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2021 SSTAGE Fall Conference


SSTAGE 2021 Fall Conference





September 14, 2021

Anderson Conference Center, Macon, GA

8:30am – 4:00pm



Trent North

(2021 Recipient of the GAEL Vision Award for Leadership)

Dr. Donyall Dickey

(National Consultant for standards-informed early and continuing literacy)

John O’Connor

(Author/Leader of state-wide initiatives to improve achievement and learning for students with disabilities)

Korey Collins

(Avid reading/literacy advocate/Master educator/Trainer at Ron Clark Academy)

Dr. Stephen Peters

(Advocate for literacy and equity/Past President of Board of Directors for International Literacy Association)


About the Conference

The conference will include presentations that address MTSS and the fundamentals of reading instruction for ALL students from the viewpoints of educators with vast knowledge, experience, and expertise in the areas of leadership, literacy, and equity.


About the Presenters:

Superintendent Trent North began his tenure with the Douglas County School System in 2017. As leader of the state’s 17th-largest school district, he oversees 35 schools, 3,300 employees and 25,000 students. Throughout his 28 years in education, he has maintained an unwavering commitment to seeing every student excel.

Mr. North has expertise in learning, teaching, and administration at all levels of public education. His influence on educational policies extends throughout Georgia. He is a member of several state committees, including Governor Kemp’s advisory committee on education. In 2021, the Georgia Association for Educational Leaders presented Mr. North with its Vision Award for his leadership in the state.

Mr. North attended the University of West Georgia for undergraduate and graduate studies. He and his wife Toya are the proud parents of two daughters, Alecia and Alexis.

Donyall D. Dickey, Ed.D. is a nationally recognized authority on curriculum, instruction, organizational development, and district improvement. Unparalleled levels of student achievement and school improvement distinguish Dr. Dickey’s 20+ year career as an educational leader. Dr. Dickey is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Loyola University—Maryland, and George Washington University—D.C., where he earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership & Policy.

Dr. Dickey has led at just about every level in public education. After a decade of successful site-based leadership, Dr. Dickey served as Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer of the nation’s eighth largest school district and later as Chief Schools Officer and Chief Academic Officer of a prominent school district in the Southeast. In each case, his leadership resulted in record gains in student outcomes and state assessment scores, as well as significant improvements in organizational effectiveness.

Currently, as the Chief Executive Officer and Lead Consultant for Educational Epiphany, Dr. Dickey and his national consulting team is in partnership with urban, suburban, and rural school districts in 40+ states across the nation. Dr. Dickey and his team are a leading provider of standards-informed instructional materials for early and continuing literacy, the core content areas, as well as targeted professional development for teachers, school leaders, central office personnel, superintendents, state departments of education, and professional associations.

John O’Connor led school improvement initiatives at the state and local level during his 30 years in public education.  He started his career as a special education teacher serving students with orthopedic impairments in elementary and middle schools. 

Since that time, he has held a variety of administrative positions. For nine years while working at the Georgia Department of Education, he led state-wide initiatives to improve the achievement and learning of students with disabilities.  He also served in local districts as an Assistant Director for Special Education, Executive Director for Special Services, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Director for Interventions.

John has written five books, including his most recent, the 2nd Edition of Great Instruction Great Achievement for Students with Disabilities: A Road Map for Special Education Administrators.  He also has co-written a textbook chapter, a desk guide, and numerous other articles. 

Korey Collins is a master educator and trainer at the highly acclaimed Ron Clark Academy nonprofit middle school in Atlanta, Georgia, where he leads the Academy’s reading program. An avid reading and literacy advocate, Korey also delivers professional development training to more than 15,000 educators annually through RCA EXP.

Korey earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Clarks Summit University and his master’s degree in Reading Education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. A certified K-12 Reading Specialist, Korey has over a decade of educational experience across multiple states in both the public and private school settings.

