Featured Speakers

KASA is proud to bring you the nation's leading education experts to KASA's 55th annual leadership institute. They will spend the day leading concurrent education sessions. *More information to come

Changing Mindset of Individuals, Schools, Children, and Community
Academic failure is swarming the country and immersing all children in a lifetime of drowning struggle. Something needs to be done! Dr. Miller has been in education for over 22 years and has developed systems that work to make sure young Black and Hispanic children have the ability to achieve and reach college. In his previous placement, with the help of his team, they have consistently achieved graduation rates over 95 percent, 100 percent acceptance to college, and millions of dollars in scholarship money for over 97 percent of young men of color. Dr. Miller identifies several factors that currently hold children back from succeeding and provide strategies as to how We Can Do Better as individuals, families, communities, and as educators. Dr. Miller will teach how mindset is the key and what needs to be done to move it towards thinking like a champion, instead of allowing failure.

High Impact Communication
After working in the schools for 20 years, being married to a teacher for 26 years, and traveling all over the country speaking to students and staff, Scott understands the issues facing our schools today. And every one of those issues can be improved or made worse depending upon how we communicate. In this impactful presentation, Scott will teach you what you need to know to make sure you are heard in our noisy, cancel-culture world. Are you afraid of speaking up because you are concerned you will say the WRONG thing? This session is for you! Learn the tactics to speak up, share your message, and lead with confidence.

On Time and Ready to Learn: Decreasing Tardies and Boosting Engagement
In this early-morning session (which will start right on time!), participants will learn how to structure your school to reduce tardies, increase instructional engaged time, and increase positive interactions between staff and students. Whether it is addressing those students who come late to school each day, or those students who trickle into class after the bell throughout the day, learn practical strategies for helping address this common and often frustrating problem.

Tackling Attendance Challenges: Universal Prevention and Function-Based Intervention
Chronic absenteeism is a pervasive problem that is negatively impacting the academic and behavioral success of far too many students in our schools. In this session, participants will learn how to apply a multi-tiered approach, using universal prevention at the schoolwide and class wide level to boost the attendance of all students, and using functional-behavioral approaches for Tier 2 and 3 intervention to support students with more resistant concerns. Participants will leave with a variety of samples from schools that have seen dramatic increases in student attendance using this multi-tiered approach.

Moving Beyond the 'Bless Your Heart' Mentality
In this session, Emily relates to the hardships teachers face day in and day out, while simultaneously reminding us that grit and compassion are the two most important traits an effective teacher must hold onto. When we fall prey to allowing difficulties to become an excuse for not giving our everything, we sell ourselves short of ever reaching the mission of education: helping every child reach success. By the end of this session, you will learn how to unlock the key to connecting with all kids, even those who seem unreachable, and you will be ready to retire the overused ‘bless your heart’ phrase and replace it with three powerful, life changing words: ‘whatever it takes’.

Building Brain Healthy Schools and Districts
Dr. Nussbaum teaches the foundational and historical context for understanding brain health and its application to the human brain. Critical to this understanding are key concepts of neural plasticity, neurogenesis and brain resilience. While safety is a primary need, development of a brain healthy school recognizes and applies basic principles on the neuroscience of learning and processing with factors of socialization, mental stimulation, physical activity, stress reduction, and nutrition. A discussion of integrative curriculum that uses multisensory input and output together with using differences in brain function based on gender, age, and passion are highlighted. In all, the maturation of the school building into a Brain Healthy School with enriched environments is possible.

Psychological Aspects of Covid-19 on Education and Life: Progress and Resilience
The COVID-19 pandemic has infected over 31 million Americans resulting in over 560,000 deaths to date. Equally significant is the fact that nearly all Americans (333 million) have been affected psychologically and behaviorally. We have lived for over a year in an environment ripe with chronic stress that is known to negatively affect mental health, physical health, and brain health (learning). Indeed, the rise in mental health symptoms and disorders is significant and this is particularly true of children and young adults. Social isolation, limited peer interaction, increased sedentary behavior, reduced learning, poor nutritional intake, and loss of control has resulted in anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, sleep disorder, loneliness, loss of hope, and even suicidality. This session underscores the psychological impact of COVID-19 including its effects on the educational system, students, teachers, and families. Practical ideas are proposed for the education system to assist if not lead in underscoring the importance of mental health not only on learning but also on living.
A Leadership Strategy: Put Your Oxygen Mask on First
The health and well-being of school leaders are often overlooked in the literature, leadership preparation programs, and professional learning opportunities. School leaders are asked and encouraged to make the health and well-being of students, teachers, and staff a priority, even as their own health and well-being are increasingly getting worse. School leaders will learn about practical strategies that can help them improve their health, well-being, and effectiveness as educational leaders.

