2023 Conference details




MARCH 1-3, 2023


Registration Opens in Ocobter! 


Are you new to the IL ASCD Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade Conference?   Get a feel for all of the action and learning! 





Keynote Speakers


Weston Keschnick



Weston is considered one of the world’s most recognizable and sought-after speakers and educational leaders. He is an award-winning teacher, best-selling author, TEDx speaker, coach, husband, and father. He is the author of, Bold School, Breaking Bold, co-author of The Learning Transformation: A Guide to Blended Learning for Administrators and the creator and host of Teaching Keating; one of the most downloaded podcasts in the United States for educators and parents. Weston has worked in collaboration with innovative tech and publishing companies (Google, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apple) to redefine teaching and learning in schools. As such, he’s advised educators from every state in the US and more than 30 countries around the world. Districts where Mr. Kieschnick has designed content, implemented initiatives, and trained educational leaders have been recognized by the Learning Counsel as being among the top ten in the nation for their work in blended learning. You can find Weston’s work published in EdWeek, EdTech Magazine, The Spark, and featured on TED, the 10-Minute Teacher, Teaching Tales, Kids Deserve It, and LeadUp Teach. Connect with Weston on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or at WestonKieschnick.com.





Meet the 2023 Invited Featured Speakers




Kim Adsit

Kim taught kindergarten for 30 years and now works as a national presenter. Focusing on developing curriculum and strategies that incorporate child-centered activities, she emphasizes the fun of kindergarten. Kim has been selected as an Expert Teacher, and she serves as a teacher mentor. She has a Specialist Degree in Early Childhood Education as well as an At-Risk Endorsement. Kim has authored many teacher resources that are available on





Mary Amoson

Mary has enjoyed 14 years in the kindergarten classroom, where she enthusiastically uses technology and hands on activities to engage her little learners. She loves sharing the ideas, activities, and tools that have worked with her own kindergartners through her blog, Sharing Kindergarten. She is committed to instilling passion in teachers because she believes that passion is truly the secret to increasing learning and achievement.



Keri Brown

Keri Brown is a kindergarten teacher in central Alabama. She has taught for 13 years in Kindergarten and First Grade. She loves traveling, meeting other teachers and creating resources for her students. She is obsessed with all things technology and loves teaching binders how to use it. Reading picture books, crafting in the classroom and enjoying being a classroom family are a few of her favorites. In her free time, Keri loves sharing her teaching adventures on her Instagram, Enchanted Kinder Garden (http://www.instagram.com/enchantedkindergarden).



Matt Halpern

Matt Halpern is a joyful educator who draws on almost two decades of experience as a classroom teacher and coach. He is passionate about making classrooms child-centered and putting the effort and work of students at the forefront. His love for teaching social-emotional skills and literacy often combines as he is always looking for new ways to help others become the best versions of themselves. Recently, Matt started his own educational consulting, presenting, and writing business. You can find more information about Matt at www.MattHalpernEducation.com 




Kim Jordano

Kimberly Jordano has incorporated over 30 years of teaching experience into her kindergarten classroom. A  teacher and language arts mentor in the Los Alamitos School District in California, Kimberly holds a master’s degree in English as a Second Language (ESL). Kimberly is a full-time kindergarten teacher in Los Alamitos California. Kimberly is a national teacher presenter and teacher blogger. You can find her posts daily on both Instagram, and her Facebook pages Kinderbykim. Kimberly‘s kindergarten blog is kinderbykim.blogspot.com and has fans all across the world! You can find all of her creative teacher resource materials on Teacherspayteachers.com/kinderbykim Kimberly’s goal is to keep the joy in kindergarten while teaching the standards in a meaningful child-centered way.



Jackie Kops 

and half-day settings. She is from Missouri where she earned a Masters and Bachelors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Maryville University. Her goal is to help you unleash your teaching superpowers! Jackie's passion is to inspire you with play-based activities, themed centers, and supports that nurture and challenge little learners in a caring classroom community. In addition to teaching, she is the teacher-author and CEO behind Pocket of Preschool (www.pocketofpreschool.com) and loves to share her passion with other educators.



