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Speakers & Topics to get you started — or restarted!

Erik Wahl, 2013 Keynote Speaker

Erik Wahl is a Visionary. He is an internationally recognized graffiti artist, film maker, author and keynote speaker. His presentations are designed to inspire. Wahl has shared his presentation at TED, guest lectured at the London School of Business, at Xprize and performed for Corporations all over the world. His upcoming business book on the creative process The Art of Vision is being published by Random House and will be released in Q1 2013.

Using art as his vehicle, Wahl is able to channel success strategies in a uniquely fresh and entertaining way. His painting seamlessly becomes a visual metaphor to the core of his message. At the dramatic conclusion of his program he turns the painting upside down to reveal a stunning new picture of lasting success. His skill as an artist, a dynamic performer and a speaker will leave you with a message that is as memorable as it is entertaining.

Erin Gruwell, 2013 Keynote Speaker

Erin Gruwell has an award-winning reputation for her steadfast commitment to the future of education. By fostering an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, she transformed her 150 students' lives. She encouraged them to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves and others, reconsider daily decisions, and ultimately re-chart their futures. Inspired by Anne Frank, Erin and her students captured their collective journey in The Freedom Writers Diary. The book was made into a movie entitled Freedom Writers, starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as Erin.

Now, Erin channels her classroom experiences toward a broader cause through the Freedom Writers Foundation where she teaches teachers around the country how to implement her innovative lesson plans into their own classrooms.

Keith Nord, a 2013 featured speaker

What is your role?
Educators: If you feel too busy with meetings, interviews, and building projects to even remember your mission of educating young people, join Keith Nord to get to the basics and identify a way to create a culture that is sustainable throughout your district.

By combining presentation, discussion, activities and think tank, you will be challenged to look at your role in your school culture and ask, "What are you accepting, modeling, talking about?" and "Are you and your staff enhancing the culture you're looking to create? Have you identified the culture you want to achieve?" Whether the answer is yes or no, come and be a part of a group looking for answers.

Students: Based on his experiences as a former NFL player and team captain, Keith speaks about leadership, decision making, character, and personal excellence. Students will participate in exercises based on real-life situations, understand the process of making leadership decisions and, finally, developing the skills that help empower others. Keith will have an honest conversation with students about what is really going on in school, and how to deal with it.

Anthony Muhammad, Ph.D., a 2013 featured speaker

Professional Learning Communities
Anthony S. Muhammad, Ph.D. is one of the most sought after educational consultants in North America. Dr. Muhammad earned several awards while serving as a middle school teacher, assistant principal, middle school principal, and high school principal. His most notable accomplishment came as principal at Levey Middle School in Southfield, Michigan, a National School of Excellence, where student proficiency on state assessments was more than doubled in five years and he was named the Michigan Middle School Principal of the Year in 2005. Dr. Muhammad and the staff at Levey used the Professional Learning Communities at Work (PLC) model of school improvement, and they have been recognized in several videos and articles as a model, high-performing PLC. Listen to Dr. Muhammad's story to learn how to make the most of PLCs and continue to improve your school.

Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D., a 2013 featured speaker

Bridges Out of Poverty
Back by popular demand, Dr. Payne will present information from her seminal book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, and provide information that school districts and individual educators can use to help understand the significant impact of poverty upon student achievement. Based on more than 30 years as an educator, she will also share practical strategies for raising student achievement and overcoming economic barriers.

Mark Scharenbroich, a 2013 featured speaker

Building Connections
A leading expert in leadership and student engagement, Mark will discuss the importance of recognizing people to improve performance and three action steps to building connections so that all students feel a part of the school.

Jess Weiner, a 2013 featured speaker

The Confidence Factor™
Jess Weiner is founder and CEO of Talk to Jess, a creative development and consulting firm specializing in influencing the social messaging sent to women and girls by working with corporations, engaging experts and thought-leaders, and through creating dynamic content that challenges and expands current social stereotypes.

Considered this generation's "Go to Authority" on women, girls, and confidence, Jess leverages her over 18 years of experience in the field as a best-selling author, speaker and educator. Her deep relationships in this space enable her to create powerful brand messaging while rooting it in real world experience with practical take-aways for consumers and audiences.


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Conference reviews

"This was my 4th time attending and it is remarkable that you are able to maintain the high caliber from year to year." "The sessions I attended focused on how I can not only be a better educator, but how to be a better person. I wasn't expecting that. Thank you."

"This conference is always great! Excellent speakers, excellent sessions, and excellent extras!"

"The broad range of sessions accommodates the "newbie" as well as those people who have been involved with Jostens Renaissance for a number of years. I was a "newbie" and now it all makes sense to me. It truly was a wonderful experience to see all the excitement from those attending, pick up new ideas to take back to my school."

"The conference addressed specific points of interest, questions and suggested answers…the speakers were engaging and genuine…"

"This conference reminds us as educators how to teach children – not just to teach to a test, or a subject, or an ability. I came with 8 teachers and we ALL came back excited about our year ahead and cannot wait for another reminder from Jostens next year."

"The Jostens Renaissance National Conference is like a professional revival — designed for all levels of teachers, from a 1st year teacher to those who've been teaching for 25+ years."

One educator stated, "For me, the breakout sessions were the most valuable [part of the conference] because that is where I received ideas that I can bring back and use at my school."

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