2019 Convention Workshops

Check out the workshop decriptions below for the 2019 MSEA Convention on October 18-19 in Ocean City, MD. Click here for a schedule grid of all workshops.

Friday, 8:30 a.m.

ROOM 201

Surviving Adolescence in the Classroom: The Development Dynamic

Adolescence is a transitional and developmental stage in human growth, typically from age 10 to 19, where a child matures into adulthood. It is during this pivotal time that educators need the most support to guide these young people towards academic and emotional success.

Presenter:  Tomeko L. Vick is a secondary educator with 20 years of experience in elementary, middle, and alternative settings. She is an advocate for all things education related and passionate about professional development and instructional mentorship.

ROOM 202

Collaboration through Technology: Resourceful Strategies to Support Diverse Learner Growth

This session will explore an innovative avenue towards implementing evidence-based approaches to student learning. We will target building access to language and literacy strategies for students with diverse backgrounds and students who are struggling academically. These skills will allow you to maximize the efficiency of your collaboration and manage your time effectively.


Laura Sibbald is a nationally certified speech language pathologist working with Prince George’s County Public Schools. She is certified as a Relationship Development Intervention School Autism Specialist and has completed her Admin I. Laura is the co-author of Parenting Toolbox, which uses a cognitive behavioral approach to improve social-emotional capacities.

Alysha Lawrence is a licensed speech language pathologist who practices in Maryland and Washington, DC. Alysha began as a clinician working in early intervention, clinics, and public and non-public schools specifically designed for children with autism. Her special interests are in the area of speech, language, and pragmatics.

ROOM 203

Promoting Student Achievement Through Student Engagement

This session will provide ways that participants can engage students using various strategies across content areas. Participants will understand how to design instructional activities that are fun and reflect the specific needs of their students.

Presenter:  Maya Lars is a National Board Certified Teacher who has been a passionate educator for over 18 years.  She has enjoyed many roles, including elementary classroom teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, instructional lead teacher, adjunct professor, assessment and curriculum writer/evaluator, NBCT mentor/cohort facilitator, education consultant, and reading specialist.

ROOM 204

Fostering Respect and Empathy

In this workshop, you will take an interactive deep dive into activities from First Book’s new Promoting Respect & Empathy Toolkit. You will have the opportunity to participate in an open dialogue with fellow educators to learn and discuss further strategies to promote empathy and respect with your students.


Katie Donlevie is a senior manager of partnership development at First Book. Katie leads many of First Book’s partnerships with national, state, and local nonprofit organizations to design and implement strategies to meet partners’ strategic goals using First Book resources.

Julye Williams is the director of resource development at First Book. She is responsible for the development of resources that meet the needs of First Book’s 375,000 members. Combining research-based insight with national thought leaders and industry expert practices, Julye leads the creation of educator resources that support teachers, youth programs, libraries, and other groups serving children in need.

ROOM 205

Innocence Stolen: Protecting Our Children Online

This presentation informs adults about how best to protect young people from negative and criminal influences online. Topics include social networking, cyber bullying, sexting, and internet predators. The program provides prevention and intervention strategies along with internet safety resources.

Presenter: Vincent DeVivo is a community outreach specialist for the US Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland. He is a certified Maryland Police/Training Commissions instructor and Gang Awareness trainer. He served on the MSDE workgroup that developed a statewide model policy on gangs and similar destructive group behaviors.

ROOM 206

Adult Workplace Bullying

Have you ever felt that you were in the midst of adult-on-adult bullying? Great focus is often placed on student bullying, while adults inappropriate behavior occurs far too often and is rarely acknowledged.


Seleste Odewole is an MSEA UniServ Director who has worked with the teachers and education support professionals of Baltimore County for the past five years. She has been with NEA as a member or staffer for more than 17 years. 

Debra Garner is MSEA’s statewide ESP Organizer focusing on membership recruitment and member empowerment, skill building, and leadership development. She began her career at MSEA 21 years ago as a communications specialist.

ROOM 210

Elevating Standards-Aligned Instruction for English Language Learners

Common Core State Standards calls for all students, including English language learners, to master an array of academic language practices that are critical to achievement in content areas. Learn three key strategies to elevating instruction for your elementary English-language learners.


