Keynote Speakers


Julia Rose M. Polk, LMFT
Seven Stages of Building Trauma-Informed Classrooms and Schools

Julia Rose is Founder and President of Trauma Camp - a professional development company that trains educators about trauma-informed approaches in classrooms and schools - and host of the Trauma Camp for Teachers podcast. Julia Rose has studied childhood trauma for over 15 years, and has directly served her community for over the last five. She has completed Phase 1 of the ChildTrauma Academy’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics and Education, and is a graduate of  UC Davis’ Napa Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship. Julia Rose's lectures and trainings have reached educators all around America and beyond, including teachers and schools in South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and England.


Chris Cronas
Redlines, Riots and Race: How Generations of Oppression Have Influenced How Families of Color Engage with School

Chris Cronas is an experienced urban educational leader with close to 20 years of public and private school experience as a classroom teacher, instructional coach and K-12 administrator. He has served as a middle school teacher, curriculum and instruction coach, and district leader. He has facilitated professional development conferences on the local, national and international levels. Chris has been a principal in Seattle Public Schools for the last 8 years. He was named Seattle Schools Principal of the Year in 2017 while also serving as president of the Principal Association. Chris’ leadership in both high and low performing schools has resulted in sustainable gains in reading, math, writing, language acquisition and science. His leadership also brought about positive changes in affective behaviors of students in culturally and economically diverse settings.

David Adams

David Adams
From Preventing Trauma to Promoting Growth

David is the Director of Social-Emotional Learning at The Urban Assembly. He previously served as the Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator for District 75 where he shaped the District's approach to social-emotional learning for students with severe cognitive and behavioral challenges. He has worked internationally in schools in England, standing up and evaluating programs of positive behavioral supports and Social-Emotional Learning as a research intern at Yale University’s Health, Emotion and Behavior Lab, and published multiple academic papers around the relationship of social-emotional competence, and student academic and behavioral outcomes. He is married with two children and is an Engineering Officer in the Army Reserve. David holds an M.Ed in Educational Psychology from Fordham University.

Juliana NicholsHazlett

Juliana Nichols-Hazlett
It Always Starts with I: A Dive into Social and Emotional Intelligence

Juliana, a Law & Order aficionado and sommelier of Diet Coke spends her time making tiered to-do lists, consuming all things Brené Brown & Dolly Parton, and seeking the courage to rumble with what holds her back from supporting, equipping and empowering those charged to do “the work” with the same care and tenacity in which she has chased connection with her students from the Texas Panhandle to Chicago Public Schools, and back to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Entering her 20th year in education, Juliana’s skill set, mindset, and heart set has taken many twists and turns and bumps along the way, but one thing that she has always been committed to, is being the person in a school or a district who is willing to love the students others deem unlovable, teach the students others think are unteachable, and to reach the students who others claim are unreachable. Through a professional and personal faceplant, she has learned how to #risestrong, which included herself and adults who interfere with “the work” in those that she is willing to love, reach, and teach with the same conviction and purpose as she has students. She holds a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from West Texas A&M, a Master’s from Concordia University Chicago in School Leadership, a Master’s in Special Education from Western Governors’ University, and is in the final stretch of completing her Doctorate of Educational Leadership with the first cohort of doctoral students at Concordia University Austin in April 2020. Juliana is excited to partner with community leaders, educators and care providers in shifting the conversations and “the work” to include the adults charged with loving, reaching, and teaching students and families that are in need of a community of people committed to leaving the 99 just for them. To do this, she’s bringing the message to schools and districts of the need and the tools to shift the collective focus to becoming a connected community that is committed to doing “what’s best for adults so that they can do what’s best for kids”. Join @MsJNichols in revolutionizing the conversations and “the work” of being trauma-informed leaders who start with an inward reckoning...let’s get ready to rumble!

