Ainsley Rose recently retired after 35 years in public education. As the former director of curriculum and instruction for the Western Quebec School Board in Gatineau, Quebec, Ainsley was responsible for initiating many systemic changes that continue to impact teaching and learning within the school board today. With experience as an elementary and secondary classroom teacher and principal, as well as an instructor of graduate-level courses for administrators and pre-service teachers, Ainsley shares perspectives that resonate with all educators. He is also a published author, keynote presenter, and facilitator. His presentations deliver practical school improvement strategies that work at every level, from within the classroom to district-wide support.


Tommy Thompson is principal of New London High School in Connecticut, recognized as one of America’s Best High Schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2014 for its dramatic transformation. In December 2015, the Connecticut State Department of Education officially recognized Tommy for “turning around” NLHS, showing gains on every metric currently used to assess school effectiveness. With nearly 20 years of school experience, Tommy prides himself on bridging the gap between theory and practice, putting into practice what he advocates. Understanding that one size does not fit all, he customizes workshops for each of his clients and consistently receives outstanding evaluations for his efforts. Tommy’s areas of expertise include: assessment, cultural competency, and leadership. He is certified in Common Formative Assessment 2.0, Visible Learning, and Deep Equity workshops. Mr. Thompson is a contributing author to Real Time Decisions: Educators Using Formative Assessment to Change Lives NOW!


Jay Trujillo is a distinguished educator with over 28 years of professional experience, including 14 years as high school principal. One of Jay’s schools ranked #1 among 82 schools in southern California for improvement over multiple years, earning two “Model of Excellence Awards” and numerous accolades at the local, state, and national levels. Impressively, student achievement occurred within an increasing diverse student population (e.g., poverty, English language learners, mobility). Jay’s schools have posted all-time records in daily attendance, student grades, behavior, college-going rates, honors and Advanced Placement courses. Jay’s leadership has twice earned him Principal of the Year and California Regional Finalist honors. A highly sought-after K-12 leadership consultant, his expertise and credibility have aided schools at all levels—elementary, middle, and high—to dramatically improve student achievement. Dynamic, passionate, and focused, Jay believes school leaders and teachers must strategically enact simple, yet powerful practices to successfully educate all children.


Kara Vandas works with districts across the U.S. to implement practices that best support student learning. She is the co-author of Partnering with Students: Building Ownership of Learning. Her areas of expertise include: students as partners in learning, the Visible Learning research, Instructional Coaching and High Impact Instruction, and Common Formative Assessments 2.0. As the Director of Teacher Effectiveness for the Colorado League of Charter Schools, Kara supported rural, urban, and suburban schools. While with the Edison Schools, she established an innovative teacher education program for teachers serving high-need students, trained teachers in effective instructional and classroom management practices, and taught middle school science, reading, and language arts at two charter schools. She holds a Master of Arts in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Regis University and Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Wyoming. Kara remains passionate about supporting all students in becoming successful learners.