Scott BarronChief Reinvention Officer, School Growth
Scott Barron is an educator, entrepreneur, and author recognized as a leading voice advocating for and encouraging educators in their calling and influence. He serves as the chief reinvention officer of School Growth and the executive director of Educators Fellowship. Scott earned his M.Ed from Johns Hopkins University, along with a B.A. in religion and a B.S. in computer science from Mars Hill University. His combination of experience as a school head, business leader, edtech advisor, college instructor, author, and executive coach gives him a unique perspective to encourage and elevate those who educate.
Tammy BarronPresident, School Growth
Tammy Barron is an expert in growing schools, especially in developing a disciplined, data-driven approach to enrollment strategy and management. She is a life-long educator who has served at all levels of school leadership. Her research into organizational design and decision-making has enabled schools to overcome the barriers to achieve greater revenue and joy. She is the author of multiple resources for educators, including “Year Round Enrollment Management” and “Building Faculty Engagement to Grow.”
Ken RogersUpper Division Head, The Park School
Ken just finished his second year as the upper division head (grades 5-8) at The Park School in Brookline, MA. Ken has served as a division head, dean, department chair, and English teacher. Ken is a trained counselor, an accomplished speaker and presenter, and has worked extensively with schools and associations across the country, primarily around effective communication. He holds a master’s in clinical community counseling from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. in English from Berea College.
Raabia ShafiFounder and CEO, Raabia Shafi Consulting
Raabia Shafi is founder and CEO of Raabia Shafi Consulting, a firm that partners with clients to enhance customer experiences from the inside out, starting with leaders first.
She’s directed global engagements for 15+ years with deep expertise in business strategy, design thinking, and adult learning. Established in 2017, her boutique consultancy helps clients create and sustain high-performing teams via three essential solutions: coaching, leadership development, and culture change.
She’s witnessed just how lonely it can be at the top, especially during challenging times. Her sweet spot is helping executives figure out how to be better leaders by empowering their teams and holding them accountable to clearly defined expectations.
She serves her clients as a trusted advisor, offering a nonjudgmental and affirming space to help distinguish root causes from symptoms, transition stakeholders from splintering perspectives to alignment on priorities, and co-create the roadmap for forward momentum.
Clients know Raabia to be insightful, adaptive, and curiously collected in times of stress – likely a result of consulting U.S. Marines on culture and leadership, trekking the globe with thousands of teenagers, and coaching CEOs across 20+ industries.
Raabia is dedicated to innovation and quality. And she genuinely believes in having fun while working smart.
Justin BrandonAssistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, Ravenscroft School
Justin Brandon is the assistant head of school for academic affairs at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC. Justin has more than 20 year of experience in independent schools. During his career he has held numerous roles, including director of diversity, history teacher, dean, and upper school division head. Outside of the classroom and office, Justin has been a faculty mentor, homeroom advisor, club sponsor, peer leadership facilitator, affinity group leader, and coach of several sports (basketball, football, squash, and track and field). Justin holds a M.A. in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a B.A. in political science and African-American studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. He was an NAIS E.E. Ford Aspiring Head Fellow and participant in the Friends Council on Education’s Institute for Engaging Leadership. Outside of school, Brandon serves as the president of the Macalester College Alumni Board and as vice chair of the board of directors for the Global Youth Leadership Institute.
Peggy Campbell-RushU.S. Fulbright Education Specialist, U.S. Fulbright Education Program
Peggy Campbell-Rush is a nationally and internationally recognized education expert who has presented around the world. She has been appointed by the U.S. government as a U.S. Fulbright education specialist helping over 150 countries with educational best practices. Peggy has been named as a FCIS advisor program expert. She is doing educational consulting in the U.S. and abroad with teacher coaching, mentoring, and instructional support for teachers and students. Peggy retired as the head of the lower school at the Bolles School, Jacksonville, FL, in 2021. She has been in education for 47 years, has taught primary grades, and has been an administrator and teacher in both the United States and England. Peggy has sailed around the world twice studying global education on the Semester at Sea Program. She has been honored as a Fulbright Specialist, Fulbright Fellow and two-time National Teachers Hall of Fame finalist, USA Today All-American Teacher Team award, two-time New Jersey Teacher of the Year finalist, named Wal-Mart Teacher of Year twice.
