Featured Speakers

conference_speakers-01Sal Khan

Sal Khan is the founder of the Khan Academy, a nonprofit with the mission of providing free, high-quality education for “anyone, anywhere” in the world. Khan was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Khan graduated from MIT in 1998 with three degrees: two Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering/computer science; and a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering. He began his career working in technology and later earned his MBA at Harvard Business School. Khan then became an analyst at a Boston based hedge fund, which later relocated to Palo Alto in 2005. In 2004 as a side project, Khan began tutoring his young cousin in math, communicating by phone and using an interactive notepad. By 2006, word got around and Khan was tutoring 15 family friends and cousins as a hobby. To better scale, he began writing software to give his cousins practice and feedback in mathematics. To complement this software, he also began posting videos of his hand-scribbled tutorials on YouTube. Demand took off, and in 2009, when the practice problems and instructional videos were reaching tens of thousands of students per month, he quit his day job to commit himself fully to the not-for-profit Khan Academy. The Khan Academy website now provides a self-pacing guided learning experience with over 100,000 practice exercises and 5,000 instructional videos covering everything from basic arithmetic to college level science and economics. It’s the most-used library of educational lessons on the web, with over 10 million unique students per month, over 300 million lessons delivered, and over a billion exercises completed. Over 100,000 educators around the world are also using Khan Academy to help build student mastery of topics and to free up class time for dynamic project based learning! Khan has been profiled by 60 Minutes, recognized as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Fortune’s annual 40 Under 40, and Fast Company’s list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. Sal Khan is a true education pioneer. He started by posting a math lesson, but his impact on education might truly be incalculable – Bill Gates As a not-for-profit, we’re just like, “What’s our mission?” To educate children, as well as possible. I’ve said it enough times and it’s in our mission statement: a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. – Sal on the Khan Academy See Sal’s TED talk on using video to reinvent education. Read Sal’s book The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined.

Steven Michael Quezada

Actor, Breaking Bad; Secretary, Board of Education, Albuquerque Public Schools Steven Michael Quezada portrayed DEA Agent Steven Gomez on the Emmy Award winning television series Breaking Bad. Steven has kept himself very busy since wrapping Breaking in the spring – he recently appeared performing stand-up comedy on The Arsenio Hall Show and also worked on the feature film La Vida Robot starring and produced by George Lopez. Steven also hosts his own late-night talk show, The After After Party with Steven Michael Quezada on the CW network. Steven is dedicated to his community and to finding ways to improve the education of our children. He serves as Secretary for the Board of Education for Albuquerque Public Schools in New Mexico. Steven has been involved with a wide array of fundraising and public awareness endeavors in the Albuquerque community for over 30 years, including scholarships, motivational speaking, mentoring and teaching.


Frank Luntz

American political strategist, consultant, and pollster Frank Luntz is one of the most honored communication professionals in America today. “The Nostradamus of pollsters,” said Sir David Frost, Time magazine named him one of “50 of America’s most promising leaders aged 40 and under” and he is the “hottest pollster” in America according to the Boston Globe. Frank was named one of the four “Top Research Minds” by Business Week and was a winner of the coveted Washington Post “Crystal Ball” award for being the most accurate pundit. His focus groups have become so influential that presidential candidate Barack Obama had this to say following the PBS presidential debate, “When Frank Luntz invites you to talk to his focus group, you talk to his focus group.”

punam-01Punam Mathur

Appointee, Nevada Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Education Reform Punam Mathur was formerly Vice President of Employee & Community Engagement at NV Energy (2009-11), a position that connected her to approximately 2,700 employees throughout the 45,592-mile service territory of NV Energy, while participating in community events throughout Nevada.  Prior to that, she served for 13 years in the gaming industry, by the end, as senior vice president, corporate diversity and community affairs, for MGM MIRAGE. During her tenure, MGM MIRAGE received numerous awards in her areas of responsibility, including being ranked among the “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” by Diversity Inc magazine and one of the “Top Corporations in the U.S.” for multicultural businesses by DiversityBusiness.com. Prior to joining Mirage Resorts in 1996, she had been with the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce for six years, holding a variety of management positions, the last of which was Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. Mathur currently serves as immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees for Three Square, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating hunger in southern Nevada. Additionally, she serves as a member of the advisory board for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. An avid supporter of education, she is an appointee to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Education Reform, is a member of the Superintendent’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Empowerment and an Executive Committee member of the Nevada Partnership for Inclusive Education.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 12.01.50 PMCampbell Brown

Writer and award-winning journalist Campbell Brown is a writer and award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast and Slate, and who has also covered stories around the globe for CNN and NBC News. Through her writing and reporting on education issues, Brown became a passionate advocate for school choice and education reform. Brown is the co-founder of the Parents Transparency Project, a non-profit watchdog group on behalf of parents seeking information and accountability from the teachers’ unions and Department of Education on actions impacting children in schools. She also serves on the boards of Success Academies, a New York City charter school network and Turnaround, a non-profit addressing the emotional effects of poverty on a child’s learning environment. She is also a board member of the Jewish Community Project, a preschool and community center in Lower Manhattan. Previously, Brown hosted the primetime nightly news program, Campbell Brown for CNN, and spent 11 years at NBC News where she served as White House Correspondent and primary substitute anchor for Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News. Brown also hosted the Weekend Edition of the Today Show. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

matthew-petersonMatthew Peterson, Ph.D.

Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Scientist, MIND Research Institute Matthew oversees the engineering sales, marketing, development and education service activities for the MIND Research Institute. Matthew leads a team in developing math learning environments that initially convey sophisticated concepts visually, rather than verbally, enabling students to gain a deep conceptual understanding of mathematics regardless of language proficiency. As a child, Matthew struggled with traditional language-based instruction due to dyslexia, created MIND’s ST Math(r) software to enable students to learn math through his unique non-language-based visual approach. The revolutionary ST Math software has proven to raise students’ math scores on standardized tests and currently reaches over half a million students. Matthew has spoken at numerous national and international math and education conferences, before the National Mathematics Advisory Panel and recently was featured at TEDx Orange Coast. After completing his undergraduate degrees in biology, electrical engineering and Chinese language and literature from UC Irvine, he went on to obtain his Ph.D. in visual neuroscience from UC Berkeley.