Keynote speakers

Below, you'll find information about the keynote and featured speakers at this year's IB Global Conference in Orlando.

Keynote speakers

Bill Strickland

Nikki Woodson

Thursday 20 July

For thirty years, Bill Strickland has used his innovative arts and training centres to transform the lives of thousands of impoverished adults and teenagers. A commanding speaker, his resonant message of self-worth leaves audiences in tears and on their feet. "Strickland is a genius," says former eBay president Jeff Skoll, "because he sees the inherent genius in everyone."

Bill Strickland has changed lives, restored faith in ethical leadership and reshaped the business of social change. As president and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation—an extraordinary jobs training centre and community arts program—he and his staff work with corporations, community leaders and schools to give disadvantaged kids and adults the opportunities they need to build a better future. Centres are already running in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Grand Rapids, New Haven, Boston and Buffalo; with many more in the planning stages, including international centres in Israel, London and Japan.)

Strickland was named as one of 25 members of the White House Council for Community Solutions by President Obama. And for years now, in front of enraptured audiences, this MacArthur Genius has shared his unshakable message of leadership, self-worth and the intrinsic ability in everyone to achieve remarkable transformation in their lives. He was also honored by the United States Senate for his contribution to social innovation.

Strickland is also the author of Make the Impossible Possible, a recipient of The White House's "Coming Up Taller" Award, and the founder of the Grammy-winning MCG Jazz, the most successful jazz subscription series in America.

Nikki Woodson

Nikki Woodson

Friday 21 July

Dr. Woodson is the superintendent for Washington Township Schools in Indiana, an International Baccalaureate (IB) World District. In the past eight years, Dr. Woodson has lead the public school district to become one of few in the Americas to offer IB to all students in all schools through PYP, MYP and DP. Washington Township is a PK-12 urban public school district with over 12,000 IB students spanning across 13 IB World Schools with plans to expand to two more due to significant increases in enrollment. Dr. Woodson is also a proud parent of PYP and MYP students in her district. Among her numerous honors, Dr. Woodson has been awarded the honor of International Educator of the Year by Global Indiana and recognized for innovative achievement in education by the American Association of School Administrators. Former US President Barack Obama invited Dr. Woodson among just a few superintendents nationwide to the first-ever White House Superintendent Summit recognizing district innovations in education. She has authored the book Is it Working in Your Middle School?, published by Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), which focuses on a personalized system to monitor the progress of school initiatives that can be applied to any IB World School. Dr. Woodson serves as Co-Founder of Change Makers International which focuses on global growth and contribution. Active in the IB community, Dr. Woodson has presented at conferences internationally, served on both the IB Regional & Heads Councils and is now serving a three-year term on the IB Board of Governors. 

Marcelo Suárez-Orozco

Saturday 22 July 

Marcelo Suarez

Suarez-Orozco is currently the Dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. He is the former professor of Globalization and Education at New York University. He has also been appointed Special Advisor to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, The Hague, The Netherlands.

Suarez-Orozco’s Latinos: Remaking America is a comprehensive study of the fastest-growing ethnic group in America. Suarez-Orozco’s Learning in a New Land: Immigrant Students in American Society won the prestigious 2008 Stone Award for Best Book on Education. In Learning in the Global Era he offers constructive approaches to educate a global generation of youth in a rapidly changing world.

Suarez-Orozco will explore the future of education in United States. One in five children in America today is from an immigrant-headed home. How should these children be educated to become engaged citizens? Should they be encouraged to assimilate or to maintain their cultural traditions?

Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink

Sunday 23 July 

Daniel H. Pink is the author of five books about the changing world of work, including the New York Times best seller, A Whole New Mind, and the #1 New York Times best seller, Drive. Currently, Pink hosts Crowd Control, a series on National Geographic Television that takes problems and creates solutions using unique design, technology and behavioral science principles. His latest book To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. Pink describes the six successors to the 'elevator pitch', the three rules for understanding another’s perspective and the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive.

Pink's articles on business and technology have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, The Sunday Telegraph, Fast Company and Wired. He also advises both Fortune 100 companies and startups on recruiting, innovation and work practices.

Pink served from 1995 to 1997 as chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore and worked as an aide to US Labor Secretary Robert Reich, as well as other positions in politics and government.

Featured speakers

Alan November

Alan November

Alan November is an international leader in education technology. He began his career as an oceanography teacher and dorm counselor at an island reform school for boys in Boston Harbor, MA, USA. While Alan was a computer science teacher in Lexington, MA, he was probably the first teacher in the world to have a student project on line in 1984 - a database for the handicapped. He has been director of an alternative high school, computer coordinator, technology consultant and university lecturer. He has helped schools, governments and industry leaders improve the quality of education through technology. His areas of expertise include planning across curriculums, staff development, new school design, community building and leadership development. He has delivered keynotes and workshops in all 50 states, across Canada and throughout the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Central America. Alan was named one of the nation’s 15 most influential thinkers of the decade by Technology and Learning Magazine. In 2001, he was listed as one of eight educators to provide leadership into the future by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse. In 2007, he was selected to speak at the Cisco Public Services Summit during the Nobel Prize Festivities in Stockholm, Sweden. His writing includes numerous articles and two best-selling books: Empowering Students with Technology and Web Literacy for Educators. Alan was co-founder of the Stanford Institute for Educational Leadership Through Technology and is most proud of being selected as one of the original five national Christa McAuliffe Educators.

Richard Brecht

Richard Brecht

Having received his MA and PhD from Harvard University, Dr Brecht is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland. Brecht is also a co-director of the American Councils Research Center, a think tank devoted to providing evidence for language policy and management decisions in education and the work place. As an academic entrepreneur, he has founded, built and led over a dozen academic organizations, including the Center for Advanced Study of Language (a Department of Defense University Affiliated Research Center), American Councils for International Education, the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages and the National Foreign Language Center. Currently, Dr Brecht is co-founder and Chief Research Officer of Global Professional Search Inc., a business connecting employers to job applicants with foreign language proficiency, international experience and multicultural understanding. Dr Brecht has testified in Congress before the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor (now the House Committee on Education and the Workforce), the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the US House Armed Services Committee, and the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He has given hundreds of academic presentations and authored and edited numerous scholarly books, textbooks, manuals, articles and reviews on language policy, second language acquisition, and Slavic and Russian linguistics, including the briefing paper “America’s Languages: Challenges and Promise” for the language education commission of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Finally, Dr Brecht has received numerous awards from national and international organizations in the language field. 

Robert Slater

Robert Slater

Robert Slater is co-director of the American Councils Research Center. Most recently he co-directed a US government-funded study examining the impact of dual language immersion programs on K-12 academic performance. Dr Slater also directs the newly formed Dual Language Immersion Research Alliance. From 1992–2010 Dr Slater served as director of the National Security Education Program (NSEP). He established the highly successful Boren Scholarship and Fellowship programs and was the principal architect of the Language Flagship program and the National Language Service Corps. Dr. Slater holds a PhD in international relations from The American University. He is an accomplished political scientist and methodologist, has published in major scholarly journals and has edited three major books focusing primarily on global transformation, revolution, and political change.

Jane Larsson

Jane Larsson

Sharing the CIS knowledge base: Innovations and trends Come and learn what CIS is learning. Our work evaluating and supporting over 700 high quality, diverse school communities around the world exposes us to innovative programmes and leading evidence-driven practice. This session will reveal important trends that can be used to develop realistic strategic goals and improve recruitment practices. Additional topics include key findings from a study looking at the relationship between student cultures and learning preferences as well as important survey data exploring the indicators of child abuse developed by the International Task Force on Child Protection. Jane Larsson is the Executive Director of the Council of International Schools (CIS), a global non-profit membership organisation, providing international accreditation, leadership search, educational recruitment and research services to primary and secondary schools around the world. CIS connects its school communities with over 500 higher education institutions globally, to facilitate international student admission and guidance, and has just launched a new service to help schools examine their effectiveness in the development of global citizenship. Jane has served the international education community for 20 years, with a focus on the development of collaborative partnerships to enable and support educational exchange and the development of international and intercultural perspectives. Prior to her appointment at CIS, Jane was Director of International Partnerships with the Visiting International Faculty Program (VIF) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she led outreach to promote international educational exchange, establishing relationships with ministries of education, universities, international schools and educational associations. She began her career in international education as the Director of Educational Staffing and Publications for International Schools Services (ISS) providing recruitment services and resources to international schools.

Anna Baralt

Dan Radecki

Anna Baralt holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Florida. She taught preschool and elementary students for 17 years before becoming Director of Educational Technology at Shorecrest Preparatory School, a PK3–12th grade independent school in St. Petersburg, Florida. In this role, she provides support in designing curriculum and technology integration, facilitates professional development school-wide and manages school-wide technology projects. She has presented at numerous local and national conferences and has been published in peer-reviewed educational journals. She served on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards Core Team to refresh the Standards for Students and Standards for Teachers.

