Dr. Jesus Jara has a lifelong passion for creating better opportunities for all children through education. That passion has roots in his own childhood, having moved from Venezuela to Miami. As an English Language Learner, Dr. Jara faced many obstacles and challenges as he acclimated to the United States; however, his teachers were compassionate, inclusive and set high expectations for all students. They were a critical factor in his success. The Board of School Trustees of the Clark County School District (CCSD) appointed Dr. Jara as superintendent effective June, 2018. Dr. Jara immediately started meeting with employees, families and community leaders to explore the needs of a 358 school district with over 320,000 students. Dr. Jara has pledged to accelerate the work at CCSD – such as growth in the graduation rate, Advanced Placement (AP) participation, and the expansion of Magnet programs – with a focus on student achievement. After a period of academic and operational review and extensive engagement with internal and external stakeholders, Dr. Jara will work with the Board of School Trustees on a revised strategic plan with more specific goals to accelerate student success. Dr. Jara has been serving public school students for over 20 years. He previously served as the deputy superintendent for Orange County Public Schools in Florida for six years. As deputy superintendent, he functioned as the superintendent’s designee. He oversaw five area superintendents and the division of Teaching and Learning, including all programs from early childhood to adult education.
Dale Erquiaga is a nationally recognized strategist, policymaker, and storyteller with more than thirty years of experience in government, business, and the nonprofit sector. He is currently the Executive Director of the Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities. Dale previously served as President & CEO of Communities In Schools (CIS), the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization. Dale also served as Nevada’s Superintendent of Public Instruction and as chief strategy officer for Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. His private sector experience includes managing a successful consulting practice and working as vice president and managing director with an advertising firm in both Nevada and Arizona. The grandson of Spanish Basque immigrants to America, Dale holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a master’s degree in leadership from Grand Canyon University. He recently published his first novel, Three Wives’ Tales, telling the story of his immigrant ancestors in the American West. The proud father of two and grandfather of five currently resides in Reno, Nevada.
José Viana, Education Partnerships José Viana joined Lexia Learning in December 2019, bringing 27 years of experience in education. A former English learner himself, his career began in Miami, Florida where he taught English to speakers of other languages. During his time in the classroom, José strategically incorporated technology through blended learning for emergent bilingual students to fully participate and thus accelerate their proficiency in English and ability to meet academic goals. José was most recently the Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition at the United States Department of Education. In this role, he was responsible for the overall leadership, management, and direction of education for English language learners nationwide. He also oversaw the development and dissemination of discretionary grants, research studies, and resources that guide education practice and policy to meet the needs of our country’s emergent bilingual students. José holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Florida International University and a master’s degree in Computer Education from Barry University. He completed his doctorate in Educational Leadership at North Carolina State University.
Dr. Barbara Mullen
Dr. Barbara Mullen is currently serving as the Assistant Superintendent for Student Services at Cambridge Public Schools. Dr. Mullen’s main role is to ensure that equitable practices are at the core of each system throughout CPSD in order to address and redress long-standing inequities and opportunities in student outcomes. Previously, she was the Chief Equity Officer at Providence Public Schools and the Director of the Learning Leader Network for the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity. Dr. Mullen has supported Rhode Island School Districts with continuous improvement toward equitable outcomes. She is the author of Secure Your Oxygen Mask First: Strategies to Prevent Burnout in Special Education Practitioners and numerous publications both digital and print. She currently lives in North Providence, RI with her family.
Lisa M. Hathaway. Ed.S. is the Vice President of School Assessment at Pearson. As a former public-school teacher and administrator, Lisa has spent 25 years partnering with school, districts, and state education agencies to design educational solutions to meet the needs of diverse learners. She has extensive experience collaborating with educational leaders providing thought leadership, strategic direction, and support to lead complex, outcome-based instructional change and foster a culture of learning. Lisa holds an Ed.S. degree in Educational Administration from The George Washington University and a MS degree in Education and a BS degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).
