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Speakers - 2017 National PTA Convention & Expo

Rosalind Wiseman – Keynote Speaker: June 23, 9 - 10:30 a.m.

Rosalind Wiseman - Keynote SpeakerRosalind Wiseman is an internationally recognized expert on children, teens, parenting, bullying, social justice and ethical leadership. She is the author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” the groundbreaking best-selling book that was the basis for the movie “Mean Girls,” and its follow-up, “Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads.”

Wiseman’s book, “Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Your Son Cope with School Yard Power, Locker Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Realities of Guy World,” shows what’s really happening in boys’ lives. Its companion book for teen boys, “The Guide: Essential Skills for Avoiding Jerks, Recruiting Wingmen, Attracting Girls (and getting out of the Friend Zone)” was written with the assistance of high school and middle school boys. These books create a new language and analytical framework to understand the power of boys’ social hierarchies and how these influence their decision-making and emotional well-being.

Wiseman’s hard-hitting challenge to parents and educators establishes a roadmap to reach boys and help them grow into the best brothers, friends, students, athletes, boyfriends and sons they can be. This summer Corwin Press will also issue a new version of her “Owning UP Curriculum,” designed to help schools implement her strategies for creating dignity and respect among students.

Steve Pemberton – Keynote Speaker: June 23, 4:45 - 6:45 p.m.

Steve Pemberton - Keynote SpeakerSteve Pemberton has gone from being a forgotten ward of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to becoming a trailblazing Divisional Vice President at Walgreens and the first Chief Diversity Officer for the 113-year-old company. Currently, he is Senior Executive at Walgreens Boots Alliance. Previously, while at, he made history as the first Chief Diversity Officer and Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion for an internet startup.

A ward of the state for much of his childhood, Steve Pemberton overcame an upbringing marked by trauma and neglect and made opportunity, access and equality the pillars of his personal and professional life. Turning to books at a young age, he immersed himself in stories to escape the environment in which he lived and credits his teachers for inspiring him to find his identity and change his destiny.

His memoir, “A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home,” chronicles his difficult path through foster care and his determined search for his family. It is an inspirational story that crosses generations and cultures, but specifically whispers to those who have had the odds stacked against them. Ultimately, Pemberton believes that who we are, our triumphs over adversity and our successes begin and end with family.

Paula Kerger – Keynote Speaker: June 25, 8 - 10 a.m.

Paula Kerger - Keynote Speaker

Paula A. Kerger is president and CEO of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization, with 350 member stations throughout the country. She joined PBS in March 2006 and is the longest serving president in PBS history.

Since her arrival, Kerger has made strong commitments to the arts, news and public affairs, high-quality educational content for children and the classroom, diversity and the use of new digital platforms to bring public media into the lives of all Americans.

Under Kerger’s leadership, PBS has been growing its audiences across genres and platforms. In the course of an average year, 82% of all American households watch PBS. Online, in 2015, Americans viewed over 5 billion videos across all PBS digital platforms.

Her accomplishments include the popular TV series “Downton Abbey," documentaries such as “Hamilton’s America,” acclaimed children’s programs such as "Curious George" and award-winning apps and online sites. PBS has also developed PBS LearningMedia, which provides educators with digital resources for the classroom.

Kerger received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Baltimore, where she serves on the Merrick School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. She is also a director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and chair of the board of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

Sydney Chaffee – 2017 National Teacher of the Year: June 24, 9:15 - 11 a.m.

Sydney Chaffee - 2017 National Teacher of the Year

Sydney Chaffee was named the 2017 National Teacher of the Year on April 20, 2017.

As a humanities teacher at Codman Academy public charter school in Boston, Chaffee takes risks every day to improve learning for all of her students. In the classroom, she strives to create lessons that demonstrate how education can be a transformative tool for social justice, and she encourages her students to see themselves as having the power to make change in the world based on lessons from the past.

"Education must be authentic. There is no use in studying history if we believe it to be static and irrelevant to the future," she says. "Authentic learning enables students to see and create connections in the world around them."

She tries to infuse the hard work of learning with joy, not only in her classroom but throughout the school. For example, she is the coordinator of a school-wide Community Circle every Thursday where all students in the school come together to celebrate successes, share good news and dig into serious conversations together.

As the 2017 National Teacher of the Year, Chaffee will spend a year traveling the nation to represent educators and advocate on behalf of teachers. Chaffee is looking forward to advocating for all teachers to take risks on behalf of their students and giving a voice to the issues that affect her students.

Chaffee has taught for the past 10 years, nine of which have been in her current role. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters of Education from Lesley University. Chaffee is a National Board Certified Teacher.

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