Featured Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Marcia Tate is the former Executive Director of Professional Development for the DeKalb County School System, Decatur, Georgia. During her 30-year career with the district, she has been a classroom teacher, reading specialist, language arts coordinator, and staff development executive director. She received the 2001 Distinguished Staff Developer Award for the State of Georgia, and her department was chosen to receive the Exemplary Program Award for the state.

Marcia is currently an educational consultant and has taught over 500,000 administrators, teachers, parents, and business and community leaders throughout the world. She is the author of the best-sellers Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Instructional Strategies that Engage the Brain (3nd Ed.); “Sit & Get” Won’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Professional Learning Strategies that Engage the Adult Brain (2nd Ed.); Reading and Language Arts Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Literacy Strategies that Engage the Brain (2nd Ed.); Shouting Won’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Techniques to Detour Around the Danger Zones (2nd Ed.); Mathematics Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Numeracy Strategies That Engage the Brain; Preparing Children for Success in School and Life: 20 Ways to Increase Your Child’s Brain Power; Science Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain; Social Studies Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain; and her latest book, Formative Assessment in a Brain-compatible Classroom: How Do We Really Know They’re Learning?  Participants in her workshops refer to them as the best ones they’ve ever experienced since Marcia uses the strategies outlined in her books to actively engage her audiences.

Marcia received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and elementary education from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her Master’s degree in remedial reading from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, her specialist degree in educational leadership from Georgia State University, and her doctorate in educational leadership from Clark Atlanta University. Spelman College awarded her the Apple Award for excellence in the field of education.

Marcia is married to Tyrone Tate and is the proud mother of three children: Jennifer, Jessica, and Christopher; and seven grandchildren: Aaron, Aidan, Christian, Maxwell, Roman, Shiloh, and Aya.


Dr. Mary Howard is known throughout North America as a leading expert in literacy, presenting seminars as an independent consultant and for the Bureau of Education and Research (www.ber.org) in all fifty states and across Canada. Mary has worked with countless educators to create a research-based literacy program grounded in the current brain research.

An educator for more than thirty years, she combines years of classroom experience as an elementary grade 1-6 special educator, grade K-12 reading tutor, reading specialist, and Reading Recovery teacher with a multitude of experiences as a reading consultant, university reading instructor, professional storyteller, author, and nationwide lecturer. Her blend of research and practical application has led many to describe her as a teachers’ teacher, demonstrating a clear understanding of the realities of the classroom by translating research into practice.

Mary’s seminars are fast-paced and inspiring, filled with engaging strategies that can be immediately implemented into the existing curriculum. Her no-nonsense approach provides teachers with a deeper understanding of the learning process in order to transform the teaching process into a powerful tool to maximize the potential of every child.


Featured Speakers

Christopher Danielson has taught math to learners of all ages. He now uses his PhD in mathematics education to create books and toys to support children’s math development, and he writes secondary math curriculum materials at Desmos.

Christopher is a recipient of the Mathical Book Prize, which aims to share books “which inspire a love of math in the everyday world,” and the Roueche Award for Teaching Excellence. He is the developer of Math-On-A-Stick, an annual family math event at the Minnesota State Fair. He is the author of Which One Doesn’t Belong?How Many? and Common Core Math For Parents For Dummies.

Debbie Clement is an amazing blend of motivational speaker, educator’s educator, and creative wonder-kid. Her passion weaves together a multi-disciplined approach to the arts with early literacy to combine differentiated instruction that appeals to all learning preferences. Teachers, librarians, and parents alike appreciate her upbeat mixture of brain research and poignant, real-life stories from the front lines. Audiences are frequently moved between spontaneous laughter and genuine tears. Recharge your battery and get re-inspired as Debbie shares her puppets, props, and costumes in print-rich methods that engage children of all ages and stages.

Debbie’s audiences are engaged in singing and dancing, even learning a little sign language along the way. You will partake in a memorable experience dedicated to strengthening your skill-set and professional confidence. Debbie is on a mission to make certain Monday Mornings Matter, and your vision of providing the best, integrated learning experience possible for your students will be renewed.