Susan Gordon is a learning and achievement specialist supporting school leadership teams in Montgomery County Public Schools. She has extensive experience teaching English language learners and planning and facilitating adult learning around English-language acquisition.

Melaika Brown is a learning and achievement specialist supporting school leadership teams, focusing on increasing student access to learning in Montgomery County Public Schools. She has extensive experience with curriculum and instruction, implementing professional learning, and mentoring new teachers.

Friday, 10:20 a.m.

ROOM 201

Classroom Management through the Integration of a Youth Development Approach

“How do I get young people to stop disrupting my class and stop behaving negatively?” This interactive workshop will provide participants with the tools necessary to create and maintain a learning environment that engages students as willing participants in their own development. 

Presenters:  Thandor Miller is a youth development specialist and master facilitator of youth work practice. He has been in the field of youth development and out-of-school-time (OST) programing in Washington, DC for 35 years. He is the founder and CEO of Washington Enrichment and Cultural Arts Network Inc., where he created a model OST program.

Syreeta Evans is the learning and development manager and master youth development facilitator with the Center for Youth Development at the United Way of the National Capital Area. She holds a master’s degree in Organization Development from American University.

ROOM 202

#FigureItOut: Mind-Blowing Classroom Management Strategies to the Rescue!

Classroom management never made more sense. In this jam-packed session, participants will be engaged and empowered with techniques needed to set high expectations, maximize instructional time, and create effective classroom environments while minimizing behavioral disruptions. Educators will stand tall and immediately deliver lessons with confidence and productivity using strategies from this workshop.

Presenter: Shonda Pegram-Wooden is a science educator of secondary education with Prince George’s County Public Schools. She has educated, trained, and coached numerous students and teachers at all levels. She specializes in building teacher capacity and fully understands the classroom experience of educators.

ROOM 203

Mindset Matter: Embracing Social, Academic, and Pedagogy Change

This interactive workshop helps educators embrace changes within their profession. Activities will provide participants with tangible strategies to implement social, academic, and pedagogical changes.

Presenter: Kelli Hickey is a veteran teacher in Baltimore County Public Schools. She is passionate about helping learners of all ages use mindset strategies and restorative practices in order develop confidence and achieve academic success. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at Notre Dame of Maryland University.

ROOM 204

Exploring Unconscious Bias

The truth is that everyone has unconscious biases. Whether our actions are consciously or unconsciously informed, the impact on our students is the same. In this workshop, you will explore your unconscious biases and learn specific, actionable strategies that you can apply in your day-to-day work.

Presenters:  Julye Williams and Katie Donlevie

For presenter bios, see Fostering Respect and Empathy, Friday, 8:30 a.m.

ROOM 205

Innocence Stolen: Protecting Our Children Online

This presentation informs adults about how best to protect young people from negative and criminal influences online. Topics include social networking, cyber bullying, sexting, and internet predators. The program provides prevention and intervention strategies along with internet safety resources.

Presenter:  Vincent DeVivo

For presenter bio, see Innocence Stolen: Protecting Our Children Online, Friday 8:30 a.m.

ROOM 206

Educational Leaders: Building Relationships and Leveraging Influence

Educational leadership requires the ability to communicate in a way that builds productive relationships. Through these relationships, leaders can leverage their influence to make a positive impact. This interactive session will focus on proven strategies and insight to strengthen communication that empowers and motivates others to increase performance and efficiency.


Edward Reed is a school counselor and award-winning executive coach and trainer who has spent over 20 years strengthening communities and developing students, teachers, and administrators. He works to transform lives through leadership development, wellness, self-care, and personal growth.

Darryl V. Johnson has served in education for almost 20 years as a school counselor, program manager, and assistant principal. His passions are learning, motivational presentations, and serving as a champion for all children.

ROOM 210

Building Harmony in the Classroom

The Sanford Harmony program complements social-emotional learning in elementary classrooms and is a student relationship-building resource. Build harmony in your classroom that can easily be integrated throughout the curriculum on a daily basis. Learn how to access this free resource and familiarize yourself with a few of the interactive strategies for building a strong classroom climate.


Barbara Friedlander is a learning achievement specialist for Montgomery County Public Schools, specializing in special education, supporting school leadership teams on school improvement, and effective first instructional strategies. Barbara has presented at national and state conferences and is the author of Powerful Writing for All.

