Leadership Track - Kids First National Conference

Leadership Track

COVID has forced education into a real-time crisis. Schools and child-serving organizations are struggling to meet the educational, as well as the social emotional needs of students. Now is the time to bring leaders together to meld the best and most creative ideas for a brighter future for our children. We invite you to participate in an engaging and productive conference in which experts and practitioners across child-serving organizations explore innovations and solutions.   

Participants will hear innovative ideas, share their experiences, and create action plans for both the COVID and post-COVID landscape. Join your voice with others. We invite you to join other forward-thinking leaders for this important event.

The 2020 Virtual Kids First National Conference

The time is now to change how America cares for and educates its children.

The Kids First National Conference will help you create a culture of innovation and transformation in your organization to meet the challenges of current environment. Kids First offers opportunities for organizational leaders, thought leaders and innovative problem solvers who work with children. 

This conference will foster collaborative experiences to inspire and fuel innovative solutions. Content rich workshops facilitate an effective transformative approach to meeting the needs of every student. Leadership experts will share their strategies, tips, and success principles to help you develop a playbook to deploy a culture of innovation and transformation.

The main objective of the Leadership Track is to provide framework for you to develop a work plan that results in the transformation leaders are trying to bring about in their organization, school, district, community, state or even at the national level. Through the collective wisdom, experiences, know-how and creativity of the various professions in the conference, leaders will gain insight and ideas from outside of their field of expertise thereby generating solutions from multiple perspectives and fields.

Attend the Kids First National Conference - young girl brainstorming new ideas
Attend the Kids First National Conference - mother and daughter learning together

Join the Movement

Journey with us as we co-create a community of like-minded people from all areas who are flexible thinkers, creative problem solvers, and who have the capacity to think “outside of the building” and embrace the whole child concept. Together we will:

  • Discover ways to turn challenges into opportunities
  • Explore creative approaches to managing the complexity of a team facing new regulations and standards
  • Connect with a group that is facing similar challenges while providing diverse ideas
  • Engage with others while building an innovative game plan with transformative solutions

How it Works

The Leadership Track includes eight days of pre-conference sessions and activities beginning on October 18 and a full conference agenda at the Kids First National Conference on October 26-27. Pre-conference work will help you prepare for the conference and create a personal agenda that is unique, powerful, and aligned to your needs and the organization you serve. The conference offerings for this track are formatted into Four Phases and includes premium workshops presented by leaders and innovators in their fields. Additional interactive, reflective and working sessions are also offered through this track with all learning designed to expose participants to innovative ideas they can adapt to their individual settings, promote reflection and leave them with the vision necessary to move their organizations forward. Participants in the Leadership Track will leave the conference with a plan designed to incorporate an innovative and transformative action plan to move their organization forward.

Attend the Kids First National Conference - mother and daughter looking at laptop screen
Attend the Kids First National Conference - woman with headset on at laptop computer

Pre-Conference Activities – October 18-25

Leadership Pre-conference Phase: Gaining Clarity on Vision

Participants of the Leadership Track should have a clear idea of what their vision for transformation or what needs to be transformed in their organizations. Transformation requires a shift in mindset from focusing on the problems in front of them to a mindset of vision to what can be. The conference sessions will help you shift your focus and provide tools to assist you in capturing essential concepts while crafting an action plan/strategic plan through every phase of the conference.

Leadership Phase One: Creating a Culture of Innovation

October 26 | 11:40 a.m.-1:25 p.m. (EDT)

This track will feature leaders who have built organizational cultures infused with flexibility, integration, and a whole child approach to meeting the needs of youth.

Expect to:

  • Establish and build an innovative culture
  • Receive practical strategies, policies, and systems to maintain that culture
  • Explore role of ethic
  • Elevate your “out-of-the-box” thinking to an “outside-the-building” approach
Dr. Wes Huey
Director of Instruction
Skyline Technology
Former Director of Leadership Development, U.S. Naval Academy
Creating a Culture of Innovation
Dr. Joe Sanfelippo
Fall Creek School District
Leader of Innovative School District of the Year by International Center for Leadership
The Impact of 30 Second Moments
Jennifer Ozgur
SEL Solutions
Educator, Parent Empowerment, Change Agent
Appreciative Inquiry and the Educational System
Shay Bilchik
Founder and Director Emeritus
Georgetown Center for Juvenile Justice Reform
Former CEO of Child Welfare League of America and Head of Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention U.S. Department of Justice.
School Pathways to the Juvenile Justice System: Exploring Innovative Cross-System Approaches to Support Students
Kelly Martin
Director of Impact
Alliance for Strong Families & Communities
Education Policy for Cross System Collaboration with Schools
How are Community Based Organizations Propelling Education Reform?