It’s unusual to find so many skills in one person. Song writer and singer, picture book author and illustrator, dynamo speaker and presenter are all mixed together in one bright, smiling polka-dotted package. Debbie’s changing the world one song at a time. You’re invited to be delighted to have chosen to learn with “the Carol Burnett of early childhood”!

Jennifer Williams has been in education for 20 years, with the majority of her career spent as a classroom teacher in grades Pre-K-4. In addition, she has served as a Missouri Reading Initiative Trainer for Southwest Missouri and an independent consultant.  Jennifer often presents to groups and conferences on dyslexia and literacy. Jennifer also teaches graduate courses for several Missouri universities.

Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Elementary Education and Reading from Missouri State University. She earned her doctorate in Teacher Leadership in 2012, with her dissertation focused on dyslexia.  She has spent the last several years finding ways to incorporate the necessary skills and training that dyslexic children need into the classroom. She is currently teaching a 3-4 year old preschool classroom for students with developmental delays.

Sherry Norfolk is an award-winning storyteller, author, and teaching artist, performing and leading residencies and professional development workshops nationally and internationally. As a performing artist, she is a dynamic storyteller who has appeared at many storytelling festivals, including the Manitoba International Storytelling Festival; the Taiwan International Storytelling Carnival; the International Art of Storytelling Festival in Miami, Florida; the Singapore International Storytelling Festival; and the Manila International Storytelling Festival. She also appears regularly in schools, libraries, museums, and universities nationwide.

Sherry is a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist, a Wolf Trap Teaching Artist, an Arts Integration Teaching Artist with the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Value Plus Schools and Arts 360° programs, and is on the rosters of the Mississippi Arts Commission, Louisiana Council for the Arts, South Carolina Arts Commission, Virginia Commission on the Arts, and Springboard for Learning (Young Audiences) in St. Louis.

An Adjunct Professor at Lesley University, Sherry is a recognized leader in integrating learning through storytelling. She is co-editor with Lyn Ford of Storytelling Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Children with Special Needs, and with Jane Stenson of The Storytelling Classroom series (four books that explore rigorous, standards-based storytelling strategies for learning across the curriculum).


Don Goble is an award-winning Multimedia Instructor at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Missouri.  The National Journalism Education Association named Don as their Broadcast Adviser of the Year  for 2015.

Don speaks internationally at education conferences, conventions, and professional development workshops, offering educators innovative ways to incorporate video, multimedia, and media literacy into the classroom.  Don was a part of the 2011 Apple Distinguished Educator class.

You can connect with Don on Twitter @dgoble2001.

Stephanie Bainbridge holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and has a minor in math from the University of New Mexico. She is certified to teach elementary grades in both Missouri and Texas and middle school math in Missouri. She has taught science and mathematics to inner city children in the Walnut Park area of St. Louis, Missouri.

Stephanie has served in her schools and districts in numerous roles, including Title 1 Math tutor, the AIMS Web and Reasoning Mind programs, the Confluence Academy District’s Curriculum Writing Team for Science, the Mentor/Mentee Program for new teachers, and, of course, as teacher to a group of students with unique academic needs, learning abilities, and behavioral challenges. To meet these responsibilities, Stephanie uses hands-on activities and other resources to give her students the motivation, opportunity, and desire to hold themselves accountable for their learning. Recognizing her commitment and skill, Confluence Academy Walnut Park named her their Most Professional Teacher in 2009-2010 and their Most Dedicated Teacher in 2010-2011.

She has taught “At Risk” Kindergarten students, as well as students classified as ESL, OHI (ADD, ADHD), LD (formerly known as MR) and OCD.

For Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks, Stephanie’s workshops link their games-based approach to learning with her exceptionally diverse teaching experiences. No matter what unique challenges your classroom presents, Stephanie will help you meet them.