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Leading the Way Together: Honoring who students are, how they learn, and where they want to go

May 3, 2019 @ 8:00 am - 3:30 pm

The Bush Foundation, The School Leadership Project and Education Evolving will host Leading the Way Together—a day of learning and connection on Friday, May 3, 2019.

We will gather our partners in education to strengthen our collective community as together we make education more relevant for all of our students in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. This will be a day to inspire, challenge, and support one another as we work to honor who students are, how they learn, and where they want to go.

We invite both our partners and members of the public who are interested in this topic to attend; registration is free. Registration will close at the end of the day on Friday, April 26.

About the Event

Education is critical to making our region better for everyone. Our education system should help all kids reach their full potential. We believe this requires a more individualized approach to learning, one that makes education more relevant for all students.

The guiding goal for the Bush Foundation’s Education initiative is to make our region the national leader in providing individualized education. So, we’re working to inspire, equip and connect leaders in all sectors to Lead the Way to individualized learning.

Leading the Way Together will bring together national and regional leaders who are working to make education more relevant for our children by creating student-centered learning environments across the country and the region. At the the event, participants will:

  • Hear from inspiring keynote speakers.
  • Participate in breakout sessions designed to provide concrete ideas and helpful strategies for teachers, school leaders, and administrators to use in designing and implementing relevant learning in their classroom, program, school, or district.
  • Experience the work of student-centered learning firsthand through Practitioner Showcases highlighting innovative local leadership and school models.

Program for the Day

8:30 AM to 9 AM – Breakfast
9 AM to 10:15 AM – Opening Session and Keynote by Mary Ryerse
10:15 AM to 10:45 AM – Break & Practitioner Showcases
10:45 AM to 11:45 AM – Breakout #1
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – Lunch & Keynote by Anpao Duta Flying Earth
1:15 PM to 2:15 PM – Breakout #2
2:15 PM to 2:30 PM – Practitioner Showcases
2:30 PM to 3:30 PM – Closing Keynote by Gevonee Ford


Mary Ryerse

Mary Ryerse serves as Managing Director for School Success at XQ Institute. XQ is a growing and passionate network of educators, students, families and civic-minded citizens reimagining high school education in the United States with a mission to fuel America’s collective creativity to transform high school so every student succeeds – no matter their race, gender or zip code. Mary is an experienced educator who advocates for innovations in learning that provide opportunity and access for all learners.

Prior to XQ she led Getting Smart’s strategic advisory practice and helps learning organizations grow and extend impact. With Tom Vander Ark, Mary co-authored the book “Smart Cities that Work for Everyone: 7 Keys to Education and Employment.” She has published numerous papers, blogs regularly for Getting Smart and EdWeek, and was an XQ Super School judge. Mary holds a B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College, a M.Ed. in Education Administration from Whitworth University and a Superintendent’s Credential from Gonzaga University and, prior to her recent roles, served as an administrator at the school, district and state levels. Mary has also served as an EdTech executive, an adjunct professor and is on the board of Education Evolving.

Anpao Duta Flying Earth

Anpao Duta Flying Earth is the Executive Director of the Native American Community Academy (NACA), a charter school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Duta assisted in the creation of the charter school in 2006. In NACA’s inaugural year, Duta served as an instructor and after-school coordinator. In the years since, Duta has also served as the school’s outreach and community programs coordinator, the director of enrollment and community relations, Head of School, Associate Director, and founded and taught the first Lakota language program in New Mexico as well as Indigenous Studies. In his capacity as Executive Director at NACA, Duta has been instrumental in representing NACA as a premiere example of indigenous education nationwide that combines academic preparation for higher learning, grounding in culture & identity, and holistic wellness together for community transformation through young people.

Duta grew up on Standing Rock Reservation in South and North Dakota. He is Lakota, Dakota, Ojibwe, and Akimel O’odham. Duta is the youngest of three siblings and a third-generation college graduate. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Government and earned a MBA as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the University of New Mexico. Duta has a passion for language learning and creative expressions such as traditional arts and singing.

Gevonee Ford

Gevonee Ford is the Founder and Executive Director of the Network for the Development of Children of African Descent, a nonprofit, family education center based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He holds a B.S. in Integrative Studies and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Education Policy and Organizational Leadership at the University of Minnesota. Gevonee has worked in the fields of early childhood and K12 education for the past 30 years, specializing in program development, non-profit management and educational policy. Gevonee has been at the forefront of progressive education in Minnesota serving as a teacher, trainer, program director and community organizer. His work has been recognized at national, state and local levels. He has received numerous awards including being named a 2012 White House Champion of Change, under the Obama administration.