Breakout Speakers


Addison Duane
Disrupting Bias with Teacher Mindset

Addison Duane, MA, is a general education elementary school teacher turned PhD student studying trauma in schools. With an MA in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Critical Pedagogy, she has taught all grades K-6 except for first, and also worked as a school site instructional coach, new teacher mentor, and district curriculum trainer. As a classroom teacher, she piloted many trauma-informed practices, which gave her first hand experience working through the mindset shifts that come with being trauma-informed. Her research interests include emotion regulation, the trauma-informed schools movement, critical race theory, and school-based elements that may cause trauma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drinking tea and hanging out with her perfectly chunky 2 year old nephew.

Alex Shevrin Venet
Developing Healthy Educator Boundaries to Sustain Your Work

Alex Shevrin Venet is an educator, professional development facilitator, and author living in Winooski, Vermont. Her background as a teacher in a therapeutic school informs her work in trauma-informed practices. Her first book, Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education, will be published by W.W. Norton in spring 2021.


Angie Ellsworth
Self-Regulation in the Classroom: How and why a calm corner can work for my students (and me!)

Twenty years working with challenging students (and some adults!) has not taken away the energy and passion Angie has for helping them learn and grow! Trained in a variety of behavior management philosophies and strategies, Ms. Ellsworth is a licensed school social worker and school counselor who’s loved the past 10 years working as a behavior specialist for Rochester Public Schools. She coordinates and implements behavior interventions and has a wealth of resources and knowledge in problem solving some of the most challenging behavior situations, while supporting staff, parents, and students to increase their skills and confidence in managing those behaviors. Angie believes there is growth in everyone and brings that opportunity to the region as the mental health/behavior systems consultant for Southeast Services Co-op in Rochester and through additional training, consulting, and advocacy as the owner of Timeout Behavior Coaching, LLC.


Brian Brandsmeier
Using Circles to Promote SEL

Brian Brandsmeier is a behavior-focused teacher at West High School in Iowa City. Mr. Brandsmeier has a BA in psychology, MA in education and MA in religion. He has attended trainings in mindfulness, restorative practices, and circles and serves as a member of the leadership team for SEL4Iowa (Social Emotional Learning Alliance for Iowa). He is also a member of the Equity Committee for the Iowa City Community School District.


Christian Moore
Resilience Can Be Taught: 10 Strategies Proven to Motivate Any Student

Christian Moore is an internationally-renowned speaker, licensed clinical social worker, and advocate for youth. He is the author of The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversity into Action. He was a commencement speaker in the School of Education at John Hopkins University, and spoke at a White House convening for the Reach Higher Initiative. Christian found his passion in social work. He created the WhyTry Program, which has been implemented in over 25,000 organizations. Christian has flown over 6 million miles and reached over 3 million kids. He lives in the Rocky Mountains with his wife, two sons, and their dog, Bandit.

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Denise Moody
Emotionally Healthy Educators

Denise Moody is the Assistant Director of Student Services with Rochester Public Schools. She has been working in educational settings for fifteen years, working with early childhood through high school age students primarily at the district level. Ms. Moody has special interest in the area of trauma-informed systems of care, school-based mental health and multi-tiered systems of support. She has been an adjunct professor at Winona State University in the Department of Social Work since 2006 and has a small private practice providing psychotherapy to adolescents and adults. Ms. Moody holds a bachelor’s degree from Winona State University in Social Work and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas/College of St. Catherine in Social Work. She has also completed post graduate work in the area of Educational Leadership with the University of Minnesota and is licensed as a Director of Special Education and as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Ms. Moody is also the Founder and Director of an educational consulting and events firm, Resilience Impact, LLC.


Erica Wortherly
Anger Gets a Bad Rap 

As a former middle school teacher and now a licensed clinical social worker, Erica Wortherly will always be an educator. Erica believes teachers are the change agents needed in their schools and community. Teaching them about mental health, related issues and how it translates to emotions and behaviors of both students and teachers is overdue. She is an educational consultant, counselor and author. Erica is the mother of three adult children. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of North Florida and a Masters of Social Work from Florida State University.


