Featured Speakers

Pre-Conference January 24 | Main Conference January 25-26, 2019


Elizabeth Schroeder

Elizabeth Schroeder, EdD, MSW, is an award-winning educator, facilitator, and author who has provided consultation to and direct education and training for schools, parent groups and youth-serving organizations in countries around the world for 25 years. Dr. Schroeder specializes in sexuality education pedagogy, working effectively with adolescent and teen boys, and best practices for creating LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming schools and organizations. As the former executive director of Answer, a national sexuality education organization, she worked to ensure sexual orientation and gender inclusion throughout the organization’s mission, vision and work, including the creation of the organization’s first online training workshop on LGBTQ issues in schools. She is the previous associate vice president of education and training at Planned Parenthood of New York City, where she established the agency’s training institute for teachers and other youth-serving professionals, and, before that, served as manager of education and special projects at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, where she oversaw the production of the parent-child communication kit, “Talking about Sex: A Guide for Families.” The co-founding editor of the American Journal of Sexuality Education, Dr. Schroeder has authored or edited numerous publications, including Rights, Respect, Responsibility, the first-ever K-12 sexuality education curriculum for grades K-12 that is inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations and mapped to the National Sexuality Education Standards, for which she also served as a lead author. In 2016, she developed the first online teacher training on sexuality education for teachers in east and southern Africa for UNFPA and UNESCO. Dr. Schroeder has presented extensively on the topics of sexual orientation and gender identity inclusion at conferences throughout the US and overseas, including for the Association for Middle Level Education, the European League for Middle Level Education and the European Council on International Schools. She holds a Doctorate of Education in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University and a Master of Social Work from NYU. Learn more about Dr. Schroeder at www.drschroe.com.

Elizabeth's sessions

Keynote: Flirting, Chilling, Ghosting and More -- Understanding Adolescent Relationships in the Social Media Age

The rise of the digital age has enabled all of us to have greater access to information, education, skills, and much more. How much we value technology tends to relate to how much we know about and use it. When it comes to working with young people, however, we tend to focus more on the nefarious aspects of social media and online interactions. While it is certainly important for young people to learn about online safety – we ignore the fact that social media, texting and other technologies are ubiquitous in adolescent and teen relationships. How do we bridge the gap between conceptualizing the only types of healthy relationships as in-person, face-to-face interactions and helping young people to navigate their relationships when technology plays such a significant role?

Main Conference Session: Silence Is Not A Yes: Teaching Adolescents about Consent

Using the free, online curriculum, “Rights, Respect, Responsibility,” this interactive workshop will offer participants activities and tips for talking and teaching about consent with middle level learners. Rather than focus on the person giving consent, this workshop will spend equal time looking at how young people can avoid misunderstandings and know they have received consent from another person.

Main Conference Session: Beyond Gender-Neutral Restrooms: Current Best Practices for Trans- and Gender Nonbinary-Inclusive and -Affirming Schools

This workshop, which can be attended by anyone working in a school environment, will discuss all aspects of the school community, from the physical environment, to policies, to curriculum decisions -- in order to ensure students of all genders feel safe and affirmed.

Jon Nordmeyer of WIDA

Jon Nordmeyer is the International Programs Director at WIDA, a research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jon believes that an asset-based approach to professional collaboration can both ignite student learning and fuel teacher growth. He has been an international educator and consultant for 25 years, teaching at international schools in Quito, The Hague, Taipei, Istanbul, Shanghai and Bangkok. Jon has taught graduate seminars at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Tibet University, and has been a regular presenter at regional international conferences.

Jon has written articles for International Schools Journal and Journal of Staff Development, contributed chapters to Co-teaching and Other Collaborative Practices in the EFL/ESL Classroom and Breaking the Mold: Classroom Management, and, co-edited the book Integrating Language and Content (TESOL 2010). He serves on the editorial review board of Globally Informed, a peer-reviewed journal for international educators. He holds a BA in Classical Archaeology from Dartmouth College and MA in TESOL from School for International Training. He is pursuing his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jon lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife Cynthia, a school counselor and mindfulness trainer, and their two sons, Gus and Atticus.

