Fall Event Speakers 2017-09-29T11:25:25-08:00


Below you can view a bio and brief description of each strand presentation for the speakers at Fall Event 2017.

Eric Brown
Executive Committee Member, NEA

Eric R Brown, a biology teacher in Evanston, Illinois, was elected to the National Education Association’s (NEA) Executive Committee in July 2015 for a three-year term. Brown has taught biology at Evanston Township High School District 202 in Evanston, Illinois for 16 years. He worked with students as the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) advisor to promote classrooms as safe spaces for LGBTQ students, and helped train faculty and staff to broaden those safe spaces.  As co-chair of his schools induction and mentoring program, he made student and educator well-being priorities for those critical years at the beginning of an educator’s service.  Brown is the former president of his local, the Evanston Township High School (ETHS) Teachers’ Council, and has served on the Board of Directors for both the Illinois Education Association and NEA.

At this workshop you will learn how to eliminate repeated warnings and multiple requests in a positive fashion, how to be proactive rather than reactive, how to avoid struggles, how to use powerful prompting techniques and how to create classroom arrangements to promote maximum achievement. This training will provide participants with step-by-step instruction of how to immediately increase student engagement by creating an environment that is enjoyable, respectful, inspiring, and academically more successful. Both teachers and ESPs will benefit from this workshop, as these techniques are really about broadening educators’ viewpoints and abilities in order to motivate students to succeed. Let us help you implement these strategies into your school tomorrow!

*Offered in the Social Justice strand.

Teresa Muench
Affiliate Relations Specialist, NEA Member Benefits

Teresa is the Affiliate Relations Specialist who works with Alaska, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon.  She has been an employee of NEA MB for 20 years.  Prior to coming to work for NEA MB, she was a consultant for AON Consulting and worked with the Washington Education Association on their group Health, Disability and Retirement Plans.  Prior to that she worked for the Principal Financial Group where she specialized in retirement plans and other group benefits.   Teresa lives in Seattle, WA with her husband their 16-year old son, Henry.

Teresa’s passion is to help members live the best lives they can.  Her years of experience working with states and locals has been filled with examples of truly making a difference in members’ lives.

Following the lunch session which will include an overview of NEA Member Benefits, Teresa will take questions and provide a deeper dive into the website and the programs and services that will best provide you solutions to your financial needs.  We will also take some time to get you the latest information on the Federal Student Loan Programs and to answer other financial questions you may have.

Melissa Rogers and Richard Melvin
NEA Minority Leadership Training Cadre, Instructors

As a public school teacher, Melissa has taught for 31 years in elementary and middle schools in Southern California and has served as a union leader for nearly all of those years, She began her work as a trainer in 1993 and conducts leadership and cultural diversity workshops for the California Teachers Association as well as the NEA.

Richard Melvin, a retired lifetime member of the Connecticut Education Association / National Education Association is an accomplished trainer with the NEA Minority Leadership Training Cadre.  Richard started his membership with the Bridgeport Education Association in Bridgeport Connecticut in the early 1970s.   While a member of CEA, Richard served as a member of the State Board of Directors, and Chair of Minority Affairs Committee.  Richard was always an active member of his local organization ending with the Stratford Education Association when he retired in 2002.  He is now a resident of North Carolina, and continues working in the profession as an elementary substitute teacher.

Recognizing the ability to influence public education is in direct proportion to an engaged membership, the Minority Leadership Training Program prepares ethnic-minority members to be strong leaders, activists, and full participants in Association life.  In this session you will learn about the importance of having a vision for individual and organizational growth; the relationship between leadership and the visioning process; and the mechanism by which a clear, shared vision can instill leaders with passion, energy, power, and creativity.

Chad Jimison and Toni Smith
NEA Human and Civil Rights Trainers

Chad Jimison is a trainer with the National Education Association on issues related to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning students and staff in schools. Chad has been a public school educator for 17 years and currently works at Seoul American Middle School in Seoul, S. Korea with the Department of Defense Education Activity, which services students of active duty and civilian personnel on military bases around the world. 