Prior to his career in education, Dr. Stephen Peters received a full scholarship and was a basketball star at Hampton University.  Peters was inducted into the Colleton County Basketball Hall of Fame in January 2016 and continues to follow sports faithfully.  Upon his graduation from Hampton, he went into teaching, and after demonstrating an ability to transform the classroom and school environment into one of success and achievement in even the most challenging circumstances, he rose to become one of the most respected educators and school turnaround experts in the U.S. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are at the forefront of his vast experiences in education and the non-profit world. Most of his experiences include working in underserved communities and providing opportunities for access and equity.  

Stephen has been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of secondary education, and superintendent of schools. He has served on panels as an education expert with former U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Rod Paige in Washington, D.C.  He is also the author of several award winning and best-selling books including Do You Know Enough about Me to Teach Me and Teaching to Capture and Inspire all Learners. 

Peters is the former Superintendent of Laurens County School District 55 (LCSD. 55), Laurens SC. The County is an underrepresented community. During his four-year tenure as Superintendent, college scholarship funds received by graduating seniors increased by more than $14 million. LCSD .55 was named a 2018 National School District of Distinction under the leadership of Peters, an honor awarded to school districts that are exemplary models of how schools and school systems work. More recently the high school has been named the 2019 "National Tomorrow's Tech School of the Year" by Tomorrow's Magazine. 

Currently, Stephen is the CEO and president of the Peters Group, an education consulting company that is dedicated to creating and sustaining success in schools and districts by supporting educators. Key areas include leadership, social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. He is also founder of a national mentoring program that builds soft skills, STEM, literacy, and leadership skills. The Gentleman’s and Ladies Club, which cultivates success in at-risk students through mentoring and self-empowerment, has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show as well as America, America.  Peters was featured in the BBC documentary, “An American High School” in 2016.  “An American High School” was just named “Best Documentary of 2016” in London and began airing on the National Geographic channel in the U.S. in October 2017.  Dr. Peters is an advocate for literacy and has served as the President of the Board of Directors for the International Literacy Association.


Registration Includes:

Access to presenter provided resources

Continental Breakfast, Catered Lunch and Morning and Afternoon Snacks

SSTAGE Membership for Non-Members ($75-Annual Membership)

A Live-Steam Option 

Access to recorded sessions for 30 days after the conference. 


Tentative Agenda:  

7:30-8:30   Registration, Breakfast and Exhibit Area OPEN

8:30-8:40       Welcome by SSTAGE President

8:40-9:25        SESSION I – Trent North

9:30-10:45      SESSION II – Dr. Donyall Dickey

10:45-11:00     BREAK – Exhibit Area OPEN  

11:00-12:15     SESSION III – John O’Connor

12:15-1:15        LUNCH (served onsite) - Visit Sponsors/Vendors

1:15-2:30         SESSION IV – Korey Collins

2:30-2:45        BREAK – Exhibit Area OPEN  

2:45-4:00        SESSION V - Dr. Stephen Peters


SSTAGE Cancellation Policy

To cancel participation for an event, SSTAGE must receive written notice (email jwhitehead@gael.org) seven calendar days prior to the scheduled workshop/conference.  An administrative fee of $25.00 will be charged for cancellations.  Requests for a refund must be received in writing at least seven calendar days prior to the start of the conference and must be addressed to jwhitehead@gael.org. SSTAGE encourages participants to find a substitute. Replacements will be welcome, and there will be no charge to transfer a registration to a colleague for the event.  Advance notice of replacements is preferred.  If an individual registers and does not attend the event, he/she will be marked as a "no show" and the full conference fees shall apply. Registrants are responsible for payment. Refunds will not be made for “no shows”.  Refunds and reimbursements will not be transferable to other workshops or conferences.  In the event of inclement weather which may impede or prevent conference attendance, or which may give cause to fully cancel the conference, a credit will be provided to the registrant or school/system. Refunds will not be made for conference cancellations due to COVID-19, severe weather or weather events which may cause the conference to cancel. SSTAGE is not responsible for United States Postal Service mail or electronic mail failures.

Registration for this event is closed.

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