Liza GaronzikFounder, R.E.A.L. Discussion
Liza Garonzik is the founder of R.E.A.L. Discussion, a program that trains faculty to (re)teach students the discussion skills they need for learning, belonging, and real life. Her work is informed by an interdisciplinary research base, a growing community of R.E.A.L. practitioners (35+ schools), and personal experience as a student, teacher, administrator, and trustee in independent schools.
Liza holds degrees from Harvard College and University of Pennsylvania and completed graduate work at Harvard GSE, Klingenstein Center, and the Shady Hill Teacher Training Center. She is a regular presenter at conferences on discussion in schools and society.
Nina KumarCo-Founder & CEO, Authentic Connections
Nina Kumar is co-founder and chief executive officer of Authentic Connections, an organization aimed at maximizing well-being in school communities. Before Authentic Connections, Nina was a product manager at IBM Watson Health. She graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in computer science and psychology and a concentration with honors in cognitive science. Nina has co-authored several papers which have appeared in scientific journals such as American Psychologist, Social Policy Report, and Development and Psychopathology.
Felicia McCraryDirector of Strategic Engagement, The Galloway School
Felicia McCrary is currently the director of strategic engagement at The Galloway School. She has 25+ years of experience working in independent schools in Atlanta as a classroom teacher and administrator. Beyond the classroom, Felicia is passionate about lifelong learning and growing leaders and has led several workshops to help students and adults reach their greatest potential, including annual presentations at the Friend’s Institute for New Administrators, BOLD Summit in Atlanta, GA, and the Women’s Leadership Institute in Boston, MA. Felicia’s longevity as a teacher, administrator, “chief kid wrangler”, storyteller, and big picture thinker have uniquely positioned her to consult with a variety of organizations, including the College Board, the Berman Center, Junior Achievement, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create teaching units for topics in epidemiology. Several independent schools in the Atlanta area have called on Felicia to present and consult on a variety of issues relating to thinking preferences, change management, student life, diversity and inclusion, and curriculum development. She is an HBDI Certified Practitioner and an Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrator. Both certifications allow Felicia enhanced ability to help groups uncover the invisible systems at play in their organization. Felicia has a heart for kids and the communities and organizations that serve them and finds herself constantly working on their behalf. Felicia holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education from Wake Forest University.
Joseph MoodyHead of Middle School, Lovett School
Joseph Moody has been in education for over 20 years. He joined Lovett in 2010 as an eighth-grade science teacher and swiftly rose through leadership positions becoming dean of student life and assistant head of middle school for student life before becoming head of middle school in November of 2021. He earned his B.S. in biology at Presbyterian College prior to pursuing his M.S. in psychology and doctorate in clinical psychology from Walden University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational psychology at Walden University. Joseph has a long history as a counselor, mentor to independent school deans, and coach of wrestling, football, and track.
Joshua NelsonDirector of Faculty and Curriculum/Consultant, ISM
Joshua Nelson joined ISM full-time in 2021 after working in private schools since 2004. He focuses on programmatic matters in the areas of STEM education, curriculum and instruction, and scheduling. He was instrumental in the ISM service design for Engaging Students in an Extended Period. He also helps shape the organization’s professional development initiatives.
Joshua most recently served as the chief academic officer for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. In charge of the entire K–12 academic program for the school, he worked with school administration and faculty to develop curriculum and policies to support student learning.
He also served as the director of the school’s mLAB—a design studio and digital fabrication space that houses 3D printers, laser cutters, milling machines, microprocessors, VR platforms, and other innovative technologies. Joshua procured more than $180K in private funding for the enhancements of the mLAB.
Prior to that position, Joshua was the math department chair and a math teacher, supervising all curricular aspects of grades 1 through 12 mathematics programs. He evaluated grades 1 through 8 mathematics instructors and managed mathematics department budgets.
As a math teacher at Saint Gabriel’s Catholic School and the ITT Technical Institute in Austin, he taught math at the middle school and collegiate levels, respectively, emphasizing project-based instruction and technology.
Joshua holds a Ph.D. in STEM education from the University of Texas, Austin, as well as a master’s degree in mathematics education. He also holds a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Texas Tech University.
Leah NestorHead of Middle School, The Mount Vernon School
Leah Nestor is the head of middle school at The Mount Vernon School in Atlanta, GA, which serves students PreK-12 committed to inquiry, innovation, and impact and equipping students with the tools to design a better world. Previously, she has served as director of cultural competency, board chair for a K-8 charter school, and general music and choral teacher. Leah has a B.M.E. from Armstrong Atlantic State University, an M.Ed. from The University of Georgia, and an M.S. from Johns Hopkins University.
