2018 Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Madeline Levine PhD
Author of Teach Your Children Well and The Price of Privilege

Madeline Levine, Ph.D. is a psychologist with close to 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant, educator and author. Her New York Times bestseller, The Price of Privilege, explores the reasons why teenagers from affluent families are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems. Her latest book, Teach Your Children Well, also a New York Times bestseller, tackles our current narrow definition of success – how it unnecessarily stresses academically talented kids and marginalizes many more whose talents and interests are less amenable to measurement. The development of skills needed to be successful in the 21st century – creativity, collaboration, innovation – are not easily developed in our competitive, fast-paced, high pressure world. Teach Your Children Well gives practical, research-based solutions to help parents return their families to healthier and saner versions of themselves by remembering that successful parenting is measured 20 or 30 years down the road, not at the end of any particular grading period.

Dr. Levine is also a co-founder of Challenge Success, a project at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. Challenge Success believes that our increasingly competitive world has led to tremendous anxiety about our children’s futures and has resulted in a high pressure, myopic focus on grades, test scores and performance. This kind of pressure and narrow focus isn’t helping our kids become the resilient, capable, meaningful contributors we need in the 21st century. Challenge Success provides families and schools with the practical research-based tools they need to raise healthy, motivated kids, capable of reaching their full potential.

Dr. Levine graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Education. She began her career as an elementary and junior high school teacher in the South Bronx of New York before moving to California and earning her M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology. She has had a large clinical practice with an emphasis on child and adolescent problems and parenting issues, and has taught Child Development classes to graduate students at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. For many years, Dr. Levine has been a consultant to various schools, from preschool through high school, public as well as private, throughout the country. Currently she spends most of her time crisscrossing the country speaking to parents, educators, students and business leaders as well as consulting with major corporations and high net worth individuals.

Dr. Levine has been featured on television programs such as Katie, The Today Show and The Lehrer Report and on multiple radio stations including NPR programs such as the Diane Rehm Show and Forum. Emailed over a million times, her August 2012 New York Times op ed piece is one of the most emailed op ed pieces in the history of the New York Times.

Dr. Levine and her husband of 35 years, Lee Schwartz, M.D. are the incredibly proud (and slightly relieved) parents of three newly minted and thriving adult sons.


Workshop Leaders

Sylvia Libow Martinez & Gary S. Stager

Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager are the authors of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, a book known worldwide as the “bible” of the classroom maker movement.

Sylvia works in schools around the world to bring the power of authentic learning into classrooms, particularly in STEM subjects. Sylvia holds a B.S. in electrical engineering and a masters degree in Education Technology. In earlier careers, she was an aerospace engineer, president of an educational non-profit, computer and video game designer, and senior scientist researching GPS navigational satellite systems.



Gary S. Stager is a leading expert and advocate for computer programming, robotics and learning-by-doing in classrooms and a pioneer in developing online learning systems. In addition to being a popular blogger and keynote speaker, Gary is a journalist, teacher educator, consultant, professor, and founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge institute for educators.



Dr. Heather Dyer

Dr. Heather Dyer is a licensed psychologist in Charlotte, NC who specializes in working with children with anxiety.  She practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and believe that most children who learn to use CBT strategies successfully will be able to use them throughout their lifetime.  Heather has a BA from Davidson College and her M.Ed. and PH.D. in Clinical and School Psychology from the University of Virginia.  She has been practicing for 17 years in a variety of settings including school, community mental health, and private practice.  When not working, Heather enjoys time with her family and time outdoors walking, running, biking and hiking.