Winter Governance Seminar
2019 Keynote Speakers

First General Session Speaker

Will RichardsonAnne Grady
Speaker, Author, Mom, Wife, Daughter, Friend, Volunteer, and Dog Lover

Anne Grady (@AnneGradyGroup) is not your typical motivational speaker. She is a bestselling author, two-time TEDx speaker, trainer, survivor, optimist, inspirer, and truth bomb dropper. Anne has a master’s degree in organizational communication and has spent the last 20 years working with some of the largest organizations around the globe. She has become known as an expert on communication, leadership, emotional intelligence, and resilience, contributing to Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, and FOX Business, among other organizations.

Audiences love her raw honesty, edgy humor, authenticity, and insight. Anne shares inspiring personal stories, cutting-edge, research-based content, and implementation tools to transfer learning into real-life situations, helping to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. Moreover, she’ll make you laugh while she does it. 

In her first book, 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work, Anne provides practical strategies to improve relationships, increase productivity and reduce stress. In her most recent book, Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience, and Triumph, Anne draws from her personal life experiences that touch the hearts and minds of audience members, helping them use adversity as a catalyst to grow “strong enough.”

Second General Session: Student Voices
Students, Leaders, Activists

In 2018, TASB debuted a unique general session showcasing students from across the country who are leading the Student Voices movement. For the second year in a row, attendees will be able to experience this panel focusing on themes of inequality in the education system, the power of students as education activists, and strategies for effectively integrating students in the school governance structure.

Andrew Brennen, Moderator

Andrew BrennenAndrew Brennen (@aebrennen) will serve as the moderator for Friday morning's Student Voice discussion. Andrew is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he majors in political science. He cofounded the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team in 2012 as a junior in high school. Andrew helped launch and lead many projects to amplify and elevate students as partners in improving Kentucky schools. Andrew is now the National Field Director for Student Voice, a national organization with the goal of bridging the gap between students and the education community. He has led a nationwide tour with the purpose of engaging thousands of students across the country through a platform called the “Student Bill of Rights.” Andrew has assisted a wide range of organizations in engaging students, including The White House, The Obama Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, Google, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, XQ, and SXSW EDU.

John Barnitt

John Barnitt is currently a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. After 17 of his classmates/teachers lives were unjustly lost in the February 2018 school shooting, John gathered with fellow students to organize the March for Our Lives. This movement started with a March in Washington D.C. that had over 800,000 participants and 850+ rallies across the nation. After the March, Johns Activism was far from over. He went on to be one of the lead organizers for the Road to Change: a nation-wide tour that was centered around voter registration and civil conversation. Currently, John is working on projects to increase awareness for gun violence and campaigns to get students involved in the political arena.



Adam Alhanti

Adam Alhanti is a Senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and a survivor of the massacre that took place in February 2018. Inspired to make sure that such a horrific act terror never happens again, Adam assembled immediately after the occurrence with fellow classmates to call for stricter gun laws. Along with his fellow classmates, he was a key organizer for the March for Our Lives Rally in Washington, DC. The event was attended by over 800,000 people and over 1.2 million participants across the globe joined in through sister Marches. Over the summer, Adam was a leader on the “Road to Change” tour. He was joined by student survivors from Parkland along with gun violence survivors from across the nation, holding town halls, rallies and other informative events aimed at registering thousands of voters in over 80  communities across the country. Currently, Adam is the Special Projects Director for March for Our Lives.

Afi Tagnedji

Afi Tagnedji is a Senior at Iroquois High school where She is student body president and presides over many leadership and service committees. She was born in Togo but grew up in Ghana ( West Africa). Afi moved to the United States in May 2015 to live with her family. Her work with student's voice is mostly centered in Jefferson County where she works with the Superintendent and the Racial Policy and Equity Advisory Council. Her passion, Social Justice, has led to collaborations with State organizations like Kentucky for the Commonwealth and the Prichard Committee's Student Voice Team where she continues to reach higher levels of student voice with meaningful, purposeful action.

Joshua Dantzler 

Joshua Dantzler is a sophomore at American University pursuing a degree in political science with a minor in communications and is a student of the school's leadership program. Originally from Rock Hill, SC, his upbringing has led him to have a passion for addressing inequities, a spirit for community involvement, and an interest in organizing both in person and online. Today Joshua serves as Student Voice's social media director. Joshua has created impactful online conversations that translated into a real-world change in schools.



Third General Session Speaker

Poet Ali
Speaker, Writer, Creative Troubadour

Poet Ali is a motivational speaker, actor, writer, and hip-hop troubadour. He uses his many talents to simultaneously entertain and teach, making him right at home on the biggest stages in the world. Poet has toured global stages in Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and most of the United States and has been invited to share his talents at multiple national and international conferences, including the prestigious TED Talks stage.

Poet is currently on tour reaching out to youth through his music, empowerment, and activism. At his production studio in Long Beach, California, he works with artists, producers, and writers from all over the world. He is passionate about supporting a variety of causes, and education is one of those at the forefront of his work. He seeks to inspire and help adults and students reach their fullest potential, and he does it with a “matter of fact” rawness that resonates with all walks of life.

In addition to Saturday’s keynote address, Poet will also be presenting a unique session for students and district staff participating in WGS on Friday, February 22, 2-3 p.m.

Additional Information

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Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors

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