Join us for The Shipley School’s third annual conference as we continue to push the boundaries around what it means to help students and colleagues thrive. Over the past few years, Shipley has been committed to re-envisioning education in a way that can lead to greater fulfillment and well-being. 

This year, we’ll be taking the next step by shifting the focus to a more holistic view on human flourishing—one that continues to emphasize individual well-being, but also integrates that focus with a broader prioritization of communal flourishing, as well as individual and collective accomplishment. 

Come learn from global experts as we take deep dives into the intersection between DEI, flourishing, and pedagogy by focusing on three themes that are often undervalued in classrooms: identity, belonging, and flow.

WHEN: August 9 & 10
WHERE: Virtual
$99 for an individual, $500 for a group of six or more, Free for Shipley Colleagues and Alumni

2021 Conference Keynotes

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  • Steven Kotler

    Steven Kotler is a New York Times-bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. He is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance.

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    He is the author of ten bestsellers (out of thirteen books total), including The Art of Impossible, The Future Is Faster Than You Think, Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Bold and Abundance. His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into over 40 languages, and appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, TIME and the Harvard Business Review. Steven is also the cohost of Flow Research Collective Radio, a top ten iTunes science podcast. Along with his wife, author Joy Nicholson, he is the co-founder of the Rancho de Chihuahua, a hospice and special needs dog sanctuary.

    Session Information:
    The Art of Impossible

    What does it take to accomplish the impossible? What does it take to shatter our limitations, exceed our expectations, and turn our biggest dreams into our most recent achievements? Bestselling author and peak performance expert Steven Kotler decodes the secrets of those elite performers–athletes, CEOs and more–who have changed our definition of the possible, teaching us how we too can stretch far beyond our capabilities, making impossible dreams much more attainable for all of us. Building upon cutting-edge neuroscience and over twenty years of research, Steven Kotler lays out a blueprint for extreme performance improvement. 

  • Dena Simmons

    Dena Simmons, Ed.D., is the founder of LiberatED, a collective focused on developing  school-based resources at the intersection of social and emotional learning (SEL), racial justice, and healing.

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    Dena Simmons, Ed.D., is the founder of LiberatED, a collective focused on developing  school-based resources at the intersection of social and emotional learning (SEL), racial justice, and healing. She is the former Assistant Director of Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, where she supported schools to use the power of emotions to create a more compassionate and just society. Prior to her work at the Center, Dena served as an educator, teacher educator, diversity facilitator, and curriculum developer. She has been a leading voice on teacher education and has written and spoken across the country about social justice pedagogy, diversity, emotional intelligence, and bullying in K-12 school settings, including the White House, the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit, the United Nations, two TEDx talks, and a TED talk on Broadway. Dena has been profiled in Education Week, the Huffington Post, NPR, the AOL/PBS project, MAKERS: Women Who Make America, and a Beacon Press Book, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists

Conference Tracks

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  • Belonging

    Without connection and belonging, we feel isolated and anxious, which shuts down learning for students and collaboration among colleagues. Join us to learn strategies for fostering a deeper sense of belonging in your classroom or school. 
  • Flow

    An altered state of consciousness and deep absorption, in flow we can become more deeply engaged, learn faster and more deeply and experience peak creativity and problem solving. This conference will dive into some of the various keys to helping students and educators tap into this game-changing experience. 
  • Identity, Voice and Choice

    Our inherent interests, needs and sense of identity drive our willingness and ability to focus and deeply engage in our learning or work. We’ll have terrific sessions with experts on how to leverage these core needs in your learning or work environments. 


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  • Carole Geneix — Using Thinking Routines With Works of Art to Deepen Student Understanding and Make Their Thinking Visible; Using Maker-Centered Learning Strategies to Engage Students in System Thinking And Interrogate the Status Quo

    Carole Geneix has more than 25 years of experience in education in the United States and abroad. At WIS, she coordinates curriculum, professional development and teacher growth, and aims at developing pedagogical approaches, curriculum design and assessment practices that are international-minded, equitable and inclusive. 

    She is a Faculty member at the Project Zero Classroom institute from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and at the WIS Summer Institute for Teachers (WISSIT). She is also an examiner for the International Baccalaureate. Passionate about student-centered education and inquiry-based learning, she has been using Project Zero ideas and frameworks for over twelve years as a teacher and school administrator. She is currently a Leadership team member of the Making Across the Curriculum project at WIS, an Agency byDesign project that applies the practices and pedagogies of maker-centered learning across a variety of contexts and content areas. She has also participated most recently in the JusticexDesign (JxD) research initiative that has been investigating how young people engage critically with—and understand the relationships between—design, representation, power, and participation. She has presented many workshops at national and international conferences. She holds a Master’s Degree in French literature from University of Rennes, France and an M.B.A. from Sorbonne University in Paris.
    Details and Session Description
  • Lila Corgan & Ace Schwarz — “But We’ve Always Done It This Way!”: Why Re-Thinking Curricular Choices And Other Anti-Racist Practices Best Serves Students

    Lila Corgan is an English teacher and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator at the Shipley Middle School. Lila anchors her work with faculty, students and their caregivers in the belief that we must all have a strong sense of belonging in order to reach our full potential. Skilled in anti-bias curriculum development and culturally-responsive teaching and pedagogy, Lila strives to foster inclusive, equitable learning spaces for all students. Aside from her work in schools, she and her partner, Sean, are raising three awesome children in a bicultural, dual-faith household.

