Convention Workshop Descriptions and Presenter Bios

MSEA’s 2023 Convention workshops will be held on Friday, October 20 and are free and only open to members of MSEA. Members do not need to register to attend. Seating is available for this year’s in-person workshops on a first come, first served basis. To view the full workshop schedule, click here.

Workshop Descriptions

9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.  

True Leaders: Culture, Power, and Justice Curriculum       

Curious about how to tackle difficult discussions around social justice issues in your classroom and community? Come experience and explore a variety of curriculum and lessons that you can use with confidence to engage your students in these important conversations.              

Joseph Cho is a social justice and civic engagement coordinator at the University of Maryland 4-H Center. His research and interest focus areas are program development/evaluation, international agriculture and development, and mentoring.

Co-presenter: Anna Mae Glenn serves as a 4-H faculty member with the University of Maryland Extension. Her teaching and research areas focus on culturally relevant teaching, service learning, global social justice, food security, and leadership education.

Let’s Dance: Infusing Innovation into the Classroom         

Innovative instruction becomes a breeze when educators remember to emphasize kinesthetic, auditory, and visual strategies in the classroom. This fun, dazzling, interactive, and innovative presentation will incorporate music, rhythm, rhymes, chants, and more. Participants will leave on fire, excited, and ready to party like a rockstar.                

Dr. William “Flip” Clay is an internationally acclaimed national award-winning school counselor. After meeting Dr. Clay, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice of the United States, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, recognized Dr. Clay as an extraordinary role model and leader.

Powerful Language Builds Resiliency in Our Students!      

Covid took a toll on all of us over the last three years. Our students took the brunt of the unfortunate experience which caused anxiety, depression, isolation, loss of social skills, and more. It’s time for Powerful Language to build resiliency back into our students. Let’s talk about it!             

Gary Hughes is a former 22-year veteran teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools. He is currently a pupil personnel worker in Caroline County Public Schools. His strongest skill set amongst many is building relationships with all students.

Fold Your Way into More Student Engagement and Critical Thinking          

Imagine a classroom where all students are engaged, think critically about content, and retain information. Explore the power that Foldables can give you to allow access to learning for all students! Discover how to move content from simple recall to long-term storage. Get ready to change your teaching forever!  

Amy Kines brings over 30 years of experience as a teacher, staff developer, and instructional specialist to her company Ready Aim Teach. Amy’s unwavering passion for active learning permeates every project supporting teachers and schools throughout Maryland and beyond.

“Organized Chaos:” MVN4WRD with Highly Interactive Student Engagement and Motivation               

Get ready! This intense session includes multiple strategies educators can effectively use to enhance student engagement and motivation across all content disciplines through relationship-building activities. Utilize student performance data with human graphing and synectics. Enhance literacy through differentiated instruction with multiple intelligences by communicating through brainstorming, randomness, questioning, storytelling, etc.           

Shonda Pegram is “MVN4WRDbySTEAM,” a well-respected professional educator with Prince George’s County Public Schools. As a highly qualified veteran, she’s engaging, motivational, passionate, and powerful. Recognized for her many accomplishments, she specializes in building teacher capacity by fully understanding the amazing classroom experience.

Introduction to Building Classroom Culture Using Restorative Circles        

Participants will be introduced to the benefits of incorporating circles into their classrooms and will be given the guidelines and tools needed to create them.             

For the past two decades, Monifa Tannis has worked in various educational spheres as a child care specialist, teacher, and assistant director of an early learning center. Currently, she is a second grade teacher at Harford County Public Schools.

Their Story Matters: Crafting the Personal Essay 

Participants will be immersed in the step-by-step process of crafting a personal essay, guided by the six traits of creative nonfiction, and will share their drafts in appreciating the importance of true storytelling in the classroom. Adaptive instructional toolkits will be provided to all attendees.            

Rus VanWestervelt has worked with young writers for decades. He is a teacher-consultant with the Maryland Writing Project and the founder of Maryland’s only creative nonfiction publication for middle and high school students, Maryland Voices.

10:35 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness and NEA Member Benefits       

With the recent changes to the Federal Loan Assistance Program, members have questions on what, if anything, they can do.  Join NEA Member Benefits to see if there are benefits you are missing out on.         

Michael Gavin is the affiliate relations specialist from NEA Member Benefits for MSEA. Michael has been with NEA Member Benefits since 2007 and works locally out of Washington, D.C.

Motivation and Choice: Engaging Students in Research    

Want to get your students excited about research? Join us! Participants will learn to curate choice-driven research opportunities for students that are engaging and motivating using database functionalities that meet their reading and learning needs. Learn how to access leveled material while still encouraging choice leading to reading motivation.       

