Ignite ’16 Thought Leaders to Bring Energy, Insight

The keynote speakers at next year’s Ignite ’16 conference will open and close the conference with unique perspectives and a fresh approach to helping school leaders be their very best.

Sekou Andrews will kick off the conference with his cutting-edge fusion of inspirational speaking and spoken word poetry. Through his powerful presentations, Sekou helps organizations find their voice and tell their most powerful stories. His blend of spoken word, storytelling, theater, and comedy has been enjoyed by celebrities, national media outlets, and leading companies.

Marc Patrick from Nike was thoroughly impressed by Sekou’s presentation: “I’ve never heard an audience be as quiet and attentive as when Sekou is speaking. He absolutely commands respect of the room. He gets everybody’s attention, and in this particular project, he certainly did that. You could hear a needle drop when he’s speaking and everybody just wants to see what he’s going to do next.”

Watch Sekou in action at the TEDMED conference in 2009.

Robert Putnam, professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, will send Ignite ’16 attendees home armed with ideas from his newest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. In this book, Putnam examines how, over the last several decades, young people from educated homes have diverged on many factors predicting life success: two-parent homes, parental investments of time and money, test scores, physical health, participation in extracurricular and religious activities, school quality, college entrance, and completion.

Kids from low-income homes of all races are increasingly adrift from family, school, church, and community institutions, in a perfect storm with multiple causes: economic insecurity and stress, the collapse of the working class family, and the unraveling fabric in low-income neighborhoods.

Putnam will offer possible approaches to narrowing these opportunity gaps, including the roles that schools and educators can play in areas such as parental coaching, extracurricular activities, and mentoring.

Watch Putnam discuss the opportunity gap and income inequality with CBS News.

Make sure to catch these Thought Leaders and other engaging speakers at Ignite ’16 next February 25–27.

Register by June 30 and receive a $100 discount.

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