The Education Trust National Conference
Nov. 13-14, 2014
Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel
Baltimore, Md.

What 2013 conference attendees had to say:

"The plenary sessions provided inspiration, motivation, and information for me to bring back to my district." — 2013 attendee

"This was my first year attending, and I came back to my community with a lot of strategies and ideas to share and implement." — 2013 attendee

Timely. Powerful. Honest. Ed Trust Conference Plenary Speakers.

Photography by Alexander Morozov

Education leaders, activists, scholars, and researchers bring wisdom, perspective, hard-won experience — and the fire of conviction — every year to Ed Trust plenary sessions.

Opening Plenary Session

Together We ARE the Change



Kati Haycock
President, The Education Trust

Join Ed Trust President Kati Haycock in this opening session as we learn from and celebrate those on the frontlines of real change: hard-charging educators and activists making a real difference in schools and communities. 

You’ll be reminded of the data and what those numbers tell us. You’ll be inspired by the stories — tales of coming together, defying odds, and doing what some thought was  impossible. In the end, you’ll know that you are not alone. That all over the nation, like-minded, dynamic, and caring educators and activists are working to raise achievement and close gaps, ensuring that all students are on the path to success. 

Before leading Ed Trust, Haycock served as executive vice president of the Children’s Defense Fund, the nation’s largest child advocacy  organization. A native Californian, she has received numerous awards for  her service to our nation’s youth.  

Thursday Lunch Plenary Session

Introductory Remarks From Catherine E. Lhamon

Catherine E. Lhamon
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education

Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education, will discuss OCRís recent guidance to school districts and states to ensure that all students have equal access to educational resources ó regardless of race, color, or national origin. Prior to her appointment at the department, she was the director of impact litigation at Public Counsel, the nationís largest pro bono law firm. Before that, Lhamon practiced for a decade at the ACLU of Southern California. She was also a teaching fellow and supervising attorney in the Appellate Litigation Program at Georgetown University Law Center after clerking for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She has earned repeat accolades as one of Californiaís top women lawyers and as a lawyer of the year for civil rights. 

Leading the Way: Putting new standards in place

Susana Cordova
Chief Schools Officer, Denver Public Schools

Susan Bunting
Superintendent, Indian River School District

Sonja Brookins Santelises
Vice President of K-12 Policy and Practice, The Education Trust

While political posturing and grandstanding have dominated the headlines, the  real challenge posed by new college- and career-ready standards is how to help teachers use those standards to improve instruction that helps open doors for all children rather than shutting out children of color and those living in poverty. 

That will require the thoughtful efforts of leaders at every level, from the classroom to the state. 

In this lunchtime discussion, two accomplished district leaders will talk frankly with Ed Trust Vice President Sonja Brookins Santelises about what school, district, and classroom leaders must do to focus their time and resources on implementing new standards — with a particular emphasis on supporting those students who are furthest behind.

With three top educators talking through the issues facing educators all over the country, this promises to be the conversation you will go home talking about. 

For four years, Susana Cordova was the chief academic officer of Denver Public Schools, where she led the implementation of Common Core State Standards and changes in curriculum and teacher training. In her new role as chief schools officer, she provides support to all Denver principals as they continue to lead changes in instruction to improve academic achievement.

Since 2006, Susan Bunting has served as superintendent of rural Indian River School District in Delaware, where she has presided over steady improvement in academic achievement, even though the number of students living in poverty in her district has increased dramatically. With careful implementation of Common Core standards, Indian River is now one of the top districts in the state. 

Before joining Ed Trust, Santelises was chief academic officer of Baltimore City School District, where she oversaw the implementation of Common Core standards.

Thursday Afternoon Plenary Session

Developing Great Teaching: From responsible entry to advanced practice


Deborah Loewenberg Ball
Dean of the School of Education, University of Michigan

Great teachers make all the difference. But too many low-income students and students of color don’t have access to teachers with the training and skills that drive effective teaching. In this plenary session, Deborah Loewenberg Ball will address the importance of skillful teaching and ensuring its availability to more students, providing context from her work in Michigan to improve teacher evaluation, feedback, and support.

Ball currently serves as director of TeachingWorks and as dean of the University of Michigan School of Education, where she is also the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor in Education and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor. Her work draws on her more than 15 years of experience as an elementary classroom teacher, and her research focuses on mathematics instruction, as well as on interventions designed to improve its quality and effectiveness. She is an expert on teacher education, with a particular interest in how professional training and experience combine to equip beginning teachers with the skills and knowledge needed for effective practice. Ball is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Mathematics Society, and the American Educational Research Association, and an elected member of the National Academy of Education. She earned her Ph.D. from Michigan State University. And she still teaches mathematics to elementary students every summer.

Friday Morning Plenary Session

Accentuating the Positive: Policies and practices that promote black and Latino male student achievement

Shaun R. Harper
Executive Director, Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education

We often hear of black and Latino male students struggling academically. But what of the many who are succeeding? What’s their story and how do we replicate it? In this plenary session, Shaun R. Harper will share his work on examining black and Latino male college preparation, access, and achievement, including his recent qualitative study, Succeeding in the City: A Report from the New York City Black and Latino Male High School Achievement Study. In the study, he describes characteristics of 415 high-achieving black and Latino male students and makes the link to school culture, strong principals and teachers, and high standards and expectations for educational excellence.

Harper is a tenured faculty member in the Graduate School of Education, Africana Studies, and Gender Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also serves as the executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. Harper’s research examines myriad subjects from race and gender in education to equity trends and racial climates on college campuses to college student engagement. A prolific author, Harper has written more than 85 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications and has penned 11 books, including the soon-to-be-released Advancing Black Male Student Success From Preschool Through Ph.D. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Albany State in Georgia and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Friday Closing Plenary Session

Restoring Justice, Igniting Change: Youth and allies at the frontlines of the fight for school discipline reform


DC Youth Slam Team 

Padres y Jóvenes Unidos

Just when you thought conference was winding down, we’re cranking it up.  Storming the stage just after lunch in this closing session, the national-slam- sweeping young poet-activists from the DC  Youth Slam Team will take the mic (and your breath away) as they set the tone for a conversation on civil rights and school discipline reform. The youth leaders and adult allies of Denver-based  Padres y Jóvenes will take the conversation home. 

Hear how student and parent leaders raised voices and consciousness on connec-tions between school discipline, academic achievement, and civil rights. And learn about their successful movement to rewrite the district’s code of conduct, imple-ment school-based restorative justice, pass state legislation ending zero tolerance policies, and limit the role of Denver police in school discipline. This session will leave you so lifted and fired up, you may not even need a plane to get home. 

Do. Not. Miss. This.

Padres y Jóvenes Unidos builds the power of low-income people of color to effect systemic change through grassroots organizing and leadership. Their more than 600 multi-generational members are leading successful campaigns around hun-ger, school discipline and climate, college prep for all, youth interactions with law enforcement, extended learning time, immigrant student rights, and transportation. 

The DC Youth Slam Team uses spoken word poetry to empower DC area teens to speak up about issues of social justice. A program of the nonprofit Split  This Rock, the DC Youth Slam Team won 1st place at the 2014 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, making them the current world champions of youth slam poetry. 

Have Questions?


The Education Trust promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels — pre-kindergarten through college. Our goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people — especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian — to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.


Important Dates

Tuesday, September 30: Early bird registration closes 
Monday, November 10: Regular registration closes