Featured Speakers


Lisa Phillips - Author

The Leadership Link: How Arts Education Teaches Skills that Propel Children on a Path to Success


As a society we are preoccupied with the idea that the arts are reserved only for those with talent. However, in the reality of today’s job market, we need to change this idea. There is a significant gap between what children are told is important for their future career success and what business leaders actually want from the emerging workforce. Creative individuals are actually in demand. Not just for arts careers, but for careers in business as well. In an era when businesses are constantly struggling to find creative ways to stay at the top of their market, arts education can be a powerful tool to nurture the creative abilities of our young people, ensuring they are ready for the skills that are in demand. Join me to discuss the ideas in my book, The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in an Increasingly Right Brain World. Explore the leadership skills that young people learn through the arts that give them a competitive edge in life. The job market is now global and advances in technology and marketing are changing the game. Leadership skills learned through the arts will be the way to rise and stay on top - let’s teach our kids how to play the game!


Lisa Phillips is an author, blog journalist, arts and leadership educator, mentor and business owner. As CEO of Canada’s Academy of Stage and Studio Arts, Lisa has over 16 years experience as an arts and leadership educator. She has built her professional career around bringing arts education and leadership development to thousands of young people throughout the Greater Toronto Area and around the world. Having always been passionate about the arts, Lisa has previously worked in film and television, as well as taught Musical Theatre throughout Canada and the USA. Lisa has also been a Camp Director for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Psychology along with post-graduate certificates in Arts Administration and Children’s Mental Health. In November 2012, Lisa published her first book, The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in an Increasingly Right Brain World, which explores the impact arts participation has on the success of the current generation. Her book focuses on creativity and leadership as the most necessary skills for today’s young people to develop in order to compete in the global job market. Lisa’s work has gone viral with over 100,000 shares on social media. Her opinion’s have been featured on dozens arts and leadership websites around the world, including a recent article in The Washington Post and Americans for the Arts. www.theartisticedge.ca


Bruce Taylor - Arts Education Specialist

Common Sense Core Arts Standards


Mr. Taylor will present a common sense approach on how the arts can be used to address Common Core and contribute to overall student achievement.  It is his belief that what he terms the “Common Core Way of Thinking” is analogous to how artists have applied their skill, talent, and understanding down through the millennia. Given the fact that our society is becoming more and more arts infused due to the pervasive effects of technology, he will demonstrate how “artistic habits of mind” can contribute significantly to students’ future capability as adults and maybe even success on the upcoming Common Core aligned PARCC assessments.

After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Mr. Taylor embarked on a three-decade career as a performing arts professional.  He has worked in a variety of capacities for opera, theatre, and dance companies throughout the United States, Canada, and South America.  Inspired by Leonard Bernstein, his avocation was always working with teachers and students and led to the publication of his book The Arts Equation that surveyed his experience in all aspects of the arts in education.  One of his programs, which he created as a consultant for the Metropolitan Opera’s Education at the Met, was cited in the document “Champions of Change – the Impact of the Arts on Learning.”  He expanded his impact internationally as a cultural envoy for the U.S. Department of State through his creation of the “Global Neighborhood” program that connected American students with their counterparts in other countries to collaborate on common arts projects over the Internet. Recently, he was Director of Education for the Washington National Opera and currently serves as the Common Core Arts Consultant for Atlanta Public Schools.


Jarrett J. Krosoczka - Author and Illustrator

Fostering the Young, Creative Mind


Jarrett J. Krosoczka was lucky enough to have so many supportive teachers as a child and teen. How can you encourage that quirky student of yours who often has his or her head in the clouds? In this presentation, Jarrett will share his own personal journey and offer tips to educators on how to better understand that kid whose imagination seems to take precedence over their coursework.


Jarrett has been passionate about storytelling through words and pictures since he was a kid.  He began his professional career by illustrating educational readers for a national publisher while still an undergraduate at Rhode Island School of Design. Then, just six months after graduation, Jarrett received his first contract for a trade book that he authored. Knopf Books for Young Readers published Good Night, Monkey Boy on June 12, 2001 and Jarrett hasn’t stopped or slowed down since. He currently has authored and illustrated eighteen published books—ten picture books and eight graphic novels. His Lunch Lady series has twice won a Children's Choice Book Award, in the Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year category, and was nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award. In the summer of 2013, Jarrett will have his chapter book debut with the publication of Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked. His Punk Farm and Lunch Lady series are both currently in development as feature films. While Jarrett awaits seeing his work adapted for the silver screen, he can be heard on The Book Report with JJK, his new radio segment on Sirius XM's Kids Place Live. Jarrett is happily living out his childhood dream in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he resides with his wife and daughters and their pug, Ralph Macchio.