With 15 years of experience as a classroom teacher and content specialist, Heather Gray recently transitioned into library media. She loves helping students find their passion for reading, supporting teachers in creating literacy rich classrooms, and infusing STEAM into our library.

Co-presenter: Danielle Lowe has been a classroom educator in Talbot and Queen Anne’s counties and was previously the elementary intern supervisor at Salisbury University. She recently transitioned to library media and loves creating connections with students through reading.

Renewable Energy KidWind Challenge    

Are you ready to engage students in project-based learning and problem-solving? Learn about the KidWind Challenge and get free resources to bring hands-on STEM and renewable energy education to your classroom. Join to build wind turbines and solar devices which can be used in state/national KidWind competitions.              

Caitlin Costello is a 4th grade teacher with eight years of experience in Prince George’s County Public Schools. She is the winner of the KidWind Maryland State Challenge and National Off-Shore KidWind Challenge 2023. She is passionate about science, reading, and climate justice. 

Trauma-Informed Wellness Practices in the Classroom     

This workshop will explore the benefits of trauma-informed wellness strategies and how to incorporate them into the classroom to improve teacher and student well-being. Attendees will participate in breath awareness, mindful movement, and meditation to create calmness as well as increase focus and energy for themselves and their students.   

Eleanor Jones is a special education teacher, certified personal and executive coach, yoga teacher, and social-emotional learning facilitator. She is the wellness lead at her school and is passionate about incorporating wellness strategies into the classroom to improve student well-being.

Restorative Practices in the Elementary Classroom            

In this presentation participants will learn the fundamental philosophy behind using a restorative approach in education. Participants will identify various restorative practices on the restorative practices continuum and how to implement these practices in the elementary classroom. 

Lauren Weaver is currently an early childhood teacher specialist in Harford County. She has previously served as a classroom teacher and an elementary literacy specialist for the past 17 years.  Lauren Weaver is a restorative practices trainer through IIRP. 

12:10 p.m. – 1:25 p.m.

Analysis of the MCAP in order to Improve Student Outcomes

Session description to come.  

This workshop will be presented by Bruce Taylor and Julianne Martinelli. Presenter bios to come.

The Time Is Now! Understanding Culturally Relevant Pedagogy    

Based on Gloria Ladson-Billings’ definition of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP), participants will learn how to holistically implement CRP practices in K-12 classrooms and increase student engagement and academic success.        

Dr. Kelli Hickey is the founder of Mindset Matters, an organization designed to provide interactive workshops that enlighten, empower, and educate adult learners using brain-based strategies and culturally relevant practices to increase student engagement and improve academic success.   

Co-presenter: Robert Hickey, III, is a graduate of Morgan State University. He is a veteran teacher with over 10 years of experience and is certified in elementary education for grades 1-6 and social studies/world studies for grades 6-12.

Word Power: Vocabulary, Comprehension, and Deep Learning in Diverse Classrooms        

Delve into the interconnected realms of vocabulary acquisition, reading comprehension, nonfiction texts, and deep learning. We’ll explore the power of explicit vocabulary instruction, active engagement with texts, and differentiated instruction while leveraging technology to amplify outcomes. Leave with pedagogical approaches to empower students from varying linguistic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds.             

Genie Massey, a social studies educator engaged in doctoral studies, was the Archdiocese of Baltimore Teacher of the Year in 2017-2018. She currently works with the Maryland Civic Education Coalition and serves as the vice president of the League of Women Voters of Maryland.

Students Are Using AI, and We Like It. Right?       

Language-generative AI is already a workforce and workplace disruption of the highest order. Our students must be ready to adapt. Educators’ important ethical concerns should not eclipse the essential responsibility to prepare students with the critical thinking and ethical competencies they will absolutely need.

Joseph Rafter is committed to supporting classroom instructors in their mission to provide inclusive, student-centered learning experiences. After 18 years as a high school English teacher, he transitioned to instructional coaching.

Legal Rights and Responsibilities of Education Professionals          

Join this session for an open and general discussion about the legal rights and responsibilities of education professionals. This session will address how to deal with some of the common legal issues that have arisen around Maryland, including transfers, disciplinary actions, child abuse allegations, civil lawsuits, disruptive students, etc.

Damon Felton serves as associate counsel for MSEA where he has been employed since 2001. He specializes in labor law and assists MSEA members with numerous legal matters relating to their employment.                                  

The Community Circle: Building Positive Learning Environments, Relationships, Respect   

In this in-person workshop you participate in a community building circle. There you will explore the significance of building relationships, a positive learning community, valuing relationships, and developing mutual respect.

Sabine Whitney has been teaching middle school world languages for 14 years. She has been implementing community circles in her classrooms and with her colleagues.