Featured Speakers

Morning Keynote -- 8:40 - 9:10 am

Thom O'Brien

with ExploreLearning

Tricked Into Thinking

Thom O'Brien will explore the question "What does it mean to learn?" Students used to memorize facts necessary to pass the test. Then education introduced the idea of Blooms Taxonomy in 1956. This taxonomy has changed to reflect the learning skills our students and society need today. But isn't memorizing enough? How do we take today's students and encourage them to do MORE than just memorize facts, return information to the teacher exactly as the teacher presented it… How do we get students to THINK? How do we move students off the base levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, or any learning taxonomy, and allow them to see the power of true thinking and learning. Thom will challenge us and frame our thinking for the day.

Thom O’Brien has been with ExploreLearning for over 14 years. During his tenure with ExploreLearning he has been responsible for delivering high quality professional development sessions, presenting content discussions at a variety of state and national conferences and working directly with teachers and students to improve teaching and learning. Mr. O’Brien holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with and emphasis to Mathematics. Prior to coming to ExploreLearning he was a seventh grade mathematics teacher in Colorado’s Cherry Creek School District. Mr. O’Brien taught in Cherry Creek for 12 years and was on the cadre of teachers that opened Thunder Ridge Middle School. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Association of Middle Level Educators, and was the head of the mathematics department at Thunder Ridge for 4 years. Thom has been married to Pam O’Brien for 29 years and they have 2 children. Currently Pam is the director of scheduling for the Richmond Math, Science innovation Center and his oldest Daughter is teaching in Austin TX, while his son is starting his last year at the University of Virginia.

Afternoon Keynote -- 12:20 - 12:50 pm

Dr. Cindy Moss

with Discovery Education

Why STEM? Why now?

In this keynote, participants will be exposed to data about why schools need to be implementing STEM. Dig into the compelling Why of STEM Skills and view overwhelming outcomes from innovative school districts who are preparing students for the future. Finally, gain perspective on what the research says about the resources needed to transform STEM teaching and learning.

Dr. Cindy Moss taught high school biology and chemistry for 21 years in Syracuse NY and Charlotte NC. After winning numerous awards as a teacher, she assumed leadership of STEM for the 145,000 PreK-12 students and 11,000 teachers in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system. As the Director of STEM for 10 years she worked to implement STEM across the district to provide student with hope for a bright future. She helped teachers in struggling schools experience the power of STEM to engage students, increase their literacy and numeracy skills and change the culture of their schools. This work resulted in Charlotte Mecklenburg winning the coveted Broad Award for decreasing the achievement gap. She has been the Senior Director of Global STEM for Discovery for 5 years and travels the world spreading the message that STEM is for all. She is a highly sought after speaker and has won numerous awards including STEM Connector’s 100 Women Leaders in STEM and Diversity Matters 100 Women Leaders in Diversity in STEM. Dr. Moss has a BS degree in Zoology from UNC-Chapel Hill (where she was a Morehead Scholar), a masters in Science Teaching from Syracuse University and a PhD in STEM Curriculum and Instruction from Curtin Institute of Technology in Perth, Western Australia.