Tuesday August 4, 2015 
Wednesday August 5, 2015


Full Conference Member:          $279
Full Conference Non Member:  $329
Teacher-Leaders*:                      $149
*w/ principal registration

(includes 4 meals & Welcome Reception)

Pre-Con Member:                        $79
Pre-Con Non-Member                 $99
One-Day Fee Member:                $159
One-Day Fee Non Member:        $199
(includes 2 meals)

A $49 service fee will be retained for cancellations. Cancellations received after July 13, 2015 will be charged a 50% cancellation fee.


The Double Tree Hotel 
(click to make a reservation)
4747 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Reservations can be made by calling
1-616-957-9072 and mention MEMSPA (group code MEM). 
We have received a special rate of $107. (Hotel cut-off date: July 13, 2015)

Driving Directions 


MacKenzie Feldpausch

Participants may earn up to 12 SCECHs for this event.


Summer Leadership Institute


The Institute is an in-depth and practical learning opportunity for practicing and aspiring principals as well as teacher leaders. School leaders will leave with the knowledge and confidence to implement key concepts and new skills. 

Monday, August 3  |  12:00pm - 8:00pm
Set-Up for Success Pre-Con

Learning Facilitators Derek Wheaton and Debbie McFalone will lead this practical day of learning!   Our goal is to provide information to help new and beginning principals start strong and set the stage for a positive and productive year of leadership.  Participants will focus on:

  • Practical skills:  communicating clearly and organizing for a productive and engaging first faculty meeting
  • Learning quick tips and strategies for organizing and taking control of your calendar
  • Thinking about how to nurture relational trust, and support strong collaboration in your school

Most of all, participants will have an opportunity to meet other principals and form a supportive network of leaders from across our state.  

Mark your calendar: This group will meet again before the December MEMSPA conference!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015  |  9:00am - 12:15pm

Keynote Presentation with Donalyn Miller
Donalyn Miller has taught upper elementary and middle school students in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and was a finalist for 2010 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. In her popular book, The Book Whisperer, Donalyn reflects on her journey to become a reading teacher and describes how she inspires and motivates her middle school students to read 40 or more books a year. In her latest book, Reading in the Wild, Donalyn collects responses from 900 adult readers and uses this information to teach lifelong reading habits to her students. Donalyn currently facilitates the community blog, The Nerdy Book Club and contributes to Scholastic Book Fairs’ Reader Leader. Her articles about teaching and reading have appeared in publications such as Education Week Teacher, The Reading Teacher, Educational Leadership and The Washington Post. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015  |  12:00 - 3:00pm

Keynote Presentation with Pam Allyn
Pam Allyn is a world-renowned literacy expert, author and motivational speaker. She is the founding director of LitWorld, a global literacy initiative serving children across the United States and in more than 60 countries, and LitLife, a cutting-edge consulting group working with schools to enrich best practice teaching methods and building curriculum for reading and writing. With her team at LitWorld, Pam created and leads World Read Aloud Day, a worldwide tribute to the power of literacy that happens every March. Pam is the author of many books, including Your Child’s Writing Life, (winner of the Mom’s Choice Award), What To Read When: The Books and Stories To Read With Your Child–And All The Best Times To Read Them (winner of the National Parenting Magazine Award), Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys: How To Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives. She has also contributed to the Complete Year Series (Scholastic) and Homework Pages for Independent Reading (Scholastic), among other titles. Her most recent series, Core Ready, published in 2013, is a 14-book series focusing on the Common Core Learning Standards. 

Keynote Presentation with Van Crouch
Van Crouch is widely regarded as one of the best and more versatile speakers in America. As the founder and president of Van Crouch Communications, Van challenges individuals to achieve excellence in their lives. After ranking as a consistent sales leader with the American Express Company, Van went on to receive many awards for outstanding performance in the insurance industry and has been a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table. Van is the author of several bestselling books including Stay in the Game, Dare to Succeed, Take It Back, Winning 101, The C.E.O's Little Instruction Book and The Storehouse Principle.

Tuesday, August 4, Interactive Learning Sessions
 1:15 pm - 4:15pm (Choose one)

Generational Diversity in the Schoolhouse
Facilitated by Dr. Nancy Colflesh, Educational Consultant, Colflesh and Associates

As the Baby Boomers move into their next stage of life, schools are finding themselves back in a hiring mode. It is not unusual, in many school settings, to find administrators, teachers and staff from three different generations working side-by-side. This new kind of diversity is key to thoughtful collaboration, teacher growth and a student-centered school culture. This new diversity provides leaders with great opportunities for both encouraging and challenging times. In this highly interactive session, we will learn about each generation in the schoolhouse and understand ways to maximize the contribution each one makes. We will also talk about the implication of this research for the retention of the newest generation of teachers in our schools.

