serves as a Leading Educator Ambassador for Equity for the Education Civil Rights Alliance. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the National Education Association Foundation and The National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Monica is the 2014 Texas Teacher of the Year.