    Ace Schwarz (they/them/theirs) is a trans/non-binary educator living in Pennsylvania. They teach middle school science and strive to incorporate social justice into the science classroom. They use social media to educate and advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusive classrooms, and they received GLSEN’s Educator of the Year Award in 2019 for this work. When not teaching, Ace can be found curled up with their cat, Panther, reading a YA book or playing Stardew Valley on their PS4.
    Details and Session Description
  • Wendy Eiteljorg and Debra Finger — Voice and Choice in the Classroom

    Wendy is the Director of Curricular Innovation and Learning Design at Shipley. She began her teaching career as a homeschool teacher, moved to a K-8 school in the Chicago Public School system, and then Shipley, where she taught 5th grade for a number of years before becoming the Director of Educational Technology. She has taught grades 3-12 across many disciplines. She has been curious about using technology in the classroom for years and years; her first classroom blog was transformational for herself and her students. Next year she is thrilled to be teaching an interdisciplinary, elective class for 10th-12th graders called “Data and Installation Art”  and hopes it will be thought-provoking, challenging, amazing, and most certainly messy. She could talk about unit/course/big-idea planning forever.

    Debra has been at Shipley for thirteen years and has evolved over the years from a temporary computer teacher learning as she went, to curator of learning resources, opportunities, and tools that she shares on her blog, The Incidental Techie. Debra loves introducing coding to her students and watching them “have fun while being challenged.” 
    Details and Session Description
  • Zachary Herrmann — Positioning Students as Problem Solvers

    Dr. Zachary Herrmann is the Executive Director of the Center for Professional Learning at the Penn Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE). In this role, he leads the school’s strategy to design and deliver professional learning opportunities for learners across the globe. Zachary also serves as the academic director for the Project-Based Learning Certificate Program and the Strategic Leadership in Education Certificate Program at Penn GSE. Zachary is the author of two books, “Teaching a Future President: Empowering Students to Take on Almost Impossible Problems,” and “Core Practices for Project-Based Learning: A Guide for Teachers and Leaders.” As a graduate of the Doctor of Education Leadership program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Zachary develops and leads professional learning focused on teacher and leadership development. Zachary earned his teaching degree at Stanford University and taught high school mathematics for several years. Zachary also holds a B.S. in mathematics and a master's in educational leadership and administration from the University of Illinois.
    Details and Session Description


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  • Dr. Jonathan Beale & Dr. Christina Hinton — Research-Based Activities that Support Student Flourishing in Schools

    Dr Jonathan Beale is Researcher-in-Residence at Eton College & an Academic Visitor at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is also a Visiting Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; and a Research Fellow for ‘BrainCanDo’ – an educational neuroscience research centre. He is the co-editor of three books for Routledge: Wittgenstein and Scientism (2017), The ‘BrainCanDo’ Handbook of Teaching and Learning (2020) and Wittgenstein and Contemporary Moral Philosophy (2022). He has published articles on education and philosophy in academic journals including Ratio and in media outlets including The New York Times, and has given invited talks at universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, UCL, Sheffield, Yale, Ottawa and Zaragoza, and for organizations including the Royal Society of Arts. He completed his PhD in philosophy at the University of Reading and was a Fellow in Philosophy at Harvard University from 2011-13.

    Dr. Christina Hinton is the Founder and CEO of Research Schools International and a Research Affiliate at the Harvard Human Flourishing Program. Dr. Hinton was a faculty member at Harvard Graduate School of Education for many years, lecturing on the neuroscience of learning, social-emotional learning, global competence, and school-based research. She completed her doctorate and Master’s in neuroscience and education at Harvard, where she was selected as a Presidential Fellow and Dean’s Fellow for outstanding scholarly work. She also completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard and a research fellowship at Sesame Workshop. Prior to Harvard, she worked in multilateral diplomacy and international policy-making at the OECD’s Center for Educational Research and Innovation and UNICEF. At the OECD, she was a primary editor and author of the books Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science and Languages in a Global World: Learning for Better Cultural Understanding.
    Details and Session Description
  • David Bott — Five Things ‘Well-Being’ Schools Get Wrong & How We Can Get Them Right

