Making Schools Work Conference Keynote and Featured Speakers


Making Schools Work Conference Speakers

SREB is delighted to announce that Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of UMBC (the University of Maryland – Baltimore County) will be the opening keynote speaker at the 2019 Making Schools Work Conference.

Opening General Session – Keynote Speaker

3 p.m., Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III – President, UMBC

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III - President of UMBC

A highly regarded STEM educator and civil rights champion, Hrabowski has helped UMBC build its reputation as a world-class public research university and one of the nation’s top producers of African-American graduates in STEM fields.

Hrabowski’s research focuses on STEM education with an emphasis on advancing the participation and performance of underrepresented minorities.

Hrabowski graduated from Hampton Institute and holds an M.A. in mathematics and a Ph.D. in higher education administration and statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Featured Speakers

Craig J. Boykin

Craig Boykin

Motivational speaker, author and mentor Craig Boykin offers an inspiring message of hope to educators and the at-risk students they serve. Boykin’s highly regarded speeches, seminars and workshops focus on helping educators engage, support and motivate young people who struggle with the effects of poverty and trauma.

Boykin’s personal story informs his work. Born into poverty to a teenage mother, Boykin continued the family cycle of dropping out of high school and began engaging in dangerous behaviors that ultimately led to jail. After his release, Boykin enrolled in the Job Corps, where he earned both his G.E.D. and a diploma. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army — an experience he credits with helping him develop the integrity and discipline he needed to pursue higher education.

Boykin earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Auburn University at Montgomery and master’s degrees in theology and criminal justice from Faulkner University. He is currently working on his doctorate in adult education and continuous learning.

Kathleen Budge

Kathleen Budge, Associate Chair, Boise State University

Kathleen Budge is an associate professor of Educational Leadership and chair of the Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies Department at Boise State University, where her research focuses on poverty, rural education, school improvement and leadership development.

Budge is the co-author, with William Parrett, of the award-winning book Turning High-Poverty Schools into High-Performing Schools, and the video series, Disrupting Poverty in Elementary and Secondary Classrooms. Bill and
Kathleen’s best-selling book, Disrupting Poverty: 5 Powerful Classroom Practices, was honored as an ASCD member book and provided to more than 50,000 educational leaders and classroom teachers worldwide as a part of its official release in January 2018.

As a former teacher and administrator, Budge’s work bridges the gap between the university and the teaching profession. She has conducted numerous presentations at international, national and state conferences and served as a guest speaker for webinars, podcasts, and symposiums related to poverty and the “whole child.” 

Budge holds a doctorate from the University of Washington.

Baruti Kafele

Baruti Kafele

Highly regarded urban educator Baruti Kafele has distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader over the course of his career. As a middle and high school principal, Kafele led the turnaround of four different New Jersey urban schools, including Newark Tech, which rose from low performance to receiving national recognition three times as one of America’s best high schools by U.S. News and World Report.

Kafele has delivered thousands of keynotes, workshops and seminars and published extensively on professional development strategies for creating a positive school climate and culture, transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations, motivating Black males to excel in the classroom and school leadership practices for inspiring school-wide excellence.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Management Science/Marketing from Kean University and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from New Jersey City University.

Connie Majka

Connie Majka - Director of Professional Learning, National Career Academy Coalition

Connie Majka is the co-founder of the National Career Academy Coalition, where she serves as Director of Professional Learning.

Prior to joining the NCAC, Majka worked with the Philadelphia Academies, Inc., as Director of Learning and Innovation. In this role, she developed professional development trainings for staff, teaching teams and advisory board partners.

A recognized authority on the history of the career academy model, Majka cultivates partnerships and creates and operationalizes new ventures.

Majka holds an M.Ed in Counseling Psychology and a Pennsylvania Certificate in Secondary School Counseling.

William H. Parrett

Director, Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies,  Boise State University

For the past 23 years, William H. Parrett has served as director of the Boise State University Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies, where he coordinates funded projects and school improvement initiatives that exceed $5 million annually.

Parrett has received international recognition for his work in school improvement related to children and youth who live in poverty. He has co-authored 10 books, including four best-sellers like the recent Disrupting Poverty: 5 Powerful Classroom Practices, co-authored with Kathleen Budge. Their previous book, the award-winning Turning High-Poverty Schools into High-Performing Schools, provides a framework for action that has been adopted throughout the nation to guide lasting improvement and student success in high-poverty schools.

Parrett works to improve the educational achievement of all children and youth, particularly those who are less advantaged. As a frequent speaker at international and national events, Parrett’s work with state and regional educational organizations, districts and schools spans 44 states and 10 countries.

Parrett holds a doctorate in Secondary Education from Indiana University.

Terrance M. Scott

Terry Scott, Professor, University of Louisville

Terrance M. (Terry) Scott is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville and director of the Center for Instructional and Behavioral Research in Schools. He is a former counselor, classroom teacher and behavior consultant in both residential treatment and public school systems.

Scott’s research focuses on schoolwide prevention systems, the role of instructional variables in managing student behavior, functional behavior assessment and intervention, and scientific research in education.

Scott has received more than $20 million in grant funding and is the author of more than 120 publications, including four books. His most recent books are Teacher and Student Behaviors: Keys to Success in Classroom Instruction (2017) and Teaching Behavior: Managing Classrooms Through Effective Instruction (2016). A popular speaker, Scott has conducted over 1,000 presentations and training activities throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Scott holds a doctorate in special education from the University of Oregon.

Jay Steele

Jay Steele - President, National Career Academy Coalition

Jay Steele is the President of the National Career Academy Coalition, which serves communities and school districts across the United States.

Steele was formerly the Chief Academic Officer of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, where he was responsible for the education of 86,000+ students in 150 schools and served as the architect of the Academies of Nashville. The transformation of Nashville’s high schools received local, national and international recognition for system change.

Steele has 31 years of experience as a teacher, high school principal and district administrator.

Closing General Session and Celebratory Brunch – Keynote Speaker

10:15 a.m., Saturday, July 13, 2019

Josh Davies – CEO, The Center for Work Ethic Development

Josh Davies - CEO, The Center for Work Ethic Development

Josh Davies is CEO of The Center for Work Ethic Development, an organization committed to developing workplace skills in the global workforce. Through curriculum, certification, and consulting, the Center equips organizations around the world to better prepare their local workforce for employment and life-long success.

Davies is passionate about helping others make a difference in their lives, jobs and community. Through his work as a speaker and trainer, he has engaged and encouraged professionals across North America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Davies was awarded an honorary doctorate of Foodservice by the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers Association for his contributions to the industry. He was appointed by the governor of Colorado to serve a second term on the Executive Board of the Colorado Workforce Development Council and to chair the State Education and Training Steering Committee.

Davies holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from American University.