This year’s theme was Expanding Boundaries and addressed the following questions: How do we ignite and foster the spirit of innovation in a student? How can we provide a platform for ourselves and students to push beyond the classroom walls? How can we expand our personal and professional boundaries to cultivate a culture of achievement?
Presenters: Annal “Anoo” Vyas, Co-Director – EX[L] Center for Experiential Learning at the University of Akron; Bill Lyons, Professor of Political Science, Director of the Center for Conflict Management, Associate Dean for the Social Sciences – The University of Akron
Walkportagepath.org: A Modern Twist on an Ancient Path
Presenters: Matt Russ, Humanities Teacher/Director of Curriculum and Student Affairs – The Lippman School; John Bennett, Embedded Technology Specialist – The Lippman School; Burt Medicine Bull – Northern Cheyenne Language and Culture Instructor – Chief Dull Knife College
Thinking Strategies & Technology Tools for the Innovative Classroom
Presenter: Jackie Hersh, Director of Assistive Technology and Learning Support – Lawrence School
Stories and Solutions
We’re thrilled to introduce a new concept this year called Stories and Solutions. We have created an environment where you can engage in an open, honest dialogue to address challenges and opportunities in the classroom.
Joining us for Stories and Solutions:
• Annette Kratcoski, PhD, Director, Research Center for Educational Technology – Kent State University
• Rick Ferdig, PhD, Summit Professor of Learning Technologies and Professor of Instructional Technology – Kent State University
• Carla Sibly, Director of Community Relations, Equity Inclusion and School Climate, Akron Public Schools
• Mae Walker, Administrative Specialist, working with family liaisons in schools, Akron Public Schools
• Christina Wooley, Curriculum Coordinator, PK-12, Hudson City School District
Using Intrinsic Motivation to Achieve Extrinsic Boundaries
Presenter: Heather Burton, PhD, Director of IDEAL-N and Partner Institutions Faculty and Student Development – Case Western University
Watching students grow and succeed is one of the most rewarding aspects of the teaching profession, and studies show intrinsic motivation is one of the greatest factors in motivating teachers for excellence. What is intrinsic motivation and how can teachers play a role in fostering long-lasting and self-sustaining motivation in ALL students? What strategies can help educators push our personal boundaries and traverse divides? In her keynote presentation, Using Intrinsic Motivation to Achieve Extrinsic Boundaries, Dr. Burton will explore ways educators can recognize their own racial and gender biases that prevent them from serving their students equally, the impact the classroom environment and culture has on the lives of students outside of school, and the important role educators play beyond the classroom walls.
Heather E. Burton, PhD, a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and African-American Studies with a minor in Theater, a Masters of Social Work from the University of Akron, a Masters of Public Administration and a Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Studies and Public Affairs both from Cleveland State University.
Dr. Burton currently serves as Director of IDEAL-N and Partner Institutions Faculty and Student Development at Case Western Reserve University. She is adjunct faculty in Pan-African Studies and Social work at The University of Akron and Case Western Reserve University. She is Founder and CEO of Crimson Heights Ministries, Inc. a 501 (c)3 geared towards the holistic development of women.
Through her work and personal experience she has dedicated her life to being a change agent enhancing the lives of others through education and philanthropy. Dr. Burton has been a guest speaker for BET Foundation Girls Empowerment Summit, Cleveland State University Salute to Black Graduates, The Ohio State University Author Series, The University of Akron Revisiting Race Week, Youngstown State University, and the Women of Color Foundation, just to name a few. Dr. Burton also serves as a facilitator for workshops and training on diversity and inclusion.
Annal Vyas, EX[L] Center for Experiential Learning at The University of Akron
Annal (“Anoo”) Vyas serves as Co-Director of the EX[L] Center for Experiential Learning at the University of Akron. In addition, he is Visiting Assistant Professor of Clinical Law at the University of Akron School of Law, where he has taught Business Planning Law, Internet Law, and the Small Entrepreneur and Economic Development (SEED) Legal Clinic.
After receiving his law degree, Professor Vyas worked as an associate at Thompson Hine LLP, where he was part of the nineteen-attorney team that represented Obama-Biden 2008 in Ohio litigation matters related to the US Presidential Election. Later he served as Supervising Attorney at a Legal Aid Domestic Violence Clinic, where he advocated on behalf of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. His law review article on reforming patent law was named one of the best law review articles in the nation related to intellectual property law in 2015.
Professor Vyas has been named by Smart Business Magazine as “Who to Watch” and by Crain’s Cleveland Business as “Who to Watch in Law,” and is founder, board member, and president of PechaKucha Akron, a series of quarterly talks featuring local creatives.
