Governor, National Education Experts Set to Speak at Annual Conference


Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and three national education experts will be the featured speakers at Missouri's annual conference for school administrators July 28-30 in Columbia.

More than 500 superintendents, principals and other school leaders from across the state are expected to attend the 52nd Annual Cooperative Conference for School Administrators. The event is sponsored by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

"Our annual conference provides an opportunity for educators from throughout Missouri to share ideas and focus collectively on our work to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need for the future," said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.

Preparing students for college or other postsecondary training and a career is one of the primary goals of the state's Top 10 by 20 initiative, calling for Missouri to rank among the top 10 performing states in the nation in education by the year 2020.

In addition to Gov. Nixon, conference speakers include:

  • Deb Delisle, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education. Delisle is the principle adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on issues related to pre-K, elementary and secondary education. During her 37-year career in education, Delisle worked as a teacher, gifted education specialist, curriculum director, principal and superintendent. From 2008-2011, she served as Ohio's state superintendent of public schools. Closing student achievement gaps and making technology accessible to all schools are areas of significant interest to her.
  • Ronald Ferguson, teacher, education researcher and consultant. Ferguson is the co-director of the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Missouri was one of six states selected last year to participate in the Pathways to Prosperity Project, which focuses on how to help all youth, not just the college-bound, transition successfully from school to work. Ferguson is the author of several books including Toward Excellence with Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap.
  • Frederick M. Hess, an educator, political scientist, author and researcher who studies K-12 and higher education issues. Hess has written a number of books about education issues including The Same Thing Over and Over,Education UnboundCommon Sense School Reform and Cage-Busting Leadership. He is also writes the Education Weekblog, "Rick Hess Straight Up." A former high school social studies teacher, Hess has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University and Harvard University.

Conference sessions will provide school administrators with information on a variety of topics including the state's new learning standards, educator evaluation and the Missouri School Improvement Program.