SLI 2018 Speakers and Keynotes

Steve Gilliland

Thursday General Session: Purpose-Driven Leadership

Steve Gilliland


Steve Gilliland is a master storyteller and comedian who is passionate about education.

Steve speaks to more than 250,000 people a year and influences the lives of millions through his keynote speeches, books, CDs, and DVDs. The author of Detour, Enjoy the Ride, Hide Your Goat, and Making a Difference, he perennially makes best-seller lists, has been recognized by Who’s Who for Speakers and Business Professionals and is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. He can be heard daily on SiriusXM Radio’s Laugh USA.

Steve believes you must embody the positive ideas of your school district’s vision and constantly remind yourself of how important your role is in improving achievement for students. He focuses on the conscious choices made every day that affect the lives of others and the positive influences we all can have. His Making a  Difference™ keynote centers on three empowering dynamics: purpose, passion, and pride. 

The essential, motivating truth that drives his work is that we all have the power to bring others hope.


Friday General Session: Fearless Leadership

Linda Cliatt-Wayman


Linda Cliatt-Wayman, a fierce advocate for children, has spent three decades fighting for children in poverty to be properly educated in Philadelphia Public Schools.

With a BA from Kutztown University and MA from St. Joseph’s University, Linda spent 20 years as a special education teacher and has since succeeded in turnaround efforts as principal at several Philadelphia schools. She now serves as principal and founder of CurrentlyTrending, a nonprofit that provides leadership coaching and support to disadvantaged teenagers so they will graduate high school in four years and pursue a life of purpose.

Her powerful leadership and success with students have caused people to take notice. ABC’s Diane Sawyer and her team documented Linda’s efforts during an entire school year and featured her work on ABC World News Tonight and Nightline. She was named a KYW Gamechanger and won the 2014 Philadelphia Magazine Trailblazer Award and the 2014 Philadelphia Maneto Award. Her 2015 TED Talk describes her loving, fierce leadership in the interest of children.

The author of Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard: Finding Your Purpose and Putting It to Work, Linda is driven by her love for her students. At the end of announcements each morning, she reminds students: “If no one told you they loved you today, remember I do and always will.”


Saturday General Session: Transformative Leadership

Roberto Rivera


Roberto Rivera is an artist, educator, and change agent who specializes in applying best practices in engaging youth using practical and relevant methods.

He is president and lead change agent for The Good Life Organization, which publishes multimedia educational tools and trains educators, youth workers, and parents in connecting positive youth development to community development.

Roberto received his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he created his own major, entitled “Social Change, Youth Culture, and the Arts.” He received his MEd at the University of Illinois at Chicago in youth development with a focus on social justice, urban education, and hip-hop. For more than a decade, Roberto has employed asset-based and social-emotional learning principles in community-based youth work in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Chicago. His work has been recognized with awards from President Bill Clinton, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and others. 

His presentations cover science-based research as well as his own story of transforming from a dope dealer to a hope dealer, incorporating stories from his work with communities around the nation.