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NYAR Conference – Keynote Speakers

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Keynote Speakers

“Identity Leadership: A Roadmap to Professional Success.”

Stedman Graham

Sunday, March 4, 2018

“Identity Leadership: A Roadmap to Professional Success”

Identity leadership is based on the philosophy that individuals hold the power to their personal and professional success as educators of youth. It begins with the understanding that to lead others, you must first be able to lead your ‘self.’  Participants learn the principles of identity leadership through The Nine Step Success Process®, which provides a roadmap to realizing your maximum potential and performance for leading and teaching youth placed at risk.


Stedman Graham is chairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, a Chicago-based management and marketing consulting firm that specializes in corporate and educational markets.

Graham delivers his identity message throughout the country and globally to corporations, professional associations, government and civic organizations, colleges and universities, and community groups.

Stedman Graham has authored 11 books, including two New York Times Best Sellers, You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success and Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success.  His latest release, Identity: Your Passport to Success, was on the Wall Street Journal Best Seller list.  He is currently working on his latest book, Identity: Passport to Freedom.

He served in the U.S. Army and played basketball professionally in the European League.  Graham holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Hardin-Simmons University, a master’s degree in education from Ball State University, and an honorary doctorate in humanities from Coker College.

“Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students For Excellence”

Principal Baruti Kafele

Monday, March 5, 2018

“Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students For Excellence

Principal Kafele asserts that a huge challenge to closing the various gaps in achievement is the assumption that achievement is the only issue of concern for educators. Going beyond a superficial treatment of achievement, he contends that underachievement is a result of the failure to adequately address the attitude gap that continues to persist in American classrooms. He makes this assertion for students across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. Educators will learn practical strategies for closing the attitude gap and firing up their students to eliminate underachievement in their classrooms and schools.


A highly-regarded urban public school educator in New Jersey for over twenty years, Principal Baruti Kafele distinguished himself in the classroom and as a school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, Principal Kafele was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.  As a middle and high school principal, he led the transformation of four different New Jersey urban schools, including “The Mighty” Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national acclaim, which included U.S. News and World Report Magazine recognizing it three times as one of America’s best high schools.

One of the most sought-after education speakers in America, Principal Kafele has delivered more than 1000 conference keynotes and professional development workshops since leaving his principalship in 2011. An expert in the area of “attitude transformation,” Principal Kafele is the leading authority for providing effective classroom and school leadership strategies toward closing what he coined, the “attitude gap” – defined as, “the gap between those students who have the WILL to achieve excellence and those who do not.”

A prolific writer, Principal Kafele has written extensively on professional development strategies for creating a positive school climate and culture, transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations, motivating Black males to excel in the classroom and school leadership practices for inspiring school-wide excellence. In addition to writing several professional articles on these topics for popular education journals, he is the author of eight books which include his national best-sellers, Closing the Attitude Gap, Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life and The Principal 50. His newest book, The Teacher 50 was recently released in September, 2016.

Principal Kafele is married to his wife Kimberley, and is the father of their three children, Baruti, Jabari and Kibriya. He earned his B.S. degree in Management Science/Marketing from Kean University and his M.A. degree in Educational Administration from New Jersey City University. He is the recipient of over one hundred fifty educational, professional and community awards which include the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, the National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame Award and the City of Dickinson, Texas proclaiming February 8, 1998 as Baruti Kafele Day.

“Ensuring Every Student Succeeds with a Supportive School Climate”

Dr. Jane Bluestein

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

“Ensuring Every Student Succeeds with a Supportive School Climate”

It’s tough to learn in an environment that doesn’t feel safe and supportive—not just physically safe, but also academically, behaviorally, socially, and emotionally safe! Let’s look at school climate through each of these lenses and see how we can make our learning environments engaging and inviting, even for defeated, defiant, and discouraged kids who may have had negative, contentious, and failure-oriented experiences in the past. For all grade levels and subject areas.


A dynamic and entertaining speaker, Dr. Bluestein has worked with thousands of educators, counselors, healthcare professionals, parents, childcare workers, and other community members world-wide. She has appeared internationally as a speaker and talk-show guest, including several appearances as a guest expert on CNN, National Public Radio and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Dr. Bluestein specializes in programs and resources geared to provide practical and meaningful information, training and hope in areas related to relationship building, effective instruction and guidance, and personal growth and development. Much of her work focuses on interactions between adults and children, especially children at risk. Her down-to-earth speaking style, practicality, sense of humor, and numerous stories and examples make her ideas clear and accessible to her audiences.

Jane is an award-winning author whose books include The Win-Win Classroom; Becoming a Win-Win Teacher; Managing 21st Century Classrooms; Creating Emotionally Safe Schools; High School’s Not Forever; Parents, Teens, & Boundaries; The Parent’s Little Book of Lists: Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Parenting; Mentors, Masters, and Mrs. McGregor: Stories of Teachers Making a Difference; and Magic, Miracles & Synchronicity : A Journal of Gratitude and Awareness. Dr. Bluestein’s latest book is The Perfection Deception: Why Trying to Be Perfect is Sabotaging Your Relationships, Making You Sick, and Holding Your Happiness Hostage.

Formerly a classroom teacher (in inner-city Pittsburgh, PA), crisis-intervention counselor, teacher training program coordinator, and volunteer with high-risk teens at a local Day Treatment Program, Dr. Bluestein currently heads Instructional Support Services, Inc., a consulting and resource firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Last updated: 11/10/2017

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