Jon's sessions

Keynote: Multilingual and In the Middle: Language, Culture and Identity as Assets

One constant for adolescents is change: middle school students are developing as individuals and their identity is continually in flux. Transnational learners who navigate school in more than one language bring an additional layer of richness and complexity to the already daunting task of figuring out who they are. As international educators, it is both an art and science to build on the unique constellation of assets that each multilingual learner brings into our classrooms. We must catalyze a shift away from viewing multilingualism as a problem towards viewing multilingualism as a resource. As teachers we are fortunate to be part of students’ journey to become more mature, metacognitive and multilingual. Understanding the intersection of language and learning helps us support today’s adolescents to become tomorrow’s global leaders, international scholars and transnational agents of change.

Main Conference Session: Translanguaging: From Additive Bilingualism to Multiplicative Multilingualism

International schools are fortunate to include students from many language backgrounds. In this context, all students should have the opportunity to develop their unique multilingual and multicultural identities. Translanguaging is both the complex and fluid language practices of bilinguals, as well as the pedagogical approaches that leverage those practices (Garcia & Lin, 2016). Shifting towards a multilingual mindset allows a teacher to support students in using their entire linguistic repertoire as a resource for learning. In this session, we will explore translanguaging pedagogy and practices to consider how students’ home languages can support their English language development and vice-versa. Participants will take away specific projects and tools for developing multilingualism within the classroom and across the school.

Main Conference Session: Finding the Language in the Learning: The Art of Inclusion and the Science of Scaffolding

An asset-based approach builds on what learners can do, and helps multilingual students to take ownership for their learning. Effective practices in multilingual classrooms should scaffold learning based on students’ language skills and background knowledge. This interactive workshop will engage educators in hands-on exploration of language use in academic contexts, and how the WIDA English language development framework builds on student assets. Participants will explore tools to help teachers construct meaningful learning experiences for multilingual learners in all content areas.

Main Conference Session: An Essential Partnership: EAL and Learning Support

How can we move from ‘Should this student be in EAL or Learning Support?’ to ‘What are this student’s strengths/needs and how can we best support this student’s learning?’ All educators need to understand that labels may stand in the way of providing access to the curriculum for student learning. Working in silos prevents professionals from taking advantage of each others’ strengths and expertise. A focus on learning rather than departmental or disciplinary differences allows for collaboration across student support areas.

Kevin Hawkins and Amy Burke of Mindwell

Kevin Hawkins has worked with adolescents and young people in various contexts for over 30 years - as teacher, school head, and social worker in the UK, Africa, and Europe. For 10 years, he was Middle School Principal at the International School of Prague in the Czech Republic. He is a Senior Trainer for the Mindfulness in Schools Project (UK) and has taught mindfulness to children, teenagers, teachers and parents since 2008. In 2012 he co-founded MindWell, which supports educational communities in developing wellbeing through mindfulness and social-emotional learning (SEL). Kevin has been a lead consultant to the International Baccalaureate Organisation on SEL and mindfulness and he is a facilitator for the evidence-based CARE program (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Educators). Kevin is a regular speaker, writer and presenter on the topics of mindfulness, wellbeing and social-emotional learning in education. His book on mindfulness in education, Mindful Teacher, Mindful School, Improving Wellbeing in teaching and learning, was published by SAGE in July 2017.

Amy Burke is an educational consultant who spent 15 years as a high school teacher and guidance counsellor in Canada and The Netherlands. She holds a Masters Degree in Contemplative Education from Naropa University and in 2012 she co-founded MindWell with Kevin. She is a lead teacher trainer for the Mindfulness in Schools Project (UK) and has completed curriculum training with Gina Biegel (MBSR-T) and Dr. Amy Saltzman (Still Quiet Place). She is also a facilitator for the CARE program (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Educators). Amy works internationally as a teacher trainer and provides workshops and retreats for educators, students and parents with a focus on self-care and stress management.

