Inspire 2017


Inspire 2017

join us on june 1st and 2nd for the Inspire 2017 symposium

On June 1st and 2nd the Greater Springfield CareerConnectED Consortium will host INSPIRE 2017, a free event for educators, business and community leaders, and others.  We invite you to be part of this collaborative opportunity to connect youth with engaging and creative experiential and learner-centered approaches using a variety of technologies.

All Clark County educators receive $150 to attend Inspire 2017!

  • On June 1st you'll hear from and join with national and local experts to share connected learning ideas and strategies.  The morning features inspiring speakers and student performances.  The afternoon is full of sessions that will show you how to harness new technologies that support learning in a variety of settings.
  • On June 2nd you have the option of collaborating at The Dome with experts and colleagues to design instructional activities for your students.
  • Earn $150 for attending!  All Clark County educators (active teachers, paraprofessionals and classroom support staff) will receive $50 for attending June 1st and $100 for attending June 2nd.  You can attend one day or both, but you must attend June 1st in order to receive your stipend for June 2nd.  
  • Complete the Inspire 2017 Scavenger Hunt and be entered to win a $40 Lowes gift card!

Take part in this interactive community scavenger hunt and you could win a $40.00 Lowes gift card! 

Visit these sites or any of your choice prior to INSPIRE 2017 and take a selfie.  On June 1st, bring your selfies to the symposium on your phone or laptop.  We’ll help you create a LRNG account, upload your photos, and include at least one idea of how these locations could be used in a creative, engaging lesson.  The participant visiting the most sites will win a $40.00 Lowes gift card!

Click here for instructions! 

Inspire 2017 Speakers

Inspire 2017 Speakers


Dr. Connie Yowell, CEO, LRNG by Collective Shift

Connie is the visionary and CEO of LRNG. She brings considerable experience from the MacArthur Foundation, where as Director of Education she oversaw a $200 million effort over 10 years to support research and design experiments in Digital Media & Learning. Prior to joining the Foundation, Connie was an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, publishing scholarly work that examined the complex interplay among young people’s emerging identity, their social context and achievement. Connie briefly served as Policy Analyst in the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton Administration and has worked closely with teachers and administrators to develop programs for youth development.

Connie earned her bachelor’s degree from Yale, and her PhD from Stanford University.


Will Wegert, President, Cold Collar

Will is the Founder of a fast growing Career Services firm.  Will's expertise is in resume writing, interview coaching, recruiting, headhunting and other job search services.  He's passionate about helping leaders with untapped potential connect with emerging, high-impact companies. 

Will graduated from Hillsdale College in Michigan with a degree in marketing management. Right out of college, Will landed 5 different jobs in an short 8-month span. Realizing that he had a knack for vetting the skills gained by past experiences and applying those skills to future employers, he started a company to help others do the same.  

As a job search coach and an expert on employer attraction, Will helps his clients "flex their fun voice" ... and "utilize the power of their personal story" -- Will says that one of the key elements in "Bridging the Gap" between you and your dream role is to show off the real, the authentic, even the slightly unprofessional you.


Dr. Thomas Tucker, Superintendent, Princeton City Schools

When Thomas Tucker was a senior in college, his grandfather handed him a vial filled with cotton and cotton seeds.  “Don’t forget where you came from,” the older man told him. “And don’t forget the struggle.”  Tucker, AASA's 2016 National Superintendent of the Year, hasn’t forgotten. He remains rooted in Southern history and the lessons his maternal grandparents, Fred and Magnolia Campbell, instilled in him as he was growing up in Arkansas. 

Thomas has a rich history from which to draw. His great-grandparents were born into slavery, and his grandparents were sharecroppers on a former slave plantation in Cotton Plant, Ark. Tucker’s parents grew cotton and raised livestock on their own 40 acres nearby, and as the youngest of 11 children, he pitched in.  Tucker attended an all-black elementary school. He went on to Philander Smith College, a historically black college in Little Rock, where he finished first in his class.  He has served 27 years in the Kansas and Ohio public school systems, holding positions of classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of secondary curriculum and superintendent.

