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July 11, 2019

Lineup of dynamic speakers set for SVSU-based education leadership conference in August; registration remains open

Dynamic WorkshopDynamic workshops, engaging speakers, and powerful learning experiences are what audiences can expect at the 2nd Annual Educator Leadership Institute at Saginaw Valley State University Aug. 7-9.

The three-day conference will consist of a wide range of workshops and speakers focusing on the K-12 education system. Guest speakers will discuss topics that impact education including strategies for engaging students, challenging young minds, and tackling discrimination.

The conference also will include activities such as group discussions and a “Human Library,” where volunteers will share their stories relating to the education system.

Lighter fare — such as concerts and karaoke — are on the schedule too. K’Jon, an R&B artist whose 2009 single “On the Ocean” reached the top of the Billboard Adult R&B chart, will be among the performers.

A variety of registration packages are available, ranging from $300 to $600 per person. Some of those packages include lodging at SVSU's housing facilities, which recently were ranked No. 1 among all public universities in the U.S. by the website Niche. Other lodging options in the area are available as well.

The final registration deadline is Tuesday, July 30. Early bird registration discount prices are available until Monday, July 15. To register for this event, visit For further information, contact SVSU’s College of Education at (989) 964-7107.

Among the scheduled speakers is Roy Burton, founder of the Michigan Institute for Restorative Practices Trainers and Consultants. Burton, an expert in training school staff to deal with student discipline issues, will discuss his advocacy for schools to favor restorative justice policies rather than low-tolerance policies that can lead to suspensions or expulsions. Burton calls for an approach that brings together the student being disciplined with the individuals affected by that student’s offense in an effort to resolve disputes without disrupting the student’s education.

Along with Burton, the lineup of guest speakers and their topics of discussion are as follows:

  • Judge Dorene Allen, of the Probate and Juvenile Court of Midland County; her topic is titled “Truancy Matters!”
  • Alison Cicinelli, Ed.D, from Midland Public Schools; her topic is titled "MDE New Continuous School Improvement.”
  • Dr. Roberto Garcia, Ph.D., director of Multicultural Student Affairs at SVSU; his topic is titled "Hip-Hop as a Legitimate Pedagogy."
  • David Gruber, executive director of the Office of Special Education Intervention services; his topics is titled “Communication & Conflict in Special Education.”
  • Dr. Kenneth Jolly, Ph.D., professor of history at SVSU; his topic is titled "Let’s talk about Race in America: Biases & Privilege.”
  • William McDonald, educator from the Leona Group; his topic is titled "Creating A Sense of Belonging Through Engagement."
  • Mari MacFarland, assistant professor of teacher education at SVSU; her talk will be titled "Behavior Analysis Matters!”
  • John Micsak, founder of National Institute for Resilience & Wellness; he will lead one session titled “Healing the Inside Child,” a second titled "Brain-Based Approaches With Challenging Students,” and a third titled “Reiliency: Healthy Pathways for Vulnerable Students.”
  • Scott Miklovic, director of technology and innovation at Laker; his topic is titled "Problem Based Learning: Engaging All Students!"
  • Doug Newcombe, K-12 educational field representative at SVSU; his topic will be titled "Finance and Budgeting For the School Leader."
  • Scott Sawyer, director of Human Resources at Saginaw Intermediate School District; his topic will be titled "Social Media: What You Need to Know!"
  • Gina Wilson, Ed.D, of Leadership Consultant; she will lead one topic titled "Who's Coming to Dinner? Inclusive Practices” and another titled “Relationships 101.”
  • Jennifer Woods, behavioral specialist at Midland County Educational Services Agency; her topic is titled "Behavior as A Communication Tool, Not an Offense!"

This conference is made possible through SVSU’s College of Education in partnership with the School/ University Partnership Office, the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, and the Michigan Institute for Restorative Practices Trainers and Consultants.