A Former NASA Scientist and an Award-Winning Educator Are This Year's Featured Speakers
Kantis Simmons, Opening Keynote Speaker
Former NASA Scientist, Renowned Speaker, and Author, Kantis Simmons is on a mission. As the nation’s leading school success strategist, he’s aiming to put an end to the academic failure epidemic, teacher turnover rate, and trillion dollars student loan debt crisis sweeping across America’s schools and colleges.
The schools that go through his “Play Your ‘A’ Game” Academic Success program are seeing a 15% -23% improvement in student performance and test scores. Educators are more fired up today, and schools are retaining more teachers due to his “Educate To Elevate” teacher motivation program.
With a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Norfolk State University (Norfolk, VA), a Master of Science degree in Polymer Science & Engineering from Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA), and a Master of Science degree in Textile and Fiber Engineering from Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA), Kantis is passionate about science and education.
Kantis’ career includes developing new products for Mobil Chemical Company, creating new contact lens products for CIBA Vision, and improving aircraft, space shuttles and military jets for NASA Langley Research Center. After more than a decade of working in the lab solving scientific problems for the government and corporate industries, today he travels the world solving the problems of students, parents, educators, schools, and colleges by delivering speeches, creating courses, and writing books. Growing up with a birth defect and all the mental discomfort that comes with that, audiences readily respond when Kantis shares his humorous and proven 7.25 Secrets on academic success, college readiness, teacher motivation, and STEM education.
Kevin Jarrett, Closing Speaker
Kevin Jarrett is an award-winning teacher educator, author, speaker, and international STEM / Design Thinking / Maker Education consultant. He is grounded in the belief that giving learners the opportunity to imagine and create original solutions to real-world problems helps them develop the skills, dispositions, and adaptable mindset needed to survive and thrive in an uncertain future.
Kevin spent fifteen years in public education before transitioning into a consulting role where he now devotes 100% of his time to helping schools embrace human-centered, innovative educational programs that are built around hands-on, minds-on learning experiences. A lifelong maker, Kevin is one of twenty Columbia Fablearn Fellows and a co-founder of the Edcamp movement. In addition to his experiences with maker education and K-12 staff development, Kevin is a Google Certified Innovator and Trainer. He speaks regularly at local, regional, national and international educator professional learning events, workshops, and conferences.
Kevin lives in Northfield, New Jersey with his wife and two daughters where he enjoys geeking out with his maker friends, cycling, camping and photography. For more about Kevin and his consulting practice, visit firewalkerconsulting.com.
Plenary Session - Virginia STEM: Your Role in the State’s Plan
Dr. Tina Manglicmot, VDOE STEM Director and Chuck English, VA STEM Coordinator will talk about VA STEM and the State STEM Plan. They will discuss the State’s unified vision for STEM and how it impacts the lives of not just students, but all Virginians. The plan includes goals aimed at PK-12 education hoping to inspire the next generation of innovative STEM leaders. How can educators become more engaged in STEM, leading others towards a better understanding of STEM as a pedagogy?
Dr. Tina Manglicmot is an educational leader dedicated to K-12 public schools. My experiences and knowledge lie in the areas of educational technology, online/blended learning, program innovation, science, mathematics, engineering, computer science, and health education. I have delivered face-to-face, blended, and online professional development for over fifteen years on a multitude of educational topics, but most recently on blended pedagogy, STEM education, and integrative practices.
Chuck English has designed, developed, and supported new and innovative programs in schools, school districts and informal education centers in several states. He has worked in museums as an education director and taught science and science education from elementary school through college. As education centers, especially informal education centers, are looking at new ways to engage and inspire their audience, Chuck’s work has evolved into program development, evaluation, and strategic planning. In his previous role as Director of Playful Learning at the Science Museum of Virginia, Chuck worked to create programming both inside and outside the Museum to engage families in STEM learning, with particular focus on underserved audiences. In his new role as Virginia STEM Coordinator, Chuck is working to pull together the great wealth of opportunities and experiences across the Commonwealth associated with STEM. Many stakeholders are working hard to create enriching STEM experiences; however, they are often working in isolation. In his role, Chuck is working to ensure sure STEM efforts work collaboratively, sharing experiences, resources, and effort.