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Matthew Miller, Superintendent, Mentor Public Schools

Matt is the superintendent of Mentor Public Schools. He has spent the last 22 years serving Ohio communities as an educator in the roles of superintendent (11), director of student services and instruction (1), principal (5), and teacher (5). Matt is actively involved in the prestigious and nationwide League of Innovative Schools through Digital Promise, also serving as an elected member of their advisory committee. He was selected as one of 100 superintendents nationwide to attend and present at the #FutureReady National ConnectED Superintendents Summit at the White House in 2015, was named to the National School Boards Association Top 20 to Watch in the Nation, and conducted his first TEDx Talk entitled: Don't Buy the Book: Cultivate, Curate and Go Open in 2016. Matt Miller is transforming Mentor through the use of open educational resources and balanced learning, along with emphasizing student and teacher voice through innovation. He completed his undergraduate coursework and master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati and was selected for the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Leadership Institute for Superintendents. Matt is grateful for his supportive family - his wife, Kristy, and their two children. Mason is a junior at the University of Cincinnati and Jessica is a senior at Mentor High School.


Cindy Meyers Foley, Executive Assistant Director and Director of Learning and Experience, Columbus Museum of Art

When Cindy Meyers Foley discusses creativity in schools, she doesn’t want to hear “don’t kill the arts.” She instead wants to hear “don’t kill the ideas.” Provoking change in arts education may be her job, but it’s also her passion.

Cindy is the Executive Assistant Director and Director of Learning and Experience at the Columbus Museum of Art. Foley worked to reimagine the CMA as a 21st century institution that is transformative, active, and participatory. An institution that impacts the health and growth of the community by cultivating, celebrating and championing creativity. Foley envisioned and led the charge to open the 18,000 sq. ft. Center for Creativity in 2011. In 2013, the museum received the National Medal for Museums in recognition of this work.

Foley is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Museum, she was with the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, and the Wexner Center for the Arts.

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Al Summers, National Faculty, Buck Institute of Education

Al has been an educator for 45 years: 28 as a middle school science teacher, three as VP of Outreach and Professional Development for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, eight as Director of Professional Development for National Middle School Association, three years as a PBL coach, and three years as a consultant.

Al received the Governor’s Award for Youth Science Opportunities seven times and the Governor’s Educational Leadership Award twice.  In 1998, he was one of four finalists for Ohio Teacher of the Year and also became one of only three teachers nationwide to earn two National Board Certifications.

Al believes that connecting with the teachers and principals is as important as teachers connecting with students. He says, “I strive to build those connections from the opening moment to the end of our work together. The other extremely important aspect of our work is modeling – modeling the way teachers should facilitate a project and turn the learning over to the students. When you see teachers do this, the results are powerful.”


Darius Watkins, Student and Musician

As the music culture continues to give rise to new talent, few up-and-comers have the lyrical capabilities and delivery that Darius Walker, AKA Dwat, possesses.  A Springfield native, he began writing lyrics after being influenced by his brother.  By the time he was 13, Darius had a stack of notebooks with his compositions and would record them using his laptop and iPad.  When YOUmedia Springfield opening in 2015, Darius brought his work out of the notebooks and into the audio studio, working with mentors to learn every aspect of music production.  Since then, Darius has recorded hundreds of songs and has an active following on Soundcloud and YouTube.

Darius is best known for the way in which his music inspires those around him to give back to the community.  His most popular song, “Trap Mansion,” is based on his desire to give back to the Champion City and mobilize it into a very positive force.  This passion is evident when Darius says, “It’s important to come back and give everyone in Springfield what they want...make it a fun place...everything people desire it to be.”

A senior at Springfield High School, Darius lettered in varsity track, enjoys photography and graphic design, and constantly reminds himself to “stay up.”  He spends a lot of time in the recording booths at Springfield High and YOUmedia, as well as his own in-home studio.  He plans to attend community college in the fall and then transfer to a university to study music production.  According to his friends, Darius is also famous for his “original french fries.”    


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Ryan Ramirez, Student and Artist

Ryan Ramirez’s first exhibition, A Collection of Prayers, cemented his place in the world of accomplished student artists.  Held at the Springfield Center of Innovation: The Dome in April 2016, A Collection of Prayers drew the attention of artists from all over the state, including a group of artists from the Ohio Department of Education who told Ryan it was the finest series they had seen in their entire careers.  Since then, he has given ten artist talks and lectures all over the region.  Ryan received The Governor’s Award of Excellence in 2016 and placed in the top twenty-five of 11,500 entries.