Toni Smith, M.Ed. is a 32 year veteran educator from Georgia.  She is a member of the National Education Association’s Safety, Bias and LGBTQ Issues Training Cadre, the NEA Social Justice Training Cohort and the NEA Cultural Competence Training Cohort.  Toni is also an Expert Trainer for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program and she is a board member and training lead for the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition.She has also been a professional development facilitator in the areas of technology integration and Service Learning and has presented nationally and internationally.

This introductory workshop is designed for all school personnel and uses video clips and hands-on activities to examine the obvious and subtle ways bias plays out in schools. Come away with resources for creating schools that are safe for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Offered during the School Safety and Success strand.

Designed for all school personnel, this unique workshop explores the relationship and commonalities among gender, race, and LGBTQ issues, with an emphasis on enhancing race and gender awareness when addressing LGBTQ issues in schools.

Offered during the Social Justice strand.

Cristina Casillo

Cristina Casillo is starting her second year teaching Kindergarten in Wasilla, Alaska. Prior to this position, she taught kindergarten for five years in Point Hope and third grade for two years in Selawik, two Inupiaq Eskimo villages above the Arctic Circle in rural Alaska. In addition to serving her school and district in various leadership roles and committees, she has participated in the Polar Pairs Alaska and Scotland Teachers Exchange Program and was awarded a Rural Teacher Global Fellowship sponsored by the Rural School and Community Trust where she traveled through Southern Africa for three weeks with K-12 educators from across the nation. She is passionate about connecting culture with the curriculum in the classroom. She was awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching grant and was conducting educational research in Gaborone, Botswana from January – May of 2016. While in Botswana, she researched best practices teachers were using to integrate local culture into their everyday curriculum. Her experiences in both rural Alaska and Botswana have inspired her to get her Teaching English as a Second Language certificate for Grades K-6 from UAA. She has a MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations from SIT Graduate Institute and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction K-8 from Keene State University.

Teachers in Alaska know firsthand the importance of integrating local culture into their classroom, but many often struggle with how to implement this process. During this one hour presentation, Cristina Casillo will be identifying strategies teachers in Botswana used to integrate local culture into their daily curriculum based on her five month research through the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching program to help add to your toolbox in your classroom and throughout your school.

Offered during the New Educator and Social Justice strands.

Cara Durr
Director of Public Engagement, Food Bank of Alaska

Cara works at Food Bank of Alaska, managing their advocacy, policy, and community engagement efforts. She has an MA in International Studies, and for her thesis research, she spent six months in Indonesia interviewing women who participate in microcredit loan programs. Born and raised in Talkeetna, she loves working in her home state exploring creative ways to address food insecurity. Cara serves on the national Feeding America Policy Engagement and Advocacy Committee, the Governing Board of the Alaska Food Policy Council, and the Anchorage Women’s Commission.

Join Food Bank of Alaska and guests for an interactive discussion on what childhood food insecurity looks like in our state, gain tools to help students facing hunger, and share best practices of what your school is doing to ensure all students are learning with a full stomach.

Offered during the Social Justice and School Safety and Success strands.

Amy McDonald
Developmental Ecologist, Brightways Learning

Amy has more than two decades of experience in K-12 education, including English Language Learning, classroom teaching, Lead Teacher,and School Counselor. She has a Bachelor’s in Linguistics, a K-8 Type B Teaching Certification, and a Master’s in K-12 School Counseling. She has worked in youth development since she started in education. Looking at the youth and the world around them has been a passion for her as she focuses on supporting youth. She continues learning from top leaders in the youth development field. Currently, she leads Kaleidoscope Connect events with both youth and adults in the United States and Canada. She also provides support and supervision to Regional Leaders throughout the state of Alaska as they implement the Integrative Youth Development framework and related activities in their areas. Amy provides a fresh look at youth development as she continues to work in multiple school districts and youth and tribal organizations in Alaska and outside the state.

