The Summit: Educator conference in Kansas City

The Summit: Illuminate

Join us for our yearly educator conference

Introducing this year’s theme:


Join us for The Educator Academy’s annual conference, The Summit. This year we want to “Illuminate” today’s brilliance & tomorrow’s path forward in Kansas City’s education landscape. The Summit will highlight the brilliant work that educators are doing in the classroom today and look ahead toward the changing dynamic of our field. Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 24th to hear from local experts, engage with peers in facilitated sessions, and reconnect with the education community at large. Plan for your lightbulb moment, RSVP today

More details for this year’s Summit will be shared soon! In the meantime, you can check out last year’s info here: Summit 2023 Overview


The Summit 2024

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After you attend The Summit, we want to hear about your experience! 


What to expect


Check-in & Breakfast

Come connect with other teachers before the first session begins. Breakfast will be provided. We have a full day including a connection session, speakers, and facilitators! Click on the links below to read more about each activity for the day.

Guest Panel

Start the day off by hearing from local education leaders as they reflect on the future of education in Kansas City. Joining us on the panel will be

Have questions for these leaders? Submit a question for the panel here!

Breakout Session 1

Next up is the first breakout session of the day. Individuals will choose between one of the following five sessions:

    • “A New Narrative: Revisiting and Reframing Beliefs in Teaching” With Julian Johnson-Marshall
    • “Efficiency Unleashed: Transformative Teaching with AI” with Andge Lupton
    • “Partnering with Parents for Accelerated Student Success” with Cassandra Bruington
    • “The Phenomenology of African American Male Educators: Listen and Learn” with Dr. Gaston Woodland Jr.
    • “Leadership Lessons Through a Lombardi Lens: Channeling Your Championship Swagger” with Vincent Potts

Ready to choose your session choices for the day? Do so now here!

Breakout Session 2

Following the first round of breakout sessions is another opportunity to learn from facilitators. During the second breakout session of the day, individuals will choose between one of the following sessions:

    • “An Educator’s Guide to Energy Management” with Jordan Jackson
    • “U.S. Public Education’s ‘Superpower’: When Embracing Multilingual Education Transformed the U.S. Educational System for All” with Olivia Flores
    • “Nurturing Purpose & Sparking Change” with Richard Abram
    • Illuminating Small Group Instruction: Bridging the Gap Student Success” with Shannon Reasby & Amy Halley
    • “Constructivism in the Elementary Classroom” with Vonnchet Clark 

Ready to choose your session choices for the day? Do so now here!


Connect with other educators about their experience at The Summit while enjoying a free lunch.

Keynote Speaker: Brent Maddin

Following lunch will be the Keynote Speaker! We are thrilled to have Brent Maddin, the Executive Director of Next Education Workforce (NEW) join us as The Summit as our keynote speaker. Brent is passionate about innovation within the field of education. The guiding light for Brent’s work is offering students an experience in education that is more effective and personalized, while also creating a more sustainable system for teachers. Consequently, we feel that he is a great fit for folks attending this conference.

His session at The Summit is titled: Illuminating the path forward: Why great educators are more important now than ever. 

Come join him at The Summit!

Connection Activity

This time is all about connection! While the rest of the day is centered on professional development, we always include time explicitly for connecting with yourself and other educators. Choose from one of these sessions below:

  • Pursuing Career Paths Masterclass with  Candace Wilson + Dana Coleman
  • Self as Educator with Jeff King
  • Art with Ms.  Beasley
  • Trivia with Mr. Seals

Finally, we will end our day with a raffle and closing.


Guest Panel Discussion

Exploring Education’s Path Forward

We are thrilled to have education leaders within Kansas City join us as we envision a new path forward. This is a conversation you won’t want to miss! Have a question you want to the panel to discuss? Submit your questions along with your session choices!


