2023 AESD Annual Conference
Conference Materials & Photos
Chris Reykdal, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Chris Reykdal was born and raised in Snohomish, Washington, as the youngest of eight children. He has served as a high school history teacher, local school board member, state legislator, and budget and policy executive for our state’s community and technical college system. Reykdal has dedicated his entire career to public education, and he is currently serving in his first term as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He and his wife, Kim, live in historic Tumwater with their two children, Carter and Kennedy.
Joan Wade, AESA Executive Director
Joan Wade, Ed.D. is a life-long educator with over 30 years of service in public education. She began serving as the Executive Director for the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA), on July 1, 2016. Dr. Wade began her career as a library media specialist in Montello, Wisconsin. After attending graduate school, she served in various administrative capacities in Wisconsin school districts including as Technology Coordinator for Portage Community School District, and Distance Learning Director for CESA 5.
Shakti Butler, PhD, President and Founder of World Trust Educational Services, Inc.
Dr. Shakti Butler is a visionary, filmmaker, transformative learning educator, wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many. She is also President and Founder of World Trust Educational Services, Inc., a non-profit transformative educational organization. Rooted in love and justice, World Trust produces films, curricula, workshops and programs that are catalysts for institutional, structural and cultural change. Dr. Butler is an inspirational speaker, facilitator, trainer and lecturer who is sought after by schools, universities, public and private organizations, and faith-based institutions.
Youth Equity Stewardship Project
Benjie Howard is the executive director of New Wilderness Project, an outdoor education program focused on developing youth leadership for equity and land justice. He is the co-founder of Youth Equity Stewardship (YES!), a program offering an inter-generational, experiential, arts based approach to school change efforts in public education.
Wade Antonio Colwell
Wade Antonio Colwell gratefully serves geographically diverse school communities as a poet, author, teacher, songwriter, facilitator, mentor and performance artist. His passionate collaboration as Co-Founder of Youth Equity Stewardship (YES!) and national consultant for the Deep Equity professional development process with Corwin Press, is inspired by a growing social movement of collective reciprocity.
Wednesday, April 12
12pm – 6:30pm
Thursday, April 13
8:30am – 8:30pm
Friday, April 14
7:30am – 11:15am
Keynote: April 12, 2:45 – 4:15pm
“Leading Equity and Elevating Student Voice”
Youth Equity Stewardship Team Benjie Howard and Wade Antonio Colwell with students and alumni of Auburn School District
The future of school excellence belongs to communities who make the shift from responding to students toward sharing in power with them. And the future is now. Youth Equity Stewardship is an arts-based process that offers vision, ways of being and provides strategies for centering student voice and agency to advance educational equity. The work offers a model for stewardship as a way of coming together in educational space and as a mainframe for thinking about excellence.
Keynote: April 13, 8:45 – 9:45am
“The Challenges of Systemic Change”
Dr. Shakti Butler
Our society’s structures, resources, and institutions are largely out of balance with universal principles that apply to all living systems. On one hand, both organizations and individuals are making wonderful efforts. People are engaging in research, education, grassroots organizing, media development and strategic messaging – all aimed at addressing systemic inequities. On the other hand, among broad sections of the general public, there is great resistance and denial that racism exists or is a problem. Our ecosystems are precariously out of balance and our abilities to address them are hampered by elements we do not take into consideration while designing systems change. Our time together will be an exploration about how systemic change can benefit by considering options that will help us grow, heal and connect.
Keynote Panel: April 13, 1:15 – 2:30pm
“Centering Students, Strengthening Systems: Student Voices Panel”
Érica González Jones (Moderator) with Youth Wisdom Council Panelists Zobir Tarin, Melissas Nunez, Hannah Park, Vislee Roman
The Youth Wisdom Council is comprised of students across Puget Sound ESD region that was created to bring forward youth voice to inform how schools and districts could engage in a meaningful collaboration with students. The students are seen as experts of their experience in the schools and districts. The Youth Wisdom Council is fully designed and delivered by students for students. During this session you’ll learn about ways to center student voices when making changes in our systems from the point of view of the students.
Breakout Sessions: April 13, 2023
- Session 1: 10 – 10:45 am
- Session 2: 11 – 11:45 am
Strengthening Systems Breakout
Introduction to Strategic Questioning: A Communication Strategy for Change
Dr. Shakti Butler, Lake Washington Ballroom
Join Dr. Butler, our Day 2 Keynote, for a deeper dive into systems change through strategic questioning. Strategic questioning is a technique designed to create knowledge that awakens possibilities of change. It is a process that empowers new questions, releases blocks to new ideas, facilitates people’s own responses to change, and creates answers that may not be immediately known, but may emerge. This is a process tool that can become a practice in addressing new ways to develop more equity and inclusion or, to sift through conversations, opinions and attitudes that often lead to a dead end in terms of transformation and change. This session will allow you to “try on” this process as a first step to building a useful communications practice.
Centering Students Breakout
Youth Equity Stewardship Deeper Dive
Benjie Howard and Wade Antonio Colwell
Join the Youth Equity Stewardship Team, our Day 1 Kenoters, for a deeper dive into intergenerational collaboration. Benjie and Wade will share more about a model for stewardship as a way of coming together in educational space and as a mainframe for thinking about excellence. In this session we will look at how to:
- Support students and staff in being advocates for their own success as well as stewards for the well-being of others.
- Ignite the fire of youth energy, flexibility of mind and creativity in the work of systemic change
- Foster an inclusive school climate across all dimensions of difference.
- Enhance achievement and the notion of educational excellence for each and every community member.
- Better realize our unique human capacity for empathy and social responsibility.
- Leverage the arts to inspire and make a lasting impact.
Centering Communities Breakout
A cohort for change: How leaders from Washington’s ESDs are building capacity and supporting Native American students
ESD leaders and staff from ESDs 105, 112, 113, 121, and 189
What does it mean to center Indigenous students and families in our programs and practices? A cohort of educational leaders from Washington’s ESDs is breaking away from the status quo and deepening reciprocal relationships to spark transformational change. This cohort, sponsored by Region 16 Comprehensive Center, completed the University of Washington’s Native Education Certificate Program in 2022. Each leader developed a culminating project designed to build capacity in their role and region by centering Native students, families, and communities. In this session, participants will share the individual, organizational, and community impacts of their projects.
We are extremely grateful to all of our sponsors for their support and participation! Click on a logo below to learn more.
Lodging & Venue
Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lake Washington
1053 Lake Washington Blvd N
Renton, Washington 98056
Located on the shores of Lake Washington, Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle’s Southport perfectly combines the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest with modern amenities.
Discounted rooms are available for conference attendees at the link below.
How to Register
For registration and lodging, please contact your local ESD’s executive assistant: