2023 Conference details
42nd Annual Pre-K and Kindergarten Conference
MARCH 1-3, 2023
Are you new to the IL ASCD Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade Conference? Get a feel for all of the action and learning!
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.
I am Dr. Tommie Mabry, founder of Tommie Mabry Company and Best Selling Author of A Dark Journey To A Light Future and Perspective!: The Secret To Student Motivation And Success. I am striving to give educators and students a true look at many factors that daunt academic achievement. My platform tackles the experiences and challenges that students face in communities and educational environments. By focusing on real-life topics such as; Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Trauma, Bullying, Life Skills, Classroom Management, and more, it gives teachers a positive outlook on teaching and learning how childhood adversities affect students' persistence and resilience levels.
Koo Koo Kanga Roo (FREE CONCERT)
Koo Koo Kanga Roo was created by Bryan and Neil in 2008. They met four years prior as freshmen at St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN. After being in a campus rock band for the first few years of college, the guys created Koo Koo as an experimental project for SMU’s annual battle of the bands. The idea centered around crowd participation, comedy and dance music, stretching the concept of what a “band” could be.
Meet the 2023 Featured Speakers
Kim taught kindergarten for 30 years and now works as a national presenter. Focusing on developing a curriculum that incorporates 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 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 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 them. 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).
Amany Elgendy is a kindergarten teacher in South West Florida, where she has been teaching for 7 years. She loves to utilize picture books in her classroom to ensure all of her students feel seen. In her roles, she advocates for students to be represented and heard; both inside and outside of the classroom. Amany is part of her local union, and participates heavily in her county, as she continues to amplify teacher voices and teacher rights. Amany is a frequently invited speaker at conferences to provide the unique perspective of being a Muslim teacher in public schools.
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 combine 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
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.
Weston Kieschnick is an award-winning educator, best-selling author, TEDx speaker, coach, husband, and father. He is the author of, The Educator’s ATLAS, 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 for educators and parents on iTunes. Weston has worked in collaboration with innovative tech and publishing companies (Google, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apple) to redefine teaching and learning in the digital age. 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
Jackie is an enthusiastic preschool teacher with over fourteen years of classroom teaching experience in both full-day and half-day settings. She is from Missouri where she earned a Masters and Bachelor's 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.
Mary Pat Larocca & Celine Hill
Mary Pat and Celine have taught kindergarten for a combined total of more than 60 years. They work together on the kindergarten team in La Grange South School District #105. Mary Pat and Celine gave a presentation on “Teacher Agency” in 2018 at the national Learning Forward Conference in Orlando, FL. They are ardent advocates for developmentally appropriate practices for kindergartners and are passionate about their profession. They continually adapt to the ever-changing needs of today’s kindergartners even including meeting the needs of these young learners virtually. Mary Pat has presented at this conference for over 30 years.
Jennifer is a 12th-year kindergarten teacher at LaGrange School District 102 and a national speaker. She is passionate about including diverse books in her classroom and providing a multicultural curriculum in her classroom. She started the social media movement #allarewelcomeinmyclassroom on June 20th, 2018. She is a presenter with Get Your Teach On and was honored to present at the ISTE conference. She has spoken across the country about implementing culturally responsive teaching. You can follow her on Instagram @themulticulturalclassroom.
Dr. Tommie Mabry grew up in poverty in Jackson, Mississippi. With no one to serve as a model for mainstream success, Tommie turned to life in the streets. He was expelled from numerous schools and by age 11, he was serving time for burglary. Things started to change for Tommie when he joined an AAU basketball team that traveled around the world. Although he was shot in the foot during his senior year, he received a full basketball scholarship to Missouri State University. After completing his undergraduate studies at Tougaloo College,he taught school in the same district where he had been expelled numerous times. Subsequently, he served as Director of Enrollment at Tougaloo College before founding the company that bears his name. He earned his Ph.D. from Jackson State University and has published two books, A Dark Journey to aLight Future and IfTommie Can Do It, We Can Do It.
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 was 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 aid other instructors in developing practical, developmentally appropriate and differentiated instructional strategies in their own classroom.
Katie has taught kindergarten for more than 14 years and has a passion for creating fun, hands-on lessons and meeting 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 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 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 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 is a kindergarten teacher in Middle Tennessee with 15 years of experience, at the same school, she attended 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.
Dubbed “the Pied Piper of children’s music,” “Miss Carole” Stephens is a nationally renowned music specialist. Her cross-curricular music and guidance techniques instantly invite all audiences from the youngest child to the oldest adult to join in singing, dancing and rhythmic movement. Miss Carole has been teaching music to children 1 - 6 years old since 1989. Through her company, Macaroni Soup!, she travels across the US presenting concerts for children and families, and workshops for and workshops for" Early Childhood professionals. www.MacaroniSoup.com
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.
Christina (Miss DeCarbo) is a literacy coach, national presenter, and curriculum author from Northeast, Ohio. After teaching for over ten years, she currently works as her district’s PreK-5 literacy coach. Her research-based sessions are packed with engaging lessons and creative tools to help students reach their greatest potential as readers, writers, and problem-solvers. Christina is the curriculum author of best-selling literacy intervention materials, and loves collaborating with educators on Instagram @missdecarbo. As a mom of two, she enjoys spending time with her family when she is not at school. You can learn more about Christina on her website at www.missdecarbo.com.
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