Dr. Jennifer CollierSuperintendent of KCPS

Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Collier, with 23 years in Kansas City Public Schools, has excelled as a teacher, principal, Chief Human Resource Officer, and Deputy Superintendent. Holding degrees from the University of Kansas, Avila University, and UMKC, she earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership in 2018. Dr. Collier builds lasting relationships, improves attendance, elevates test scores, and recruits top talent through a culturally responsive approach. Committed to providing a rigorous, equitable, and culturally responsive education, she focuses on ensuring KCPS students become proficient readers as a pathway to a promising future. She is eager to lead KCPS towards its brightest days

Mr. Yaw ObengSuperintendent of Hickman Mills 

In his role as Superintendent, he is dedicated and eager to work Hickman Mills primary purpose – graduating citizens who are prepared for college, career and a high quality of life. For more than 100 years, HMC-1 has served this community through sweeping social, cultural, economic and political changes. We have met and will continue to meet the challenges the future holds for us. We will build on the legacy of our diverse community and celebrate our collaborative brighter future. He will work relentlessly to ensure we continue our rich heritage by building on past successes, continuing to utilize optimal data-driven practices and create strong quality partnerships to best serve our HMC-1 families.

Dr. Angelique NedvedPresident and CEO of SchoolSmartKC

As President and CEO of SchoolSmartKC, Dr. Angelique Nedved leads their efforts to eliminate the opportunity gap for Kansas City Public Education System students. Serving as a trusted advisor in Kansas City, she collaborates with local and national leaders, focusing on strategic planning at the intersection of philanthropy and education. A lifelong educator and nationally recognized figure, Dr. Nedved’s commitment to educational equity stems from her varied roles as a teacher, principal, and district leader. Before becoming CEO, she served as Chief Program Officer and Director of School Quality at SchoolSmartKC, emphasizing the importance of community involvement for culturally relevant, high-quality public education. Dr. Nedved holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, a Masters in Education Administration, and a Bachelors in Secondary and Elementary Education.

Dr. DeAngela Burns-WallacePresident and CEO of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

A trailblazing leader with a Midwest mindset, she shapes practical solutions for today’s challenges. With 25+ years of award-winning public sector leadership and education, she fosters equitable access, shapes policies, and empowers communities. Former Kansas Secretary of Administration, she was the first African American to hold the role. She is a renowned speaker on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

10AM Breakout Sessions

Below are our first round of break out sessions! Read below to learn a little bit about each of the offerings.



Julian Johnson-Marshall

A New Narrative: Revisiting and Reframing Beliefs in Teaching

The professional learning session titled, “A New Narrative: Revisiting and Reframing Belief in Teaching” is a transformative journey that redefines our understanding and perspectives on the core beliefs and narratives that undergird our current education ecosystem. Guided by an immense desire to support and sustain educators, this session employs dynamic strategies that foster a critical community of reflection, collaboration, and collective imagination. This session presents the writings of James Baldwin, Jay-Z, and Ta-Nehisi Coates as a commencement point – a launchpad – for the new narratives that will define and describe a new, and more equitable education ecosystem.


Andge Lupton

Efficiency Unleashed: Transformative Teaching with AI

Gain practical strategies and tools for integrating AI into your lesson planning to increase efficiency, personalization, and student outcomes. Explore AI applications for differentiation, feedback, and repetitive tasks. Engage in collaborative problem-solving and goal-setting to successfully implement AI in your unique teaching context.


Cassandra Bruington

Partnering with Parents for Accelerated Student Success

Unlock the power of Partnering with Parents for Accelerated Student Success! Join our session as we delve into proven strategies, case studies, and best practices, empowering you to elevate student learning, foster growth, and achieve new levels of success: academically, socially, and emotionally. Unleash the potential of parent partnerships for a positive impact on students, staff, and the entire community!


Dr. Gaston Woodland Jr.

