WGLS 2017 Speakers and Keynotes

Stacey Bess

Teacher, Advocate

Nobody Don’t Love Nobody is the story of young Stacey Bess’ first teaching assignment— the only job she could find, at “The School with No Name.” In a small shed behind a community homeless shelter, Stacey Bess taught children with no homes and little hope, an experience that effected a profound change in the teacher as well as her students. Stacey discovered that by teaching and modeling love, self-worth, personal power, and courage, she could reach children who had previously been labeled unteachable. These children have grown into living proof that Stacey’s methods work. Her memoir Nobody Don’t Love Nobody inspired the Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie Beyond the Blackboard

At a young age, love and service were modeled for Stacey by her mother, who provided emergency care for traumatized children in her home. Stacey can remember many times having frightened children tucked into bed with her in the middle of the night. As a teenager, she found writing poetry to be a healing process, and she has used that same process with the children she teaches. 

Stacey has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Utah. Her outstanding service has been recognized with a number of awards, including the National Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service. She has also enjoyed speaking in many forums around the country as she works to shed light on her quest as a leading advocate for the educational rights of impoverished children.

Pasi Sahlberg

Educator, Author, Scholar

Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish educator, author, and scholar. He is experienced in classroom teaching, training teachers and
leaders, coaching schools, and advising education policymakers around the world. Pasi has given more than 400 keynote speeches and published over 100 articles, chapters, and books on education.
Pasi’s professional interests are educational change and leadership, student learning, and global education policy development. He has worked with the OECD, World Bank, European Union, and several governments in Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and North America. He has provided high-level strategic
advice to policymakers, prepared and reviewed education reforms and institutions, analyzed education reforms, and spoken to the public and professionals about education and training.

Pasi is a member of the Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundations (Education Support Program), the Center on International Education Benchmarking (of the National Center for Education and the Economy), and laureate of Kappa Delta Pi in the United States. He is adjunct professor at the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu and former director
general of CIMO (Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) at Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture in Helsinki.

His book Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? has won several awards around the world. He is also known as an international “school improvement activist” because of his direct links to practitioners and their communities.

Follow Pasi Sahlberg on Twitter

Patrick Briggs

AVID Texas State Director, Speaker

Back by popular demand!
Maybe you missed Patrick Briggs at last year’s WGLS, or maybe you were lucky enough to hear his inspiring message; either
way, you won’t want to miss him this year!
Patrick Briggs is a thought-provoking and motivational speaker. He encourages adults to examine their mindset and practice when considering if “all means all” in regard to educating students. His high-energy presentations move listeners to positive action, both in and out of the classroom. 

Patrick Briggs is a proud 1991 and 1993 graduate of Prairie View A&M University, where he earned his bachelor of science in biology and a master of education in educational administration. Patrick is now the AVID Texas State director. AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other postsecondary opportunities. He comes to this position after five years as the AVID Texas State assistant director. Before that he spent 15 years as a teacher and administrator in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. 
Patrick believes that any perceived “achievement gaps” are the result of opportunity gaps and expectations gaps that adults must work together to close. He serves on the dream team of AVID’s African American Male Initiative, which is going into its fourth year of working with predominantly African American schools to decrease the opportunity and expectation gaps by focusing on an asset model and Culturally Relevant Teaching for all populations of students. This work led to the highly successful Culturally Relevant Teaching course that
is offered at AVID’s Summer Institutes. 

Patrick’s passion lies in helping all learners achieve at high levels so all students are college and career-ready upon completion of high school. He believes that all students deserve a high-quality education that will enable them to make choices in life that will lead to success in any field of their choosing.

Follow Patrick Briggs on Twitter.

Keynote speakers Stacey Bess and Pasi Sahlberg will each be at the helm of a small group dialogue session immediately following their general session presentations. Each session is limited to the first 20 people who pre-select the session and is designed with experienced board members in mind. We were inspired by the idea of having dinner with the captain on a cruise ship and dubbed these sessions “In the Captain’s Cabin.” You will receive a special pass to the session.

Call for Programs

Session submissions have now closed. If you or your school district would like to present at WGLS in 2017 please e-mail us. This year, we are especially interested in sessions including or lead by students. Our hope is to develop a new session strand at WGLS, we're calling Student Voices. Read More Here.


For additional information about this event, contact us at 800.580.8272.

2016 Sponsors

Claycomb Associates Architects          Walsh Gallegos Trevino Russo & Kyle, P.C.