Bethany Hoppe - Performer and Advocate for Women with Disabilities

The Healing Arts: How Arts Performance & Participation Impact Disability Experience

jonBethany A. Hoppe holds a Masters in Communication Studies from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.  She is the author of the blog "Raspberry Vogue:  Lifestyle of a Rolling Diva," and the children's book series "Molly B. Golly," the first of which was released in March 2013, "Molly B. Golly's Wonderful Dancing Debut!"  Bethany has founded and owns her company "Bethany Productions," which is the umbrella for her creative works, all of which promote the rights of women and children with disablities through speaking, writing, fashion, and performance.  She is the director of her seated dance company "The Dance Collaborative" which works with established standing dance companies in integrated projects to further disability awareness through the Arts.  Bethany is also the coach of the ABLE Youth Dance Troupe, which is sponsored by ABLE Youth, Inc. of Nashville, TN.  Bethany teaches Communication Studies and Voice Diction at MTSU.  She is married and has a teenage daughter.  Bethany resides with her family in the Greater Nashville area.  Visit her online at:  www.bethany-hoppe.com.  



Bobby Norfolk - Triple Grammy Award-winning Storyteller

Great Assembly – What’s Next? Taking it Deeper. . .


Bobby Norfolk will perform “Through the Eyes of York: Inside the Lewis & Clark Expedition.” York, William Clark’s slave, was the only African-American member of the “Corps of Discovery” – the official name of the band of intrepid explorers whose epic journey across our continent became immortalized as the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Bobby Norfolk portrays York in this one man theatrical program. Arrayed in historical costume, Bobby tells the fascinating story of York’s long struggle towards freedom. He begins with his early life as a slave, and continues with his experiences during the long and dangerous journey, his return to slavery following the trip, and finally the problems and controversies involved with his emancipation. We also see how a slave came to interact with the white enlisted men in the party as an equal, earned the respect and awe of many of the Plains Indians, and finally gained unofficial recognition as a full-fledged member through his equal participation in a critical election. Following the performance, Sherry Norfolk will lead the audience in exploring how to develop lessons that build on student engagement in the assembly program to deepen understanding. Content will be aligned with the Common Core.

Bobby Norfolk is well known for his high-energy performances and lively animation. His stories promote character education, cultural diversity and self-esteem, and are geared for audiences of all ages. From park ranger to TV host, recording artist to author, Bobby has traveled an interesting life path that is revealed by his creative stories and crowd-pleasing concerts, enriched with language, movement and clever sound effects. He has been awarded three Emmys and several Gold Parents Choice awards for his work.


Karl Schaffer - Mathematician and Dancer

Karl Schaffer co-directs the Dr. Schaffer and Mr. Stern Dance Ensemble, which tours nationally and has received five National Endowment for the Arts awards for work linking dance and mathematics. He and Stern co-authored the book Math Dance and are on the Kennedy Center’s Partners in the Arts Teaching Artist roster. Schaffer’s math and dance writing was featured in Best Writing on Mathematics 2012. His outreach concerts are performed by companies in California, Colorado and Alabama, and his most recent concert, The Daughters of Hypatia, celebrates women mathematicians. He has a PhD in mathematics and teaches at De Anza College.







KID smART - Heather Muntzer, Aminisha Ferdinand, Sean Glazebrook


KID smART’s mission is to work with the arts to engage children in learning about themselves and the world in which they live.  Its focus is arts integration—linking the arts with the existing academic curriculum to support student success.  Arts integrated classrooms transform student learning – making connections across content, deepening learning and inculcating the traits required in 21st century life and work settings. 

Focusing on teaching to the whole child and exploring the different ways children learn, KID smART underpins and enhances reform efforts in both traditional and charter schools.  KID smART’s arts integration initiatives support reform of curricula, pedagogy and school culture.  The agency works with its cultural partners to infuse resources into participating schools, supporting the on-going recovery of the education sector from the devastation of the region five years ago.