Tiffany RussellDirector of Diversity and Inclusion, St. Martin’s Episcopal School
Dr. Tiffany Russell is the director of diversity and inclusion at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Atlanta, GA. She also serves as an adjunct instructor in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University where she teaches multicultural education, sociology of education, and social foundations of education. A native of Trenton, NJ, Tiffany graduated from Blair Academy and received her B.A. and M.A. in African American studies from Temple University. She holds a doctorate in educational policy studies/social foundations of education from Georgia State University.
Sean SladeHead of Education, BTS Spark
Sean Slade is a global education leader, speaker, and author, with nearly three decades of experience in education. With a strong background in education reform and well-being, he has driven policy change, implemented initiatives, and developed educational leaders, to enhance the social impact of education. He is the head of education at BTS Spark, North America, a not-for-profit practice focusing on developing the next generation of school leaders. Previously, Sean led the Whole Child initiative and mission at ASCD for over a decade, where he launched the ASCD Whole Child Network and led the development of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model (WSCC) with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is a social & emotional learning expert for NBC Education Nation and NBC Today, advisor to OECD’s Future of Education & Skills 2030; global ambassador for HundrED; judge with T4’s World’s Best School Prizes; and a founding member of the UNESCO Chair on Global Health & Education. He has written for the Washington Post, Huffington Post, EdWeek, and EdSurge and has published with ASCD, Abingdon Press, Human Kinetics, and Routledge.
Laura TierneyFounder and CEO, The Social Institute
Laura Tierney is the founder and CEO of The Social Institute, empowering students and their role models to navigate social media and technology in positive, high-character ways. Within two years, her team’s unique gamified social media curriculum, co-created with over 50,000 students, has been touted as the gold standard in the country. Their positive, student-led approach has been applauded by Melinda Gates on Twitter and featured by The Washington Post, NPR, and USA Today.
Kendra VarnellAssistant Head of School for Student Affairs, Ravenscroft School
Kendra Varnell is the assistant head of school for student affairs at Ravenscroft School. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in psychology and has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. She completed her doctoral internship at Duke University.
Kendra joined Ravenscroft in the fall of 2017 and has served in several roles including middle school counselor, upper school counselor, and co-director of clinical services. In her current position, she oversees institutional programming for student wellness.
Ryan WelshChief Design Strategist, Providence Day School
Ryan Welsh is the chief design strategist at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching English, Ryan leads Providence Day’s Center for the Art & Science of Teaching, Learning, and Entrepreneurship, which allows him to lead and collaborate with students, faculty, and administrators TK-12. He earned a B.A. in English and philosophy from Duke University, an M.A. in the humanities from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in curriculum & instruction from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Connie WhiteDirector of Learning Design & Innovation, Woodward Academy
Connie White is a visionary leader who has served as the director of learning design & innovation at Woodward Academy in College Park, GA, since 2015. She is a former upper school physics, chemistry, and math teacher who became one of the first technology and learning directors of a 1:1 program in the Southeast. Connie specializes in start-up innovation initiatives, STEAM, strategic planning, curriculum design, assessment, professional development, brain-based strategies, and pedagogy. She has conducted hundreds of workshops and seminars throughout the country and internationally. She is the president of the AATE ISTE affiliate, is a faculty member for the ATLIS Leadership Institute, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Connie works with Woodward’s efforts in the areas of professional development, curriculum, and innovation. Connie was also the recipient of the 2016 ISTE ISEN Outstanding Educator Award and is a 2020 ATLIS Pillar Award Winner.
Naima WilliamsMiddle School Counselor, Woodward Academy
Naima Williams is a school counselor at Woodward Academy; heralded as one of the most diverse private schools in Atlanta, committed to excellence and anti-bias education for all students. Naima is passionate about her work as a school counselor. Throughout her 22-year tenure she has used her unique position to guide students and families through emotional, academic, social, and sometimes school practice barriers which hinder student education in private and public schools.
As a first-generation American, Naima and her family experienced many difficulties in navigating systems. Consequently, Naima has dedicated her life to fostering belonging within schools. Her enthusiasm for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work has been further cultivated through presentation and committee projects at Woodward Academy and leadership of equity in education round table discussions during the 2019 Independent School Counselors Conference.
A graduate of Clark Atlanta University, Naima earned her bachelors in psychology. She holds a masters degree from Georgia State University, an educational specialist from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University. Naima is also a Licensed Professional Counselor who has earned national board certification.