Keynote Speakers
facebook twitter linkedin share instagram play first last

Opening Keynote

Andrés Ruzo
Tuesday, ​31 March 2020
5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Hacking Parallax: A NatGeo Explorer on the Power of Perspective

Sponsored by:

National Geographic Learning

Our world is so incredible that it is difficult to describe its richness in a single language. Nowhere is this more evident than through the lens of National Geographic. Join explorer Andrés Ruzo on a journey from the Amazon to the Arctic—because when perspectives meet, discoveries often follow.

Andrés Ruzo is a National Geographic explorer and host of the award-winning NatGeo Latin America show, Misterios del Inframundo (Mysteries of the Underworld). His work has been featured across NatGeo platforms, including the channel, magazine, digital, and other media outlets. He is a geothermal scientist, conservationist, science communicator, and educator who in 2011 became the first geoscientist granted the shamanic blessing to study the sacred Boiling River of the Amazon. He is the founder and director of the Boiling River Project, a nonprofit dedicated to understanding and protecting the Boiling River area by bringing together science, traditional Amazonian knowledge, and many other disciplines. He is based between Miami (USA) and Lima (Peru), holds degrees in geology and finance, and will soon be receiving his geoscience PhD. (Southern Methodist University). He is also a TED MainStage speaker and TEDBook author and has been featured on numerous major media outlets across the globe.

Deb Healey

Presidential Keynote

Deborah Healey
​Wednesday, ​​1 April ​2020
​8:00 ​am–​9:00 am

Teaching With Play: Games, Game-Based Learning, and Gamification

Play is powerful for all ages, and learners generally like a fun factor in their learning. Most teachers use games, and some have tried game-based learning and gamification. But what are the differences among games, game-based learning, and gamification, and what underlies why they work—or don’t work?

Dr. Deborah Healey is the 2019–2020 president of TESOL International Association. An online and face-to-face teacher and teacher educator, she writes and presents extensively around the world (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America) on pedagogy and appropriate use of technology in language teaching. She is a contributor to two TESOL Technology Standards publications as well as the TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching and the Routledge Handbook of Language Learning and Technology. Having used games extensively in her teaching, Dr. Healey began researching gamification and gamifying her online and face-to-face courses for the University of Oregon. She has found the psychology of game-play fascinating, especially as it applies to teaching and learning.

ToY Mandy

James E. Alatis Plenary

Mandy Manning
Thursday, ​2 April ​2020
​8:00 ​am–​9:00 am

Our Paramount Duty: Language as a Vehicle for Connection and Belonging

There are 71 million displaced people worldwide. As educators, language acquisition is not our goal, it is our vehicle—a vehicle through which we connect ELLs to mainstream students, so every student is fearless in reaching across difference. Our goal is that every student feels welcome and that they belong in our schools and communities.

Mandy Manning teaches English to newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington. In her classroom, Mandy uses experiential projects like map-making to help her students process trauma, celebrate their home countries and culture, and learn about their new community. As 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Mandy encourages educators to teach their students to overcome their fears and seek out new experiences. Mandy strives to create connections between her students and the community inside and outside of the school. Mandy has taught for the past 20 years, 8 of which have been in her current role. She earned a BA from Eastern Washington University, an MA from West Texas A&M University, and an MFA from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Mandy is a National Board Certified Teacher.

Zarina Blankenbaker

Friday Keynote

Zarina Blankenbaker
​Friday, ​3 April ​2020
​8:00 ​am–​9:00 am

Creating a Culture of Illumination: Leading to Transform

We have to create the culture we desire in our classrooms; our institutions; and our local, national, and global communities. Being a great educator is synonymous with being a great leader. We have the responsibility to educate and lead well. This keynote will help the audience strengthen the connection between creating a classroom culture conducive to learning and leading to transform communities.

Dr. Zarina Blankenbaker is president of Tarrant County College (TCC) Northwest. An accomplished leader in higher education, Dr. Blankenbaker has devoted more than 25 years to innovative leadership and learning excellence as a faculty member, advisor, financial counselor, and administrator. Dr. Blankenbaker came to TCC Northwest from Richland College in Dallas, where she served as the executive vice president of academic affairs and student success. In 2008, Dr. Blankenbaker was named the Administrator of the Year by Richland College. She was nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2002 and received the Innovator of the Year Award in 1999. TexTESOL also recognized Dr. Blankenbaker’s leadership contributions by naming her the 2008 TexTESOLer of the Year. In 2019, she was recognized as the Outstanding Alumni of the Year for the University of North Texas Higher Education Program. Dr. Blankenbaker earned her BSEd in secondary education (English) and MA in applied linguistics from Indiana University and her PhD in higher education administration from the University of North Texas.