Kevin and Amy's sessions:

Keynote: The Middle Way: Cultivating balance in teaching and learning

In this age of fast-paced change, global imbalance and endless distraction there is an urgent need to find a more balanced approach to learning that equips students to cope effectively and holistically with the demands of the 21st century. In order to be successful and resilient in this age of distraction, we need to cultivate attention, self-awareness and emotional regulation. There is now considerable evidence that training in mindfulness is an effective way of alleviating stress, anxiety and depression as well as promoting wellbeing and flourishing.

Many educational organisations are now considering how best to promote positive mental health and wellbeing and some schools are now beginning to explore how combining academic, social and emotional learning into a more coherent framework can help build healthier, more balanced school communities. If we want to design learning in the middle school to really help young people grow into integrated adults who can engage creatively with the complex issues that are currently challenging humanity, then we need to shift the focus of middle level education to more effectively develop the full range of our human capacities.

And if we want to help our children develop positive mental health it is crucial that the adults in their lives know how to model these skills effectively for themselves. Mindful awareness training can help promote teacher self-care, improve stress management and enhance the social and emotional sensitivities of teachers in the classroom.

What we want for our children we need for ourselves!

Main Conference Session: Mindfulness Based Wellbeing in Schools: What? Why? How?

We live in an age where busy-ness and being switched on 24/7 are the norm but also in an age where depression is set to become the most common disease worldwide and where concerns about the mental health of young people are endemic. Many schools have begun to train teachers and students in mindfulness as a tool to support personal growth and self-awareness. But what is it actually about and how do we best bring it into our schools?

In this introductory workshop, participants will experience some simple practices from mindfulness curricula currently being used in Middle schools and we will consider questions such as ‘How can mindful awareness training help promote wellbeing?’

and ‘What if not everybody wants to do it?!’

Using the 3 aspects of mindfulness in education - Be Mindful, Teach Mindfully, Teach Mindfulness - we will explore how mindfulness fits into an overall framework of wellbeing and social-emotional competencies that can support 21st century learners and provide a coherent foundation for a flourishing school community.

Main Conference Session: What the heck, Tech? A practical application of mindful awareness training in the middle school

It’s no secret that many of us these days struggle with distraction and compulsion related to phone, computer and social media use. How can we support our students (and ourselves!) in best dealing with these critical issues of attention and self-regulation? In this session, we will explore both a theoretical understanding of media use and some practical ways that mindful awareness can help students and teachers learn to ‘pull back’, unplug and reconnect with ourselves and each other.

Main Conference Session: How can mindfulness help me be a 21st century learner?

We are all too well aware these days that our education systems struggle to prepare our young people adequately for a constantly shifting future.

  • What are the core skills and competencies that our children really need to help equip them for this 21st century?
  • How can mindful awareness training and social-emotional learning support these needs in meaningful and practical ways?

In this experiential workshop we will consider these questions in the context of developing core skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. However, we will also ask whether commonly accepted lists of 21st century skills truly go far enough to promote personal growth while helping our students meet the challenges of humanity and the planet. Can cultivating the essential qualities of kindness and curiosity in our students (and ourselves) serve as a stronger foundation for nurturing the growth of more responsive, self-directed young learners?

Yolanda Murphy-Barrena of WeRLeaders International

Yolanda Murphy-Barrena brings 30 years of experience in teaching, coaching, leading, mentoring and presenting in schools and professional development associations in both the United States and internationally. Yolanda is currently the Executive Director/ CEO of WeRLeaders International, a new organization founded to support the development and diversification of the next generation of international school leaders. Formerly, she was the Executive Director/ CEO of the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE), a global educational leadership association that hosts the largest annual gathering of international school heads and provides a full menu of leadership development and networking services globally. Yolanda presents widely on Emerging Leadership and Women in Leadership topics and is a founding member of the Global Diversity Collaborative, a new partnership between several international organizations and educational leaders committed to increasing the quality and diversity of international school leadership. Yolanda also served on the International Task Force on Child Protection and now coordinates and provides training to school leaders and staff around creating safer learning environments within international schools and communities in partnership with the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ECMEC). Her recent international presentations and trainings were at AAIE (New York), AASSA (Ecuador), CEESA (Czech Republic), TAISI (India), Tri-Association (Costa Rica), the QSI Heads Training (Malta) and other leadership events. Yolanda is passionate about expanding and developing international leadership capacity by connecting emerging, current and experienced leaders in online and in-person professional communities fostering mentorship, and the sharing of ideas and resources that promote excellence within the international school community.

