Social-Emotional Learning Forum
Known to many as “America’s Educator,” Ron Clark is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, a two-time New York Times Bestselling author, the subject of a television movie and the founder of The Ron Clark Academy. Ron is regularly featured on network and cable television and was dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as her first “Phenomenal Man.”
Early in his career, Ron pioneered innovative projects in rural North Carolina working with minority students in a low wealth area. His highly effective programs garnered national attention and led to a White House invitation. After watching a television piece chronicling low test scores and the lack of teachers in inner-city New York, Ron packed his car and moved to Harlem. Ron prepared himself by visiting the home of each student before the first day of school. He involved his students in projects in the city and state, and his “low achievers” soon began to excel; by the end of the year, their scores were higher than the “gifted” classes in his district.
In 2003, Ron Clark released the New York Times Bestseller, The Essential 55, which includes his 55 expectations of students – as well as all individuals – young and old. Obviously, Ron Clark did not stop there. In 2006, Ron Clark founded The Ron Clark Academy, an inner-city school serving students from across metro Atlanta. The privately funded institution is unique for its innovative teaching methods and curriculum based on worldwide travel. Each year the students apply their in-class lessons to international adventures. By the time of graduation, each child will have visited six of the seven continents. Almost 50,000 educators, teachers and administrators from around the world have visited the Academy to observe the innovative and “outside-the-box” methods for achieving student success.
In 2011, Ron Clark released The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck–101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers. This New York Times Bestseller brought to light 101 innovative and classroom-tested ways for improving America’s schools and leading children to greatness.
Steph Jensen, MS, LPC
Steph Jensen, MS, LPC is an award-winning author and international speaker recognized for her insight and understanding of relational aggression. She combines 15 years of practice in the fields of education and counseling with research, practical strategies and humor to address challenging behaviors and build positive relationships with kids. She has held positions as classroom teacher, education consultant and international speaker. She holds a master’s degree in clinical counseling, focusing her efforts on adolescent and family issues.
In recent years, Stephanie has applied her passion for adolescents to focus on the dynamics of relational aggression, social-emotional learning, and positive behavior interventions. She is the author of Thrive in the Hive: Surviving the Girl’s World of Good and Bad Relationship Bee-haviors, Mom’s Choice Award-winning Princess Priscilla and the Bully-Bee Day, Princess Priscilla and the Mood Ring Rainbow and her latest Princess Priscilla and the Great Beezilla!
Ally Bowen, LISW-CP
Ally Bowen, LISW-CP, CHN is the founder of Fit to Sparkle, an initiative focused on helping girls of all ages to become healthier and to empower them to let their unique, individual lights shine brightly. Ally is the author of Livin’ Out Loud: Today’s Girls and Technology and the co-author of Mean Girls: 101½ Creative Strategies and Activities for Working with Relational Aggression. She has worked for a number of years mentoring and coaching girls — leading nutrition and fitness classes, girls workshops and mentoring pageant contestants.
Ally is a well-known speaker, traveling the US and Canada and leading professional workshops on the topics of girl empowerment, relational aggression, anxiety, bullying, cyber-bullying and peer relationships.
She is also the reigning Mrs. USA Petite. Ally’s high energy and humor challenges and motivates audiences to make positive changes in their work lives and personal lives.
Long before Gerry Brooks made YouTube videos, he was a regular, fun-loving, principal at an elementary school in Lexington, Kentucky. His educational experience includes six years in the classroom, two years as an intervention specialist, and 12 years as an administrator. Gerry is a passionate public speaker whose focus is on encouraging and helping teachers improve their instructional abilities via climate and culture strategies and helping administrators successfully lead their staff in a positive and constructive manner. His following of more than 500,000 people on social media has developed through humorous videos that focus on real-world educational experiences.