Larryelle Phillips is the regional ambassador at Sanford Harmony. She has extensive experience working in the education management industry and has taught at the public school and university level. She is highly experienced with building a strong community through social services in education, classroom management, and lesson planning.

Friday, 12:10 p.m.

ROOM 201

Every Day in Every Way...

Participants will build an instructional assessment toolkit to cognitively engage students, monitor progress, assess student learning, and provide authentic feedback on an ongoing basis in the classroom.


Rima Garg currently works as a mentor teacher with the Office of Talent Development in Prince George’s County Public Schools. Her series of science books for elementary schools is used internationally. She is a doctoral candidate pursuing a degree in educational leadership with a focus in STEM.

Padmavathy Srinivasan is currently working as a high school math teacher in Prince George's County Public Schools. She is passionate about teaching and has taught math at different grade levels over her 25 years of teaching experinece in diverse cultures.

ROOM 202

#MindsetMatters: Live, Laugh, and Love Learning! Critical Thinking through Engagement

This intense session includes multiple strategies, techniques, and learning activities to engage students of all ages and intelligences through participation and inquiry to increase student achievement. Interactive activities focus on constructing meaning, including human graphing and creating synectics. Participants will also learn to effectively incorporate brainstorming, randomness, and questioning in your lessons.

Presenter: Shonda Pegram-Wooden

For presenter bio, see #FigureItOut: Mind Blowing Classroom Management Strategies to the Rescue!, Friday 10:20 a.m.

ROOM 203

Using Powerful Language during Instruction to Increase the Academic Achievement of Reluctant Learners

If you are out of your wits trying to teach and reach reluctant learners, the use of powerful language with students will resuscitate them back to a rewarding academic life. These magic words will change the game in your classroom with reluctant learners. Batter up!

Presenter: Gary Hughes is a 20-year veteran teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools. He entered public education as a classroom teacher at James Madison Middle School in Upper Marlboro, where he taught seventh- and eighth-grade English, and seventh- and eighth-grade remedial reading.

ROOM 204

A Seat at the Table: Beyond Access to True Inclusive Membership!

Decades of research has steadily proven that inclusive education benefits all students andstrengthens schools. It is important for stakeholders to respond to the ever growing needs of our diverse student population by promoting social justice in our schools and establishing a seat at the table for all students.

Presenter:  Dr. Crystal Ricks serves as an inclusive programming specialist for Calvert County Public Schools. Before that, she served as an instructional site facilitator and instructional coach in Georgia. She also serves with AdvancED to conduct rigorous, on-site reviews at various institutions.

Friday, 12:30 p.m.

ROOM 210 

The New Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Tool   

With the high cost of higher education, the federal government has created programs that may reduce or eliminate your federal student loans. This effort to entice graduates into public service is great, if you know how to access the information. Due to the complex nature of determining if you qualify, NEA Member Benefits is working to help you see what debt you may be able to eliminate using your specific information. This one-hour workshop can help guide you through the initial steps—whether you do this on your own or chose our partner company to file the paperwork for you at a nominal annual fee. This is one workshop that may pay you to attend!

Presenter:  Michael Gavin has served as an NEA Member Benefits affiliate relations specialist for more than 10 years.

Saturday, 8:30 a.m.

ROOM 201

Coming to America: Pathways to Counteract Political Campaigns on Students

As the 2020 presidential campaign begins, U.S. immigration policy will be a conflicting and polarizing issue. In this session, you will learn about resources, support, and strategies that can aid the personal and academic success of your students who may be adversely impacted by political campaign rhetoric.

Presenter: Laura Brown is an experienced library media specialist who provides teachers and students with curriculum, culturally and ethnically relevant resources, materials, support, and instruction. At her school, she provides assistance to the Minority Scholars Program, the New Experiences Club (designed to provide immigrant students with traditional American experiences), and sponsors a book club.

ROOM 202

Empowering Students through Voice and Choice: Next Steps in Differentiation

This workshop will explore the power of student-driven differentiation. Participants will learn how to become a choice coach—an educator who helps students build resiliency while designing personalized pathways to increase their  achievement. Put your students in the driver’s seat of their learning while transforming them from dependent learners to independent scholars.

