The Vermont Principals Association
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Dr. Jennifer Norrell has served as superintendent since 2018 for East Aurora School District. Norrell was named 2022 Superintendent of the Year for Illinois’ largest region of Kishwaukee. Norrell is the leader of the 12th largest school district in Illinois overseeing a $300M annual budget and roughly 2,000 employees. Serving as the first female superintendent in 180 years in the State of Illinois’ oldest public-school district. She leads the Pre-K– 12th grade district with equity-focused leadership and proudly implements the only districtwide dual language program in Illinois. In over 25 years, Norrell has served in many roles including teacher, school and district leader for high school and Pre-K–12th grade unit school districts. She also served as district liaison for Illinois, overseeing underperforming districts across the state through a partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Norrell also served many years as university faculty for Saint Xavier University and Governors State University. Norrell has served as consultant supporting improvement efforts and mentoring leaders for Dallas ISD, Indianapolis and Atlanta Public Schools, and school principals in Chicago Public Schools. She also presents at numerous State, national, and regional conferences including the American Educational Research Association (AERA), U.S. Department of Education ESEA Conference, College Board Forum, and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). Norrell, a 2021 Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Honoree, serves on the College Board’s National Superintendent’s Advisory Council, Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI) as an ED Leader, and member of Midwest Suburban Superintendent’s Association (MSSA). In Fall of 2022, Dr. Norrell was elected nationally as a Trustee for the College Board for a four-year term. Norrell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Hampton University in Virginia, a Master of Education from Saint Xavier University and a Doctorate of Education from Loyola University Chicago.

Storyteller Ferene Paris is the founder of All Heart Inspirations where she creates heart-centered spaces through live performances, interactive workshops, and community engagements. Known for living out loud as a Black Haitian femme, she embodies courageous truth-telling and vulnerable vibes as an artist. Aspiring to make a collective difference within her local Vermont community and beyond – one story at a time – Ferene has manifested over 100 storytelling offerings. Highlights include opening up for activist/author Dr. Angela Davis and musician/actress Angélique Kidjo, heartfelt keynotes, storytelling workshops, artist residencies, and guest appearances on a variety of Vermont Public programs such as Brave Little State, Homegoings, and Vermont Edition, as well as Seven Days’ Stuck in Vermont.

Ferene’s feature on Vermont Public’s Homegoings was nominated for an Emmy in the Best Interview/Discussion category. She believes we all have stories worthy of sharing and will be asking attendees “What’s yours?!”

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