About HPD


The mission of Highroad Professional Development, LLC, is to organize and provide events that promote the ideal of professional excellence.
One ideal is that a professional development retreat should be held in a location that inspires deep thought and self reflection.  We have held retreats at hotel and conference facilities near such natural wonders as Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Zion Canyon. Our consulting services are available both nationally and internationally. We have collaborated with institutions and organizations to offer professional development workshops, retreats, and seminars in their selected locations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and China.

Events (Click link for details)

Event Leaders' Credentials & Experience

Event Coordinator & Director: Tom Cunningham has a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Utah State University. He is currently a Professor of Education and Director of Graduate Studies in Education at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.  In 2002, he returned to full-time teaching after eight years of service in the SUU Center for Faculty Excellence and the Sherratt Library.  In his former role as the SUU Faculty Development Director, he met Dr. Parnell through the Utah Consortium of Faculty Developers. When Dr. Cunningham attended his first great teaching retreat, directed by Dr. Gary Parnell, he was skeptical about its value but was soon convinced that "properly facilitated shoptalk" is perhaps the highest form of professional development. He has learned from his experiences with these events that teachers teaching teachers, sharing their great ideas and collaborating on possible solutions to persistent problems, is very practical AND very powerful.

Event Director: Gary Parnell (ON TEMPORARY LEAVE) has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Utah.  At the time of his retirement, he was the Director of the Ephraim Education Center and a Clinical Associate Professor of Education at Utah State University. He was previously the Education Department Chair at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where he also served for ten years as the Faculty Development Director.  He continues to work as a private consultant and offers his valuable services to Highroad Professional Development as the director of various retreats. Since 1991, Dr. Parnell has been directing events that are based on the model of the Great Teachers Movement. He is an excellent facilitator, using his sense of humor to "break the ice" in a group, getting people to engage in useful "shoptalk," and effectively drawing all participants into an exchange of ideas.

Advancing the Great Teachers Movement: In 1997, Dr. Cunningham invited Dr. Parnell to help offer a great teaching retreat in southern Utah; and since that time, they have continued to collaborate, offering workshops, retreats, and seminars for higher education faculty, public school teachers, faculty/staff developers, librarians, and other education professionals. In 2001, Parnell and Cunningham both participated in the National Great Teachers Leadership Colloquium (NGTLC) in Texas that was directed by David Gottshall, who founded the National Great Teachers Movement in 1969. In 2005, Cunningham attended the NGTLC in North Carolina, also directed by Gottshall, who continues to personally direct seminars across the United States and Canada although he has retired from full-time teaching.

Click the following link for background and history of the National Great Teachers Movement.