2024 Keynote Speakers

Jo Boaler is a Professor of Mathematics Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Boaler is involved in promoting reform mathematics and equitable mathematics classrooms. She is the co-founder and faculty director of youcubed, a Stanford centre that offers free mathematics education resources to teachers, students, and parents. She is the author of nine books, including Limitless Mind (2019), Mathematical Mindsets (2016), What's Math Got To Do With It? (2009), and The Elephant in the Classroom (2010), all written for teachers and parents to improve mathematics education in both the US and the UK.

Dr. Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and a professor in Educational Leadership at the Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne in Australia. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the International Academy of Education. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and nearly 40 books, including Duck and Cover: Confronting and Correcting Dubious Practices in Education (w R. Ginsberg) (2023), Improbable Probabilities: The Unlikely Journey of Yong Zhao (w G. W. McDiarmid) (2023), Learning for Uncertainty:  Teaching Students in a Rapidly Evolving World (w G. W. McDiarmid) (2022), Learners without Borders (2021), Teaching Students to Become Self-Determined Learners (w M. Wehmeyer) (2021), An Education Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste: How Radical Changes Can Spark Student Excitement and Success (2019). He has also worked with numerous schools to design new models of education within the existing school.

2024 Featured Speakers

Jason Bragg

Jason Bragg changed careers to become a middle/high school math teacher over twenty years ago, because he loved to see children understand math in new and exciting ways. He then served as a district math coach and curriculum specialist for six years to help his fellow teachers lead their students down the same path. For the past five years, Jason has taken his passion to the road as an independent consultant for various school districts around North and Central America. Although originally from Colorado, he lives in Florida with his wife and three teenage daughters. 

Dr. Monica Burns is an EdTech and Curriculum Consultant, author of EdTech Essentials (ASCD, 2021) and former New York City public school teacher. She works with schools and organizations around the world to support PreK-20 educators with thoughtful technology integration. Monica’s website ClassTechTips.com and Easy EdTech Podcast helps educators place “tasks before apps” by promoting deeper learning with technology. 

Annie Gentithes is a fifth grade social studies and Project teacher at Duke School. After earning her psychology and educational studies degree from Denison University and her Master of Education from DePaul University, Annie has spent her twenty-five-year teaching career in progressive independent schools. In addition to being a Project Approach staff developer, she has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on inquiry-based learning. Her favorite part about working at Duke School is the robust collaboration and professional development with other educators, particularly around issues of equity and justice. Annie and her family enjoy traveling, spending me outside, and indulging in Durham’s local food scene.

Heather Greene has been teaching third grade at Duke School for twelve years. With 20 years of experience in teaching grades 2-4 and 6th and 7th grade language arts, she has a passion for action research and literacy. Heather has her master’s degree in K-12 Literacy Instruction from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Elon University. She’s worked for three years as a research assistant, studying how reading identities are shaped in adolescents. Heather has presented about both her work in research and at Duke School at state and national conferences. She loves teaching at Duke School and considers herself lucky that her children are being educated in a place that prioritizes curiosity, creativity, and student agency. 

Janis Heigl

For over 40 years, math consultant and CEO of the Educational Solutions Team, Janis Heigl, has set educational standards at their highest. As a graduate of Oregon State University and Pacific Oaks College, Janis developed her local connections by teaching at schools across the state of Washington, as well as districts in Illinois, Oregon, and Columbia, South America. School districts across Washington, including Spokane, Vancouver, Tacoma, and Yakima, have utilized her skills to enforce a high level of standards-based instruction, increasing WASL scores and cultivating the skills and understanding of mathematics educators. As an educational consultant, Janis spends time developing a customized mathematics program for each school district by adhering to district needs and goals, reviewing standards-based instruction, and coaching team leaders. By creating a three-year relationship with each school district, she utilizes the opportunity to review WASL requirements, as well as current educational practices, to determine the most efficient and effective math curriculum for that district.

Michael Hernandez is an award-winning teacher, author, and international speaker in Los Angeles whose work focuses on digital and civic literacy, social justice, and student-centered learning experiences. His new book about authentic learning, Storytelling With Purpose: Digital Projects To Ignite Student Curiosity, leverages student passion to solve some of the biggest challenges educators face, like low student engagement and artificial intelligence. 

As a trusted expert, Michael has worked with schools, tech startups, non-profits, and corporations to develop their brand and engage their stakeholders. His podcast and monthly newsletter about innovation, Change The Narrative, has a global audience of thousands. Michael is an Apple Distinguished Educator, PBS Digital Innovator, Adobe Education Leader, and Lindblad/ National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. Find him on Linked In, Instagram at @changing.the.narrative and www.michael-hernandez.net

Renee Smith holds an associate degree in early childhood education from Durham Technical Community College and a bachelor’s in public health education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She has worked with children and families in an array of facets since 1993.  Renee has been working with and teaching the Project Approach to Preschool age children at Duke School since 2010.

Heidi Tringali is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, speaker, writer, and the mother of two adult children. Heidi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education and Psychology from Hastings College and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University. She has practiced as an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years. She provides training and education to faculty and families on topics related to classroom success and maximizing student performance. 

Jorge Valenzuela is a highly sought-after and well-regarded performance and education coach, author, and speaker at Lifelong Learning Defined. He got his start in education and has helped countless educators improve their instructional leadership and teaching skills. Jorge specializes in emphasizing instructional innovation through action research and is a trusted deliverer of reputable professional training in collaborative team building, core instruction, project-based learning, STEM pathways, entrepreneurship, and life skills integration across the curriculum. He partners with corporate executives and superintendents and provides professional development on behalf of ASCD, Corwin, Premiere Speakers Bureau, and Solution Tree. He has authored several books and is the Lifelong Learning Defined podcast host.

Meet Tony Vincent, a seasoned educator and innovator. Tony's journey began 25 years ago when he started teaching 5th grade in Omaha, Nebraska. Tony's passion for education technology eventually led him to become self-employed, and he now speaks at conferences and works with teachers and students worldwide. Despite this, he has always remained committed to his roots in teaching.

Cathy Williams is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of youcubed. Previously, Cathy taught High School mathematics for 18 years before becoming a district, county, and state mathematics leader. Cathy is an author of the nine-book series Mindset Mathematics, Visualizing and Investigating Big Ideas. Currently, Cathy creates content and professional development for youcubed a research center at Stanford University.