    David Bott is a sought-after speaker, author and education consultant who works with government organisations and some of the world’s leading schools to help guide wellbeing vision and strategy. As an expert in applied wellbeing science, David has supported thousands of educators from hundreds of schools around the world in designing and implementing system-level approaches to wellbeing and cultural change. David sits on the UAE Government’s Dubai Future Council for Education, is a Director on the PESA (Positive Education Schools Association) board, and has published in academic journals and industry periodicals. David’s bestselling book, 10 Things Schools Get Wrong: And How We Can Get Them Right was published in 2020. David’s current work is informed by his five years as Associate Director at the Institute of Positive Education and his 15 years of practical teaching experience in Australia and the UK where he held senior pastoral and academic leadership positions.
    Details and Session Description
  • Cindy Goldberg — Well-Being in the Classroom through Mindfulness and Applied Positive Psychology

    Cindy Goldberg, M.Ed., CAPP, MMT, is a former elementary school teacher and was the first Mindfulness/Positive Psychology Coach in a public school in Pennsylvania. She worked as a Mindfulness/Positive Psychology coach for the last years of her tenure, during  she brought mindfulness and positive psychology into the lives of thousands of students in hundreds of K-12 classrooms. She is currently serving as a mindfulness consultant in other local school districts and privately. Cindy presently works with educators, parents, and students to support their mental health, improve focus, and enhance self-regulation. Cindy is a contributing author of Educating Mindfully: Stories of School Transformation Through Mindfulness. Cindy Goldberg’s recently released book ABC That Sounds Like Me, A Strength Spotting Alphabet Book brings applied positive psychology and strength spotting into the lives of children. This book has been endorsed by Dr. Ryan Niemiec of VIA. This is her second children’s book. She is also the author of Penelope's Headache.  Cindy is the author of Can a Simple Practice and a Set of Chimes Help Teach Kids Mindfulness?, Mindful Leader May 2019, Data on the Use of Daily Mindful Chime Practices in 45 Classrooms for 21 Days. Cindy coordinates the PA Chapter of COSEM (Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully)
    Details and Session Description
  • Nick Holton, Ph.D. — Harnessing Flow Triggers to Facilitate High Performing Environments

    Dr. Nick Holton is an international speaker, consultant, trainer and coach in the science and art of human flourishing—the harmonious combination of actualizing peak potential and experiencing a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. He currently serves as the Associate Director of Positive Education for Shipley. Nick coaches and trains executives, elite athletes, and professional competitors in addition to teaching private classes to actors, directors, business groups, NCAA athletic programs, and educational leadership teams. Over the course of the past seven years spent working in the field, Nick has published various articles, book chapters, and op-eds, as well as given talks and keynotes on topics related to optimal human functioning. This work has taken place throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, and India and has been featured most recently in Fast Company.
    Details and Session Description
  • Dr. Denise Quinlan — Cultural Responsiveness: Why it Matters for Well-Being and What We Can Do to Build It

    Denise brings research to life. She’s ‘real not perfect’, sharing the challenges of being a ‘recovering pessimist’ and a wellbeing authority. A global researcher and teacher to leading corporates and educators, she translates the latest science to practical tools and strategies we can all benefit from.
    Details and Session Description
  • Dr. Sharron Russell and Jason van Schie — Universal Screening for Well-Being

    Dr. Sharron Russell has been involved in social and emotional learning since 1995. Working first as a health teacher and counselor, and later earning both a certificate and doctorate in School Psychology, she was primarily involved in the academic and emotional support of only students. An integral part of bringing Positive Education to the Shipley School, Dr. Russell now oversees both Student Support and Positive Education for the entire community. She has presented at multiple national and international conferences on the topics of social and emotional learning in schools, universal screening for mental health, and Positive Education, and serves as an adjunct faculty member for the school psychology doctoral program at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Russell is a member of the American Psychological Association, the International Positive Psychology Association and the International Positive Education Network.

    Over the past decade Jason has focused his attention on preventative health initiatives for the purpose of increasing wellbeing, productivity, safety and academic outcomes. In recent years, he has turned to technology solutions with the intent to make psychological health, safety and wellbeing accessible at scale and globally. He is a psychologist (MApp Occupational Psychology) and founder of People Diagnostix and lead developer of innovative psychological health/wellbeing products including FlourishDx (, and Flourishing at School ( 
    Details and Session Description


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  • Brandon Jacobs — “If You Build It, They Will Come”: How to Hook, Inspire, and Create Belonging in Your Classroom

    Since 2018, Brandon has served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at The Shipley School (PA) where he leads the development and implementation of policies, procedures, and programs that sustain an inclusive school community and curriculum and fulfill the School’s diversity and inclusion goals. Working closely with school administrators, he directs recruitment and retention initiatives to broaden the diversity of the student body and among faculty and staff. A champion of diversity work, he oversees affinity groups, leads the All-School and Divisional Diversity teams, and plans all programming related to diversity and inclusion.

