Nov. 15

11:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Microschools Field Trip
sponsored by Stand Together Trust

Join ExcelinEd and Stand Together Trust for a field trip to see firsthand Atlanta area microschools that use engaging and dynamic student-centered and innovative education models. A presentation will immediately follow the field trips at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta where snacks and beverages will be provided. Space is limited.

3:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Registration Desk Open

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Sponsor Meet Up with Avela

Empowering Families: A Discussion on Informed School Selection

Join us for an insightful open discussion dedicated to strategies communities can take to help families navigate the diverse educational landscape. This session, centered on families and students, will be led by Scott Evans, Director of Family and School Engagement for MySchoolsTucson. We’ll explore the key insights and practical ideas he has to offer. Bring your questions, experiences, and curiosity as we collaborate to empower families with the resources and knowledge necessary to make informed educational decisions.

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Happy Hour
Sponsored by Tutored by Teachers

Kick off your National Summit experience at Twenty-Two Storys Lobby Bar. You can enjoy your favorite craft cocktail or pint from one of Georgia’s favorite local breweries.


Nov. 16

7:30AM – 5:30 PM

Registration Desk Open

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM

Networking Breakfast

8:30 AM – 9:15 AM

Opening Keynote
Governor Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush, ExcelinEd Chairman and 43rd Governor of Florida, shares his vision for transforming education with proven policies that close learning gaps, expand opportunity, build pathways to in-demand jobs and more. This opening keynote will inspire policymakers to go big and be bold on behalf of America’s students.   

Moderated by: Ian Rowe, Founder, Vertex Partnership Academies

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Strategy Sessions

Acing It in Math: Policies that Add Up to Success

How is it that some states achieve student success in math? Proven solutions are available to help policymakers turn around the troubling 2022 NAEP scores and propel K-12 students forward. We’ll explore how certain states achieved above-average performance or have maintained their results despite pandemic impacts. You’ll come away better informed about the National Mathematics Advisory Panel’s report and math policy principles that all states can use to help every student ace this essential subject.

Moderated by: Dr. Christy Hovanetz, ExcelinEd


• Dr. Russell Gersten, Instructional Research Group 
• Marissa Payzant, Nebraska Dept. of Education
• Ian Rowe, Vertex Academies 

Making Universal Choice a Reality: State Solutions for Expanding Opportunity to Every Child

What does it mean to make school choice truly “universal”? What policies can states use to pave the way toward that goal, while also ensuring equitable access and meaningful funding? We’ll explore the recent surge in universal choice options, dissecting the programs and innovations that states have designed to achieve a big and bold vision: making universal choice a reality.

Moderated by: Michael Chartier, ExcelinEd


• Senator Michael Lee, North Carolina
• Senator Adam Pugh, Oklahoma
• Senator Corey Simon, Florida 
• Senator Brad Zaun, Iowa 

Removing Education’s Hidden Barriers: Immediate Strategies for Supporting, Training and Retaining High-Quality Teachers

Discovering the most effective strategies for attracting and retaining top-tier teachers is a puzzle that states are urgently attempting to solve. In the past two years policymakers have doubled down on addressing teacher shortages, trying everything from reducing barriers to entry to making the profession more attractive and sustainable. In this session we’ll explore the most promising policies that leave no stone unturned for staffing our nation’s classrooms with teachers of the highest caliber.

Moderated by Dr. Cara Candal, ExcelinEd


• Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota Dept. of Public Instruction 
• Superintendent Sydnee Dickson, Utah State Board of Education 
• Secretary Jacob Oliva, Arkansas Dept. of Education 
• Dr. Heather Peske, National Council on Teacher Quality 

What’s Next for College and Career Pathways? Policy Highlights from States

States are placing more emphasis than ever on top-tier pathways into both college and career. Why? To supercharge results for learners, communities and the economy. Yet only a handful of states are taking actionable steps to enrich the learning journey itself. Hear from leaders who are infusing innovation into their college and career pathways systems and using positive student outcomes as a driver for funding and program development.