The Phenomenology of African American Male Educators: Listen and Learn

Dr. Woodland will share his dissertation data regarding the lived experiences of Black male educators. If you are looking to learn how to recruit, engage, and retain more Black male educators, this would be a great session to attend. Note that this is a learning session about the experience of Black male educators–you do not have to be Black nor male to attend. 


Vincent Potts

Leadership Lessons Through a Lombardi Lens:
Channeling Your Championship Swagger

This session will illuminate foundational mindsets and key practices utilized by the Chiefs during their championship runs spanning 2019-2023 and make connections to educational research. During this session, attendees will use these insights to reflect on their role/practices in their current setting and apply this knowledge as they begin developing personalized mini-playbooks to foster “championship swagger” in their own classrooms and educational spaces.

11AM Breakout Sessions

Below are the offerings for the second break out session. Read below to learn a little bit about each of the offerings.




Jordan Jackson

An Educator’s Guide to Energy Management

In this session, teachers will be able to explore the concept of energy management as a tool for self care in the classroom. Teachers will reflect on their own energy management strategies, set goals for the remainder of the school year, and practice prioritization to leave the session with implementable action steps to improve their wellness and sustain themselves in the classroom. Teachers will hopefully walk away with 3+ tools they could replicate in their classrooms with their students!


Olivia Flores 

U.S. Public Education’s “Superpower”: When Embracing Multilingual Education Transformed the U.S. Educational System for All

Multilingual education has garnered attention for its relationship to culturally responsive teaching, academic achievement, and community development with Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona most recently referring to bilingualism as a “superpower.” In this session participants will have the space to reflect on their own identity and relationship to language, be immersed in a narrative that delves into how multilingualism has impacted one school district, and prompt them to analyze the impact of bilingual education on students’ presents and imagined futures. The session will close with the ending to the narrative and an opportunity for participants to form their own future outcomes having analyzed the possible outcomes of multilingual education on their work, multifaceted communities, and districts like theirs.

Summit Speakers


Deon Whitten & Richard Abram & Adrianne Ford

Nurturing Purpose & Sparking Change

More details on this session are coming soon!


Shannon Reasby & Amy Halley 

Illuminating Small Group Instruction: Bridging the Gap in Student Success

In this session, participants will delve into the art of small group instruction and how it can be used to bridge educational gaps effectively. The session will emphasize the importance of structured literacy and its pivotal role in tailored, equitable instruction.


Vonnchet Clark 

Constructivism in the Elementary Classroom

Teachers will engage in literacy practices that promote constructivism and higher order thinking. Teachers will read portraits and engage in the creation of an artifact connected to a text. At the end of the session, teachers will be able to think about ways that they will incorporate constructivist practices in their own instruction.

SUmmit: Illuminate

Keynote Speaker: Brent Maddin


As Executive Director of the Next Education Workforce, Brent collaborates with colleagues across Arizona State University (ASU), P12 educators, and the community at large to redesign models of schooling. Next Education Workforce encourages a model based on a team of educators, with a vision that ALL students have a better experience when learning can be more personalized. The team-based model allows students to interact with various adults, each bringing their unique expertise to the table. In addition to offering students a different learning experience, team-based models offer more equitable and sustainable ways to enter and advance as an educator.

Prior to his time at ASU, Brent was a co-founder and Provost at the Relay Graduate School of Education where he set the curricular vision for the institution and managed teams focused on curriculum design, institutional research, and programmatic innovation. While at Relay, Brent also founded TeacherSquared–a national center dedicated to increasing collaboration among teacher preparation institutions. Brent also has earned a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, served as a founding staff member at IDEA College Prep, and was a National Board Certified Teacher in secondary science.

Want to hear from Brent Maddin now? Check out the Next Education Workforce podcast!

At The Summit, Brent will be leading us through a presentation on “Illuminating the path forward: Why great educators are more important now than ever” This will cover today’s reality, the power of educator teams and looking forward. 

Connection Session

We have several options for you to choose from for your connection session breakout, varying from connecting to yourself and connecting with others. See below for more details. 



