A.J. is an award-winning blogger, speaker, and author of multiple books, including the best-sellers Empower and Launch. He serves on the Faculty for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (PLN) and is the former Director of Learning and Innovation for Centennial School District. As an English teacher, football coach, and K-12 Technology Staff Developer, A.J. has worked towards innovative learning experiences for schools in various roles.
A.J. Juliani has worked at all levels of the K-12 spectrum and has the lens of a parent (of four crazy kids) as well. He will encourage educators to not only be intentional about innovation, but also focus on how our practice needs to always be centered on the student experience.
John Spencer – is a former middle school teacher and current full-time professor who is passionate about seeing teachers empower their students with voice and choice. He is also the author of the best-selling book Vintage Innovation, as well as co-author of the books Launch and Empower with A.J. Juliani.
In his second year of teaching, John used design thinking for a student-centered documentary project. Everything changed. He spent the next decade on a journey to empower students to become creative thinkers and problem-solvers. This meant mural projects, service-learning projects, STEM camps, and coding projects. But it also meant mistakes. Tons of them. It meant lessons that tanked and projects that failed. But each failure was another iteration on the road to innovation.
Along the way, he helped develop the student-friendly LAUNCH Cycle, a design thinking framework for K-12 students.
Over the last several years, John has worked with schools, organizations, and conferences, as well as had the chance to speak at the White House and share his vision for the future of learning – one that empowers students to be creative thinkers.
Marcia L. Tate, EdD
Marcia L. Tate, EdD, is the former Executive Director of Professional Development for the DeKalb County School System, Decatur, Georgia. During the course of her 30-year career with the district, she has also been a classroom teacher, reading specialist, language arts coordinator, and staff development executive director. In 2001, she received Georgia’s Distinguished Staff Developer Award, and her department won the Exemplary Program Award for the state.
Currently, through her company Developing Minds, Inc., Marcia serves as an educational consultant and has taught over 450,000 administrators, teachers, and parents, as well as community and business leaders, all over the world. Participants in her workshops often refer to them as the best they have ever experienced.
In addition to these widely-regarded in-person and online workshops, Marcia shares her expertise through her acclaimed catalogue of bestselling books and speaking appearances.
As the Senior Director of Special Projects, Porsche Chisley supports the creation and implementation of special projects meant to expand the impact of The Mind Trust’s successful programmatic work. Her responsibilities include designing and managing initiatives that strengthen the Indianapolis education ecosystem, collaborating with key community partners and stakeholders, and supporting The Mind Trust’s mission and commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.
In this role, Porsche leads the project management of the Indiana eLearning Lab in partnership with Five Star Technology Solutions. The Mind Trust is overseeing the first year of the implementation of the Lab in partnership with the Indianapolis eLearning Fund. The Indiana eLearning Lab is a dynamic, virtual hub for educators across the state to access teaching content, share best practices, find community, and grow professionally. The Lab also provides support for families as they assist their children in successfully participating in eLearning.
An Indianapolis native, Chisley previously served as the Director of School Improvement for Charter School Specialists, a high-quality charter school authorizer in Ohio serving more than 13,000 students. She began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member, teaching for four years and serving as a grade-level chair and on her school’s leadership team before transitioning to educational leadership opportunities outside of the classroom. She has previously worked for the Ohio Department of Education, and has successfully supported school leaders in improving and implementing early childhood education training, school turnaround efforts, instructional strategies, and data analysis through her consulting business.
Chisley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Ohio State University and a Masters of Elementary Education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership at Marian University. Porsche is one of the founding board members of the Columbus Urban League Young Professionals and Co-chaired their Education Committee. She currently serves on the board for The Center for Innovative Education Solutions in Indianapolis, education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,500 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms. More information can be found at themindtrust.org
Dr. Reshan Richards
Dr. Reshan Richards is the CEO & Co-Founder of Explain Everything, a company that makes a magical whiteboard for schools, students, and teachers. He teaches at Teachers College, Columbia University and Columbia University School of Professional Studies. Reshan also advises K-12 schools and organizations in board member and strategic partner capacities. His writing includes Blending Leadership published by Wiley-Jossey-Bass in 2016 and Make Yourself Clear published by Wiley in 2019, and his leadership & technology column on EdSurge. He has an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University, an Ed.M in Learning and Teaching from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Music from Columbia University.
Mike Flanagan is the CEO of the Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC), a group of 400+ high schools creating a digital high school transcript that opens up opportunity for each and every student — from all backgrounds, locations, and types of schools — to have their unique strengths, abilities, interests, and histories fostered, understood, and celebrated.
Mike joined MTC in 2017 and oversaw the design and development of Mastery Transcript software products, connecting with members and advisors to manage the MTC product roadmap. He became CEO in May 2021. Prior to MTC, he was CEO of School and Student Services by NAIS—a cloud-based financial aid management solution used by over 2,000 K-12 schools and nonprofits to assess aid applications from 150,000+ families every year. He was also co-founder and EVP of Client Services at Intrepid Learning Solutions, a provider of learning technology and management consulting services to Global 2000 clients. Mike has a BA in English from Yale University, an MA in English from the University of Washington, and early in his career taught English and coached Cross Country and Track at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, HI.