Washington, DC — Dec. 7, 2015 — Learning Forward launched its 2015 Annual Conference this weekend at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Focusing on the theme Lead Change, Maximize Impact, more than 350 session presenters, keynoters, and thought leaders are facilitating inspirational learning with educators responsible for leading professional learning across the country and the world.

Several inspirational keynote speakers headline the event, including Rehema Ellis of NBC News in dialogue with Irvin Scott of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael Horn of the Clayton Christensen Institute speaking about the role of disruption in education, and Yong Zhao, internationally known scholar and speaker, who will explore world class learners. Arne Duncan, secretary of education, and Sean McComb, the 2014 national teacher of the year, will make special appearances at the conference. Session leaders and thought leaders also include Ben Jensen and Marc Tucker, Randi Weingarten and Lily Eskelsen Garcia, S. Dallas Dance, Karen Garza, Jennifer Cunningham, Elena Aguilar, Carol Ann Tomlinson, Jay McTighe, Joellen Killion, Marcia Tate, Jim Knight, Jonathon Saphier, Aaron Sams, and many others.

“We’re honored to host such an amazing network of educators each year at our conference,” said Stephanie Hirsh, executive director of Learning Forward. “I’m excited to join with thousands of educators who are passionate about creating professional learning that results in better teaching and learning for all of our students. And I know our lineup of speakers and facilitators — whether they lead from schools or universities or other organizations — will have us all looking for new ways to challenge ourselves to improve what happens in schools.”

The exhibit hall includes more than 55 vendors and organizations that support professional learning through a range of solutions, including the most innovative technology platforms and field-defining publications and services.

Learning Forward Deputy Executive Director Frederick Brown noted the importance of the local supporters who contribute to the conference. “Our host committee has been dedicated to planning this experience for the last year and a half. We’re so grateful that area districts, universities, and organizations value the kind of learning that leads to lasting change in schools. Our conference couldn’t happen without their hard work.”

Learning Forward’s conference sponsors are also essential to building the best learning experience possible. Legacy sponsors are Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Wallace Foundation. Capital Sponsors are Frontline Technologies, NEA, School Improvement Network. Gold Sponsors are AFT, Corwin, and Truenorthlogic. Silver Sponsors are Amplify, Just Ask, Solution Tree, TeacherMatch, and Teachscape. ObserverTab is a Bronze Sponsor.

Learning Forward and Corwin will honor the team selected to receive this year’s Shirley Hord Learning Team Award at the conference. The Instructional Leadership Team from Braulio Alonso School in Tampa, Florida, won this year’s award, which is granted each year to a team of teachers that demonstrates Learning Forward’s definition of professional learning in action. Corwin generously sponsors the award, which includes funds to send a team to the conference and funds and books to support their collaborative learning at their school.

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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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