This session will lead participants beyond black and white labels to understanding the developmental ecologies of themselves and the youth in their schools and communities in meaningful, memorable, and measurable ways. Collaborate with experiential activities to amplify how adults and youth connect in meaningful ways. In addition to building effective skills that build resilience, we’re betting you’ll leave rejuvenated and inspired to see in full color instead of black and white.

Offered during the School Safety and Success and New Educator strands.

Brinna Langford
Special Education Department Chair, Mirror Lake MS, ASD
Past President, AEA

Brinna served as President of the Anchorage Education Association for the 2016-2017 school year. She has also served on the NEA-Alaska Board of Directors, AEA Board of Directors, NEA-AK Political Action Committee on Education, was chair of the AEA PACE Committee, was a rights rep and a building rep. She has attended NEA Leadership Summits and the National Council of Urban Education Associations Conferences, NEA’s Representative Assembly and NEA-Alaska’s Delegate Assembly. Brinna got involved as a new educator because she wanted to see a change and is excited to continue to help and inspire new educators to be involved in their association.

Come talk to early career educator union leaders to find out what drove them to get involved with their association, how they get involved, and ask any questions you may have about how to be an effective leader as an early career educator.

Offered during the New Educator strand.

Devon Roberts
AEA Member

Devon has been on a professional development kick for the last nine years and still considers himself a newbie despite this kick and nineteen years of teaching secondary English in the ASD and four years as a part-time building technology coordinator. However, along the way he feels he has picked up a few things worth sharing in the areas of literacy, differentiation, engagement, vocabulary acquisition, and leveraging technology.

Come explore some high-utility tech tools that can assist teachers with formative assessment in the classroom!  In this workshop, we will delve into the basics of formative assessment while showcasing some easy-to-use tech tools that teachers can leverage to quickly gauge student learning prior to that end-of-unit test.  We will explore free tools for back channeling, collaboration, and skills practice; all of which can be used for formative assessment purposes and all of which will be sure to engage your students.  Be sure to bring a laptop or smartphone to fully participate in this session! Participants are encouraged to also bring a lesson or lesson idea to work with while planning on how to incorporate technology delivered formative assessment to students (example: a science teacher doing a unit on the anatomy of the plant cell;  English teacher doing a vocabulary unit).

Offered during the Technology in the Classroom strand.

Lynda Van Winkle
AEA Member

Do your students struggle with research projects? This session will introduce you to a wonderful process to help students research and write informational research papers with Google Keep.  Google Keep will allow your students to take notes while reading web pages and saves the URL for websites so they can easily create a bibliography with Easy Bib.

Offered during the Technology in the Classroom strand.

Amy Frackman
AEA Member

After teaching sixth grade for the last 4 years, Amy is returning to the Anchorage School District EdTech Department for her 23rd year as a teacher. She has presented at Alaska Society for Technology in Education (ASTE), Anchorage School District Summer Academy (ASDSA), and is an adjunct instructor for the University of Alaska Anchorage. In her spare time, Amy is a freelance camera operator for KTVA, Channel 11.

Google Classroom is designed to help teachers and students save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication.  Learn how to set up your own classes, navigate Google Classroom, post resources and create assignments in Google Classroom.

Offered during the Technology in the Classroom strand.

Mark Johannes
EdTech Coach, AEA Member

Mark has worked for the Anchorage School District for 16 years. He taught 7th grade middle school science for 10 years before moving into Education Technology (EdTech) for the last 6 years. As an EdTech coach, he has worked with students and teachers to integrate technology into the classroom and has been involved in bringing coding into the classroom and science kits for 5 years. He is passionate about using technology to support curriculum and engage students.

This one hour class will introduce you to Seesaw, an app that allows the teacher and students to create digital student portfolios.  Families are also kept in the loop and see student work as it is turned in. Primarily designed for elementary, but rapidly expanding to middle and high school classrooms. This tool allows students to capture audio, video, photo, google docs, pdf’s, and other items into student portfolios. Come experience this 21st century digital classroom app!

Offered during the Technology in the Classroom strand.