Bill Lyons, The University of Akron
Bill Lyons is a brother and son, husband and father. In his spare time he is also a Professor of Political Science, Director of the Center for Conflict Management, and Associate Dean for the Social Sciences at the University of Akron. Bill is a former Fulbright Scholar and Outstanding Teacher of the Year, whose most recent book (with Carolyn Behrman, Patricia Hill, James Slowiak, Donna Webb, Amy Shriver Dreussi) is titled The Akron Story Circle Project: Rethinking Race in the Classroom and Community and was published by the University of Akron Press in 2017. Bill earned a BA in Economics and Chinese Language from the University of Massachusetts, an MALD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a PhD from the University of Washington. His new book project is tentatively titled Engage with Love: Christian Approaches to Conflict. Bill is a life-long Red Sox fan, who loves body surfing & gardening, hiking & biking, juggling & fencing, cooking & eating and playing just about any sport, ranging from volleyball to ping-pong, basketball, softball, racquetball, golf, ultimate Frisbee and more.
Dana Starvaggi, Akron Public Schools
Dana Starvaggi has been teaching for six years. Not only has Dana taught in APS for her entire career, but she is also a product of APS, having attended Litchfield and Firestone. She graduated from The University of Akron in 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Middle Level Education, Science and Social Studies and since then has been implementing and advocating for hands-on teaching through Project Based Learning.
Matt Russ, The Lippman School
Matt Russ has served as Curriculum Director and Middle School Humanities teacher at the Lippman School since 2011. Additionally, he is an adjunct instructor at Stark State College where he has taught developmental reading courses, writing and Ethics. Prior to his role at The Lippman School, he was a Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Canton Country Day School in Canton, Ohio for nine years. Russ is the educational program director for The Lippman School’s cross-cultural partnership with the Northern Cheyenne Nation and Chief Dull Knife College. He holds a B.S. in Journalism from Appalachian State University and a M.A. in Religious Studies from John Carroll University. Developing curricula that intersects literature and writing with cultural studies through experiential learning opportunities is an area of professional focus and interest.
John Bennett, The Lippman School
John Bennett has been teaching for over 35 years and is now at The Lippman School as an innovation and learning specialist. He has won recognition for technology integration at the local, state and national level. He was part of the working group of the National Education Technology Plan 2010 for the Federal Government and selected the 2012 Akron Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year. He has been a key team member in developing and implementing technology-based projects school wide that partner with Northern Cheyenne students and educators.
Burt Medicine Bull
Burt Medicine Bull is an Instructor in Cheyenne Language and Culture at Chief Dull Knife College. Mr. Medicine Bull, born on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, has held many significant teaching positions, including middle school instructor at The Northern Cheyenne Tribal School. In his current role at Chief Dull Knife College, he serves as key liaison for this project to the College and brings historical teaching from the Northern Cheyenne oral tradition.
Greg Milo, Education Author
Greg Milo taught high school social studies for 13 years, where he created overseas excursions to complement his International Politics course, founded a homeless outreach program for students, and designed his own courses. Last year, Milo took his community-focused approach to education to the nonprofit sector. He currently organizes community conversations for the Knight Foundation. Milo is the author of the 2017 book Rebooting Social Studies, strategies for reimagining history courses.
Sandra Wilder, Akron Public Schools
Dr. Sandra Wilder is a mathematics educator from Akron Public Schools. Prior to joining Firestone CLC, Sandra taught at Bio-Med Science Academy and the University of Akron. She has also been a mathematics coach for Battelle Ed and a curriculum writer for All-American Soap Box Derby. Dr. Wilder believes that non-traditional approaches to instruction lead to high engagement and motivation among students. Creating opportunities for students to experience content through authentic and relevant learning opportunities is a key to academic achievement and excellence. Her research interests include integrated teaching and learning, and development of integrated curricula for K-12 classrooms. Sandra’s ideas for many integrated lessons she has created come from her most valuable role of a mom of two boys who love reading, playing games, and hiking.
Jackie Hersh MSEd, B.S. is the Director of Assistive Technology and learning support at Lawrence Upper School, with ten year’s experience as an Intervention Specialist. Jackie formerly taught 2nd-5th grade students with developmental delays and found her passion for Assistive Technology. After earning her Master’s degree from Simmons College in AT, Jackie joined the Lawrence School as a learning support resource, Tech coach and middle school computer teacher. In the last 2 years, Jackie has presented at Closing the Gap, NAIS, ATIA and IDA on topics regarding Assistive Technology. She has served on the board of the North East Ohio International Dyslexia Association and led the organization with a paperless symposium. Jackie is also a Google Level 1 and 2 Educator. She is passionate about coaching teachers about educational technologies to empower our learners and ensuring our students have tools to support their learning!