Dr. Keith Whitfield
UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield is a seasoned university administrator and prolific scholar in the fields of psychology, health, and aging. He became UNLV’s 11th president on August 24, 2020. Whitfield previously served as provost, senior vice president of academic affairs, and professor of psychology at Wayne State University in Michigan. There, he was responsible for faculty hiring, promotion and tenure, and budget and policies for faculty and staff. He also oversaw student affairs, including student success, curriculum, and housing. Under his leadership, the university achieved remarkable gains in its graduation rate, increased overall enrollment, launched an innovation and entrepreneurship hub, and strengthened multiple business and philanthropic relationships. An active administrator and researcher, Whitfield has authored or co-authored over 200 publications and has earned nearly $20 million in funding from agencies including the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the National Science Foundation. A psychologist and expert on the social, psychological, and cultural factors of cognition and healthy aging, Whitfield’s current research focuses on the relationship between stress and longevity in African American families. He’s a member of the NIA’s National Advisory Council on Aging, and he has served on committees for the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Prior to Wayne State, Whitfield served as vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University and held appointments as a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, a research professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, and a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. He also was the co-director of the Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research. Whitfield is the first African American president in UNLV’s history, and oversees a university with more than 31,000 students and 4,000 full-time employees. He has worked in higher education for more than three decades and has received numerous national awards and honors throughout his career. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Santa Fe, a Ph.D. in lifespan developmental psychology from Texas Tech University, and completed postdoctoral training in quantitative genetics from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Award-winning educator and former superintendent of the Washoe County School District (WCSD) in Reno, NV, Traci Davis served more than 64,000 students, their families, and more than 8,000 employees. Her transformational and passionate educational leadership has resulted in sweeping gains in student achievement and performance as the District works toward its goal of “Every Child, By Name and Face, to Graduation.” During her distinguished career as an educator, she has worked in a variety of schools ranging from at-promise to affluent, high-achieving to failing, and has helped transform learning environments in elementary-, middle- and high schools. She believes that we should have high academic expectations for all students so they graduate ready for college, careers, or military service. As the chief executive officer of the District, she oversees the day-to-day activities of WCSD, provides support to the Board of Trustees and manages the District’s Strategic Plan in support of the goals established by the Board.
Jimmy served twenty-two years as a school leader. He is a best selling author, speaker, leadership coach, and a state and national award winning principal. Under Jimmy’s leadership, Bettendorf High School was named one of the best high schools in the country three times by Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report. JImmy was named the 2012 Iowa Principal of the Year and was runner-up NASSP 2013 National Principal of the Year. In 2014, Jimmy was invited to the White House to speak on the Future Ready Pledge. Finally, in 2015, he received the Bammy Award for the National Principal of the Year. Jimmy is the author of eight books, including: What Connected Educators Do Differently Start. Right.Now. - Teach and Lead for Excellence Culturize - Every Student. Every Day. Whatever It Takes. Stop. Right. Now. - 39 Stops to Making Schools Better Live Your Excellence - Bring Your Best Self to School Every Day Daily Inspiration For Educators - Positive Thoughts For Every Day of The Year Handle With Care - Managing Difficult Situations In Schools With Dignity and Respect Daily Inspiration For Educators: Volume II- Positive Thoughts For Every Day of The Ye
Dwight Jones is a former Superintendent of Clark County School District and Denver Public Schools, and served as Colorado’s Commissioner of Education. He has also served in executive leadership as an EVP in K-12 publishing. Dwight is one of the small handful of tri-sector education leaders who have served as Superintendent in two large urban districts, a state commissioner of education, and an executive in the private sector working to address issues of equity and access. Given Dwight's tenure in the public and private sector, he brings a unique perspective that encompasses knowledge on both sides of the table. He is a sought-after speaker and commentator on the intersection of education policy, practice and innovation -- and a valued friend and mentor to education leaders around the country.
Emergency Planning Specialist and Grant Advocate Jessica has spent the past decade analyzing school violence and critical incidents, as well as researching the security industry to provide school administrators with optimal solutions for their safety and security needs. She co-founded the school-safety nonprofit Our Kids Deserve It in 2015 and continues to work alongside school administrators as a valuable safety resource. Through her grant advocacy for schools, Jessica has aided schools across the country in acquiring millions in Federal and State grant funding to enhance their overall campus safety.
Retired Lieutenant State Police and Critical Incident Response Expert After 25 years, James retired as a Division Director of The Bureau of Patrol at The Pennsylvania State Police Department. He has a wealth of experience responding to emergencies within schools, as well as experience surrounding criminal investigation and the litigation process.
Michael Haggen - Senior Vice President, General Manager, LitPro & Collections, Scholastic Education Solutions Michael Haggen brings more than 25 years of academic experience, having served as a teacher, principal, chief academic officer, and direct report to superintendents in three school districts. He served as Deputy Superintendent in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, leading efforts and driving significant change that ultimately yielded increases in academic performance in 70 percent of schools. In St. Louis Public Schools, he developed and implemented a turnaround model for 30 schools, which helped lead to that system's first accreditation in almost a decade. As Deputy Superintendent of New Orleans’ Recovery School District, Michael led the system-wide organization of an integrated learning supports program, designed to remove barriers to learning for students, including those returning home post-Hurricane Katrina. Today, Michael ensures that Scholastic Education is best able to support educators and improve student learning through its focus on: instructional materials for literacy achievement, professional learning programs for teacher effectiveness, family and community engagement initiatives, and consulting services designed to strengthen integrated systems of learning supports.
