Inaugural Principal's Summit:
Surviving & Thriving

KASA's Inaugural Principal's Summit!

Keynote Session
The Principal: Surviving & Thriving with Andrew Marotta
In this session, Andrew Marotta will invigorate you, challenge you, and inspire you. He will share stories, tips, hacks, and experiences from his book: The Principal: Surviving & Thriving. This high-
energy, enthusiastic presentation will be interactive, reflective, and purposeful for you, to help you in your role as a school leader. No one promised you that the job would be easy, but Andrew will help you make it more manageable, fun, and rewarding.

Attendees will receive a copy of Andrew's book -
The Principal: Surviving and Thriving.

Also, be sure to check out Andrew's blog,
Education Leadership and Beyond 
#SurviveThrive  #KeepRolling


Spending time away with colleagues for a much needed break will give you the energy you need to finish the year strong. Pouring into yourself is one of the best things you can do for your school family."
~ Kara Davies, principal at Clark County Schools


Concurrent Education Sessions

1. Document, Document, Document…and Don’t Forget to Write it Down  
Retired superintendent, Jon Ballard will guide participants through the process of documentation.  Jon draws upon his experience as an HR director & superintendent to share the legal requirements and pitfalls of employee documentation.  These clear and concise guiding principles will make it easy for an administrator to protect themselves.

2. Kentucky High School Athletic Association Updates Commissioner Julian Tackett will provide participants with updates in the world of athletics, including a recap of the fall sports season as well as a preview of what winter sports will look like.

3. Unflip The Lid and Unpush the Button: Your Quick Fix Guide to Calm, Cool, And Collected
Attend this session, led by Kara Davies, Ed.D. (principal, Clark County Preschool) and Renee Wright (principal, Breckinridge County), to pick up some easy to implement tips and tricks for meeting the immediate social, emotional, and behavioral needs of your school community. Participants will learn new strategies, have the opportunity to practice, and share their own strategies to calm individuals of all ages and abilities. Kara is a school leader, mindfulness coach, presenter, and curriculum developer who has plenty experience in a variety of educational settings. Renee is an elementary principal, presenter, and a Ruby Payne Certified Emotional Poverty Trainer, who has a passion for social emotional learning, school culture and community.

4. Kagan Strategies for Social Emotional Development in the Classroom
In this session, Josh Matthews (principal, Logan County), Kelly Lewis (counselor, Logan County), and Christy Lucas (assistant principal, Logan County) will take you on a cooperative learning journey highlighting how Kagan strategies can be utilized for social-emotional development in the classroom. This will be an interactive session where the participants will leave with Kagan strategies that can be implemented immediately.

5. Building on A Pandemic Success Story to Keep Early Learners Thriving: A KASA-Waterford Partnership
How did nearly 300 Kentucky preschoolers thrive during a pandemic and enter kindergarten prepared after a year of preschool closures? The Waterford Upstart program is an in-home kindergarten readiness program that provides children with an explicit, adaptive reading, math, and science curriculum. Additionally, their families receive coaching to engage them early in their child’s learning journey. All of this is provided free to families thanks to an Audacious Grant from the TED Organization in support of In this session, you will learn:
What the Waterford Upstart program is
The demographics, participation metrics, and results of the 2020-2021 program in Kentucky
How you can continue the momentum in your school with K-2 students 
Come learn about this successful pilot. 

6. Things You Wish Someone Had Told You in Principal School
Principals learn critically important skills and content during their training but even the best principal preparation program can’t prepare candidates for some of the unusual scenarios they will encounter in the field. This session, led by Wayne Young, KASA General Counsel, will focus on the infrequent but often delicate and even volatile situations principals are almost certain to experience on the job.

7. Assessment and Accountability Update
Description forthcoming

8. Reflection: The School Safety and Resiliency Act Two Years of Implementation

Ben Wilcox and Jon Akers will share their perspectives regarding how the implementation of the SSRA has been received by local school district personnel. They will review the successes and challenges that school officials faced (and continue to face) when applying these new safety standards in our public schools.

9. In Between Sessions Learn the Importance of Brain Breaks
A brain break is a short mental break, typically limited to five minutes, taken during classroom instruction and works best when incorporating physical movement. The essential purpose for a brain break is to get students refocused and ready to learn again. Led by Amber Parker, principal at Ballard County Schools.

10. Unleashing the Power of Positivity in Challenging Times
As school administrators continue to navigate the recovery response to the pandemic, there is no better time to face the future with positivity. This session, lead by Rhonda Neal Waltman, Ed.D., will honor administrators where they are and  focus on the positive conditions for learning we need to move forward. Participants will leave with strategies that maximize support staff and uplift teachers.


Sometimes we have to slow down in order to go faster. This conference is about slowing down, renewing ourselves, and growing as leaders. I would encourage all the principals around the state to attend. The learning and energy that we will gain from one another will be invaluable moving forward.
~ Josh Matthews, principal at Logan County Schools


Meet the Speakers
Andrew Marotta is an energetic and enthusiastic school leader who has put his positive imprint on his beloved school, Port Jervis HS, in Port Jervis, NY.  With the release of his first book, THE PRINCIPAL: Surviving & Thriving, Andrew is looking to expand his impact to others. Andrew has led the transformation of PJHS helping raise the graduation rate from the low 60 percent to the mid to upper 80 percent. There is a positive change of mindset among staff and students directly related to Mr. Marotta’s leadership in and around the school.