Thomas Dodd

Thomas Dodd

After being selected as the Colorado middle level principal of the year earlier this spring, Thomas will join his peers at the NASSP Principals Institute in Washington, D.C. this September to be honored. He was selected based on his personal excellence, collaborative leadership, curriculum, instruction, assessment and personalization of learning opportunities for students. “I see this recognition as a validation of the hard work of our faculty and staff over the last 11 years to improve learning experiences and outcomes for our kids”, Thomas said. “We’re all about excellence and equity.” During his 12-year tenure as Lesher principal, Thomas has led the reinvention of the school's climate captured by the "Anchor Down" motto and anchor pins that all teachers wear to symbolized their firm, stable role as advocates for each child in the school. Under Thomas's leadership the school eliminated de facto academic tracking by opening the Middle Years Programme (MYP) from a select few to the whole school. He is a regular presenter at state and national conferences, and has led his school to be named a MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School in 2012 and a National School to Watch every year since 2014 by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and secondary education from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA, two master's degrees in physical education and in social studies education from Adams State University in Alamosa, CO, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Penn State.

Ken Webster

Ken Webster

Ken Webster is a qualified teacher in the UK and has extensive experience in both teacher training (in service) and in curriculum development. Before returning to work in the area of economics and economics/business education, Ken was a leading author and workshop facilitator in the UK with over a dozen resource publications through WWF on environment and sustainability for schools and colleges. In his current role, he is Head of Innovation at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and an acknowledged expert worldwide on the “circular economy”- a framework for thinking about resource questions in the 21st century. He is a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield University and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter (UK).

Andrew Macdonald - Chief Schools Officer

Andrew Macdonald

Andrew Macdonald joined the International Baccalaureate (IB) in 2014 as the Chief Schools Officer (CSO). He leads a team of 200 employees in the US, The Netherlands, Singapore, and Wales who are dedicated to serving over 4,500 IB World Schools attended by over one million IB students worldwide. As CSO, Macdonald oversees IB professional development, school authorization, ongoing support services to IB World Schools, and marketing and development.

Andrew has a combination of commercial and educational experience spanning over two decades. He has helped lead mission-driven organizations in North America, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia, covering international education, literacy improvement, computer-based assessment, and online learning. Working for such organizations as Renaissance Learning, Kaplan Virtual Education and Wilson Language Training, he developed significant cross-functional experience in marketing, business development, logistics, HR, IT, academic services, finance, and customer service.

Dr. Macdonald holds a B.A. from Drew University in Madison, NJ, an M.B.A. from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and an Ed.D. from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. His research topic is entitled; Teacher Leadership and the Integration of Technology: Colliding Areas of Reform.

Carolyn Adams

Carolyn Adams

Carolyn Adams, the IB's Director of Strategy Development and Execution, was previously the organization's Chief Assessment Officer. 

Before the IB, which she joined in 2009, Carolyn was Examinations Director for AQA, the largest of the UK awarding organizations, where she was responsible for the successful delivery of around 4 million GCE A-level and GCSE results each year.  

She has worked in virtually all aspects of assessment and curriculum development in a career spanning 30 years and a number of awarding organizations.  

Prior to this she had a brief period as a secondary school teacher in England (teaching in the same school as the former IB Director General, George Walker, though joining it just after he left).

Carolyn has a BA in history from the University of Sheffield and a post-graduate certificate in education (PGCE) and an MA in history from the University of Windsor, Ontario.

Vinka Jackson

Vinka Jackson

Vinka is a psychologist specializing in the ethics of care (a student of Carol Gilligan at NYU) and the application of these ethics in education and the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse. She is also an expert in the design and development of affective-sexual orientation programmes and personal relations programmes for children, adolescents, families and educational communities in Chile and the United States. As an author, she has published titles such as Fresh Water in the Mirrors: Child Sexual Abuse and Resilience (Agua fresca en los espejos: abuso sexual infantil y resiliencia), now in its sixth edition and, for children, My Body is a Gift (Mi cuerpo es un regalo), which is now in its ninth edition. This book is currently used as an educational resource for the National Board of Kindergartens (JUNJI) of the Ministry of Education of Chile. Her most recent work in this collection is called Tod@s junt@s. A new publication, From the classroom to the world: ethics of care and education (Del aula al mundo: ética del cuidado y educación) will soon be published by Unesco.