Circles: An Engineered Path to Growing Empathy
Circles are an ancient tribal practice stretching back over 400,000 years. They are designed for listening, sharing, and creating communities through security and small shared moments of vulnerability. Sweethearts & Heroes believes incorporating Circles into your school’s daily culture is a vital necessity. Over the past decade, we’ve innovated our unique and signature culture and community-building Circles to help individuals and groups grow empathetically and learn to cope with everyday challenges, bringing benefits academically, professionally, and socially. Join Tom Murphy and discover how Circles build the “human skills” many of us have begun to lose in our increasingly technological and emotionally disconnected world. Infused with the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making, and relationship skills, learn how Circles germinate empathy and compassion in both students and educators through intentional and measurable means.

Adversity: "Make it the best thing that has ever happened to you"
It’s a difficult thing to turn what we perceive as negatives into positives. We often look at the challenges we face as setbacks and concentrate on what we’ve lost rather than the opportunities adversity presents. Rick has endured hopelessness few will ever know, but he can honestly say his life is better now than it ever has been, even though it didn’t have to be. Holding on to the possibilities that existed after getting blown up in Iraq while serving our country was the hardest thing Rick ever did. Still, the only thing he would change about that day would be to bring back his fellow brother-in-arms and friend, Sergeant Luis Montes.
While few of us will ever know what it means to be this hopeless, we all endure struggle and adversity at some level. Rick’s story, while tragic in parts, is not a story of tragedy. It is a story of HOPE, heart, and the resiliency of the human spirit. It proves that even in the darkest moments of your life, the seeds of greatness and happiness are planted … if you choose to see them.
Today, Rick brings HOPE to millions of kids and adults across the country. Learn how Rick rediscovered his purpose, found the acceptance we all seek, and turned the most difficult thing that ever happened to him into the best thing that ever happened to him.

Leading with Trust
In order to provide long-term, effective leadership, leaders must ensure that every action and interaction fosters trust among and between all constituents. Accessing more than 30 years of observations and anecdotes of highly-effective leaders – as well as those who have stumbled at times - the audience is engaged in a meaningful and entertaining overview of the steps they can take to begin building trust as soon as they return to their office/school/organization.

Leading with Balance: Personal wellness takes your leadership to the next level
How often do you hear leaders say, “I just don’t have time to take care of myself.” Working longer should not be a badge of honor; working smarter should be, and leaders must care for themselves to best care for others. You must be healthy – physically, mentally, intellectually, and spiritually – if you are to give others your best and grow the trust, they have in you. And you can do it! This presentation provides concrete suggestions that can be employed starting tomorrow to set you on a course to feeling better yourself - and being better for others.

Everything You Need to Know about ChatGPT: The Hottest (and Scariest) Technology of 2023 
Just a few months ago, a plain little website shared a free “Research Preview” of ChatGPT, and the world as we know it changed forever. ChatGPT can write whole essays from a simple text prompt, formulate 100 social media post ideas from a single sentence, create computer code with just a description and compose poetry and songs in any artist's style in milliseconds. It'll create a summary from a long legal document, recommend resources for research and, by the time you read this, make your bed and bring you coffee. For school professionals, the capabilities are endless, as are the challenges. With this type of AI tool, there are ethical issues, legal issues, bias issues, quality issues, creativity issues, copyright issues, issue issues... and issues we haven't even considered. Join Beth Z, Your Nerdy Best Friend, for an in-depth look at ChatGPT and similar tools to discover:

Where did it come from?
How does it work?
What can it do?
Who does it hurt?
And, most importantly... How far can it go?

