Dr. Lori Elliott
Dr. Lori Elliott is an energetic and passionate National Board Certified teacher (for over 25 years) and currently a trainer. Lori is popular on the SDE circuit. She has taught students of various grade levels and served as a Literacy Coordinator and Technology Integration Specialist. She is the author of several books: Project Based Learning for Real Kids and Real Teachers, Different Strategies for Different Learners, Teach Like a Techie, The Accidental Techie to the Rescue, and Teach Like a Techie with Apps. Lori believes building positive relationships with students, parents, and colleagues is the most important thing we can do as educators. Her energy and love for teaching/learning is contagious.
Greg Smedley-Warren, Mr. Greg, is well know for his Kindergarten Smorgasboard blog (www.kindergartensmorgasboard.com)! He has been teaching for 11 years. He spent a year teaching fifth grade, two years in second grade and is now in his eighth year of Kindergarten. He received his bachelors degree from Indiana University and his ELL certification from David Lipscomb University. At the beginning of his career, he spent two summers teaching in Ecuador which only helped to fan the flames of his passion for teaching. In 2015, he was selected as Teacher of the Year by his peers. He has a monthly broadcast on YouTube called Submission for Smorgie LIVE. He enjoys blogging, creating curriculum and resources for his classroom and conducting professional development sessions to help teachers around the world make their classrooms a more fun, effective and interactive place to teach.
When he is not in the classroom, blogging and doing all things teach, he enjoys spending time with his family. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his husband (known as the Mister on the blog) and their dogs, Butters and LuLu. You won’t want to miss where mustaches, glitter and great teaching collide!
Doug Paulson is the STEM Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education where he leads STEM initiatives and educational technology. He has experience teaching and as an administrator from kindergarten through 9th grade in several districts prior to coming to the department. He provides leadership as a Board Director on several Minnesota organizations as well as the Council for State Science Supervisors and was appointed to the National Academy of Engineering Committee on Guiding Implementation of K-12 Engineering Education. Doug was named in 2011 as an ASCD Emerging Leader and has presented at National Conferences for ASCD, NSTA, ITEEA, and US DoE. He is currently working on his Ed.D. at Bethel University and is currently working on research projects on data system indicators, gender equity in STEM, and integration of computer science. Doug is active on social media at @DPaulsonSTEM.
Dr. Thomas Meagher
Tom holds the position of Lecturer in STEM Education at the University of Minnesota in the College of Education and Human Development. He has presented at state, national and international conferences on STEM Education. Tom, as well, provides professional development in STEM teaching and learning for multiple school districts around the state of Minnesota. He holds a PhD in Science Education and has over 20 years of teaching science experience. Currently, he is ISD #761’s STEM Coordinator and Instructional Coach. He created Owatonna’s STEM teaching and learning model.
Katy Smith has been engaging communities in conversations for more than 30 years. Katy is an educator, a trainer, and the 2011 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.
“For over thirty years, I have worked side by side with parents, families, educators, and businesses helping to connect people and build stronger, more vital communities. People inspire me and have driven my educational and career choices. I have a BSW and a Parent Education license from Winona State University, a master’s degree in Education from University of Wisconsin–LaCrosse, and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Public Policy and Advocacy from Walden University.
My work takes me to all sorts of places, schools, community groups, churches, businesses, conventions, and conferences. A great day at work includes speaking to small or large groups of people who like to learn and love to laugh. People learn best when they are engaged in a powerful story that challenges their thought process and touches their emotions. No one loves to tell a story more than me.”
Sara Edgar has been a kindergarten teacher in the Big Lake School District for 17 years. When she is not teaching kindergarten, she leads classes on a variety of topics for other educators at Resources Training and Solutions in Sartell, MN. She has been honored with several awards including the Leadership in Educational Excellence Award (LEEA), the TIES Exceptional Teacher Award for her engaging lessons using technology and was a candidate for the MN Teacher of the Year in 2013. Sara loves to create engaging and meaningful materials to meet the needs of her students. She seeks to blend high expectations with fun and developmentally appropriate practices. Sara is the author of the blog Polka Dot Kinders, where she shares her experiences and ideas with others.
As a 2015 elementary music education retiree, Shana Wagner continues to substitute teach, serve as the MN Orff Chapter president, act as a mentor to a young music teacher through a grounded mentoring program, and present workshops on the BrainDance for all ages. Shana was trained in the BrainDance by BrainDance creator, Anne Green Gilbert, in the summers of 2007 and 2008 and in a 1 on 1 update training in the fall of 2015. She used the BrainDance with all of her elementary music students from 2007 until retiring in 2015. She has presented numerous workshops around the state and nationally.
Laura Purdie Salas
Former teacher Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 125 books for kids, including the Can Be… series (Bank Street Best Books, IRA Teachers’ Choice) and BookSpeak! (Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notable), plus the forthcoming If You Were the Moon. Laura loves to share inspiration and practical tips with educators about poetry, nonfiction, and more. Visit Laura at laurasalas.com.