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General Sessions

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GENERAL SESSION KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Craig Zablocki

Craig Zablocki has spoken to well over one million people internationally, in all 50 states, and across industries. With a background as an inner-city teacher, and a lion- hearted passion to make a positive difference, Craig’s influence in the education arena has been significant with educators, administrators, superintendents, boards, pupil transportation, school nutrition folks, and students. Craig’s direct and highly interactive style, relevant, timely message, his positive humor, and his authentic approach draws out the highest in each person.

A past inner-city teacher prior to speaking, Craig was the first outside speaker invited to address the students at Columbine after the 1999 tragedy. Though his keynotes and trainings, Craig has impacted hundreds of school districts across the U.S. and Canada. Craig was invited twice to address the Association of Teacher Educators (these are 1,800 Professors who teach our teachers), and they were astounded with Craig’s fresh perspectives. Craig was voted (twice) in the top 2% of the best 150 speakers in the U.S. by the National Society of Human Resource Managers (14,000 voting members).

Craig Zablocki

Ravi Hutheesing

Ravi's journey as a rock star, aviator, cultural diplomat for the US Department of State, and keynote speaker is an inspiring example of how to pivot and succeed in an ever-changing world.

He is the first American-born descendant of India’s first family (which includes prime ministers Nehru and Gandhi), but his worldwide visibility skyrocketed in 1997 as the guitarist of triple-Grammy-nominee, Hanson, performing at the White House, Madison Square Garden, Saturday Night Live, Today Show, and more.

Ravi later became a pilot and aviation speaker helping the industry attract new student pilots, and in 2015, the US Department of State began sponsoring his cultural programs in Russia, Indonesia, Iraq, and Lebanon.

A highly respected keynote speaker in education leadership, Ravi is also the founder of Ravi Unites Schools—a large network of international K-12 schools whose classes participate in peer-to-peer real-time audio-video interactions—and author of PIVOT: Empowering Students Today to Succeed in an Unpredictable Tomorrow.

 

Ravi Hutheesing

Dr. Randy Watson

Dr. Randy Watson was named Commissioner of Education by the Kansas State Board of Education in November 2014, while he was still serving as Superintendent of McPherson schools, USD 418. During his tenure with the Kansas State Department of Education, Dr. Watson has rapidly become known for his visionary leadership to position Kansas as an innovator in rethinking a century-old school model. The Kansans Can vision to lead the world in the success of each student continues to drive the work of the Kansas State Board and the state education agency. Among the forward-thinking initatives are balancing the emphasis between academic test scores and the characteristics Kansans identified as ensuring student success. Dr. Watson was instrumental in introducing statewide outcomes for social-emotional growth, kindergarten readiness, individual plans of study, graduation attainment and postsecondary success. Commissioner Watson has been recognized nationally for guiding student-focused, personalized learning through the Kansans Can School Redesign Project, which fuels the State Board’s vision for education. Five cohorts of systems are currently engaged in the redesign process to tailor instruction to students’ strengths, needs and interests.

Dr. Rany Watson