Join the Journey. Chart Your Course.

Come together while staying apart, in an epic digital conference series.

Join the virtual conference series designed for your busy schedule

Educating in a pandemic isn’t for the faint of heart.

You’ve had to rethink the entire way you work this year. Plus, Covid-based restrictions on travel and gathering have kept you from the  educational conferences you rely on to energize and empower you in your work.

While you have (rightly) been focused on your students, we have been thinking about you. And we’ve got you covered! Spend some time with us and: 

  • be inspired by world-class speakers
  • network with other professionals
  • make lasting connections

Join us for our Summit | ASCEND 2020, a FREE virtual series empowering you through Covid with quality content and opportunities for connection.

The event runs for six weeks, with several sessions each week. Choose the sessions that resonate with you, attend the sessions you can, and watch our speakers and panels on demand.


We’re passionate about supporting educators. But space is limited for this free conference series, so register today! Sessions begin October 21, 2020.

Recharge and Reconnect, On Us!

We know this year is tough, so schedule in some breaks to listen to and connect with amazing thinkers and peers. Now that the school year is underway, we hope you’ll enjoy a much-needed pick-me-up!

It’s Free! 

  • We are educators at heart and love to support you

 World-Class Speakers

  • Get motivated by experts and thought leaders in education, leadership, research, and more
  • Don’t miss the man who has trained astronauts, or the woman whose TED Talk has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times!
  • Other speakers include PhDs, CEOs, and early childhood experts with decades of experience 

Connecting and Networking

  • Mingle (digitally) with other professionals during interactive workshops, networking events, and virtual meetups

New Content Every Week

  • Enjoy new speakers and new on-demand content each week

Spots are limited for the free conference series, so register today!

A Covid Approach for a Unique Year

You’re busier than ever, and we get it! We kept that in mind while planning this exclusive series.

The series spans six weeks, which means you can plan ahead to attend the sessions that matter most to you. You may find you have time for a few more than you thought. 

A Conference Built for Your Busy Schedule

  • Two to three sessions each week. Attend when it makes sense for you—no commitment, no pressure

On-Demand Sessions

  • Watch select thought leader presentations on your own time

Access Anywhere

  • Whether you’re at home or in the classroom, you can log in and join the journey 2020 Summit Speakers

Benjamin Heuston, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

As a leader in educational technology over the last two decades, Edward “Benjamin” Heuston continues the Waterford legacy started by his father, Dusty. Benjamin is an active speaker in educational settings and is also a member of several boards and associations. Benjamin earned a PhD in psychology from Brigham Young University.

Wayne Ysaguirre

Executive Director of the Care Institute

Wayne Ysaguirre is a new member of the Waterford board of directors and the Executive Director of The Care Institute. Previously, he was the President and CEO of Nurtury, and prior to that, Wayne was a preschool teacher and director of numerous programs. He has dedicated more than 30 years to the care and education of young children and their families.

Bethany Butzer

University of New York in Prague

Bethany Butzer, PhD is an expert in positive psychology and transpersonal psychology, which emphasize the development of human strength and potential. She received her PhD from the University of Western Ontario. Currently residing in Prague, she teaches and does research as a Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of New York in Prague. Her TEDx talk, “Stop Trying So Hard: Achieve More By Doing Less,” has been viewed by close to 1.5 million people.


David Lawrence

Author, Former Publisher of the Miami Herald

David Lawrence Jr. is an American nationally known newspaper editor and publisher who retired at the age of 56 and subsequently became a leading national advocate for children, especially in the area of early childhood investment. He is the former publisher of The Miami Herald and the Detroit Free Press.

John Bates

CEO of Executive Speaking Success

After absolutely blowing his first talk on the TED stage, John has gone on to train hundreds of TED/TEDx speakers. He also works with thousands of C-level executives at top global corporations to make their communications “TED-Worthy.” John founded the website and offers training that teaches not only what works, but WHY it works.


Julian Treasure

Julian Treasure is an author, expert, and top-rated international orator on powerful speaking, conscious listening, and audio branding. Collectively his five TED talks have been viewed more than 100 million times. His first book, Sound Business, is the seminal work on creating effective business sound. Julian has been widely featured as a sound and communication expert in prestigious media around the world.