Moderated by: Nathan Oakley, ExcelinEd


• Secretary Katie Jenner, Indiana Dept. of Education 
• Deborah Knoll, Tennessee Dept. of Education
• Kimberly Richey, Florida Dept. of Education 

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Networking Break

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM

Strategy Sessions

Doubling Up on Student Achievement: Literacy and Numeracy Screenings Must Inform Classroom Instruction

Why are universal screeners so important for unlocking a child’s potential? Meaningful assessment data provide a snapshot of what students know—and what they still need to learn—to become skilled in reading and math. Administering universal screeners in both subjects allows teachers to collect valid and reliable data that can be used to address every learner’s needs in mastering these fundamental skills.

Moderated by: Dr. Carey Wright, Maryland Interim Superintendent of Education


• Dr. Christy Hovanetz, ExcelinEd 
• Dr. Leanne Ketterlin Geller, Southern Methodist University 
• Superintendent Catherine Truitt, North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction
• Sonya Yates, ExcelinEd 

Taking School Choice to New Heights: Innovations that Parents Want and Kids Need

The momentum behind school choice is electrifying, with states enacting programs at an unprecedented pace and expanding their reach to millions more students. How can we supercharge options for families with new ideas like hybrid homeschool, extracurricular access, transportation resources and the like? And let’s not forget about weighted funding to support students who have had the most limited educational options. Let’s embark on a journey to forge bigger, better, more equitable educational opportunity for all.

Moderated by: Dr. Cara Candal, ExcelinEd


• Derrell Bradford, 50CAN
• Ben DeGrow, ExcelinEd 
• Brenda Dickhoner, Ready Colorado 
• Senator Alexis Calatayud, Florida

Strengthening School Finance: Making Money Really Matter

How can state policymakers guide schools in maximizing impact of their existing resources? Learn about innovative strategies states are using to target education dollars where they are needed most: driving better outcomes for all students, including those in postsecondary settings. We’ll dive into student-centered funding formulas, new ideas for rewarding success and ways for incentivizing evidence-based investments. ExcelinEd’s diagnostic tool will show where your state stands on policies that can transform dollars into rising student achievement.

Moderated by: David Mansouri, Tennessee SCORE


• Matthew Joseph, ExcelinEd 
• Libby McCabe, The Commit Partnership 
• Dr. Marguerite Roza, Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University

Accelerating Pathways: Building High-Quality Education-to-Workforce Pathways through Innovative Partnerships

When done right, college and career pathways provide intentional, career-aligned courses that span secondary and postsecondary education, embed work-based learning experiences and lead to credentials of value. Enter LAUNCH, a dynamic multi-organization initiative that is embarking on a mission to revitalize and enhance educational pathways. We’ll dig into lessons learned from three states as they work to prepare students for postsecondary and workforce success.

Moderated by: Quentin Suffren, ExcelinEd

• Chelsea Crawford, Tennessee Dept. of Education
• Kelli Norman, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education 
• Danielle Ongart, Colorado Dept. of Education

11:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Networking Break

12:00 PM – 1:45 PM

Lunch Keynote

Dr. Jonathan Haidt: Smartphones vs. Smart Kids: Heading Off Disaster in Teen Mental Health

Bestselling author and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt shares research findings from his upcoming book, The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness. He addresses the many unsettling connections between social media and the wellbeing of today’s students—with a call to action to rescue our kids.

Moderated by: Hanna Skandera, The Daniels Fund

1:45 PM – 2:00 PM

Networking Break

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Strategy Sessions

Reading Struggles After 3rd Grade: Adolescent Literacy Needs Attention Now

What happens in middle school when a child doesn’t become a skilled reader by third grade? It’s often not positive. Literacy affects all aspects of learning in school and throughout daily life. Teachers working with adolescent students see those struggles firsthand—and they can help. Join us to learn about policies states can adopt to equip teachers with the knowledge, skills and resources to tackle the unique needs of adolescents. Our students’ lifelong success depends on it! 