Rooted in the belief that he owes the viewer work that relates to something potent, Ryan’s inspiration comes from deep places in his heart.  “For me, those deep places are the investigation of who we are as individuals and how we fit together as a society. Exploring these questions is the theme of my work.”  Through this exploration, Ryan’s art shows that although we live in an individualistic society, we share similar experiences and have similar struggles.  Ryan is adamant that his work engages people in different ways, particularly through viewer participation.  His work is not solely visual – viewers are frequently part of the piece as well.  Whether people manipulate his body in a performance and watch the consequences unfold, or shuffle their feet through a sea of shredded paper in an installation, their involvement creates a whole separate layer of conceptual potential.   

A senior at Springfield High School, Ryan has is a member of the Student Leadership Team and recently played Prince Charming in the musical, Cinderella.  Ryan has been awarded a scholarship to the internationally esteemed School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he will start in the fall.


Inspire Agenda

Inspire Agenda


INSPIRE 2017 is the hub for educator-tested strategies and extraordinary resources for transforming education.  Our speakers will share their stories with humor, wit, energy and inspiration.  Want to learn by doing?  Check out sessions on virtual reality and creating makerspaces . Want to ask questions of presenters?  Hang out in the Mentor Lounge.  Excited about designing engaging lessons and units for next year?  Join us on June 2nd to connect and learn from other innovative educators. 

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Learning sessions include:

  • Exploring, dabbling and diving into virtual reality
  • Using problem-based learning to design your own Break Out Rooms and other high energy units
  • Encouraging youth to tell their stories
  • Discovering the power of digital badging through LRNG and other platforms
  • A Mentor Lounge where you can collaborate one-on-one with experts
  • Partnering with the community to create experiential learning opportunities

Sessions are subject to change.




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Take Your Students To Another World...Virtually
Rich Thompson, Coordinator, YOUmedia Springfield

Rene Stratton, Program Coordinator, CCED

Explore sea life as scuba diver, jump out of a plane in a wingsuit or walk with an elephant in Africa using our state-of-the-art Samsung Gear VR goggles.  We'll show you how to take learning out of the classroom and show your students a world they've never experienced.  You'll learn the technology behind VR, spend time using the goggles, and see how you can tie VR to your grade level standards. 

If you also attend day two of the symposium and design a VR unit for your classroom, you will be awarded the LRNG VR Badge!  Once you earn the badge, you can check out the VR goggles to use in your classroom!

NOTE:  This is a double session on day one!     


Jordan Pennington, Technology Specialist, Springfield City School District

Escape rooms (also called breakout rooms) invite players to solve a series of puzzles using clues, hints and strategy to unveil a secret plot hidden within the room.  An escape room allows you to combine teamwork and critical thinking with any content area.

Jordan will lead you through an actual escape -- your team will solve clues to "break out" of the room.  Then you'll explore Breakout EDU, and work on designing your own escape room plans.  

If you also attend day two of the symposium and design an escape room unit for your classroom, you will be awarded the LRNG Escape Badge!  Once you earn the badge, you can check out our escape room kits to use in your classroom!


Project Based Learning Unmasked
Kenya Andorfer, 5th grade teacher, Springfield City School District
Jacob Studebaker, 4th grade teacher, Springfield City School District


Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.  Jacob and Kenya will showcase their PBL units and talk about the things they've learned along the way.   If you want to create a top-notch PBL unit or have a unit that needs tweaking, this is the place to be!


Jen Keeling, Director of Ecosystem Advancement, LRNG
Christine Marsh, Ecosystem Advancement Lead, LRNG

“Imagine what it would look like if all our schools were set up to help youth discover and pursue their passions instead of guiding them along a predictable path.”

— John Legend, Artist and Musician

LRNG is a movement that aims to inspire innovation in education, to become an experience that better reflects the world we live in today.  Join us for an introductory LRNG session and re-shape learning to help youth connect their interests to opportunity.  Design engaging content to help young people explore their interests, and ignite a passion that can lead to college, a career, or having a positive impact on the community. 

