Featured Speakers

“I loved how positive and supportive it was. I really got the sense of ‘we’re all in this together.’ That made it uplifting and inspiring. I loved the SEL information and the teaming sessions.” – Nichole Cooper

Meet Our Featured Speakers

Kwame Alexander

New York Times Bestselling Author

Kwame Alexander is the New York Times bestselling author of 35 books, a regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, and the Founding Editor of VERSIFY, a publishing imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt whose mission is to "Change the World One Word at a Time.”

Twice long-listed for the National Book Award, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including The Newbery Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, the Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award, The Dominion Energy Strong Men and Women of Virginia, and the Penn State Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.

He has appeared in or on: The Today Show, Comedy Central, BET, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Parade Magazine, and ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com. He has delivered hundreds of keynote speeches for corporations, educational institutions, commencements, and annual organization conferences such as Hallmark, Writer’s Digest, Teachers College Columbia University, and The International Literacy Association.

Kwame has led cultural exchange delegations to Brazil, Italy, Singapore, and Ghana, where he built the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded.

Dr. Nadia Lopez

Award-winning Educator

Dr. Nadia Lopez is an award-winning educator who became a viral sensation after the popular blog Humans of New York featured her as one of the most influential people of this life. Disrupting the school to prison pipeline, Dr. Lopez founded Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a STEAM-focused middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York, in 2010, and served as the principal for ten years. She was named Linkedin’s 2019 Top 10 Voices in Education and received the Black Girls Rock award–alongside Michelle Obama in 2015. As she works vigilantly to improve education disparities, her mission has been publicized across major media outlets: New York Times, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, PopSugar, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, etc. The Ellen Degeneres Show, Good Morning America, and The Today Show. In 2016 Dr. Lopez visited the White House, where President Obama recognized her as Varkey Foundation’s Top 50 Global Teacher Prize Finalist. Her Ted Talk on the Education Revolution has garnered more than a million views. She also serves as a guest lecturer at Harvard University’s Graduate School for Education, teaching students on the subject matter of Transformative Justice, Education, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

In 2020, Dr. Lopez ended her tenure as Mott Hall Bridges Academy’s principal to focus on her work as a mental health advocate and wellness enthusiast. After developing a stress-related illness that threatened her life, she dug deeper into her passion for educating, providing workforce training and coaching through her company, The Lopez Effect. Dr. Nadia Lopez continues to support leaders on their journeys to build their capacity, improve culture through DEI practices, and develop systems to create healthy spaces for professional sustainability; on her crusade to impact 10,000,000 educators globally. Additionally, she consults with individuals and organizations on their goals and social responsibility initiatives that target marginalized communities for a positive impact.

Robert Marzano

Author and Educator

Internationally recognized author of The New Art and Science of Teaching, Dr. Marzano will share practical translations of the most current research and theory into classroom strategies. Including thought-provoking aspects of rigor, their impact on types of work such as team-centered tasks that promote effective student collaboration and promote complex learning which are covered in his latest book, Understanding Rigor in the Classroom.

Michael Toth

CEO of LSI and Award-Winning Author

Michael D. Toth is founder and CEO of Learning Sciences International (LSI) and leads LSI’s Applied Research Center. He is the author of The Power of Student Teams: Achieving Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Learning in Every Classroom Through Academic Teaming with David Sousa; author of Who Moved My Standards? Joyful Teaching in an Age of Change; and co-author with Dr. Robert J. Marzano of The Essentials of a Standards-Driven Classroom, School Leadership for Results, and Teacher Evaluation that Makes a Difference.

Toth was formerly the president of the National Center for the Profession of Teaching, a university faculty member, and director of research and development grants. He is an expert in research-based school improvement models, shifting instructional methodologies, root causes analysis for school issues, and building 21st century skills in students; he gives public presentations and advises education leaders on these issues.