Moderated by: Ralph Smith, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading


• Delegate Carrie Coyner, Virginia 
• Dr. Kevin Smith, Florida Center for Reading Research 
• Katherine Tarca, Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education 

The Future is Now for Data Science: Why Every Student Must Be Data Literate Before They Graduate

Data is everywhere. Yet the skills to extract insights and meaning in this vast ocean of information are much more limited. School systems can prepare young people with the skills and competencies they need in today’s “data economy.” Learn why data literacy and data science are so important in the workplace and what states are doing to prepare students to succeed in a data-driven world.

Moderated by: Zarek Drozda, Data Science 4 Everyone 


• Lindsey Henderson, Utah State Board of Education
• Matt Sigelman, The Burning Glass Institute 

Accountability—Why Bother? Keeping Our Eye on the Ball of Student Achievement

Discourse around school accountability has surged once again this year. Are we inundated with excessive data? Drowning in an abundance of tests? Distracted by tangential subjects? As policymakers reevaluate school accountability frameworks, we stand to gain insights from history while sparking discussions on the enduring significance of accountability for student outcomes. Strategies for upholding rigorous standards are paramount, especially as we navigate post-pandemic recovery and tackle a decade of declines in student achievement.

Moderated by: Secretary Aimee Guidera, Virginia Dept. of Education 


• Dr. Christy Hovanetz, ExcelinEd
• Michael Petrilli, Fordham Institute 
• Commissioner Lizzette Reynolds, Tennessee Dept. of Education 

Building for Success, Literally: Novel Solutions for Charter Facilities Funding

For more than a decade we’ve had sound evidence that public charter schools help students achieve at comparatively high levels. This is true even though states are not meeting the facility needs of charter schools, forcing them to redirect funding intended for instruction. Learn how ExcelinEd’s Charter School Facility Index is helping states identify cost-effective and innovative ways to narrow the charter school facility funding gap.

Moderated by: Darryl Cobb, Charter School Growth Fund 

• Representative Jennifer Canady, Florida 
• Matthew Joseph, ExcelinEd 
• Terry Ryan, Bluum
• Christy Wolfe, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools 

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Networking & Snack Break
sponsored by ClassWallet

3:30 PM – 4:45 PM

General Session

Sal Khan: Artificial Intelligence: Alarming, Wonderful, Powerful…And Here to Stay

Education innovator and entrepreneur Sal Khan leads an insightful conversation on artificial intelligence (AI) and its rapidly unfolding place in American society, from colleges & universities to the workplace to our children’s K-12 classrooms. He explores how and where AI can enhance student learning and support educators, such as Khanmigo does—without unravelling education itself.

Moderated by: Gov. Bruce Rauner, ExcelinEd Board

5:15 PM – 6:00 PM

Sponsored Roundtable Sessions

Empowering Underserved Families in Virginia

Room: The Learning Center

Empowering Underserved Families in Virginia showcases Virginia’s K-12 Learning Acceleration Grant, the nation’s largest tutoring microgrant enacted by Governor Glenn Youngkin to address COVID-19 learning loss. When data revealed that low-income families were struggling to spend grant dollars, and to ensure that students in most need of assistance were able to get the help they needed, the Virginia Department of Education partnered with The panel will discuss this innovative partnership and the importance of providing resources and support to families.


• Sarah Raybon, Sr. Director of Strategic Initiatives, ClassWallet
• Dr. Lisa Coons, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction 
• Dr. Morgan Camu, Head of Program at 

SPOTLIGHT SPONSORED ROUNDTABLE SESSION: PowerSchool Modernizing State Data Platforms to Gain Meaningful Insights

Room: Hanover C

Making sense of the massive amounts of K-12 data generated by states is challenging. And, with cybersecurity threats rising, the need for secure data-as-a-service (DaaS) platforms is paramount. Data-as-a-service removes the burden of data storage, management, and operations, and increases data efficiency – accelerating the pace of innovation in K-12 education.

Join PowerSchool for an in-depth discussion on the many ways a managed data-as-a-service platform can empower state education departments and districts and make a positive impact on students and workforce (P20W).

