Saving the Teaching Profession

Teachers are leaving or retiring and fewer young people are entering the profession. The vanishing talent pipeline is a crisis-in-the-making. Why is this happening? What needs to be done to turn this around? What can we do?

monday, november 18
Tuesday, november 19
monday, november 18

Title: A Strategic Approach to Hiring & A Social Justice Call To Action

School/Organization: Arts and College Preparatory Academy

Time: 9:05-10:00am

Presenter(s): Anthony Gatto; Amanda Waluzak

Description: This presentation will show a holistic and strategic approach to recruiting, hiring and retaining high quality teachers at a lower salary scale than traditional district schools. 


Anthony Gatto was on the founding staff of the Arts & College Preparatory Academy in 2002, where is he now Executive Director.  Anthony has a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati. 


Amanda Waluzak is High School Principal and a Social Studies Teacher at the Arts and College Preparatory Academy (ACPA) in Columbus, OH, where she has worked since 2007. Amanda has a B.A. in Women's Studies from the Ohio State University, an Integrated Social Studies license for Grades 7-12 through Ohio Dominican University, and a Master of Arts in American History and Government from Ashland University.

Title: How do We Recruit and Retain the Best and Brightest Teachers in the 21st Century?

School/Organization: The New American Academy Charter School

Time: 10:05-11:00am

Presenter(s): Lisa Parquette-Silva

Description: According to The Washington Post, college students are less likely than their parents to see teaching as a path towards social change. Other studies demonstrate similar trends of declining teacher-preparation program enrollment and increased pessimism about one of the most important jobs in the world. Since its inception, The New American Academy Charter School has worked to professionalize teaching and make it an attractive, viable career path. We have successfully created such an empowering environment at TNAACS. Attendees will learn about the innovative hiring practices, alternatives to traditional teacher career pathways, ongoing professional development, embedded teacher support systems and competitive compensation that allows us to attract the best and the brightest from an ever decreasing pool of candidates. 


Lisa Parquette Silva is the founding Headmaster of The New American Academy Charter School, which opened in the fall of 2013.  She is a seasoned educator with over 33 years experience working with students and mentoring adults. Lisa currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband of 30 years Orlando and her three children, Orlando, Ryan and Isabella.

Title: Mama Mia! Here I Go Again: The old classroom management tactics only wear you down. Let’s sing a new song!

School/Organization: Doc Char Consulting, LLC 

Time: 11:05am-12:00pm

Presenter(s): Charlotte Hendrix

Description: Do you remember when you could not wait to transform children’s lives or when your dreams were about making a difference in the world through teaching? Whatever happened to those dreams? Right now, you may be feeling burnt out as a teacher. Let me share with you a research-based system that can eliminate up to 75% of your discipline problems and behavior challenges. These strategies can be implemented immediately and will drastically increase instruction time. Give yourself the opportunity to accomplish your original goals as a teaching professional. Regain your enthusiasm and find your love of teaching again.


Dr. Charlotte Hendrix received her Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology from the University of New Mexico. In addition to her full-time career as an instructional designer, she has been an adjunct professor at Central New Mexico Community College for the past fifteen years.

Title: Changing the Culture of the Teaching Profession, One School at a Time

School/Organization: Community Training and Assistance Center and Boldfox Group 

Time: 12:05-12:20PM

Presenter(s): Benjamin Feit

Description: Freed from district mandates and the standardization imposed by CMOs, independent charters are uniquely positioned to change the culture of teaching on their campuses. Session participants will emerge with a greater understanding of the steps they can take to make teaching at their schools more attractive, more impactful, and more sustainable.


Benjamin Feit is a senior associate at the Community Training and Assistance Center, a Boston-based nonprofit. Ben earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Urban Education Leadership at Columbia University, Teachers College.

