Session Descriptions & Speakers


Crisis Management in the Age of Social Media

Every crisis is different and how you as a leader respond, manage and adapt will be scrutinized. Furthermore, the rise of social media has shortened the response time for school administrators once a crisis has occurred. How do you stay focused on the priorities and swiftly implement an appropriate recovery plan? This panel is comprised of experienced leaders who will share their stories, lessons learned and tips for managing your next crisis.


John Roach EdD ’88, Adjunct Professor, USC Rossier School of Education


Tom DeLapp, President, Communications Resources for Schools
Tonantzin Oseguera EdD ’13, Dean of Students, Cal State Fullerton
Devery Rodgers EdD ’12, Specialist – Common Core Project, LAUSD
Chad Smith, Principal, South Hills High School

Diverse Pathways in Education

Are you curious about what other direction your experience, competencies and passion for education can take you?  Hear from a diverse array of leaders who set out in one direction but embraced a different opportunity to make a positive impact in education.


Maria Ott PhD ’94, Professor of Clinical Education, USC Rossier School of Education


Patricia Beckmann-Wells EdD ’13, Founder, Bunsella Studios
Jennifer Harris PhD ’03, Founder/Executive Director, FirstSteps for Kids, Inc.
Abram Jiminez, Vice President, Illuminate Education
Steve Regur EdD ’10, Founder/CEO, Educator’s Cooperative

Leveraging your Education Degree in a Business Setting

Wondering if your education degree and experience can be leveraged outside the traditional K-12 or higher education school setting? It can! Get advice from panelists on how they made the transition and how their education degree and past experience benefits them in their new role.


Kevin Baxter EdD ’04, Superintendent, Archdiocese of Los Angeles


John Hall EdD ’12, CEO, Greenwood Hall
Dianne Lee MS ’92, Campaign Strategist, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Matt McNabb EdD ’08, Manager of Leadership & Organizational Development, Hoag Hospital
James Rivet EdD ’01, Account Executive, Compass Learning

Pathways to Higher Education Leadership

Careers in higher education encompass wide range of functional areas. How do find your niche? What are the critical skills needed to succeed and advance? Hear from higher education leaders as they share their career journeys and valuable insights they learned along the way.


Kristan Venegas MS ’00, Associate Professor of Clinical Education,USC Rossier School of Education


Jim Adams EdD ’02, President, Life Pacific College
Tim Bessolo EdD ’11, Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs, USC
Ryan Corrner EdD ’10, Associate VP of Strategic Planning & Innovation, Pasadena City College
Jane Rosenthal EdD ’12, Assistant Dean, School of Applied Life Sciences, Keck Graduate Institute

Pathways to School Site or District Leadership

Whether you’re teaching in the classroom or in a support role, how do you know if school site or district leadership is the right career path for you?  Our panel of school and district administrators will share how they successfully pursued their roles in school administration.


Chuck Hinman EdD ’02, Superintendent, West Covina Unified School District


Hilda Flores EdD ’12, Principal, Fullerton School District
Betsy Hamilton EdD ’12, Assistant Superintendent, Lawndale Elementary School District
Tim Stowe EdD ’03, Chief Academic Officer, Torrance Unified School District
Rene Valdes EdD ’12, Principal, Glendale Unified School District

Pathways to Superintendent & CMO Leadership

Becoming a Superintendent or leading a Charter Management Organization requires extensive experience and demonstrated areas of success.  This panel includes veteran and new organizational leaders who will discuss their respective roles, and the career paths that prepared them for these demanding positions.


Rudy Castruita EdD ’83, Professor of Clinical Education, USC Rossier School of Education
Mike Escalante EdD ’02, Professor of Clinical Education, USC Rossier School of Education


Dave Cash EdD ’08, Superintendent, Santa Barbara Unified School District
Alex Cherniss EdD ’08, Superintendent, San Marino Unified School District
Melissa Moore EdD ’15, Superintendent, El Segundo Unified School District
Meg Palisoc MS ’98, EdD ’13, Founder/CEO, Synergy Academies

Putting Your Best Foot Forward – Successful Job Search Strategies

Learn how to use the tools associated with the job search – resumes, cover letters, networking and interviewing – to your advantage. Hear advice from a panel of experts that will empower you to take a more proactive approach to career management.


Pedro Garcia EdD ’83, Professor of Clinical Education, USC Rossier School of Education


John Bertrand MS ’97 PhD ’05, Senior Associate Director, MBA Career Services, USC Marshall School of Business
Darren McDuffie EdD ’09, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources, LA County Office of Education
Myrna Morales EdD ’05, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Paramount Unified School District
Jennifer O’Connor, Associate Director, Alumni & Student Career Services, USC Career Center

Staff Management – Hiring, Managing, Retention

To be successful, leaders must build and maintain strong and effective teams. From hiring  individuals who are the “right fit” to empowering and motivating your team to perform at a high level, your management style and approach dictates the success of your operation. Our panel of seasoned leaders will share insights on how they developed highly functional teams.


Greg Franklin EdD ’97, Superintendent, Tustin Unified School District


Kathy Bihr EdD ’05, Executive Director, Tiger Woods Learning Center
Sonja Daniels EdD ’10, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs, Cal State Dominguez Hills
Doug Kimberly EdD ’08, Superintendent, Lake Elsinore Unified School District
Chris McDonald EdD ’12, Dean, Science, Math & Engineering, Saddleback College