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2022 SSTAGE Fall Conference


SSTAGE 2022 Fall Conference

From Policy to Practice

September 14, 2022

Anderson Conference Center, Macon, GA

8:30am – 4:00pm


Dr. Keith Simmons

(Superintendent, Griffin-Spalding County Schools)

Dr. Dana Rickman

(President, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education)

Dr. Jennifer Lindstrom

(Statewide Dyslexia Coordinator—Georgia Department of Education)

Dr. Gene Kerns

(Author of Literacy Reframed/Thought Leader/VP & Chief Academic Officer-Renaissance Learning)

Sucheta Kamath

(Speech-language pathologist/TEDx speaker/founder of ExQ® - innovating the world of learning how to learn.)

About the Conference: 

The conference will include presentations that impact MTSS and address the current issues in education to watch, the upcoming Dyslexia Rule and updates on those districts that are part of the pilot, the Science of Reading, and the importance of Executive Function.

About the Presenters: 

Dr. Keith Simmons is a veteran educator and has served as a teacher, coach, Dean of Students, assistant principal, principal, and chief of staff during his 25+ year career in education. Dr. Simmons returned to Griffin after serving five years as Bibb County Schools Chief of Staff. In that position, Simmons managed operations to lead the system in serving 33 schools and over 20,000 students. Before accepting the central office position in Bibb County, Simmons was principal of Griffin High School for six years. During his time at Griffin High, graduation rates increased each year, and he showed a commitment to providing additional Career, Technical, and Agricultural Educational (CTAE) opportunities.  He demonstrated a commitment to improving climate, culture, and educational equity. Dr. Simmons also served in the Monroe County School System as principal. He began his educational career in his hometown of Kissimmee, Florida and he served in the greater Orlando area for the first seven years of his career. His leadership preparation includes completing the National Superintendents Academy, the AASA Urban Superintendents Academy, and the Superintendent Professional Development Program through the Georgia School Superintendents Association. Dr. Simmons participated in the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard University, focusing on developing district policies and practices for improving student attendance. He has presented to national, state, and regional audiences on school improvement, strategic planning, organizational management, leadership development, racial equity, stakeholder communication, and supporting schools and families during COVID-19. 

  • Dr. Gene Kerns is a third-generation educator with teaching experience from elementary through the university level and K-12 administrative experience. He currently serves as Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of Renaissance Learning. With more than 20 years of experience in leading staff development and speaking at national and international conferences including South by Southwest (SxSW) EDU, London’s Westminster Education Forum, the ASU/Global Silicon Valley (SGV) Summit, the 42nd Annual Mexico TESOL Conference, and the Global Education Technology Forum of China. His former clients include administrators’ associations across the country and the Ministry of Education of Singapore. Gene received his Bachelor's degree and Master's degree from Longwood College in Virginia, and also holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from the University of Delaware with an emphasis in Education Leadership. His most recent work has been focused on assessment and literacy. His first book, inFormative Assessment: When It’s Not About a Grade is published by Corwin Press in both English and Arabic. His second book, Unlocking Student Talent, was released by Teachers College Press in December of 2017. This newest book, Literacy Reframed, was released in 2021 through Solution Tree.

  • Sucheta Kamath is an award-winning speech-language pathologist, TEDx speaker, Leadership Atlanta Alumna, and an ed-tech entrepreneur whose new Executive Function training software ExQ® is innovating the world of learning how to learn. Sucheta Kamath is the founder of ExQ®, a patented research-informed system designed to enhance executive function through game-based personalized training. The exclusive ExQ® curriculum prompts thinking to ignite processes essential for academic, emotional, and social well-being. Through the strengthening of executive functioning, ExQ® develops skills core to your student’s success in academics, in sports, in the arts, and in relationships. Sucheta’s program of interactive games teaches students to learn HOW to learn, empowering the whole child to achieve their maximum potential in school, at home, and in life, and do it with all they’ve got. 
  • Dr. Dana Rickman is the fourth president of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE), having previously served in positions of vice president and research and policy director. She joined the organization in July 2011 after serving as the Director of Research and Policy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation – Atlanta Civic Site. She has also worked for more than 10 years at Georgia State University conducting research on education programs within Georgia. She holds a PhD from Georgia State University in Political Science and a BA from Mary Washington College. She has authored multiple articles in peer reviewed journals and book chapters related to education policy and for over ten years served as the primary author of the Georgia Partnership’s annual Top Ten Issues to Watch report.
  • Dr. Jennifer Lindstrom joined the Teaching and Learning team at GaDOE in September 2021 as the Statewide Dyslexia Coordinator to assist our state as we lift awareness of dyslexia and create stronger, evidence-based supports fr students who are experiencing difficulties while learning to read and write. Dr. Lindstrom’s leadership and guidance will ensure that our students get the “best of the best” from our teachers and schools. Prior to coming the GaDOE, Dr. Lindstrom served as Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education, and as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia. While at UGA, Dr. Lindstrom directed ongoing research focusing on the causes and treatment of dyslexia and other learning disabilities, issues surrounding the provision of accommodations to individuals with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, early literacy with a focus on teacher training and the use of research-based methodologies for improving student performance, and the relationships between cognitive and linguistic abilities and poor reading and writing development.

Registration Will Include:

- Access to presenter provided resources
- Continental Breakfast, Catered Lunch and Morning and Afternoon Snacks 
- SSTAGE Membership for Non-Members ($75-Annual Membership)


Tentative Agenda:

7:30-8:20  Registration, Breakfast, and Visit Exhibit Area

8:20-8:30 Welcome by SSTAGE President

8:30-9:15 SESSION I – Dr. Keith Simmons, Superintendent, Griffin-Spalding County Schools

9:20-10:35 SESSION II – Dr. Dana Rickman, President, GPEE

10:35-10:50 BREAK – Exhibit Area OPEN  

10:50-12:05 SESSION III – Dr. Jennifer Lindstrom

12:05-12:50    LUNCH (Served on Site) – Visit Sponsors/Vendors

12:50-2:05     SESSION IV – Dr. Gene Kerns

2:05-2:20       BREAK – Exhibit Area OPEN  

2:20-3:35       SESSION V – Sucheta Kamath



Member Registration: $175

Non-Member Registration: $250 (includes 2022-2023 SSTAGE Membership)

Group Registration (10+ participants): $131.50-$187.50

Pre-Service/Retired Registration: Contact Joan Whitehead

*For group registrations, send spreadsheet with names & emails to Joan Whitehead at jwhitehead@gael.org by August 31, 2022. 


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.  A cancellation fee of $75.00 will be charged for cancellations. Cancellation fees will be waived for those that retain their 2022/2023 SSTAGE membership. 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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