Breakout Sessions

Breakout sessions will represent national and regional leadership from across the student-centered learning movement; attendees can attend any sessions they choose.

Morning Breakout Sessions

  • Community-Connected Learning and Leadership: Building Healthy, Prosperous Communities
    Tony Monfiletto, Director, Future Focused Education; Tony Simmons, Executive Director, High School for Recording Arts
  • Designing Immersive Community Learning & Visioning Experiences
    Jessica Town-Gunderson, Director of Teaching and Learning, Princeton Public Schools; Jim Stephens, Director of Design, 2Revolutions
  • Competency-Based Learning: Building Student Ownership Through Math Instruction
    Aaron Grimm and Vanessa Thompkins, Teachers, MN New Country School, Henderson, MN; Allison Thoen, Teacher, and Julene Oxton, Co-Founder of Impact Academy, Lakeville, MN; Lori Lukasezck, Teacher, Riverview Elementary, Farmington, MN
  • Getting Better At Getting Better: Transformation and Continuous Improvement at Dugsi Academy and Venture Academy
    Mary Stafford, Co-Founder, TRUEnorth Education Partners; Michael Warner, Interim Head of School, Venture Academy
  • MN Education Equity Partnership’s 5 Big Bold Goals for Race Equity for Education: Intersections With Individualized Learning
    Dr. Rose Chu, Senior Policy Fellow, and Jennifer Godinez, Associate Director of MnEEP
  • Windows and Mirrors: Creating Learning Environments That Honor Who Students Are
    Arthur Turner, School Principal, LoveWorks Academy for Visual and Performing Arts; Angela (Two Stars) Papenfuss, Curriculum Coordinator, Bdote Learning Center; Pang Yang, Park Center teacher, Osseo Area Schools

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

  • Cultivating Teacher Ownership and Community Partnerships to Sustain Student-Centered Environments
    Carrie Bakken, Program Coordinator/Teacher and Tim Quealy, Program Coordinator/Teacher, Avalon School
  • Indigenizing Education at NACA: Building A Model to Reflect Students and Community
    Anpao Duta Flying Earth, Executive Director, Native American Community Academy; Maggie Seawright, NACA Class of 2013 and Prevention Coordinator, Substance Abuse Prevention Office; Shannon Douma, NACA Out of School Time and Enrollment Director
  • Inside Montessori: A Film Screening and Conversation About the Power and Potential of the Montessori School Movement
    Vina Kay, Vice President of Movement and Capacity Building, Race Forward; Molly O’Shaughnessy, President and Director of Primary Training, and Barbara Williams, Director of Outreach, Montessori Center of MN; Cherolyn Fischer, Education Department Advisor, Centro Tyrone Guzman and Siembra Montessori; LaVon Lee, Director, & Janice LaFloe, Founder and Primary Guide, Montessori American Indian Childcare Center
  • Using Academic Competencies to Ensure Rigorous and Transparent Expectations For All
    Lori Phillips, Director of Teaching and Learning, KnowledgeWorks; Adam Fischer, High School English, Farmington Public Schools; Morgan Winkworth, Middle School Social Studies, Farmington Public Schools; Lars Esdal, Executive Director, Education Evolving
  • Wealth-Building Career Pathways: Centering on Equitable Student Success
    Kathy Funston, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Pathways, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District; Gwenn Wolters, Regional Career and College Readiness Coordinator, South Central Service Cooperative; Sareen Dunleavy Keenan, Program Officer for Career Academies, Greater Twin Cities United Way

Location Details

Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot
225 3rd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Parking & Transit

There is a parking lot at the hotel, or street parking nearby. The parking rates at the hotel are:

Earlybird parking (in before 8 AM) – $11
0-1 hours – $9
1-2 hours – $12
2-3 hours – $14
3-12 hours – $16

The Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot is conveniently located three blocks from both the Blue Line and the Green Line light rail stops, and many major bus lines. Visit www.metrotransit.org to plan your trip.


May 3, 2019
8:00 am - 3:30 pm


Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot
225 3rd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55401 United States
View Venue Website