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Annual Conference Reflections and Celebrations

It's been nearly a week since our 2011 Annual Conference ended, and I am still finding myself moved and inspired by so much of what I experienced. There were so many highlights from this conference that I just want to share a few here:

We had great keynote speakers. Liz Wiseman asked if we were multipliers, who amplify the intelligence of those around us, or diminishers, who drain it. Tony Bingham challenged us to embrace the social media revolution and to close the engagement gap by reaching students in new ways and supporting what they care about. Marcia Tate stepped in at the last minute and delivered an inspiring keynote on the importance of laughter and humor to learning. Sir Michael Barber reminded us that knowledge doesn't give you power unless you can think, and that we need to develop knowledge, thinking, and leadership in every child. And MaryEllen Elia shared the successes of Hillsborough County Public Schools, where the district has made a commitment at the highest levels to support great teaching for every student.

We were also able to recognize all of the work that Joellen Killion has done for Learning Forward and all of her contributions to the field of professional learning. We listened to Joellen deliver powerful remarks during a general session and later at her Thought Leader Lecture as we celebrated her transition from Deputy Executive Director to Senior Advisor.

The Board of Trustees completed its work on the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan. We will be sharing more about this plan in the coming weeks and months, but our three priority areas for the next five years are Advocacy and Policy, Impact and Accountability, and Leadership and Practice.

At this conference we also graduated our largest Learning Forward Academy class ever, honored our Learning Forward Award winners, and celebrated the outstanding work being done by Learning Forward members who are, as always, committed to our purpose of every educator engaging in effective professional learning every day so every student achieves.

To all Learning Forward staff, trustees, host committee and volunteers, sponsors, exhibitors, conference partners, and attendees - once again you ensured the annual conference retained its title of THE Learning Conference.

Stephanie Hirsh
Executive Director, Learning Forward

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