Powerful Learning Conference

2023 Powerful Learning Conference Logo

Why Attend

  • 1200 Educators

  • 50+ Sessions

  • National Speakers

  • 1 Common Mission: Promote, support, and develop educator and student performance. 

For more than 20 years, the Powerful Learning Conference focuses on supporting educators in implementing effective, evidence-based practices in Missouri's public schools with the goal of improved student learning for every student in every school.

What to expect

The 2023 Powerful Learning Conference theme is Moving Forward Together to develop, maintain, and enhance effective instruction aligned to

  • Leadership – strong leaders set the vision influence direction at every level of the organization to create and support a culture of teaching and learning for continuous improvement.
  • Collaborative Climate and Culture – Shared values and common goals are the foundation of a collaborative climate and culture of systemic growth and improvement within an educational system.
  • Effective Teaching and Learning – Effective academic, behavioral, and social skill practices, supported by research and meeting the needs of each student, lead to the highest levels of student learning.
  • Data-Based Decision Making – Accurate, relevant measures across multiple points in time provide the basis for informing on progress, setting goals, and guiding decisions leading to improved student learning.
  • Alignment of Standards, Curriculum, and Assessment – Connection, clarity and coherence must exist between standards, curriculum and assessments in order to provide accurate and actionable information regarding student learning.

An overview of the conference is available on this agenda

Who Presents

  • Missouri Practitioners - The strength of the conference are the high quality presentations by educators sharing the journey of successful practices. 
  • 2023 Proposals - We are no longer accepting proposals. Submitted proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria: 
    • Quality of proposal (clarity, appropriateness of content, creativity or innovation of activity)
    • Relevance to purpose of conference (powerful learning)
    • Impact (likely to be effective in improving student learning)
    • Replication (practical, can be adapted/adopted)
  • Scoring Guide and Worksheet - Please review the Scoring Guide and 2023 CFP Worksheet. While submissions are closed for this year’s conference, the linked documents may be used in preparation for next year. 
  • Timeline - The deadline for submission was September 23, 2022. 

How to Register

  • Conference Registration - Click here to register

  • Lodging - The conference is being held at:
    Tan-Tar-A Conference Center
    490 Tan-Tar-A Drive 
    Osage Beach, MO 65065 

    Currently, Tan-Tar-A is sold out. If you need to reserve lodging, please call 573-348-3131 and identify yourself as an attendee of the Powerful Learning Conference, and/or provide the group code POWE to be added to the wait list.

    You may also reach out to other hotel and Airbnb options in the area for accommodations.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo is the Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, WI. The Fall Creek School District was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary and early childhood education; master’s degrees in educational psychology and educational leadership; and a doctorate of philosophy in leadership, learning, and service. Joe has authored multiple books including the best-selling Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love and his latest Lead from Where You Are: Building Intention, Connection, and Direction in Our Schools. He was selected as 1 of 117 Future Ready Superintendents in 2014 and 1 of 50 Superintendents as a Personalized Learning Leader by the US Department of Education in 2016. Education Dive named Joe their National Superintendent of the Year in 2019.

Kara Vandas

Kara Vandas is an educator with an enduring passion for empowering learners. She began her career in education at an alternative school for youth at-risk. Kara spent several more years in the classroom in public education as a middle and high school educator and then transitioned to coaching and professional learning positions that allowed her to support teachers and leaders K-12. Her current role as an author and consultant takes her around the world to partner with schools and school districts. Kara is the co-author of Peer Power: Activate an Assessment Revolution; Clarity for Learning: 5 Essential Practices that Empower Students and Teachers; and Partnering with Students: Building Ownership of Learning. Kara holds a master’s degree of education in curriculum and instruction from Regis University. She partners with schools and districts all over the country in the areas of empowering students, growing learner agency, putting research into practice, building efficacy in educators and students, and more. Kara presents nationally and internationally.

Dr. Margie Vandeven

Dr. Margie Vandeven is Missouri’s Commissioner of Education. She is passionate about ensuring that each child has the opportunity to graduate prepared for success. She has more than 30 years of student-centered service in education, including six at Missouri's top educational post. She is a teacher who has provided education leadership in the classroom, school, state, and national roles assumed throughout her career. Dr. Vandeven joined the Department in 2005. She was appointed commissioner of elementary and secondary education by the Missouri State Board of Education in December 2014 and served in that capacity until December 2017. She was reappointed in January 2019. During the interim, Vandeven worked as the director of educational partnerships for the SAS Institute in Cary, N.C. As commissioner, Dr. Vandeven works collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders to improve educational opportunities for Missouri’s nearly 900,000 public school students. Dr. Vandeven earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Missouri State University and a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Loyola University Maryland. She received a doctorate of philosophy in educational leadership from Saint Louis University and has been recognized by Missouri State University and St. Louis University as a distinguished alumna. 

2023 Powerful Learning Conference Keynote Speakers


Christine Nobbe, Director 
Conference Coordinator 
Phone: 573-751-7754