Boy Brains & Engagement Conference

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Dr. Christopher Emdin

Professor of Science Education, Author of For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood

Dr. Christopher Emdin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Columbia University, where he also serves as Director of the Science Education Program and Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. He is an alumni fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard and has served as STEAM Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State and Minorities in Energy Ambassador for the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Emdin is a social critic, public intellectual and science advocate whose commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in dozens of influential periodicals including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. A much sought-after speaker, he is the creator of the #HipHopEd movement, and an advisor to numerous international organizations and school districts. He is the author of Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation and The New York Times bestseller For White Folks Who Teach In the Hood and the Rest of Ya’ll Too.
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Ken Williams

Speaker, Consultant on School Culture & Leadership, Author of Starting a Movement

As founder of Unfold the Soul, Kenneth C. Williams, M.Ed. is living proof that educators can and should “live their posters.” A leading authority in the areas of school culture, collaboration, leadership, school safety and peak performance, he is skilled in joining the “why” of educational practice to the “how.” Known for his provocative and engaging combination of “heart, humor and hammer,” Ken is an expert at helping schools make the collective commitment to changes in school culture that are required to ensure high levels of learning for all students. He believes that “what’s best for kids is first and what’s best for adults is a close second.” Ken has served as a distinguished teacher, school leader, speaker and consultant. He is the author of two books: Creating Physical and Emotional Security in Schools and his latest bestseller with Tom Hierck, Starting a Movement: Building Culture from the Inside-Out.

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Dr. Tom Maglisceau

National Speaker, Expert on Social Capital, Chief Student Services Officer

Tom Maglisceau, Ph.D., is currently Chief Student Services Officer at Rockwall Independent School District in the Dallas metro area. While serving as principal at Rockwall-Heath High School, he co-founded the Rockwall ISD Teachers Institute. Earlier he served as principal of Dorothy Smith Pullen Elementary School in the same district. Prior to joining Rockwall ISD, Dr. Maglisceau served as a teacher, coach, dean of instruction and associate principal at the high school and middle school levels with Dallas ISD. He considers himself fortunate to have moved several times during his youth, as each new experience helped him to better appreciate differences between people and cultures, ultimately nurturing a desire for a career that involves serving and leading others. Passionate about the concept of social capital, particularly as it relates to family structure and childhood outcomes, Dr. Maglisceau continues his study and research in these fields.

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Steph Jensen

International Speaker, Consultant, Author of Thrive in the Hive

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!

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Ronald Gonzalez

Student Engagement Advocate, Award-Winning Administrator in a High-Needs Environment

Ronald Gonzalez, Doctoral Candidate, has lead transformation efforts at Mount Vernon High School for the last 9 years of his 22 year career. His visionary leadership has led to improvements in student performance which include graduation rates the highest in over a decade in a large comprehensive high school in an urban district. He attributes much of the success of this school transformation to the systems he set forth, training of staff and using student voice as an agent of change. 

His leadership has gained recognition among his peers and across New York State. Most notably; 2 Westchester County Legislative Proclamations naming “Ronald Gonzalez Day” on June 16, 2015 AND November 26, 2019; he was named 2016 NYS Administrator of the Year for Region 2 – RASA; is the recipient of several city citations, city council resolutions, and NYS Assembly recognitions. He accredits these accomplishments to the work of the Leadership Team built under his guidance. He recognizes the power of collaboration and endorses both empowerment and accountability equally and emphatically in and among his team. 

Ron’s work as the transformational leader that guided Mount Vernon High School to flourish academically has also been identified as a “School of Promising Practice” by the NYSED Regents Reform and Title I offices. He and the MVHS Leadership Team have provided presentations and technical assistance to schools throughout NYS that have also been identified as Focus Schools. 

His doctoral research focused on transformational leadership of schools. As a practitioner and researcher, the in-depth analysis of New York State data helped him make strategic decisions for implementation within his school. He uses book studies, historical contexts and brain exercises to push the thinking of his staff in an environment of inquiry that encourages risk-taking.