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Featured Workshop Speakers

Featured workshops offer attendees the chance to dive a little deeper into important issues affecting the independent school world.


 Featured Speakers

  • Michael Horn

    Michael Horn

    Thursday, February 26, 12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM
    Ballroom A
    Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

    Read an article about Michael Horn's featured workshop here.

    Watch interview clips with Horn on the NAIS YouTube channel.

    View the graphic recording of Horn's featured workshop.

    Download Michael Horn's presentation slideshow (PDF).

    A cofounder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, Michael Horn leads a research team that educates policymakers and community leaders on the power of disruptive innovation in the K-12 and higher education spheres. His team aims to transform monolithic, factory-model education systems into student-centric designs that educate every student successfully and enable each to realize his or her fullest potential. Horn has coauthored several books, including Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, a groundbreaking book that serves as a field guide and eye-opener for the builders and influencers of the next generation of K-12 learning environments. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, which Horn coauthored, hit 14 on Newsweek’s list of Fifty Books for Our Times. Forbes, The Washington Post, The Economist, The Huffington Post, and Education Week have published Horn’s work. Tech&Learning magazine named him to its list of the 100 most important people in the creation and advancement of the use of technology in education. Horn was also selected as a 2014 Eisenhower Fellow to study innovation in education in Vietnam and Korea. He serves on a variety of boards, including Fidelis Education and the Silicon Schools Fund.

  • Shaifali Puri

    Shaifali Puri

    Thursday, February 26, 1:30 - 2:30 PM
    Ballroom A
    Challenges and Open Innovation: Creative Solutions for Complex Problems

    ​You can read an article about Shaifali Puri's featured workshop here.

    Watch interview clips with Puri on the NAIS YouTube channel.

    View a graphic recording of Puri's featured workshop.

    As executive director of global innovation, Shaifali Puri drives innovation across all aspects of Nike Foundation's work. Formerly as the executive director of Scientists Without Borders, Puri raised millions of dollars to support open-source innovation in the sciences with partners ranging from Johnson & Johnson to Pepsico. At Nike she continues her quest to address some of the world's most pressing challenges — from health to innovation, from poverty to gender equality, and beyond.With a law degree from Stanford and a bachelor's from Princeton, Puri stood poised to follow a traditional and lucrative path. Instead, the Atlanta native whose parents are both high-achieving Indian immigrants, has spent years working to solve the biggest health problems plaguing developing nations and is now engaged in high-level, innovative global initiatives with one of the most iconic brands in the world. At Scientists Without Borders Puri arranged global partnerships that aimed to improve the quality of life in the developing world by linking, mobilizing, and coordinating science-based activities, initiatives, and resources. Fortune, The New York Times, World Policy Journal, and Slate have published Puri’s work. She won a Pipeline Fellowship where she trained female philanthropists to become angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice.

  • Emily Bazelon

    Emily Bazelon

    Friday, February 27, 8:00 - 9:00 AM
    Ballroom A
    Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

    ​You can read an article about Emily Bazelon's featured workshop here.

    Watch an interview clips of Bazelon on the NAIS YouTube channel.

    View the graphic recording of Bazelon's featured workshop.

    Bazelon is a senior editor at Slate, a New York Times Magazine contributing writer, and the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School. Her ground-breaking investigative journalism (and knack for storytelling), coupled with her extensive legal knowledge, makes her one of the leading authorities on the shifting landscape of bullying in the cyber age: What constitutes bullying? What can parents, teachers, and educators do about it? What are the roles of personality traits – such as grit, character, and empathy – in overcoming childhood trauma and finding social success?

    Bazelon has spoken to audiences from the Aspen Ideas Festival to the Texas Bar Association to TEDxWomen. She is a frequent guest on The Colbert Report. The Today Show, PBS NewsHour, Morning Joe, Fresh Air, and All Things Considered have featured her. Bazelon does live shows around the country as a member of the Slate Political Gabfest and she also recently interviewed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg at Yale. The Atlantic, O: The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, and Mother Jones publish Bazelon’s work. Her book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy, won widespread acclaim and was featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review.
  • Doreen Oleson

    Doreen Oleson

    Friday, February 27, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    Ballroom A
    NAIS Diversity Leadership Award and Workshop

    ​View the graphic recording of Oleson's featured workshop and award.

    Watch interview clips with Oleson on the NAIS YouTube channel.

    Now in her 25th and final year as head of Saint Mark’s School (California), Doreen Oleson has worked throughout her career to support leaders of color and women. Instrumental in the growth of Saint Mark’s, Oleson boosted the retention of teachers and staff of color to 58 percent. Born and raised on a sugar plantation on the Big Island of Hawaii, Oleson attended college in the Midwest. She returned home to organize and lead the State of Hawaii’s Department of Education Hawaiian Language Program. Her early teaching and work with native Hawaiian children inspired her to pursue more opportunities to support underserved students and families of color. In 1980, she moved to California to serve as assistant vice president for Pepperdine University, where she led the acquisition of commercial properties and construction of off-campus educational centers for the university. Oleson has served on boards and accreditation teams for the National Association of Episcopal Schools, Elementary School Heads of America, Country Day School Headmasters Association, CalWest Educators, California Association of Independent Schools, Commission on Schools of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, NAIS, Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, Northwest Association of Independent Schools, and Western Association of Schools and Colleges. She is a field instructor at the Klingenstein Program at Teachers College.  A strong advocate of Haitian school partnerships for Episcopal schools, Oleson actively promotes public/private school alliances and partnerships. Prior to work at Saint Mark’s, she was an independent school board chair, independent school trustee, university administrator, a jewelry shop owner/gemologist, Realtor, and public school teacher. Married to Donald Oleson, a retired missile defense engineer, Doreen is a mom of four, grandmother of six, and an avid collector of rare antique Japanese obis, netsuke, and kimonos.   

  • Rafe Esquith

    Rafe Esquith

    Friday, February 27, 1:30 - 2:30 PM
    Ballroom A
    Teach like Your Hair's on Fire

    ​Read an article about Rafe Esquith's featured workshop here.

    Watch interview clips of Esquith on the NAIS YouTube channel.

    View the graphic recording of Esquith's featured workshop.

    A once-in-a-lifetime educator, Rafe Esquith may be the most inspiring school teacher in America. He's been called "a modern day Thoreau" by Newsday, "a genius and a saint" by The New York Times, and "the most interesting and influential classroom teacher in the country" by The Washington Post. For the past two decades, Esquith has taught fifth graders at a public school in a Los Angeles neighborhood plagued by guns, gangs, and violence. His exceptional classroom at Hobart Elementary — known simply as Room 56 — is unlike any other in the country.

    Esquith's students are mostly immigrants or children of immigrants, living in poverty and learning English as a second language. Yet under his tutelage, they voluntarily come to class at 6:30 AM and often stay until 5:00 PM. They learn math, reading, and science — but they also play Vivaldi, perform Shakespeare, often score in the top one percent on standardized tests, and go on to attend the best universities. For his near-heroic work, Esquith is the only teacher to be awarded the President's National Medal of the Arts. He has received the National Teacher of the Year Award and won accolades from Oprah, the Queen, and the Dalai Lama. He's written four books, including his most recent, Real Talk for Real Teachers. His other books include Teach like Your Hair's on Fire, There Are No Shortcuts, and Lighting Their Fires. Esquith has also been featured, along with his students, in the PBS documentary The Hobart Shakespeareans. Esquith insists we make students our priority.

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