Speakers and Sessions


We know that students’ self-stories, concepts, and beliefs about themselves (and how others may see them) can affect their grades and behavior. Psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed in his “Hierarchy of Needs” that self-esteem (the need to feel loved and accepted by yourself and others) was essential for people to become self-actualized – or the best they can be. However, Maslow believed self-esteem wasn’t enough. Self-actualization also requires getting outside oneself, transcending the ego, and experience awe and curiosity. Research in the psychological sciences has found that self-esteem, awareness, acceptance, awe, curiosity, authenticity (and thinking beyond ones' self) are all linked to greater academic achievement, wellbeing, and life success. This conference will explore how self-esteem, self-awareness, self-compassion, love and acceptance, awe, and curiosity are interconnected and are important for school and life success. Discover ways to improve students’ self-concepts, esteem, acceptance, and authenticity so that they can become aware, confident, and successful. Learn how to use mindfulness, self-compassion, awe, and curiosity to improve math, science, reading, achievement and how you can become a more “authentic” and confident teacher and school leader.

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You will gain knowledge about:
  • The science of self-esteem, awareness and actualization
  • How children's sense of self and worth develop early in life
  • Ways students' self-concepts and beliefs affect achievement
  • Teaching students be more aware, accepted, and confident
  • How mindfulness improves self-knowledge and self-compassion
  • Changing students' self-concepts and narratives to change behavior
  • How curiosity and awe motivate math and science learning and thinking
  • How Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" connects to learning and wellbeing
  • Ways to cultivate self-awareness, acceptance, esteem, and confidence
  • Ways to incorporate "authenticity" and self-care in teaching and leading
  • Using self-stories and self-efficacy for reading and school climate


This conference is applicable for K-12 teachers, administrators, curriculum and staff developers, learning specialists, school psychologists and counselors, early childhood professionals, math, science and reading teachers, superintendents, principals and school heads, staff development trainers, social workers, school climate professionals, college and university professors, and other educators that support classroom instruction.

Featured Speakers

Timothy D. Wilson, PhD

Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia; Author, Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change (2012) and Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (2002); Co-Author, The Handbook of Self-Knowledge (2012) and Social Psychology (2012, 8th Edition)

Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD

Cognitive Psychologist; Adjunct Professor, Barnard College, Columbia University; Columnist, "Beautiful Minds," Scientific American; Author, “Self-Actualized People in the 21st Century: Integration with Contemporary Theory and Research on Personality and Wellbeing” (2018, Journal of Humanistic Psychology) and Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined (2015); Co-Author, Wired to Create (2016), “The Development of the Awe Experience Scale” (2018, The Journal of Positive Psychology), and “Imagination is the Seed of Creativity (2018, The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity)

Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD

Kenan Distinguished Professor; Director, Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory (PEP Lab), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Author, Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become (2013) and Positivity (2009); Co-Author, “Do Contemplative Moments Matter? Effects of Informal Meditation on Emotions and Perceived Social Integration” (2019, Mindfulness), and “Mindfulness Broadens Awareness and Builds Eudaimonic Meaning: A Process Model of Mindful Positive Emotion Regulation” (2015, Psychological Inquiry)

Jonathan Haidt, PhD

Social Psychologist; Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership, New York University; Author, The Coddling of the American Mind (2018),The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006) and Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived (2002); Co-Author, “The Varieties of Self-Transcendent Experiences” (2017, Review of General Psychology), “Finding Self in the Self-Transcendent Emotions” (2009, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), and “Moral Psychology in the 21stCentury” (2013, Journal of Moral Education)

Shauna L. Shapiro, PhD

International Mindfulness/Meditation Expert; Clinical Psychologist; Professor of Counseling and Psychology, Santa Clara University; Author, Good Morning, I Love You: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire Your Brain for Calm, Clarity and Joy (Forthcoming, 2020); Co-Author, The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating Mindfulness into Psychology and the Helping Professions (2017, 2nd Edition), Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach to Setting Limits and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child (2014) and the audio book with Kristin Neff, PhD, The Science of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion: How to Build New Habits to Transform Your Life (2019)

Other Speakers

Mandy Wintink, PhD

Chief Executive Officer and Director, Centre for Applied Neuroscience; Instructor, University of Guelph-Humber; Author, Self Science: A Guide to the Mind and Your Brain's Potential (2016)

Paula Prentis, LMSW

Licensed Social Worker; Co-Founder, Your Self Series, a company that provides social emotional learning curriculum and a corresponding free website, YourSelfSeries.com, that contains free content to teach young teens about health and mental health; Expert in whole child health and wellness, social-emotional learning, adolescent development, and how to build connections in the classroom to optimize learning and life potentials; Co-Author, Reach Before You Teach: Ignite Passion and Purpose in Your Classroom (2013)

Gravity Goldberg, EdD

Educational Consultant; Former Assistant Professor of Education, Iona College; Former Instructor and Staff Developer, Reading and Writing Project, Teachers College, Columbia University; Author, Teach Like Yourself: How Authentic Teaching Transforms Our Students and Ourselves (2018), Mindsets and Moves: Strategies That Help Readers Take Charge (2015); Co-Author, What Do I Teach Readers Tomorrow? (2017) and Conferring With Readers: Supporting Each Student’s Growth and Independence (2007)