Education as a Critical Infrastructure:
Tim Gard, CSP, CPAE, is a motivational, funny keynote speaker, corporate entertainer, and emcee. Tim is known for bringing tears of laughter to audiences worldwide. More than an insightful and funny guy, Tim teaches people to be more resilient and resourceful using their own comedic style. He also coaches businesses on how to enhance productivity through employee enthusiasm by using appropriate workplace humor.
An internationally recognized authority on stress reduction and conflict resolution, Tim’s easy- to-implement techniques demonstrate ways to diffuse, deal with, and ultimately avoid stressful encounters. Tim does not make light of serious issues; rather, he shines a light on previously unseen possibilities to overcome challenging situations.
Laurie VanderPloeg is the Associate Executive Director for the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Prior to joining CEC, she was the director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), at the U.S. Department of Education. Laurie also served as director of special education at Kent Intermediate School District (Kent ISD) in Michigan. Also at Kent ISD, she served as assistant director for monitoring, compliance and parent support. She was a local supervisor of special education, and a special education teacher, and an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University in the special education administration program. She is a parent of an adult son with disabilities. Laurie graduated from Grand Valley State University with a master’s in special education administration and a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State College. She holds administrative approvals as both supervisor and director of special education and certification in learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, emotional impairment, and K–8 regular education.
Nate's experience as a superintendent, school board member, consultant, researcher and private sector CEO allows him to bring a unique perspective to his passion for improving the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of K-12. He combines bold thinking, practical insights and an ability to bring diverse stakeholders together to guide sustained efforts that turn opportunities into realities. Core to his work is the belief and experience that services and outcomes can improve even in tight economic times or with declining enrollment.
Beth Houf is the proud principal of Fulton Middle School in central Missouri. She is the Co-Author of Lead Like a PIRATE: Make School Amazing for Your Students and Staff. Beth also serves as a facilitator for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Leadership Academy, providing monthly training to state educational leaders. Beth is an international presenter and consultant. She is also active in her local, state and national principal associations. Beth is an adjunct professor at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Fulton Middle School was recognized as a Missouri Exemplary Professional Learning Community and Solution Tree Model Professional Learning Community in 2019. Beth was named a Missouri Exemplary New Principal in 2011, the Missouri National Distinguished Principal for 2016 the 2019 National Association of Secondary School Principals Digital Principal of the Year, the EducationDive 2019 Principal of the Year, the 2021-2022 Missouri Secondary School Principal of the Year and the 2022 NASSP Principal of the Year. Beth also serves as a principal advisor for Future Ready Schools and is a Solution Tree PLC at Work Associate. Beth’s proudest accomplishments are her two sons, Paul and Dawson. She has been honored to help lead schools that both have attended.
All times listed are ET.
February 14 - 17
Breakout sessions & speakers will be announced soon!