Julie A. Evans

CEO of Project Tomorrow

Julie A. Evans is the CEO of Project Tomorrow, serves on several boards and advisory councils, and is the founder of the heralded Speak Up Research Project, which annually collects and reports on the authentic views of 400,000 K-12 students, parents, and educators on education issues. Dr. Evans leads research efforts for Speak Up Project on the impact of digital content, tools, and resources in both K-12 and higher education.

Kelly Knoche

Founder and Director of The Teaching Well

Kelly Knoche (she/her) is the Founder of The Teaching Well, a multi-leveled systemic approach to bringing wellness back into school systems. By building skills and focusing on educator stress resilience and communication, The Teaching Well has saved school districts two million dollars in attrition related costs. She brings a deep love for people and a clear vision for organizations to embody their values in ways that reach their students, staff and  the entire system.

Dr. Gayle White-Wallace

Director of Pre-Kindergarten, Mount Vernon City School District

Dr. Gayle White-Wallace is the Director of Pre-Kindergarten in the Mount Vernon City School District. A native New Yorker with a strong Caribbean background, she has always loved education. After earning her bachelor’s in early childhood education and completing a master’s in curriculum and instruction, Dr. Wallace began her tenure at the Mount Vernon City School District. During that time, she earned a master’s from Mercy College in school administration, as well as her doctorate from St. John Fisher College in executive leadership.

Stephanie J. Monroe

President and Founder, Wrenwood Group, LLC

Stephanie J. Monroe is President of the Wrenwood Group, a boutique Washington, D.C. health and education consulting firm. Stephanie served as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education from 2005-2009. Before that, she spent 25 years on the Senate HELP Committee as Chief Counsel and more than a decade serving as Staff Director for the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families, while contributing to many efforts related to children, youth, and families.

Jenni Torres

VP of Curriculum,

Jenni Torres, Vice President of Curriculum at, manages the development of research-based content, correlations to standards, and creation of teacher and family resources. Jenni spent 15 years in the classroom, receiving awards at the school, county, and district level. Jenni earned her master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently working on a doctorate in educational policy and leadership at American University.

Jeff Burton

 Retired Adjutant General of the Utah National Guard

Jeff Burton served in the United States Army for more than 37 years, attaining the rank of Major General. In Utah, he has served on Governor Gary Herbert’s Cabinet twice and has taught Military Science and National Security Strategy at the university level. Jeff currently serves at Zion’s Bank as the Senior Vice President for Community Development. He holds degrees from the University of New York, The United States Army War College, and the University of Phoenix.

Partnerships Virtual Conference Series

These sessions are specifically designed for your busy schedule. You don’t have to attend all of them, but we hope you attend as many as you can!

Power Up

Every Monday, we’ll release new pre-recorded sessions available on demand. No need to plan or schedule — watch on your time!

Speak Up

During live sessions, you’ll interact with panelists, connect with peers in engaging workshops, and enhance your abilities in an unconference setting.

Meet Up

Join unique networking events that include icebreakers, one-on-one “brain dates,” breakout room group discussions, and interactive trivia sessions.

Virtual Conference Series Agenda

Pick and choose the sessions that mean the most to you! Look for new on demand content every Monday.



Wednesday, October 21st

Opening Kickoff

Benjamin Heuston

Wayne Ysaguirre


Thursday, October 22nd

2:00 pm EDT


Friday, October 23rd

Ask the Experts
2:00 pm EDT

Dr. Gayle White-Wallace



Monday, October 26th

David Lawrence

Bethany Butzer


Tuesday, October 27th

90 Seconds
2:00 pm EDT


Thursday, October 30th

Identifying our
9 am-9 pm EDT



Monday, November 2nd

Julian Treasure



Tuesday, November 10th

Julie Evans


Wednesday, November 11th

Honing our Skills
9 am-9 pm EST


Thursday November 12th


John Bates

(the myth, the legend, the guy who trained astronauts)



Tuesday, November 17th

Live AASA panel discussion


Thursday, November 19th


Jeff Burton​



Monday, November 23rd

Beyond the
9 am-9 pm EST


Tuesday, November 24th

Closing Session

2:00 pm EST