2022 Academy Speaker Bios

2022 Academy Home  — 2022 Sessions2022 Schedule

Principal Kafele: “One of the most sought-after school leadership and classroom equity presenters in America, Principal Kafele is impacting America’s schools! He has delivered over two thousand conference and program keynotes, professional development workshops, parenting seminars and student assemblies over his 35 years of public speaking.”As a middle and high school principal, Principal Kafele led the transformation of four New Jersey urban schools, including “The Mighty” Newark Tech—which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national recognition, and which was recognized three times by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s best high schools.

One of the most sought-after school leadership and classroom equity presenters in America, Principal Kafele is impacting America’s schools! He has delivered over two thousand conference and program keynotes, professional development workshops, parenting seminars and student assemblies over his 35 years of public speaking. An expert in the area of “attitude transformation,” Principal Kafele is the leading authority on providing effective classroom and school leadership strategies toward closing what he coined, the “Attitude Gap.” In addition to writing several professional articles for popular education journals, he has authored twelve books, including his six ASCD best sellers – Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School & in Life, Closing the Attitude Gap, The Teacher 50, Is My School a Better School BECAUSE I Lead It?The Principal 50 and The Assistant Principal 50. His newest book – The Equity and Social Justice Education 50 was recently released in May, 2021. Principal Kafele is the recipient of over 150 educational, professional and community awards which include the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, the National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame Award, induction into the East Orange, New Jersey Hall of Fame, recognition as one of the World’s Top 30 Education Professionals for 2020 & 2021 by Global Gurus Top 30 and the City of Dickinson, Texas proclaiming February 8, 1998 as Baruti Kafele Day.


Joe Truss is a speaker, racial equity coach, antiracist professional development leader, and consultant. He is a father of 3 young children and a husband to a High School Teacher. He recently finished my 6th and final year as a Middle School Principal. His passion is school transformation, using a lens of racial equity. He believes that leaders at every level are the key factor in changing the outcomes for marginalized students. Originally born and raised in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, Joe grew up in a single-parent home, after losing his father at the age of five. He attended public schools in San Francisco and found solace in his studies. He later studied the Spanish Language at UC Berkeley in the early 2000s and continued his education through the Urban Teacher Training Collaborative and received my Master’s in Teaching from Tufts University, in Boston. After working as a teacher, he returned to San Francisco, as a high school Assistant Principal, before becoming the Principal of a middle school. As a school leader he introduced a vision focused on Love, Literacy, and Liberation, working to decrease student referrals, increase performance on the SBAC English Language Arts and double 6th-grade enrollment. During Joe’s tenure, he worked to bring in a focus on culturally responsive teachingproject-based learning, and trauma-sensitive practices. These experiences and more provide Joe with keen insight into effective tools for school transformation and leadership support.


Dr. Joelle van Lent is a licensed psychologist with over 20 years of experience working with children, families, and child serving agencies.  Dr. van Lent has expertise as a therapist, clinician, evaluator, consultant, and trainer.  Her work focuses on child and adolescent mental health, family therapy, trauma, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Dr. van Lent’s approach is geared toward fostering resilience and creating communities that support healthy development.  She is currently in private practice based in the northwestern part of Vermont and works across the state with schools and agencies.




Susan Reinecke, Faculty Center for Creative Leadership-Societal Advancement, with over twenty-five years in the field of education, Susan has worked in and with private and public schools, colleges and universities and non-profit organizations across the US. She strongly believes that leadership is both a science and an art form; a continued process that requires creativity, curiosity, a sense of adventure, and a true appreciation of the diverse needs of learners. As a Societal Advancement faculty member, Susan designs and delivers custom designed leadership solutions for K-12, Higher Education, Non-profit and Population Health that include both short term experiences and systemic initiatives. She is committed to the continued development of herself and others in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Susan holds an EdM in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University, a MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College (focus on the intersection of social sciences and performative arts), and a MEd in Theatre Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Susan is the Co-Author of Social Emotional Leadership: A Guide for Youth Development.


Greg Cameron is the K12 Practice Director for The Center For Creative Leadership. In this role he leads a team of expert faculty with a focus on designing, facilitating, and supporting leadership development efforts for K12 education leaders. Specifically, he leads state-wide leadership development initiatives and designs leadership development programs in partnership with schools, districts, professional organizations, universities, and nonprofit organizations that support K12 education. Greg Cameron of the Center for Creative Leadership has an extensive background in nonprofit and educational leadership effectiveness, program design, development, and delivery. He is an internationally recognized expert in developing collective efficacy and organizational collaboration. At CCL, he leverages his experience to lead statewide K-12 leadership development initiatives and design development programs in partnership with school districts, universities, professional associations, and nonprofits.


Up For Learning, UP for Learning supports educational communities’ work toward systemic transformation, engaging all learners, and increasing the authentic voice of youth in learning and decision-making. We believe educational equity is a basic human right and all young people deserve a meaningful and engaging education. In each of our five primary programs and customized community projects we use research-based models that transform the student-teacher relationship to one of shared ownership and shared responsibility. UP offers facilitation, strategies, tools and ongoing coaching to ensure all young people can pursue active roles in their learning, their lives, and their community.


Michael J. Swenson of FranklinCovey has been a client facilitator since 2001 and a contract consultant since 2011. He loves sharing content with clients that dramatically helps them in both their work and personal lives. He’s taught over 1000 staff at Cornell University, and over a 1000 other educators in FranklinCovey’s Leader in Me process. Before coming to FranklinCovey, he spent 23 years in leadership and management over a career spanning multiple industries, including six years in the United States Army Transportation Corps, seven years in telecommunications, and 9 years working in higher education. Michael has a B.A. in education with an emphasis in computer science and math.