2021 "Can't Miss" Keynotes



Adam Saenz, Ph.D., D.MIN.

Relationships That Work: The Four Must-Have Readiness Skills for Every Educator

Most of us already know that relationships matter in any field, but particularly in education. The question is: how? How do I build life impacting relationships with students? How do I build resourceful relationships with my colleagues on campus? How do I build supportive relationships with my students’ parents?Join Dr. Adam Saenz to learn about the practice of four essential skills that will posture and position any educator to a place of relational readiness.

As a licensed psychologist, author, and emotional intelligence expert, Dr. Saenz has worked in the education and mental health fields for over twenty years. He has worked in collaboration with the College of Education at Texas A&M University, including the Department of Human Resource Development, the Department of School Psychology, and the Department of Research, Measurement, and Statistics. Among Dr. Saenz’s publications are the best selling The Power of a Teacher, Relationships That Work, and his most recent release, The EQ Intervention: Shaping a Self-Aware Generation Through Social and Emotional Learning.



Ronald Whitaker, II, Ed.D.

HELP: Understanding the Fierce Urgency of Now

In this keynote address, the speaker provides a comprehensive overview of why valuing the cultural background and norms of students and communities is a critically important professional disposition for teachers and administrators. Specifically, this presentation utilizes the Critical HELP framework to explain 1) a historical analysis of racism within an American context that still intersects in schools and classrooms, 2) the difference between equality and equity, 3) the importance of students experiencing a sense of belonging, and 4) exemplar practices that teachers and administrators can utilize in the classroom and school community. This keynote aims to challenge teachers and administrators to increase their practical and theoretical capacities to engage all learners in a manner that aligns with authentic practices pertaining to equity and social justice.

Ronald W. Whitaker, II, Ed.D. is the Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Assistant Professor of Education at Cabrini University. At Cabrini, he also serves as the Assistant Dean in the School of Education, Director of District and School Relations, and Director for the Center for Urban Education, Equity, and Improvement (CUEEI). Further, Dr. Whitaker also holds the distinction of being a Schouver Fellow at Duquesne University. Whitaker completed his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Duquesne University. He also earned a master’s degree in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in Business Administration at Eastern University, and two undergraduate degrees from Geneva College. Additionally, Dr. Whitaker earned a Certificate in Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. As a researcher, Dr. Whitaker has published articles on the psychology of race and racism, issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, culturally responsive pedagogy, practices, and programming, and the societal and educational disenfranchisement of African American males. 


Hamish Brewer


Sometimes you have to hear the things you don’t want to hear in order to move forward, to be better, and to get results. Mr. Brewer will take you on a hard-hitting journey that will challenge you to rethink your practices, to disrupt the norm, and to change the game. Find out if you have or are willing to go one more round, if you’re willing to advocate for every single person and child. Find out if you’re willing to take your school or organization to the next level.

Hamish Brewer, the relentless, tattooed, skateboarding principal in Northern Virginia isn’t your typical principal. Mr. Brewer is high octane, constantly calling on his students to “Be Relentless.” Mr. Brewer has become known as an educational disrupter who transcends the status quo and typical educational norms. He was recognized as the 2017 NAESP Nationally Distinguished Principal and Virginia Principal of the year, and Prince William County Public Schools 2019 Principal of the Year. He has also been recognized with the 2016 VAESP School Bell Award and the ASCD Virginia Impact Award. Under his leadership, his elementary school was recognized as a Nationally Distinguished Title 1 School, and Mr. Brewer has since gone on to turn around one of the toughest middle schools in the state of Virginia.