HSTW Staff Development Conference


HSTW Staff Development Conference

July 12-15, 2017
Nashville, Tennessee
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

2800 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214

Join us for one of the most affordable and comprehensive conferences in the nation! The HSTW Staff Development Conference provides a platform for K-12 practitioners to share innovative and proven school improvement strategies. Hear how teams of teachers, counselors and leaders prepared academic and career and technical education students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in college and the 21st-century workplace.

2016 Survey and Certificate

Click here to fill out the evaluation for the 2016 HSTW Staff Development Conference. Upon completion, you will be redirected to your Certificate of Participation to download.

Thank you for attending and we look forward to your feedback to improve next year’s conference, which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center on July 12-15, 2017!

News release

High Schools That Work Conference Recognizes Good Work in Education

School districts, school principals and state agencies in Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and other states were recognized at the 30th Annual High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, for their efforts to transform education


Registration Options and Fees

The online registration system is currently closed. Registration will re-open later this fall after registration options and prices have been finalized. Contact our Summer Conference Team at 404-875-9211 or summerstaffdev@sreb.org if you have any questions!



Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center

Room Types Price (per night)
Single $159
Double $159
Triple $199
Quadruple $209

Be sure to ask for the 2017 SREB/HSTW Conference rate when booking your reservation! (The single/double room rates listed above do not include room taxes or fees.)

Reserving a Room

Connections Housing will act as the booking agent for all contracted conference hotels. To reserve a room, please call (404) 842-0000 or (800) 262-9974.

As is standard practice, hotels will require a one-night deposit for each room reservation. Refunds will be given only if cancellations are made at least seven days prior to the scheduled date of arrival. Reservations must be made by Friday, May 26, 2017, in order to receive the SREB room rate.

It is advisable to reserve your rooms early, as the SREB block tends to sell out quickly. By Wednesday, May 24, 2017, each room must list each occupant’s name and a valid method of payment for the one-night deposit. Credit cards and checks are considered valid methods of payment; school purchase orders will not be accepted.


Please call Connections Housing at (404) 842-0000 or (800) 262-9974 with any questions or concerns regarding hotel reservations.


Presenter Information

Submit Handouts

To submit a handout, click “Submit Handouts” and login. Select “Review” for the session you wish to add a handout to, then select “Submit Handouts” in the Abstract section. Browse for the file you need and then click “Add.”

2017 Proposals to Present

  • We will begin accepting proposals to present this fall — the exact date has not yet been determined.
  • Please note that all presenters must register for the conference and pay the registration fee.
  • All accepted presenters are required to attend an Orientation Webinar before the conference — an invitation will be included in the acceptance email.

Presentation Rooms and Equipment

  • All presentation rooms and the convention center will have Wi-Fi and screens.
  • Rooms are set up as Theater or Rounds. Theater means the room is set up with rows of chairs facing the presenter. Rounds means the room is set up with tables; each table is able to hold up to ten people.
  • There are three types of sessions: Mini-Sharing, 60 Minutes and 120 Minutes (Deep-Dive).
    • Mini-Sharing Sessions are two, back-to-back, 25-minute presentations to small groups attendees.
    • 60-Minute Sessions last the full 60 minutes and are the most common type of session.
    • 120-Minute Session, also known as Deep-Dives, last the full 120 minutes (plus a 15-minute break) and delve deeply into a specific topic.
  • Presenters are expected to bring their own laptops, data projectors, speakers and any other extra equipment they require (microphones are provided if the room is very large). 
  • If you need Audio/Visual equipment onsite, contact OnStage at (800) 967-2419 to rent their equipment. OnStage personnel will be at the conference to assist presenters with setting up rooms and handle any technical issues that arise.

Presenter Etiquette and Best Practices

  • Provide strategies that attendees can implement as soon as they return to their schools and districts.
  • Make sure your attendees are engaged! Like students, adult learners aren’t satisfied with 60- or 120-minute lectures.
  • Respect participants’ time. Don’t spend overly long introducing yourself or your school, but don’t end too early either. Attendees have plenty of time (15 minutes) to move between sessions.


If you have not yet booked a hotel room, please contact Connections Housing at (404) 842-0000 or (800) 262-9974. For more information, go to: http://www.sreb.org/post/hotels

Contact Us

For questions regarding proposals, email summerstaffdev@sreb.org


Notable Presenters

A.J. Hammond and Shawn O’Connor

Principals, West Hoke Elementary and Rockfish Hoke Elementary

Hammond and O’Connor will present on how educators can incorporate computer science, technology and coding into the school day. This effort has results in improved student problem-solving and reasoning skills, as well as higher mathematics and literacy scores.

Alan Blankstein

Author and Educational Leader

Blankstein served for 25 years as President of the HOPE Foundation, which he founded and whose honorary chair is Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

A former high-risk youth, Alan began his career in education as a music teacher. He worked for Phi Delta Kappa, March of Dimes and Solution Tree, which he founded in 1987 and directed for 12 years while launching Professional Learning Communities beginning in the late 1980s.

He is the author of the best-selling book Failure Is Not an Option®: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools, which received the Book of the Year award from Learning Forward. 

Baruti Kafele

Author and Educational Consultant

Kafele began his inspiring journey as an elementary school teacher, where he was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. During his time as a middle grades and high school principal, he led the transformation of four urban New Jersey schools.

He has contributed several articles to popular education journals and is the author of seven books, including Closing the Attitude Gap, Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life and The Principal 50.

Carol Rychly

Vice President for Academic and Faculty Affairs, Augusta University

A veteran of higher education, Rychly began as an instructor of mathematics at El Paso Community College. She taught mathematics at Georgia Military College, Fort Gordon branch, as well as at Paine College. While at Paine, she was presented with the Evelyn Berry Award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She also served as director of Institutional Advancement at the college.

Her reputation in education is reflected in a number of service roles such as mathematics consultant to the Richmond County Board of Education and numerous presentations at national conferences. She currently serves on the Board of Examiners for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Charles McDaniel

Retired Principal, East Ridge Middle School

McDaniel has been a principal at the elementary level for over six years, the middle school level for 16 years, and the high school level for four years. He currently sits on the superintendent’s council representing middle school principals and was recognized as the 2015-16 Principal of the Year for Lake County.

Daniel Perna

Owner and President, James Daniel & Associates

Perna spent 30 years in public education as an English teacher, basketball coach, athletic director, principal and central administrator. In 1998, he co-founded James Daniel & Associates LLC. The company provides many services to schools, including developing curriculum, lesson planning, tracking student performance, teacher coaching, professional development and community research.

Perna specializes in motivational speaking and the need for career and technical education at all levels.  He believes that our current economic environment requires that students be aware of the opportunities to use technical education as a path to all career opportunities, not just tech- school opportunities.


Session Handouts

Handouts for the 30th Annual HSTW Staff Development Conference will be available through the end of September.

If you do not see handouts for a particular session, you may contact the presenter via email (email addresses listed are listed in the back of the conference program).

Search Handouts