Keynote Speakers

The National Principals Conference is our time to pause and focus on our professional growth, and there’s no better way to truly reflect on our leadership than with this lineup of inspiring and knowledgeable thought leaders. Hear from bestselling authors, award-winning principals, and trailblazing educators who will share groundbreaking insights and inspiration to fuel our practice.

Wednesday, July 14

From Striving to Surviving: Creating Equitable Environments

For community members to thrive, they must feel safe to be who they are: They must love themselves. As a result, our leadership, instruction, and assessment must foster psychological and emotional safety through emotional intelligence, cultural responsivity, and anti-racist practices.

Dr. Dena Simmons will discuss how the intersection of emotionally intelligent and culturally relevant practices can create equitable and welcoming communities—where everyone can learn in the comfort of their skin.


  • Dena Simmons, ED.D.
    Founder of LiberatED

Thursday, July 15

Grading for Equity: What Is It, and What Does It Mean Post-Pandemic?

The pandemic has shone a bright spotlight on the fundamental flaws of our traditional grading practices. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the history of grading in this country, and how the continued use of those practices negatively impacts teaching and learning, raises stress, and perpetuates achievement disparities. We’ll then introduce the framework of equitable grading, provide an example, and share how these approaches have benefitted teachers and students.


  • Joe Feldman
    CEO, Crescendo Education Group, Oakland, CA

Friday, July 16

How to Foster Leadership and Resilience in These Times

During times of crisis and uncertainty, a unique kind of leadership is needed—leadership that is courageous, responsive, and emotionally attuned to others. What can leaders say and do to embody this kind of leadership, and how can they find their own internal reserves of strength to do so?


  • Elena Aquilar
    Writer, Leader, Teacher, Coach and Podcaster, Oakland, CA

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