    Previously, Brandon held various roles at The Hill School (PA), including Director of Inclusion and Diversity, Director of Student Activities, Class Dean, and Assistant Director of College Advising. He was an online course facilitator in school culture and inclusivity for Global Online Academy, Dean of Student Advisement for the New Jersey SEEDS program helping high-achieving students from low-income families, and served as Admissions Counselor and Multicultural Recruiter for Rider University.

    Brandon has presented at the NAIS People of Color Conference, as well as the Hawaii, Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools, and Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools conferences. Other conference attendance includes National SEED Project seminars, the NAIS Diversity Leadership Institute, the NAIS Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning Design Lab, and the 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology.
    Details and Session Description
  • Joey Nyame — As Above So Below: Leveraging Self Awareness to Discuss Race and other Social Issues with Intentionality

    Joey Nyame is a Philadelphia native. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College, where she also had two minors in Italian and Child & Family Studies. Joey then spent a year with AmeriCorp working with a women’s early recovery nonprofit in Pittsburgh.  Following her year of service, Joey obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling. Joey spent three years as a school counselor before beginning her career as a school leader when she became the Assistant Head of Lower School at Shipley. Currently, Joey is completing her first year of Saint Joseph University’s Interdisciplinary Doctorate in Educational Leadership. She currently serves as the Assistant Head of Middle School at the Shipley School and as a private practice therapist supporting individuals with anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, and more. In her spare time, Joey enjoys studying African Spirituality, listening to podcasts, dancing, and spending time with her cat Jabari.
    Details and Session Description
  • Benjamin M. Tinsley — Fostering Equity and Belonging in the Modern Language Classroom

    A Black male teacher of 12 years and a Black male student of 36, I have been exhausted from having to search entirely too far and wide to see reflections of myself in my studies. With undergraduate majors in French and African-American Studies, a Master's degree in Literacy, and training in Positive Education, I have had the opportunity to work with students and educators from around the world to develop curriculum and pedagogy that serve as both windows and mirrors. In my own classroom as a French teacher, I've committed to writing, building, delivering, and sharing curricula that exclusively centers Black faces and voices from the French-speaking world.
    Details and Session Description
  • Anika O. Walker-Johnson — Real Talk: Using Literature to Redefine Conversations with Students about Race

    Anika Walker-Johnson is entering her fourth year as Germantown Academy’s Director of Equity and Inclusion.  She has spent the last 20 years as an educator and administrator.  Prior to GA, Anika spent a number of years at Tabor Academy, a co-educational, day, and boarding high school in Marion, MA, where she served as an English instructor and the Dean of Multicultural Education & Community Life. During that time, she co-authored Tabor's Statement of Diversity and Inclusion, served as a faculty and student mentor, co-led a recruitment strategy geared towards hiring new faculty of color, promoted cross-cultural competency for students, faculty, and administrators, and planned campus multicultural education events. In her role as a senior administrator, she also served on several administrative committees, including the Professional Development and Hiring Committee, Dean's Office Committee, and as a co-chair of the Diversity Leadership Council. During her last three years at Tabor, Anika also served as an Associate Director of Admission – Multicultural Recruitment where she assisted the admissions team with developing and implementing strategies for strengthening the school's commitment to a diverse community.  At GA, Anika continues to build upon her teaching and administrative achievements.
    Details and Session Description
  • Kira White - Building Your Gender Affirming Classroom/Community

    Kira White, LSW, MPH (they/them/theirs) is a clinical social worker with a focus on school-based mental health. They have worked as a school counselor for the past four years, first in KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools and now at The Shipley School. Kira received a BA in History from Swarthmore College and holds Masters degrees in Social Work and Public Health from University of Pennsylvania. They are passionate about creating supportive communities for LGBTQ+ students, families, and school staff. They recently received certification as an Instructor for Mental Health First Aid, a public education program that teaches individuals to recognize and respond to a mental health or substance-use crisis. Outside of work, Kira is an avid animal rescuer, ultimate frisbee player, and oldest sibling to three amazing brothers.
    Details and Session Description
  • Dr. Valaida L. Wise — Broaching the Subjects of Race, Ethnicity and Culture in the School Context

    After more than 20 years of experience in the field of education, Dr. Valaida L. Wise (Val) made the career choice to share her vast knowledge and expertise with the larger community. Specializing in for-profit organizations, non-profits, and educational institutions, Val brings a unique perspective predicated upon achieving exceptional outcomes across the full spectrum of operations and training. Dr. Valaida Wise received her Doctorate of Education in Education Leadership from George Washington University. Dr. Wise also holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Trinity College. Her vast experience equips her to address all aspects of organizational management and leadership, parent/teacher relationships, fundraising, staff development, and fiscal management.
    Details and Session Description
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.