Prior to leading AAIE, Yolanda served as a successful elementary, middle and high school administrator, most recently as the Middle School Administrator at Frankfurt International School (FIS) where she founded ELMLE's Leadership Group, providing an ELMLE Fall Leadership Retreat and supporting ELMLE’s leaders at the January conferences.

Yolanda's Sessions

Main Conference Session: International School Child Protection Planning & Resources: Ways to Start and New Options for Improvement

Participants in this session will gain a basic understand of what a Comprehensive Child Protection Plan entails and learn about key resources, templates, research and local information that can be utilized to begin or improve your school’s plan to better protecting your community and meet new accreditation standards. All resources shared will be open source and can be adjusted to meet your unique community location and needs.

Main Conference Session: Women, Diversity & Leadership: The Power of the Pipeline

Join us for this session focused on empowering women to seek and retain senior management posts in international schools across the globe. This unique session is facilitated by women leading international schools and international educational organizations that are committed to closing the leadership gender gap. Focused on providing you with the understanding, confidence, strategies, networks and skills to seek out and keep your first principal or head of school position, this session explores a variety of topics and incorporates current research, participant reflection, group input, question and answer and a safe forum for discussion of the following topics:

  • Your path to becoming a School Leader / Principal / Head of School / CEO: Why lead?
  • Common Gender-based Challenges: Avoiding the Four Patterns
  • Key Skills, Attributes & Resources
  • Networking for Success: Mentors & Sponsors
  • Strategies for A Successful 1st Interview
  • Landing Your Dream Position: Meeting the Challenge

Main Conference Session: International Leaders Wanted: STEP UP to Your Leadership Future!

If you are a teacher leader, curriculum leader, year head, assistant principal, etc. in your school, or just curious to know more about leadership opportunities as a principal or head of school in the international school setting, this workshop is for you! This session will provide you with practical information on the skills, attitudes, networking and preparation options that are critical to move forward on the path to your next leadership role. You will also be connected to leading recruitment agency representatives from companies such as SEARCH Associates, ISS, Carney Sandoe, CIS and more. These are key people for you to get to know. International schools need leaders like you…come join this session and STEP UP to Your Leadership Future!

Johanna Cena and Jenny Killion of the American School of Barcelona

Johanna Cena is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning at the American School of Barcelona. She is dedicated to supporting educators in developing their craft as teachers, learners, leaders, and collaborators. She has experience as a middle school language arts teacher, ELL teacher, instructional coach, Elementary principal, and Director of ELL programs in Barcelona and in Portland, Oregon. She has been a presenter on the topics of reading and writing workshop, teacher leadership, content literacy, English language development, and multi tiered systems of student support and Positive Behavior Support. Ultimately her passion comes down to providing a learning environment where students and teachers thrive.

Jenny Killion is currently the Middle School Instructional Coach and a Grade 9 World Literature teacher at The American School of Barcelona. She is passionate about developing independent learners, as well as building capacity in teachers. In her eight years at ASB, Jenny has also been a 5th and 6th grade teacher, as well as the K-8 Literacy Coordinator and Coach. Before moving to Barcelona, Jenny was an upper-elementary teacher and K-5 Literacy Coach in Denver, Colorado. Jenny has worked with teachers from a variety of international schools on implementing reading and writing workshop, small group instruction, developing integrated curriculum, connecting instruction across languages, and literacy coaching. Jenny loves the balance of supporting teachers in a coaching role, working to develop curriculum and instruction, and having the opportunity to refine her own teaching in the classroom with students of all ages.