Registration is Now Closed

October 11–13, 2018
Denver, CO


General Session Speakers

Thursday, October 11


Increasing Access to 21st Century Learning in Rural Education
Spark your thinking with this series of TED-talk style presentations by nationally-recognized experts who will focus on increasing access to 21st century learning in rural education from the systems, community, and student perspectives.


Ken is the Chief Executive Officer of EdLeader21, a professional learning community for education leaders committed to 21st century education. Ken co-founded the Partnership for 21st Century Skills in 2002 and served as its President for eight years. Prior to his work on 21st century education, Ken served as executive director of the CEO Forum on Education and Technology. Ken spent 28 years in Washington, DC, where he gained a national reputation as a coalition builder on competitiveness. He founded a landmark coalition of US universities and high-tech companies focused on research and development issues, and was the founding Executive Director of the premier CEO advocacy group in the US computer industry.


Bill de la Cruz is an inspiring leader who has been guiding individuals and groups through the process of personal transformation as a mediator, facilitator and workshop leader for 30 years. He developed his programs and workshops to help others build self-awareness, enhance relationships, and foster positive, sustainable personal growth. His method is built on a conversational format for infusing culturally responsive relationship-building into leadership development. Utilizing a lens of equity, inclusion and bias-awareness, Bill facilitates effective dialogue about the impacts of race, class and bias in our relationships, policies and leadership practices. Bill has outlined this transformational process in his book, Finding the Origination Point: Understanding Our Biases to Create a More Peaceful World.


Michelle Sadrena Pledger is the Project Co-director of the Deeper Learning Hub, a national practitioner hub whose mission is to spread deeper learning practices and ensure that more students across the country are achieving deeper learning outcomes. She is co-leading the Share Your Learning Campaign which aims to spread student-centered practices (exhibitions, student led conferences, and presentations of learning) to 5 million students by 2020. She also works for the Center for Research on Equity and Innovation at High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education as Coordinator of High Tech High submissions to Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog, lead planner and facilitator of the annual Equity Deep Dive, and a Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Coach. While working at High Tech, Michelle has taken students to Washington D.C., the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the U.K., France, Panama, and Costa Rica.

Friday, October 12


Author, Autism Self-Advocate, and Animal Scientist

Helping Different Minds Solve Problems & Develop Talents
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. Her fascinating life, with all its challenges and successes, has been brought to the screen with the HBO full-length film Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes. Dr. Grandin is a speaker who inspires and motivates others through her story. She has been featured on NPR and major television programs, including the BBC special The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow, ABC's Primetime Live, The Today Show, Larry King Live, 48 Hours, and 20/20 and has been written about in many national publications, including Time, People, Forbes, US News and World Report, and The New York Times.

Saturday, October 13


Chief of Staff, Battelle for Kids

Building Hope to Empower Rural America
When educators and the local community join forces to foster hope, we're leveraging our greatest educational resource—empowerment! In 1991, positive psychologist, Charles R Snyder, and his team of researchers introduced the Hope Theory, asserting the importance of goals, agency, and pathways. Explore the evolving science of hope across two decades of research, gain insights and strategies for leveraging our greatest assets in rural America to build hope, and most importantly, learn why hope matters for our future.

Additional speakers to be added.


2018 Program


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