Marsha M. Moffit McGuire

Marsha McGuire is a kindergarten teacher in Cadillac, Michigan where she has accumulated over 15 years of teaching in early childhood classrooms. Her undergraduate degree was completed at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her graduate degree in Early Childhood Education with a focus on Differentiated Instruction at Grand Valley State University. Marsha is also the author and creator behind the blog, A Differentiated Kindergarten where she shares ideas, activities and products.  Her blog has become an avenue to aide other instructors in developing practical, developmentally appropriate and differentiated instructional strategies in their own classroom.   




Katie Mense 

Katie has taught kindergarten for more than 14 years and has a passion for creating fun, hands-on lessons and  to meet the needs of all students. As a student who struggled through school, she truly understands that every student has different needs and learning styles. Katie has an MA in Education and also earned an additional 24 hours through a STEM grant. She loves to share her ideas and teaching experiences on her award-winning blog, littlekinderwarriors.com or on social media @littlekinderwarriors


Candace Neil

Candace Neil is a passionate early elementary educator who has taught Kindergarten for seven

years. She has also gained experience working at the third grade level. She holds a Master’s

Degree in Educational Administration & Leadership. Ms. Neil excels at finding ways to make

education fun and exciting for all learners and she has a deep passion for educating and inspiring

underserved students and their families. She is a strong communicator and is invested in student

success and collaboration with all stakeholders impacting the lives of her students. This internal

value has been the inspiration for her goal to open an early learning center.


Olivia Odileke

Olivia Odileke loves making Ed Tech and teaching easier for teachers For over 15 years she worked as an educator at Title 1 schools in Florida She served as a national PBLTeacher Trainer for the online school Stride She has personally trained over 7500 teachers and continues to seek ways to innovate education

She s a Certified Trainer for Nearpod and an HMH Instructional Coach She also has written over 30 published lessons for Cpalms org, Nearpod, and Pearson She holds an M Ed in Instructional Technology She is the author of the Beginner’s Guide to Nearpod All of her experience has led her to become an expert in best instructional practices and the tech tools educators can use to drive student learning and curiosity



Adam Peterson

Adam Peterson is an educator, speaker, author, and vlogger most known for his YouTube channel, Teachers  Too. A kindergarten teacher with over 13 years in the classroom, Adam now dedicates his time to helping teachers create meaningful and engaging experiences for their students! He's on a mission to make classrooms as fun as possible to ensure every day is the best day ever in school!





Hilary Statum

Hilary Statum is a kindergarten teacher in Middle Tennessee with 15 years of experience at the school she  as a child. is the author of Pencils to Pigtails, a popular blog for parents and teachers. Her first published book entitled “Solar System for Kids” was released on May 26th, 2020. Hilary is also a Featured Presenter at regional and national educational events held around the country. She holds a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership and enjoys coordinating and teaching her school district’s free parent English class. Her favorite days are spent with her two young girls and baby boy, husband, parents, siblings, and the rest of her very large extended family. You can connect with Hilary on all social media platforms using the handle @pencilstopigtails.



Greg Smedley-Warren

Greg has been teaching for 15 years. He spent a year teaching fifth grade, two years in second grade, and is now  11th year in Kindergarten, which he’s determined is his calling and passion. He received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and ELL certification from David Lipscomb University. In 2015 he was selected as Teacher Of The Year. When not in the classroom, Greg enjoys blogging and doing all things teaching. His husband (known as The Mister online) is a large part of his blog, social media, and their conference, ELEVATE. They recently added a daughter Adelynn to their family and complete the fam with their dog, Butters.




Deedee Wills

Deedee began her teaching career in San Diego where she taught at a school with 96% second language learners.  several years of teaching second grade, she became her district’s literacy coach. She helped to train and implement balanced literacy to the K – 2 staff but found she missed the classroom and returned to teach Kindergarten. She runs the popular blog









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