Title: Sustaining Innovation: Student-Centered and Teacher-Powered

School/Organization: Avalon School

Time: 2:30-3:30pm

Presenter(s): Tim Quealy; Carrie Bakken 

Description: Since opening in 2001, Avalon Charter School has sustained two powerful innovations - student-centered and teacher-powered - despite facing many challenges and constant pressure to revert to the norm.  This session explores how, by empowering teachers and students, schools can create environments that remain mission-driven, adaptable, and sustainable.


Carrie Bakken was hired with a team of teachers to open Avalon School in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2001, where she is now a Program Coordinator and teacher. Carrie has a Master of Arts degree in Teaching from the University of St. Thomas and a Juris Doctorate from Hamline University.


Tim Quealy began working at Avalon School in 2008 as a high school advisor and Language Arts teacher, and has served as Program Coordinator since 2014. Tim has a degree in English from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Hamline University.

Title: Teaching in an Independent Study School (ISS)

School/Organization: Georgia Cyber Academy; BlueSky Online; Clackamas Web Academy; iSucceed Virtual High School

Time: 3:35-4:35pm

Presenter(s): Daniel Ondich; Brad Linn; Kathleen Allison; Angela Lassetter

Moderator: Dr. Richard Welles

Description: Teaching in an Independent Study School (ISS) setting opens up new and exciting teaching opportunities, especially in the digital age. During this round table discussion, Independent Study School staff panel members will discuss how virtual schools can provide unique employment opportunities for teachers who are less likely to commit to traditional schools. Panelists will share their experiences and perspectives about ISS teaching, a typical workday, a flexible schedule, work-life balance, growing professionally, and the most appealing and challenging aspects of their job.

Daniel Ondich is currently the Assistant Director and 7-10th grade Principal at BlueSky Online. He has over eight years experience teaching in traditional, alternative and blended programs and has worked in charter schools for the past 12 years. He has led the technology development and alignment of all content areas to local, state and national standards.


Brad Linn is principal of the Clackamas Web Academy, where he has continuously sought out new ways to optimize the learning environment in his school. During his tenure, he has secured over 1.4 million dollars in grant funds that have allowed his program to retain quality teachers and increase student learning.


Dr. Richard Welles has over 4 decades of experience in K-12 public, private and charter education. For several years Rick has worked with charter school boards and leaders in New York, DC and Philadelphia. He is co-founder and member of the Board of Trustees of Academy of the City Charter School in Queens and also co-founder of the Coalition of Public Independent Charter Schools.

Angela Lassetter serves as the Superintendent for Georgia Cyber Academy, a K-12 full-time online charter school. She graduated from Emory University’s Business School and has served on various school boards and advisory committees since 2010 for public charter, private, and virtual schools offering college preparatory, STEM, and STEAM programs.

Kathleen Allison has been with iSucceed since 2008, serving in various roles to current role as Executive Director. An educator for over 20 years, her focus is non-traditional students and settings. Kathleen is currently in pursuit of a PhD in Education with emphasis on technology and underserved populations.

tuesday, november 19

Title: Re-Engineering Teacher Compensation to Save Our Schools

School/Organization: Gateway Public Schools 

Time: 9:35-10:35AM

Presenter(s): Sharon Olken and Chris Hero 

Description: Gateway Public School's new teacher compensation model is aimed at attracting and retaining talented teachers, while making teaching more financially sustainable over time. Built on three domains of teacher practice - expert teaching, leadership and community impact, and professional standards - the model was developed collaboratively by teachers, school leaders and trustees. We will share our goals, process and tools which serve as a catalyst for school leaders to think about their own model and similar opportunities.

Sharon Olken is the Executive Director of Gateway Public Schools. She joined Gateway High School in 2000 as a teacher and then became Principal. In 2011, Sharon helped launch Gateway’s second school, Gateway Middle School.

Chris Hero is Chief Operating Officer for Gateway Public Schools and has over 15 years of senior management experience for corporations and non-profit organizations in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Chris received a BA in History from Santa Clara University and an MBA from Boston University's Graduate School of Management.