Dr. Tanya Wilson-Thevanesan
Dr. Tanya Wilson-Thevanesan currently serves as the Deputy Superintendent for School Improvement and Community Engagement in the Fairport Central School District, located in Upstate New York. She brings 21 years of urban education and school leadership to this role. As former middle school principal in an urban setting, Dr. Wilson-Thevanesan co-led the writing of Monroe County Inquiries, a curricular project that uses Rochester’s history of racial inequities to empower social studies students across the area in social justice change and advocacy. She leads professional development across the region in culturally responsive and sustaining practices. Dr. Wilson-Thevanesan is also an adjunct professor at the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester and currently resides in Rochester, NY with her family.
J_ Gustavo Balderas
Dr. Balderas began his life as the child of migrant farm workers in Eastern Oregon and developed his love of learning and passion for education in Oregon Public Schools, from kindergarten through his doctoral degree in educational leadership at the University of Oregon Dr. Balderas has been an educator for 33 years. He started his career in education as a high school teacher and counselor in Oregon. He has served as superintendent in California, Washington State, and Oregon and is currently the superintendent of schools in Beaverton, the third largest school system in Oregon with 40,000 scholars. His career highlights include being named national AASA Superintendent of Year, the Oregon Superintendent of the Year, the Oregon Latino Educator of the Year, and receiving the ALAS Equity Leader Award, and the ERDI Mike Kneale Excellence in Leadership Award. In every district he has worked, he has closed both achievement and opportunity gaps for all students by infusing articulated systems to improve outcomes and by using data to help inform all decision making in the school system. He has worked diligently to diversify the workforce to be more reflective of the students each system has served. Dr. Balderas has been and is involved in numerous state, regional, and national organizations and committees, including having served on the Oregon State Board of Education as a superintendent liaison, the AASA Executive Committee, Chiefs for Change, is a co-founder and inaugural president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators, and is president-elect for the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents. Dr. Balderas is also a volunteer consulting superintendent for the Educational Research and Development Institute, Suburban School Superintendents, and the Institute for Educational Innovation national organizations.
Vida Chan Lin
Vida Chan Lin has worked closely with Las Vegas Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community for the past 26 years. She currently serves as the founder and president of the Asian Community Development Council (ACDC), the first and only non-profit community development corporation in Nevada established to educate, connect and empower the fastest growing demographic in the United States. Through the creation of ACDC, Ms. Lin has created a space for vital resources for the AAPI community. She developed the first Asian food pantry in Nevada, providing culturally- appropriate food that meets the dietary needs of AAPI as part of the first steps to tackle food insecurity. She has created both COVID-19 and flu pop-up vaccination clinics with the goal of serving individuals with limited English proficiency. ACDC also assists with health insurance enrollment, free citizenship assistance, translation, and voter registration. ACDC hosts College Readiness Bootcamp, GraduAsian, Asian Night Market, Asian Small Business Week, among others. A 20+ year insurance broker who built an insurance agency committed to serving diverse minority communities, Ms. Lin actively serves on various boards, including the Nevada Equity Cabinet, Asian American Pacific Islanders County Commission, College of Southern Nevada Diversity Council, KTNV Diversity Panel, Esperanza Fund, and UNLV University Libraries. She is one of the co-founders of OCA, Las Vegas Chapter, an AAPI advocacy and civil rights group, and is currently an Executive Council Member of the AARP Nevada Executive Council. Ms. Lin has also served as past President of the Asian Chamber of Commerce Las Vegas, former Secretary for the FBI Las Vegas Citizen Alumni Association, and former Board Member for the Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor’s Roundtable. Ms. Lin has been chosen as a guest speaker for various leadership and advocacy conferences. Ms. Lin has also won numerous awards and recognitions. She was chosen to represent Las Vegas on the National Association of Professional Women, and was also chosen as a “Woman who Means Business” in 2010, an elite business award conferred by the Las Vegas Business Press. In 2017, she won the Nevada State College President’s Medal, a prestigious award honouring distinguished local leaders for their dedication to the college. In 2019, she was awarded the YWCA Women of Excellence Social Action and Community Awareness Award.