Our Global Learning Community

Posted in: News

Mizzou Academy Hosts International Educational Leadership Conference 

How will you help your students fly this year?

A mesmerized group of 50+ educators leaned in close to marvel at the way Mizzou Academy high school student Laís Lazzarotto Basso was flying several feet above the ground. While Laís delighted conference attendees with her aerial dancing performance, the group responded to these questions in the chat.  

  • Q1. Share something amazing that is happening in your life. 
  • Q2. How will you help your teachers fly this year? (Name specific practices.)
  • Q3. How will you help your students fly this year? (Name specific practices.)

Whether with administrators or fourth graders, the centering of student voice/performance and multimodal approaches to online and blended learning is vital to the Mizzou Academy approach to global education. On Friday, August 26, Mizzou Academy hosted their annual Educational Leadership Conference. The theme was “Our Global Learning Community.” With well over 50 attendees, energy, engagement, and enthusiasm were high. 

Human-Centered Leadership

The day started with a powerful keynote by Dr. Peter Stiepleman on human-centered leadership. After the talk, Stephanie Walter, our Director of Teaching and Learning, said that she was “feeling energized. Working with our whole school community to encourage and celebrate lifelong learning is what it’s all about!” Human-centered leadership became a key touchstone throughout the rest of the conference. 

Next, Executive Director Dr. Kathryn Fishman-Weaver and Interim Dean Riley-Tillman of the University of Missouri’s College of Education and Human Development welcomed the attendees. Fishman-Weaver focused her remarks on Mizzou Academy’s core values of inclusion, innovation, access, and partnership. Riley-Tilman spoke about how Mizzou Academy is leading the way to the future of education. 

Ana Nikolaou spoke to the group about our Brazil office, and Tami Regan and Angie Hammons overviewed our partner and student handbooks. To close out the morning, Mathematics Division Chair Brennan Ransdell picked up his guitar and sang us all off to our first break.

Programs for Elementary, Middle, and High School

Following lunch, brunch, or breakfast depending on your time zone, we then went into our afternoon breakout sessions. Stephanie Walter, Jill Clingan, Jeff Kopolow, and Greg Soden led a session on our Dual Diploma program. Jill Clingan, our CoTeach Composition and Literature Lead Teacher, said, “I am so proud of the beautiful courses that we offer in the Dual Diploma program, and it’s always such a joy and an inspiration to connect with our learning partners. Brian Stuhlman and Dr. Sherry Denney led a session on Mizzou Global Scholars. Lisa DeCastro and Angie Hammons led sessions on our Elementary program. 

The conference also offered two professional learning sessions—one by Jacqueline Kay and Megan Lilien on the learner-centered classroom and another by Dr. Adrian Clifton, Kimberly Kester, Lisa DeCastro, and Dr. Kathryn Fishman-Weaver on advancing inclusion and representation in our classrooms. 

Expanding Access

The conference closed with another student performance by recent high school graduate Isabel Poller. Luiza Rodrigues Dutra, the school coordinator at Colégio Magno where Poller studied, said that she is “sensitive, responsible, caring, a friend, engaged, and determined. She always exceeds our expectations! In short, Isabel is a student whom our teachers are proud to know.” Poller is an Ismart scholar. Ismart is a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Brazil with a mission to expand access and increase mobility for exceptionally bright students. Mizzou Academy is proud to have several Ismart scholars across their partner schools. 

After the conference, Dr. Fishman-Weaver remarked, “It takes a huge team to pull off an international conference like this. In addition to the presenters, there is a lot happening behind the scenes including the work of our tech team—Angie Hammons, Sarah Michaels, Steven Turner, and Jackie Kay. Then again, in my humble opinion, there is no better team to put together something special like this.”

Mizzou Academy plans to host additional in-person and online professional development opportunities throughout the year.