MEET THE SPEAKERS 2019-12-17T12:46:49+00:00

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., Keynote Speaker

Assistant Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Dena Simmons has a wealth of knowledge on teacher education and pedagogy and has published several popular articles on teacher education, social justice pedagogy, education reform, and bullying. She has been invited to speak nationally, including a talk at the United Nations, two TEDx talks, and a TED talk on Broadway. Dena has been profiled in the AOL/PBS project, MAKERS: Women Who Make America, and a Beacon Press Book, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists. Dena is a recipient of a Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a J. William Fulbright Fellowship, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, and a Phillips Exeter Academy Dissertation Fellowship among others.

Tuesday, May 19 at 9:15 a.m.

Headshot Luvelle Brown

Luvelle Brown, Ed.D., Plenary Speaker

Superintendent, Ithaca City School District

In 2017, Luvelle Brown received the New York State Superintendent of the Year award. Among Brown’s awards and distinctions, he was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the nation’s top 100 innovative superintendents and invited to be a featured speaker at President Barack Obama’s National Superintendent Summit. Luvelle is author of “Culture of Love: Cultivating a Positive and Transformational Organizational Culture.” He holds four degrees from the University of Virginia, including a doctor of education, and is currently an adjunct faculty member at the State University of New York College at Cortland and St. John Fisher College.

Wednesday, May 20 at 9 a.m.

Elizabeth Cushing, Plenary Speaker

President and COO, Playworks

Elizabeth Cushing is president and chief operating officer of Playworks, a national nonprofit organization that brings safe, healthy, inclusive play and physical activity to schools and youth organizations around the country. Cushing previously served as chief strategy officer of the organization. She joined Playworks (then known as Sports4Kids) in 2004 as director of evaluation. Over her tenure, she has served in various development positions, and has played key roles in the organizations funding and national expansion. Cushing is a graduate of Stanford University and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.

Monday, May 18 at 4:30 p.m.

Ed Dunkelblau, Ph.D., Plenary Speaker

Director, Institute for Emotionally Intelligent Learning

Ed Dunkelblau is an internationally known speaker and consultant on the topics of social-emotional learning and character development, safe schools programming, and humor in education. He has written numerous book chapters and articles and has been an organizational consultant to schools, districts, state boards of education, and corporations. Ed was the lead consultant to the Kansas board of education in developing the United States’ first social-emotional and character learning standards, and he is one of the select cadre of speakers working with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Yellow Ribbon reintegration program for returning service members.

Wednesday, May 20 at 9 a.m.