The panel will discuss real-life challenges and learn more about how PowerSchool is leveraging data-as-a-service to help states with real-time analytics.

MGT Education Solutions Strategies for Moving the Needle on the National Reading Crisis

The national reading crisis demands urgent action, and state and local leaders are at the forefront of this transformative journey. Join us for a dynamic conversation that explores innovative approaches to tackle this crisis head-on. By focusing on Science of Reading, change management strategies, strategic planning, and intentional family and community engagement, you will be empowered to lead the charge in paving the way for a generation of proficient readers. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the solution and shape a brighter future for our students.


• Allison Miller, Sr. Vice President, MGT Education Solutions  
• Janice Kohler, Vice President & Chief Academic Officer, MGT Education Solutions
• Carrie Miller, Vice President, MGT Solutions                

NWEA Expanding the Conversation around the Science of Reading Beyond the Big Five

Reading is a learned skill; readers deserve explicit and equitable instruction that is grounded in research focused on reading science; that science includes writing, motivation, and engagement along. 

To contribute to systemic change in literacy instruction, we must address educator preparation, assessment, instruction, and policy through meaningful collaboration.

Pearson Education AI Has an Important Role in Student Assessments – But We Should Proceed Cautiously

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) has been successfully deployed in assessments since the 1990s through the automated scoring (AS) of student responses. AS relies on machine learning and natural language processing to train a computer to read a student response and assign a score it predicts a human scorer would assign to that response. Done right, AS can provide states with reliable scores, delivered on a faster timeline than human scoring, and at a substantially lower cost. However, with the recent emergence of Generative AI, a broader application that produces new content, concerns have materialized about the future development of assessments. In this session, we will discuss the implications of the use of AI in summative assessments and how policymakers should weigh the risks and opportunities.


• Trent Workman, Sr. Vice President, School Assessment, Pearson Education  

Public Consulting Group From Policy to Practice – How the Science of Reading Influences Systems at the State Level.

Public Consulting Group is committed to early literacy and is proud of its partnership with the Colorado Department of Education and to sponsor the Right to Read Project. Learn more about the Project in addition to how Colorado is addressing new legislation for school leaders focused on the science of reading. Under the leadership of Anji Gallanos, the CDE’s Director of Elementary Literacy and School Readiness, the CDE designed training aligned to their new Literacy Standards for Principal and Administrators to meet legislative requirements.  This state-wide professional learning initiative is modeled after the teacher training the CDE has successfully provided to over 25,000 Colorado K-3 teachers.


• Anji Gallanos, Colorado Department of Education Director of Elementary Literacy & School Readiness  
• Chy Davidson, Public Consulting Group – Manager
• Gerry Steffen, Public Consulting Group – Associate Manager

Saga Education Investing in What Works: High Impact Tutoring’s Evidence and Return on Investment

This timely roundtable will convene state education leaders, researchers, and advocates to delve into proven tutoring solutions for closing achievement and opportunity gaps and addressing pandemic learning loss. Hear directly from the researchers who have conducted randomized control trials (RTCs) and the national nonprofit Saga Education about their groundbreaking research, ambitious efforts underway to scale high-impact tutoring nationally, and insights on building sustainable tutoring programs.

We’ll explore the evidence-based design principles leaders can leverage to implement, refine, and expand quality tutoring initiatives. And we’ll discuss how states can support research and innovation to develop the next generation of equitable, scalable tutoring models.

This interactive briefing delivers essential insights and strategies so state leaders can implement tutoring as a powerful tool to advance equity and accelerate student learning.

• AJ Gutierrez, Co-Founder and Chief Advocacy Officer, Saga Education
• Trayvon Braxton, Portfolio Director, University of Chicago Education Lab

Stand Together Trust Expanding the Permissionless Education Market: Encouraging Education Entrepreneurship

Parent appetite for new and different education models grew to record levels during the pandemic. Many of these started outside of conventional education systems: as microschools, learning pods, hybrid homeschools, community centers, online platforms, and much more. Many of them were the embodiment of “permissionless education,” families and educators coming together to solve education challenges and innovate at a scale not seen in decades. Join Stand Together Trust to learn how they and their partners are supporting this blossoming, bottom-up approach to education – and the implications for policymakers and public policy.