Leading Learning Communities: What Principals Should Know and be Able to Do 
Facilitated by Molly Funk, Educational Consultant, Core School Solutions

We use standards to guide both our curriculum and instruction. We use standards to guide our professional learning and school improvement.  In this collaborative session, participants will learn the standards for principals as they lead learning communities, understand and learn from colleagues as they identify best practices for principals within those standards, and set meaningful, standards based goals for the upcoming school year.  If you are looking for a way to calibrate and orient your practice in the ever-changing role as a principal or if you are new to the profession, this session will help you succeed in the upcoming school year.

Creating a Culture of Thinking
Facilitated by David Simpson, Principal, Forest Hills Public Schools

Take an in-depth look at how Ron Ritchhart’s Making Thinking Visible
 can be the catalyst in creating a culture of thinking in your school.  We will move beyond thinking routines to focus on the 8 cultural forces that drive a culture of thinking.  Forest Hills is starting our 3rd year in creating a culture of thinking, and I have never seen a staff so passionate, collaborative and together around a singular focus in a school.  Creating a culture of thinking is the right work to focus on in our schools! 
By the end of the session, participants will have an in-depth understanding of the 8 cultural forces necessary to create a culture of thinking, understand how thinking routines are used to support visible thinking in the classroom, and have tangible ideas on how to bring this important work back to your school.

Optimize! Automate! Outsource!
Facilitated by Michael Domagalski, Principal, East China School District
Derek Wheaton, Educational Consultant, Derek Wheaton Consulting

Want to learn how to maximize and organize your digital work life?  This hands-on interactive session will help you learn about, explore and implement 21st century technology tools, Twitter for professional development, sites, and apps that will save time so you can be in classrooms to support your teachers! We’ll show you how to sign up, log-in, and connect. Learning facilitators will ensure that you have time during this session to learn the tools, strategies, and skills AND download, practice, and implement them while receiving expert support!

Wednesday, August 5, Interactive Learning Sessions
 8:30 - 11:45am (Choose one)

iDEAL: Inspring, Developing, Empowering, Assessing, and Leading a Schoolwide Independent Reading Culture
Facilitated by Donalyn Miller

During this interactive workshop, participants will learn how to navigate a specific roadmap  that will both excite and enable their staff and families to have their students become  independent readers. The workshop will address the research collected focusing on the success  of independent reading initiatives, provide participants with tools to assess what the status of  independent reading is in their school community, and offer tools and resources to assist with  developing an independent reading culture. Each participant will receive an Independent  Reading Toolkit that will include the latest professional books on the subject, and an  Independent Reading Guidebook. Every educator wants their students to become lifelong  readers. This workshop will serve as a catalyst for changing the reading culture at your school.

It's Not Just Docs Anymore  
Facilitated by Meghan Daniel, Educational Consultant, i3EdTech

Google Apps for Edu has grown exponentially. No longer is Google Drive all that exists to help promote collaboration and engagement. Apps, add-ons, and extensions have vastly expanded the capabilities of what Google can do for educators and students! However, with new tools popping up everyday, it's hard to know what is worth our time. In this session, principals will explore (and play with!) multiple Google tools that can help us do everything from organize to formatively assess students. Be ready to walk away with a toolbox full of items to share all the way from the office to the classroom!

Why Are You Asking That Question? 
Facilitated by Connie Hamiltion, Principal, Saranac Community Schools

Intentional use of quality questioning is one of the most effective instructional methods for all grades/content.  This session will share practical strategies that are research based, along with common roadblocks that even great teachers sometimes encounter.  We will explore 7 principles leaders and teachers can support and apply to increase engagement in the classroom.  The presenter will create a dynamic morning, modeling the practices throughout the workshop.  Participants will walk away with easy to implement strategies without causing teachers to feel the burden of "one more thing" on their plates. 

Reading Now Network: The Roots of Reading Success  
Facilitated by Dr. Kyle Mayer, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services,
Ottawa Area ISD and Dorothy VanderJagt, Director of Teaching and Learning, Kent ISD

School superintendents from 13 West Michigan counties have formed the Reading Now Network (RNN) – a collective effort of superintendents, school boards and school districts throughout West Michigan to improve early literacy and, ultimately, student achievement across all grade levels. 
One of the first steps to achieving that goal was a study in which reading scores were analyzed for all elementary schools in RNN, and those that were outperforming similar schools were identified. A handful of those “outlier” schools were then selected for a field study. The Field Study Team, made up of curriculum experts from the ISDs in West Michigan, visited each of the outlier schools.The team found five elements these schools had in common, and compiled their findings. They call these common elements the Roots of Reading Success and share them here for all interested schools.