Leadership Phase Two: Planning a Process

October 26 | 2:45 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (EDT)

This segment will concentrate on specific processes used to:

  • Inspire innovation
  • Encourage experimentation
  • Incentivize innovative efforts

Presenters will address a variety of strategies that will support you in:

  • Systems development
  • Talent identification
  • Resource allocation
  • Equity initiatives
Dr. Bob Jarvis
Director Coalition for Educational Equity
University of Pennsylvania
Leader in education equity for urban, suburban, and rural schools
Leadership for Nurturing Systemic Change for Educational Equity
Todd Lamb
Capitol Strategies
Special Assistant to the President
U.S. Department of Education
Of Counsel – Education Practice Director
Advocacy: Key Factors in Building a Network of Support - Financially and Otherwise
Kathy Lane
Chief Education Officer
The Children’s Guild Alliance
Expert Alternative Education
Building Leadership Capacity in Times of Change
Dr. Sundra Ryce
Ryce Development, LLC
Corporate business consultant and motivational speaker
Living Your Incredible Life: Cultivating Leadership Wellness, Extraordinary Functioning and Life Equilibrium for Executive Leaders
Frank Kolarek
President & Founder
League of Dreams
Mike Bordick
Board Chair
League of Dreams
Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame
MASN Reporter
Kurt Aschermann
Retired Chief Marketing & Development Officer
Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Cultivating Community Partnerships
Frank Kros
Kros Learning Group
Leadership and Training Expert in Application of Neuroscience
Leadership Lessons from the Pandemic: The 5 Best Strategies for Remaining Resilient in Crisis
Shauna King
King Professional Development
Author and Former Principal and Classroom teacher
Don’t Lose HOPE: Fostering Resilience, Hope and Optimism in Ourselves and Our Students
Robert Jackson
Robert Jackson Consulting
Motivational Educator of the Year
Becoming the Educator They Need: Mindsets and Strategies for Educating Black and Latino Males
Dr. Trent Grundmeyer
CEO & Founder
Grundmeyer Leader Service
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Drake University
Permission to Innovate
Christine Mason
Founder & CEO
Center for Educational Improvement
Author of Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World
Creating a Vision
Judy Shaw
Founder and Senior Leader
Center of Life Church
A Sacred Space To Listen: Listening with Heart and Ears—PANEL–Part 1

Leadership Phase Three: From Obstacles to Opportunity

October 27 | 11:40 p.m.-1:25 p.m. (EDT)

Innovation requires courage and strategies to push beyond:

  • Resistance to move forward, in favor of “Tradition”
  • An urge to “Return to Normal”
  • Fear from all stakeholders, including youth, parents, staff, and board members

This component will focus on identifying these obstacles and sharing concrete strategies for overcoming them. In addition, practices that strengthen the leader’s courage and resilience in response to this expected resistance will be shared and practiced.

Siegfried Gerstung
Gerstung International
Creator of European and American award-winning programs in learning through movement.
Movement Education: What Every Elementary School Needs
Robin Detterman
Executive Director of School Partnerships
Innovation for Juvenile Justice
Seneca Family of Agencies
Using Unconditional Education and Trauma Informed Schools to impact the School to Prison Pipeline
Marc Maness
Strategic Planning & Research Specialist
Expert on Human Centered Design
Human-Centered Design Will Get You to Where You Want to Go
Corey Griffin
Appointed to Associate Director of Partnerships in the Peace Corps by President Obama
Director of International Development for Microsoft
Plan for Gaining Support for Transforming Education Following the Presidential Election
Mike Mathews
Vice President of Technology & Innovation
Oral Roberts University
VR/AI Leader in education. Using Virtual Reality has created 625,000 learning environments to enhance curriculum
Lighten Up and Live
Dr. Paul Rao
COO (retired)
National Rehabilitation Hospital
Past President
American Speech and Language Association
Emotional IQ: The Leadership Prerequisite in Educational Administration for the 21St Century
Dr. Linda Gronberg-Quinn
Director of Teacher Education
Community College of Baltimore County
First generation college graduate
Dr. Gary Kellner
Chief Mission Advancement Officer
The Children’s Guild Alliance
Role of Context in Shaping Career Paths
Phil Cooke
Cooke Media Group
Hollywood filmmaker & tv producer
How to Be an Online Rockstar

Leadership Phase Four: Executing Examples

October 27 | 2:45 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (EDT)

This component will highlight specific examples of how innovative leaders have addressed the extraordinary equity needs revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You will be presented with case studies that reveal:

  • Reimagining services through an increased demand
  • Successful visioning work that mobilizes the community
  • Shifting resources to effectively meet the needs of every child
Dr. Duane Arbogast
Alliance Chief Innovation Officer
The Children’s Guild Alliance
Jenny Livelli
Chief Operating Officer
The Children’s Guild Alliance
Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Child-serving Organizations
Steve Baldwin
President & CFO
National Children’s Guild Fund
The Children’s Guild Alliance
Building Schools for a Half to a Third of the Price
Ruby Jones
Assistant Chief Deputy
Sacramento County Probation
Transformation of the Culture of Juvenile Detention Center
Dr. Dennis Robinson
Harrison Graduate School
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
FUBAR and COVID-19 Response: What to Do When Your Plan Sucks
Steve Ruder
Senior Director of Sales
Amplio Speech
Using Artificial Intelligence to assure compliance and outcomes for the Sp/L professionals
Effective, Efficient Digital Speech-Language Therapy for your School System
Elizabeth Garcia
Chief Clinical
The Children’s Guild Alliance
Innovative Methods for Communicating, Building Morale and Supervising Clinical Staff During COVID-19
Keith Fanjoy
SanMar Family & Community Services
Leader of nationally recognized provider of needs to vulnerable neighborhoods
The Ripple Effect: Moving from Core Values to Implement Prevention as an Organizational Approach to Strengthen Families, Communities and Schools
moderated by Paul Champion
PANELISTS: Chris Coleman, President of Woz U; Wendell Willis, Exec Director of Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation; Lateefah Durant, Vice President, CareerWise DC
Do High Schools Value Work?
Judy Shaw
Founder and Senior Leader
Center of Life Church
A Sacred Space To Listen: Listening with Heart and Ears - Part 2


Day 1

10-10:15 Welcome
10:15-10:25Opening Remarks
11:10-11:30Purposeful Connecting
11:40-1:25Breakout Sessions
1:40-2:30General Session: Discussion Think Tank 
2:45-4:30Breakout Sessions (Note: 60-minutes breakout session starts at 2:40 p.m.) 
4:40-5:30General Session: Intention/Action Planning 

  *Everyone Invited.

Day 2

10-10:15 General Session: Opening Remarks 
10:15-11:00General Session: Keynote
Dr. Joe Sanfelippo 
11:00-11:30General Session: Visiting the Past and Envisioning the Future presented by Jennifer Ozgur, SEL Solutions 
11:40-1:25Breakout Sessions
1:40-2:30 General Session: Discussion Think Tank
2:45-4:30Breakout Sessions (Note: 60-minutes breakout session starts at 2:40 p.m.)

  *Everyone Invited.

Post-Conference Events

The October 26-27 Kids First Conference 2020 is just the beginning!

 Those who make the additional commitment will become a part of the Kids First Movement, culminating in the first-ever Kids First Symposium in Washington D.C. in April 2021. The symposium will focus on Transforming How America Cares for and Educates Children and Youth with representatives from the Black Caucus, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and think tanks.

The added benefits of becoming a member include:

  • Continued online Think Tank, Design/Prototyping, and Mastermind Sessions
  • Inclusion in the Kids First Movement Facebook Groups
  • Further networking and access to additional resources and case studies
  • Discounted ticket to the April Symposium