Candace Wilson + Dana Coleman 

Pursuing Career Paths Masterclass

Interviews are stacked with scenario-based questions calling upon an interviewee to share their skill proficiency, but the more challenging moments in an interview happen when we are asked to reflect more deeply on who we are as individuals, and what we value. As educators, being ready to compellingly share our vision and values becomes the ‘elevator pitch’ that can confidently summarize who you are. In this immersive session, participants will engage in workbursts to craft their own responses to interview questions and internal promotions. Note: Even if not actively interviewing for a new role, this is a great session for educators hoping to hone conversations they would use in networking events!


Jeff King 

Connecting to Self as an Educator

This workshop focuses on the most important asset the educator brings to their profession—their own self. Through personal reflection, interactive exercises and dyadic participation, participants will gain skills to build their capacity for developing self-agency and resiliency. Participants will take home a daily practice to sustain and enhance their core sense of self.


Michelle Beasley

Art with Ms. Beasley

I will give step by step instruction to participants as they engage in a relaxing mini paint session. Participants will learn the masking techniques used to create using rubber cement glue and watercolor paint. By the end of the session, participants will have created an original piece of art and may be inspired to unlock their hidden creative talent in their own space.




Steven Seals

Trivia with Mr. Seals

Join us for an entertaining and interactive trivia experience designed especially for educators! Test your knowledge across a range of categories, including famous educators, school movie quotes, historical school events, and pop culture in education. This session combines elements of classic trivia and game show vibes with questions covering a variety of education-related topics from the silly to the serious.



I don't have a ticket. Can I still come?

We are glad that you are interested in attending The Summit! Currently, The Summit is sold out. Please sign up to join the waitlist. As tickets become available you will be notified!

I have a ticket but I can no longer attend. What do I do?

The Summit is sold out! If you are no longer able to attend The Summit, please email us at From there we will release your ticket which will allow someone on the waitlist to attend.

Where and when is The Summit?

The Summit will be hosted from 9-3:30pm on Saturday February 24th at The Kauffman Foundation Conference Center! Doors open at 8:30 with breakfast being served before the opening session at 9am.

Can I present at The Summit?

Every year we open our application for facilitating break-out sessions at The Summit. We have already selected all session leaders for The Summit: Illuminate 2024. Our application for the 2025 conference is not yet available. If you are interested in presenting at next year’s conference, please reach out to, to be updated on the application opening.

What is the cost of attending?

The Summit is free! In fact, if you are a teacher in the Hickman Mills or KCPS school districts, you can earn PD credits and a stipend for attending. Once as your arrive at The Summit there will be a place to sign in. In order to receive credit from your district your attendance will be confirmed at the registration table.


What is the attendance expectation?

Full day attendance is strongly encouraged. We are excited to have you join us and firmly believe that the entire day of programming will provide value to you. In addition, if you are attending the conference for PD credit through your school, you will need to be in attendance for the entire day to receive that credit. If you have concern or are unable to attend for the entire day reach out to Kat.


What should I bring? Do I need to wear anything special?

We will provide everything needed for your participation throughout the day, including a space to take notes! Please come in whatever make you comfortable and prepared to engage in the full day! Casual attire is acceptable.

Join Us At The Summit

If you have not yet RSVP’d, secure your ticket now! Once as you attend The Summit, we’d like to hear your feedback. Submit your reflections below.



The Summit 2024 Survey

  • Please take a moment to complete this brief survey regarding your experience at The Summit, hosted by The Educator Academy on Saturday February 24th, 2024. Thank you in advance for your reflections and input!
  • Based on your experience at The Summit today, how likely are you to attend in future years?
  • What would you change for future years?
  • What did you value the most at The Summit today?
  • Which sessions did you attend?
  • How would you rank the quality of the speakers, facilitators, and connection sessions overall?
  • Please share your thoughts to explain your response to the question above.