Tech Tools For Serious Self Care 
In the insanity of today’s world, you're busier than ever with deals, kids, health checks, high stress and exhaustion. Even though you're being pulled in every direction by everyone and everything, if you don't take time to keep your head on straight, you won't be able to be the leader you are. Join Your Nerdy Best Friend, author/speaker Beth Z, for a nerd's take on self care. Using today's technology, you can integrate tools and apps into your routine that will help you get more work done in less time. You'll discover resources to help you overcome the crippling effects of stress and overwork. And best of all, Beth Z's tools are free or darn cheap. This is the can't-miss program that will help you stay sane through the crises we’re all facing.

Update your ideas on what meditation is in the modern age with tech resources for specific, sanity-saving sessions.
Discover easy tools that help you organize your day and manage your life.
Find ways to streamline and offload the time-sucking little tasks that drive you crazy.

Understand your options for mental health maintenance online and on your schedule.

Tackle Your Technology To-Do List (in 10 Minutes or Less!) 
This is a bad day with technology:
· You can’t find a file you need.
· You delete a file you need.
· You can’t open a file you need.
· You forget the password to get to a file you need.
· The file you need is on a website that won’t load.

This is a good day with technology:
Your Nerdy Best Friend teaches you ten-minute fixes for these issues and more!

Author Beth Z is a technology therapist with solutions to some of life’s most frustrating tech problems. This program highlights the top technological frustrations you share with other [industry] professionals and offers quick fixes that take 10 minutes or less to end your tech headaches and let you move on with your life.

Creating Schools That Kids are Excited to Attend
Looking to break through at your school?  Want to have that amazing school setting that so many hear about, yet few can reach? Have a desire to have a lasting, deep impact at your school community? Collaborate, share, and grow with Andrew Marotta as he leads this powerful conversation about creating an amazing school setting.  Topics include:
Bringing amazing energy each day.
Creating student voice & choice.
Using technology & social media to tell your story.
Inspect what you expect, being present, being intentional.
Build a beautiful school setting and keep it that way!
Smile, humor, and finding the joy in it all.
You can’t do it alone either.  Andrew will brainstorm, converse, and share about not only strategies you can do as the leader, and how to build collective commitments from stakeholders.

Brain Break and Mindful Movements
Take a short break to rejuvenate your mind and body with some deep breathing, meditation and gentle movements. Relieve strain on your neck, back and shoulders from sitting all day! Come as you are... no special clothing needed.

Mindful Movement for Your Workday
Learning simple yoga poses (stretches) and breathing techniques you can do at your desk to decrease the stress and tension on your body from spending long hours at your desk. These movements will help reduce tension in your neck, shoulders, back, wrists, and hips and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to focus. Come as you are.. no special clothing needed.

No Fail Recipe for Work-Life Balance: How to Avoid Burnout and Increase Focus, Productivity, and Fulfillment
Learn the techniques used by successful and highly respected leaders to balance the stresses of work and life, needed now more than ever. Implementing these tangible routines and habits is a sure-fire way to have more energy, focus, productivity, and be able to calmly tackle the stresses of work and life.

The #1 Stress Reduction Technique Every Leader Should Master
Reducing your chronic stress has far reaching impacts in your work and home environments, Chronic stress is one of the leading causes of illness, burnout, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and general unhappiness with life. Discover how and why this one simple technique can greatly reduce your levels of stress in the movement, as well as the long-term health and wellness benefits with regular practice. It's simple enough for children to learn that it can be implemented system wide.

Discover Your Superpower: Developing Leadership and Social-Emotional Skills with Global Game Changers
Join us to learn about Global Game Changers’ research-based, innovative, and FREE Pre-K through 5th grade Student Empowerment Program. Using interactive activities, learn how we use superheroes, service learning, leadership, and talent development as tools to nurture children’s social, emotional, and academic growth in-school, afterschool, and at-home to ensure lifelong success. Explore our online educator portal, receive engaging tools, and have access to our FREE teacher-tested turnkey curriculum that includes professional development and evaluation resources.