• Raphael Gang, Stand Together Trust
• Kerry McDonald, Foundation for Economic Education
• Adam Peshek, Stand Together Trust
• Eric Wearne, Kennesaw State University

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Welcome Reception
sponsored by Powerschool


Nov. 17

7:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Registration Desk Open

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM

Networking Breakfast

8:00 AM – 9:15 AM

Breakfast Keynote
Arthur Brooks: The Transformative Power of Strength, Purpose and Happiness

Harvard professor and bestselling author Arthur Brooks brings an inspirational message about living a strong, joyful and impactful life—and what that means to those of us working to transform education. He draws on the latest in behavioral social science research, ancient wisdom and historical analysis and provides an uplifting roadmap for success and fulfillment.

Moderated by: Eric Cantor, ExcelinEd Board 

9:15 AM – 9:45 AM

Networking Break
sponsored by ResponsiveEd

9:45 AM – 11:00 AM

General Session

Richard Reeves: Solving the Hidden Crises with Our Boys and Men

Author and researcher Richard Reeves will address the complex and troubling challenges facing today’s male students, with timely insights from his acclaimed book, Of Boys and Men, on the issues of masculinity, new norms in school and the workplace and preparing boys to succeed in a changing, more equitable society.

Moderated by: Secretary Kate Jenner, Indiana Dept. of Education

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM

Networking Break

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Strategy Sessions

Early Literacy Starts with Teacher Prep: Aligning Educator Programs with the Science of Reading

It’s alarming that more than half of our nation’s colleges of education earned a D or F on their elementary education early reading programs. With insights from this year’s Teacher Prep Review by the National Council on Teacher Quality, what have we learned about the skills candidates need to be fully prepared to teach all children to read? As program leaders reflect on their results, now’s the time to provide new opportunities and resources aligned with the science of reading. In supporting these programs, we can turn the tide on early literacy, fill the gaps and drive change.

Moderated by: Shannon Holston, National Council on Teacher Quality


• Sean Ross, Arizona State Board of Education
• Dr. Kenith Britt, Marian University 
• Dr. Jerri Haynes, Jackson State University 

Young Minds at Work: How Social Media and Cell Phones are Harming Students

Emerging research confirms alarming effects on children and teens who excessively use cell phones and actively engage in social media. Learn more about the complex ways these activities are affecting the well-being and developing brains of our students. Equally important, explore how policymakers can, and must, take action to reduce the harm while promoting more balanced and healthier use of 21st-century technologies.

Moderated by: Amy Owen, ExcelinEd 


• Neil Abercrombie, Utah Office of the Governor 
• Daniel Buck, Thomas B. Fordham Institute 
• Representative Dana Trabulsy, Florida 

ChatGPT and Generative AI: What Every Policymaker Needs to Know…Now!

This past year saw an explosion of new tools and digital platforms around artificial intelligence (AI) and language generation. In K-12 education, AI has the potential to transform the way we teach, the way students learn and how we assess student performance. Yet there also are risks around data privacy, platform bias and academic integrity. Experts in education, policy and technology share their state-level strategies to leverage—and regulate—these powerful tools.

Moderated by: Nathan Hoffman, ExcelinEd 


• Secretary Katie Jenner, Indiana Department of Education 
• Pat Yongpradit,
• Dr. Dhanaraj Thakur, Center for Democracy & Technology

12:15 PM – 12:30 PM

Networking Break

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Closing Lunch Keynote
Irshad Manji: Moral Courage: The Skill Set for Unifying America

Irshad Manji, founder of the Moral Courage® Project, provides an evidence-based toolkit to turn heated issues into healthy conversations and effective teamwork. Manji shows how moral courage and transforming our conversation skills are profound tools that have the power to create a culture of civility, diversity and inclusion.

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