Title: What is Best for Students is Best for Teachers

School/Organization: High Tech LA 

Presenter(s): Mathew McClenahan 

Time: 10:40-11:40am

Description: At High Tech LA, we have done a great job of retaining teachers.  Of course we have some turn-over, but we have several teachers who have been here for more than a decade.  Our salaries are competitive but not outrageously high. We ask more of our teachers than traditional districts.  All our teachers have additional duties. All our teachers do extra tutoring. All our teachers attend and contribute in twice weekly staff meetings.  All our teachers actively seek ways to enhance their instruction through additional projects. How do we retain such an amazing staff? We do it by staying focused on what those who are dedicated teachers want to focus on: student learning.

Mathew McClenahan has taught at a Catholic school in NYC, in a large comprehensive high school in LA and at High Tech LA, a small charter school in Van Nuys, since the school opened in 2004.  A 2005, Milken Educator Award winner, Mat is committed to making teaching and learning the focus of our schools.

Title: Mindtraps and Burnout! Effective and practical strategies to manage the stressors of school.

School/Organization: BTS Spark

Time: 11:45am-12:45pm 

Presenter(s): Tara O’Brien 

Description: Mindtraps catch us all. Trying to juggle multiple demands and cope with the pressures of the job, there are times when we are not at our best. We may feel overwhelmed or we may simply lose energy. At these times, our Mindtraps (or limiting beliefs) make us less effective and prevent us from bouncing back. Building on both trauma-informed practice and growth mindset work, the Mindtraps model helps you recognize how you respond to stress and teaches you a process to help yourself become more resilient, preventing burnout in yourself as well as in staff and students.


Tara O’Brien has worked for nearly two decades in K-12 schools as a teacher, teacher leader, and Principal. She has earned double Masters degrees in Educational Leadership and Curriculum & Instruction. Tara has a strong interest in the contribution that coaching and positive psychology can make to educational leadership.

Title: Risk-Free Hiring: Building Successful Pipeline Programs

School/Organization: IDEA Public Schools

Time: 2:00-2:55pm

Presenter(s): Karly Gelardi 

Description: Facing teacher shortages and a booming economy, schools will need to build internal pipeline programs to create the talent they need rather than seek to find it. Waiting to find the “unicorn”candidate who can do the job day one is not a sustainable solution. Through residency programs, IDEA Public Schools has addressed many of these shortages, allowing for less risk in crucial hiring decisions and higher retention rates. Join the IDEA Director of National Recruitment to learn many of the key principles in building successful residency programs and the many lessons learned along the way.


Karly Gelardi is the Director of National Recruitment with IDEA Public Schools, where she oversees recruitment strategy to support the staffing of 96 IDEA schools throughout Texas and Louisiana. Karly has also created various IDEA pipeline programs.

Title: The Language of Intellectual Virtues: Creating a Compelling Profession 

School/Organization: Intellectual Virtues Academy

Time: 3:00-4:00pm

Presenter(s): Jacquie Bryant; Rachel Gordon

Description: New York Times bestseller, The Coddling of the American Minds, names IVA as a school that opposes the great untruths of our culture for students. What we didn't realize about this model is how professionally transformative it would be to our educators! IVA's intellectual virtues educational model fosters meaningful growth in the personal qualities of a good thinker or learner like curiosity, intellectual humility, attentiveness, open-mindedness and related traits. The language of the virtues has changed our perspective of learning. Join us in a compelling struggle to shift and deepen our educational purpose.


Rachel Gordon is a Science Teacher at IVA. She previously taught for 13 years at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Lynwood, CA, where she was originally placed by Teach for America. 


Ms. Bryant is the Founding Principal of Intellectual Virtues Academy (IVA), a charter middle school located in Long Beach, CA. She previously taught as an English Language Arts teacher for ten years in the LA Unified School District.

#icss19 #indiecharters