Presenter:  Amy Kines brings over 25 years of experience as a classroom teacher, staff developer, and instructional specialist to her company, Ready Aim Teach. She has achieved National Board Certification and holds a master’s in school administration from Johns Hopkins University.

ROOM 204

Maximizing Student Success in Secondary Schools through School Meal Programs

This interactive session will explore how school breakfast can positively impact students’ readiness to learn while also creating a more equitable school environment. We will explore food insecurity as it relates to secondary school students, attendance, and how the transition to alternative breakfast models and participation in afterschool and summer meals supports students.

Presenter:  Kevin Large is the director of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Maryland campaign. No Kid Hungry is a national non-profit committed to ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. Prior to joining No Kid Hungry, Kevin held several senior positions within the Maryland governor’s office, including in communications and procurement.

ROOM 205

Integrating Literacy into the Social Science Classroom through Court Cases

What skills and strategies do you expect your students to know and be able to use before they begin your course? Learn how literacy is bringing life into social science.

Presenter:  Sunta D. Harris is a leader in teacher mentoring, using behavior management, literacy integration, and co-teaching to give educators best practices to succeed in the classroom. She trains on co-teaching in the secondary classroom, implementing literacy in the non-English classroom, and behavior management.

ROOM 206

Resumé Writing and Interview Skills

This session is designed to teach you techniques and strategies to improve your resumé and perfect your interview skills so you can land your ideal job. Participants will receive hands-on instruction and may bring their resumés for personalized critiques.

Presenters:  Debra Garner and Seleste Odewole

For presenter bios, see Adult Workplace Bullying, Friday, 8:30 a.m.

ROOM 210

IEP 101 for the Elementary Teacher

Participants will become familiar with the components of the Maryland Online Individual Educational Program (MOIEP) forms and how the information impacts the day-to-day teaching of students in grades K–5.


Barbara Friedlander is a learning achievement specialist for Montgomery County Public Schools, specializing  in special education, supporting school leadership teams on school improvement, and effective first instructional strategies. Barbara has presented at national and state conferences and is the author of Powerful Writing for All.

Saturday, 10:20 a.m.

ROOM 201

Classroom Management through the Integration of  A Youth Development Approach

“How do I get young people to stop disrupting my class and stop behaving negatively?” This interactive workshop will provide participants with the tools necessary to create and maintain a learning environment that engages students as willing participants in their own development. 

Presenters:  Thandor Miller and Syreeta Evans

For presenter bios, see Classroom Management through the Integration of a Youth Development Approach, Friday 10:20 a.m.

ROOM 204

Creating a Culture of Caring So Kids Can Learn

All students have an emotional need for belonging and acceptance, as well as for meaningful and healthy relationships. When you create a learning environment that meets the emotional needs of your students, they will be motivated, enthusiastic, and ready for the many challenges of their school experience.

Presenter:  Dr. Laura Jones is a veterna elementary school counselor of 24 years. She tries to guide her students in their personal growth by increasing their self-esteem, enhancing their relationships with others, navigating through difficult situations, and finding joy in their life.

ROOM 206

Educators at Risk: Learn What Legal Risks Educators Face in Today’s World of Social Media, Technology, and Hypersensitivity

Do you know what you should do if you are falsely accused by a student, parent, or colleague? Do you know how school systems often react when their employees are accused of improper behavior? Are you aware of new school policies that restrict activities which may have been permissible in the past? Do you know how school employees are disciplined? Do you know what are the most commons reasons an educator may find themselves in court? Do you know your legal responsibility when handling school funds? This session will address these questions and more.

Presenter: Damon Felton has served as MSEA associate counsel since 2001. He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Morgan State University and received his law degree with honors from Howard University School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

ROOM 210

Winning Student Cooperation: Influence Student Adversaries to Be Classroom Allies

This workshop will provide educators with insights, tips, strategies, and encouragement to aid them in influencing students to take greater ownership of their role and responsibility within the classroom. Participants will learn how to embrace a consistent mindset towards their students that unlocks their full potential to excel and thrive.

Presenter:  Cortland Jones is a Prince George's County Public Schools educator with 26 years of service. He has been a cooperative discipline workshop facilitator for PGCPS for over 13 years. He has also presented on classroom management in July 2018 and2019 at the Black Educators Rock Conference in Florida andNorth Carolina.