Jon Akers has always, and continues to, had a passion for education. Jon has served as the Executive Director for the Kentucky Center for School Safety since his appointment in December of 2000 and has 50 years of experience in public education. Since 1999, Jon has served as a Kentucky Leadership Academy coach (mentoring 40 principals) and Scholastic Auditor for the Kentucky Department of Education. He is also a national trainer of Emergency Management for the United States Department of Education.

Jon Ballard began his education career as a high school mathematics teacher at Elizabethtown High School where he taught for 10 years. He moved to Barren County to become assistant principal at Barren County Middle School, and quickly moved into the role of principal at Eastern Elementary School (a pace-setter school) before returning to Hardin County. He then served as assistant superintendent for the Elizabethtown Independent Schools from 2005 until 2007 and as associate superintendent for human resources with the Hardin County Schools until 2013 when he was named superintendent of Elizabethtown Ind. He served in this role until he retired in 2020. Jon currently serves KASA members as a membership engagement specialist. 

Kara Davies, Ed.D. is a school leader, mindfulness coach, educator, presenter, and curriculum developer. She is currently the principal at Clark County Preschool and holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, and an MBA. Dr. Davies has worked in a variety of educational settings including preschool, high school, college, and an interactive educational center known as the Explorium. She is interested in social emotional development and has developed a mindfulness curriculum for educators in her work with The Be Project.

Kelly Lewis 
is currently the School Counselor at Lewisburg School in Logan County and she has grown the comprehensive counseling program by implementing multi-tiered systems, collaborating with community leaders, and eliciting social emotional practices school wide for teachers and students. Being an advocate for students and mental health has been her priority as she continues to grow as an educator.

Christy Lucas' educator journey has been at Lewisburg School. She has served as an EBD teacher (4 years), LBD special education teacher (5 years), K-5 reading interventionist (3 years), R180 teacher (8 years), School Counselor (2.5 years), and currently the assistant principal (4 years). 

Josh Matthews, Ed.D. is currently the principal at Lewisburg School. Lewisburg is recognized as a Schools to Watch school and in 2019, they were a 5-star growth school. During his tenure at the school, Lewisburg has focused on project-based learning, cooperative learning, and standards-based grading. Josh is an adjunct faculty member at the University of the Cumberlands and Campbellsville University. 

Steve Kunberger comes from a family of educators and is a husband and father to three very different learners. Steve is currently the director of school relations at and has been immersed in educational technology and partnering with districts throughout the Midwest to implement personalized learning solutions to address the incredibly diverse needs of learners for over 25 years.

Amber Parker is currently in her 22nd year in education, and her seventh year as principal of Ballard County Middle School. Before stepping into her role as principal, she served as BCMS assistant principal, as well as the district athletic director. A member of KASA, Amber serves on the annual leadership institute planning committee and is also a member of the Kentucky Women of Educational Leadership.   

Julian Tackett was named commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) in 2010. Prior to taking the top position at KHSAA, Julian served as the association's sports information director (1984-1991), business affairs director (1991-1994), and assistant commissioner (1994-2010). 

Ben Wilcox is a 22-year law enforcement veteran who has spent most of his career training and educating police officers from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Ben began his law enforcement career in 1999 as deputy sheriff in Montgomery County Kentucky. He was assigned to the Montgomery County School District as their first school resource officer following the Columbine killings. As of July 1, 2019, Ben has been appointed to the School Security Marshals position.

Renee Wright is an elementary school principal, presenter, and a Ruby Payne Certified Emotional Poverty Trainer. She is the principal at Custer Elementary School in Breckinridge County. Renee is currently working to complete her Doctorate in Educational Leadership. She has a passion for social emotional learning, school culture and community, and leading professional development sessions for other educators.

February 22

Register Now


Hyatt Regency Hotel
320 W. Jefferson St., Louisville
For Lodging, click here  or call
(502) 581-1234 and be sure to 
ask for the KASA room block rate
($113 per night). Make reservations
by February 4, 2022 to receive the
KASA discounted rate. 

Thanks to Our Partners

$199 KASA Members
$249 Nonmembers
*Includes welcome event, lunch, attendee gifts, and a copy of Andrew Marotta's book, The Principal: Surviving & Thriving.

Tentative Schedule:
February 21, 2022
7:30 p.m. Thrive: A welcome & hospitality event 

February 22, 2022
8:30 a.m. Coffee and Conversation
9:00 a.m. General Session: Surviving & Thriving with Andrew Marotta 
11:45 a.m. Networking Lunch
12:30 p.m. Concurrent Education Session 1
1:20 p.m. Brain Break & Refreshments
1:40 p.m. Concurrent Education Session 2
2:30 p.m. Closing Session
3:00 p.m. Summit Concludes

Cancellation Policy
Written cancellation requests received before February 9, 2022 will receive a refund minus $39 cancellation fee. Written cancellation requests received on or after February 9, 2022 will not be refunded. Written cancellation requests must be sent to