Felicia Turner
Understanding the Impact of Trauma on  Learning

Felicia Turner is an educator whose specializes in working with other educators to find innovative and sustainable ways to improve teaching and learning. She has been serving urban youth as both a teacher and an educational leader since 1999. Felicia has presented at numerous local, regional, and international conferences. Audiences enjoy Felicia’s humor and wit as she pushes boundaries, inspiring teaching and learning to elevate to new heights. Prior to her time at the International Center for Leadership in Education, Felicia began her journey teaching 2nd and 4th grade English as a Second Language (ESOL) students Her passion for educating and equipping other educators propelled her into the following roles: Writing Coordinator, English Language Arts Instructional Coach, PK - 12 School Administrator, Grant Writer, District –wide Literacy Coordinator, and District-wide Professional Development Coordinator. Ms. Turner also brings with her extensive experience in higher education where she has served as a director of an alternative teacher certification program, coordinator of a summer youth program, and an adjunct professor.


Josh Varner
Be Their Hero: Trauma-Informed Care

Josh Varner is a trauma informed speaker and at risk student educator and counselor with a PASSION for helping individuals and schools to support students who have been impacted by childhood trauma. Josh has presented over 100 high energy, informative, interactive presentations to audiences all over the country.  Along with speaking Josh has been a social worker, professional school counselor and coordinated an at-risk student program. Josh has experience in the classroom working with traumatized students and knows what will work for teachers. His work has been featured on the Jonathon Doyle podcast, The News Tribune, The Catholic Missourian, and on KRCG & KMIZ TV.  He served as part of a coalition to help Scotland become the 1st trauma informed nation. Josh's educational background includes an MS in Counselor Education from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and a BA in Sociology from Loras College. He serves on the Board at Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association and at The Anne Marie Project.

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Katy Fatteleh
Sparking a New Classroom Culture

Katy is the Senior Program Director for The Nora Project where she designs curriculum and programming and oversees the implementation of The Nora Project programs in over 50 schools nationwide. She has been an elementary school teacher, technology coach, and instructional coach for grades pre-k-8 during her time working in public education. She is also a curriculum writer and an educational consultant, specializing in identifying and growing the potential of teachers at all stages in their careers. Katy is well-versed in educational technology tools and the authentic integration of technology across the curriculum. Katy graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University and has a Masters in Technology in Education from National Louis University.


Keith & Michelle Thompson
Teacher Triggers: Shifting Our Mindset

Keith Thompson (MA) is a Credentialed teacher, licensed Foster Parent, and Co- Founder of Bithiah’s House Residential Treatment Center and Bithiah's Family Services. He uses his classroom experience coupled with his trauma expertise to give encouragement and practical strategies to Educators. Keith is able to connect to teachers and equip them to create a compassionate, grace-based classroom. His strategies work in high-level residential facilities, public and private school classrooms, and in a home setting. He and his wife Michelle/Co-Presenter (also a Credentialed Teacher and Trauma Trainer) are Adoptive parents of 5 and use their experience in Elementary and High School to encourage and equip Educators to implement empathy in the classroom. They are contracted across districts to train Educators and Administrators in Trauma Informed Education Implementation.

Michelle Thompson is a Licensed Foster Parent and Credentialed Teacher. She has worked both in the public school setting as well as the Charter Homeschool setting. As a public school Educator, Michelle mentored new teachers and worked with Language Learners while teaching in a low performing, low income area. In the Homeschool Charter sector, Michelle works as an Education Specialist, supporting parents through curriculum choice and teaching strategies that are “outside the box”. Michelle cofounded Bithiah’s House with her husband in 2014. This residential treatment center provided services and trauma informed care to children in the foster care system with extreme behaviors, trauma, and medical needs. The backbone of the program is trauma informed, connected care. Michelle trains Educators in grades K-12 on trauma, empathetic teaching, and creating connections in the classroom. Drawing from her experience as a Foster and Adoptive Parent, Michelle has honed in on what truly works and what strategies are most effective.