*  This session is on June 2 ONLY. 


Rapper or Shakespeare? 
Darius Watkins, Student and Musical Artist, Springfield High School

Engaging students isn’t easy.  Ideally, you create “authentic” learning experiences that dissolve the classroom walls and make it all “real.”  But sometimes, even at our most creative, we struggle to keep students engaged.  Hip-hop just might be the way to keep learning relevant while building a new generation of scientists.  But rap is also full of hyperbole and other literary devices, historical movements, along with the energy, charisma, and word play that interest students.

Spend an hour with Darius as he talks about how hip-hop gave him an opportunity to engage with school in a way that spoke to his cultural identities but also built critical skills that are transferable to every other subject.  Then you'll hit the sound booth and lay down some tracks of your own!  


Teacher as Creator
Michael Payne, English teacher, Global Impact STEM Academy
Josh Jennings, Director, Global Impact STEM Academy

If you want something to change, you have the platform to change it. Communicate your thoughts and ideas within a collaborative staff that looks to seek out best practice and progress that leads toward a better ‘you’. All ideas and thoughts are welcome and valued; it’s simply a matter of accepting that you are not only a teacher but also a creator: one with a voice and autonomy.

NOTE:  This is only held during the first session on day one!   


Behind the Curtain: Helping kids Develop Noncognitive Skills by Emphasizing the Thinking Process
Laura Wailes, Resident Educator Mentor, Springfield City School District

Every educator can recognize the value of noncognitive skills in their students, but few are able to guide students through the process of developing those skills.  Learn how to help students become more successful in PBL and connected learning by seamlessly integrating noncognitive skills development into your practice.  Using questioning, brain science, and scaffolding, help students become more intentional, resilient, and independent without losing your mind in the process. 


A Collection of Prayers:  The Artist Process
Ryan Ramirez, Student and Artist, Springfield High School

Ryan will share the process in which he creates art that “relates to something potent, something that comes from deep places” in his heart.  He will discuss how he makes an idea come alive, and then the work that goes into refining his pieces to the point where they are show-ready.  Ryan will also engage you in an artist journey of your own.


Making Creativity Visible: Rethinking Schools as Centers for Creativity
Cindy Foley, Executive Assistant Director and Director of Learning and Experience, Columbus Museum of Art

Cindy believes we need to rethink the purpose of education. In this presentation, she will make a case that our future depends on developing learners that think like artists which means learners who are creative, curious, that seek questions, develop ideas, and play. But how exactly do we teach for creativity? The Making Creativity Visible initiative has been three years of working with classroom teachers and administrators in an effort to document and research the ways they are exploring the teaching and development of creative and critical thinking. In this session you will “meet” teachers, through examples and video who are teaching to develop the behaviors and dispositions of creativity.  Cindy will also share what she has learned about the fertile soil that allows creativity to thrive in classrooms and across schools.


Design and Construct With Project Based Learning
Al Summers, National Faculty, Buck Institute of Education

Reading, talking, questioning, analyzing and creating products — those are the hallmarks of PBL.  But how do you cover it all?  How do you differentiate for a variety of ability levels?  In this session, you’ll see the transformative nature of learning by doing, and reflect on the implications of PBL teaching and unit design.   Al will provide you with the tools and resources necessary as you use the PBL process to support deeper learning and design a classroom where students are actively engaged in inquiry work. 


Brand Your Story
Will Wegert, President, Cold Collar

A “brand story” is not just a catchy tagline that’s pasted on a billboard to attract attention for a week or two.  A story is more than content and a narrative. It goes beyond what’s written in a notebook, the text in a brochure, or the presentation used to tell your story.  Your story is the foundation of your brand and a strategy for future success.

Your story isn’t just what you tell people it’s also what they believe about you based on the signals you send.  Your story is a complete picture made up of facts, feelings and interpretations, which means that part of your story isn’t even told by you.

For youth, finding a place in the workforce is one of the biggest hurdles to success.  Employers want more than what’s on your resume.  They want a story.  Work with Will to design a brand story, communicate its essence, craft a brand identity, and shape perceptions that will help you and your students conquer the workforce!

* Note!  This session is also for teens!



Inspire 2017 Scavenger hunt