Date and Time

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
8:00 a.m.-3:45 p.m. (CT)


Hyatt Regency
300 Reunion Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75207

State-based Issues

Global Citizenship (NASSP Student Leadership Initiative)
Service is the cornerstone of the National Honor Societies, in particular, an awareness of, concern for, and involvement in the well-being and success of others. In this session, participants will discuss global citizenship and their potential impact in schools, communities, and ultimately the world.

Improving Learning Environments
Schools remain central to a competitive workforce and productive communities. In this session, participants will discuss ways in which schools might be modernized to provide 21st-century learning environments.

Operation: Conservation
Municipalities across the country and around the world have seen even greater strain on natural resources as the climate change and urban development and renewal transform the terrain. Participants will learn about various strategies to improve conservation efforts in homes, schools, and larger communities.


8:00-8:45am Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:45am Opening Remarks and State Speaker

Jonathan D. Mathis, PhD, Director, National Honor Societies, NASSP

Cindy Kirby, Associate Executive Director, Director of Government Relations, Professional Development & High School Services, Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP)

9:55-11:10am Student Workshop I: Leadership Competencies

Effective and Persuasive Communication
Learn how to use your voice
Cumberland GH

Strategies for Community Engagement
Understand how to cultivate consensus with constituents
Cumberland L

Champion Social Justice Efforts
Build your knowledge in advocacy, cultural awareness, and diversity
Cotton Bowl—Atrium Level (2nd Floor)

Digital and Social Media
Become adept in strategy and effective content development
Cumberland EF

Project and Team Management
Take what you learn from vision to action
Cumberland K

Improving School Climate and Culture
Learn about the importance of a healthy school culture and how to exercise your student voice
Cumberland J

10:10: 10:55am Adviser Workshop: NHS & NJHS Policies and Procedures
Cumberland A&B
11:15am-12:15pm Student Workshop II: State-based Issues and Initiatives

Global Citizenship: Marsalis Hall
Improving Learning Environments: Cumberland EF
Operation: Conservation: Cumberland GH

11:30am-12:15pm Adviser Workshop: NHS & NJHS Programs and Resources
Cumberland A&B
12:20-1:10pm Luncheon and Keynote

Tuesday, March 7: Eva Vega-Olds, Director of Community and Diversity, The Town School, New York
Wednesday, March 8: Daniel Leon-Davis, Senior Creative Director, SOZE, and Social Media Director, Russell Simmons, New York

1:15-2:40pm Collaborative Work: Student Caucus Groups
(Please refer to the dot placed on your nametag.)
Blue Caucus Group: Cumberland L
Green Caucus Group: Cumberland K
Orange Caucus Group: Cumberland J
Red Caucus Group: Cumberland GH
Yellow Caucus Group: Cumberland EF
Light Blue Caucus Group: Cotton Bowl—Atrium Level (Second Floor)
2:40-2:45pm Afternoon Break
2:45-3:30pm Presentations: Student Caucus Groups
3:30-3:45pm Closing Remarks

Rebecca Lothringer, Ed.D.
Executive Director of Admissions
University of North Texas

Jonathan D. Mathis, Ph.D.
Director, National Honor Societies

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Presenters and Workshop Leaders

Keesha L. Coleman

Keesha L. Coleman is a project manager at Georgia State University where she manages high-level initiatives centered around the university’s strategic plan as well as special projects for the office of the provost. Her current role allows her to engage with several of the university’s key working groups and programs, including the Council for the Progress of Cities; Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and Women Lead, an undergraduate leadership program. Keesha is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all through public service and social engagement and considers herself a champion of bridging the gap.

Karen Dawson

Karen Dawson spent 32 years as a high school art and leadership teacher and was also involved in service learning. She earned numerous awards during her career, including the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President George Bush for her work with Habitat for Humanity. In 2012, she received an award for a new weekly community outreach program she co-founded that provides a meal for those in need in St. Louis. For the past five years, more than 40,000 meals have been served and the program is being emulated in 54 communities.

Leonel Diaz

Leonel A. Diaz is the coordinator of student leadership and engagement at the University of New Mexico. He is interested in mixing digital media with leadership development. For example, he is involved with development of a mobile app to help students track their leadership skill development through their involvement on a college campus. In his current role, he is working on creating a leadership center and a marketing campaign aimed at reducing sexual assault, discrimination, and hate bias.

Andrea Elzy

Andrea “Drea” Elzy has extensive experience in postsecondary education, student affairs, and student services. Her areas of expertise are residential education, diversity education, health and wellness education, paraprofessional mentoring, and innovation. Throughout her career, she has focused on helping students reach their highest academic and personal potential though mentorship and sharing her experiences. She holds a master’s in Higher Education from the University of Southern California and is a current doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Organizational Leadership at the University of Southern California.

Andy Costanzo

Andy Costanzo is a long time educator and student activity advisor. An advocate for leadership education for over 30 years, he has been recognized nationally as Student Council Advisor of the Year as well as Workshop Director of the Year. As a speaker, presenter and trainer in over 35 states and China, Andy works with students and activity advisors to make a difference in their schools and communities.

Brandon Lee Stuart

Brandon Lee Stuart is a 2010 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, where he dual-concentrated in behavioral biology and East Asian studies. As a member of the Episcopal Service Corps following graduation, Brandon spent two years in Los Angeles helping to pilot the Collegiate Identity and Participation Model, a college-readiness initiative created to address the educational needs of local underserved charter schools. Brandon’s ultimate career goal is to start a think-tank that will tactfully evaluate ways in which social innovation can evolve in tandem with technological innovation.

Courtney Melos

Courtney Melos is a social media specialist for mdg (Marketing Design Group), working directly with NHS and NJHS social media accounts. She is extremely interested in the growth of the industry and is passionate about how the power of social media can be used creatively to communicate a message. She has worked with major accounts in the past such as Planet Fitness and Dockers Khakis and is now working on bridging the gap among secondary school advisers, teachers, principals, and students via social media.

Drew Ollero

A southern California native, Drew often finds himself in entrepreneurial roles that involve coming up with ideas, creating, and executing new programs. Currently, he serves as the associate director at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where he focuses on launching new strategic initiatives. A proud community college graduate, Drew studied social work at Cal State Long Beach and continued his graduate studies in social work and public administration at the University of Southern California. In his free time, Drew is a Crossfit coach and mentors youth through an entrepreneurship program called BUILD.

Bertrand Perdomo

Bertrand Perdomo is a third grade teacher in the Gadsden Independent School District of New Mexico through Teach for America. Prior to teaching, he was heavily involved in community engagement at the grassroots level. As a program manager for three University of Southern California outreach programs he worked with community residents, local law enforcement, and school and university staff to make South Los Angeles safer.

Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith is an educator, advocate, change agent, dream director, warrior of peace and possibility, and transformational leader. She is committed to unleashing the passion, purpose, curiosity, imagination, courage, and grit in students and youth leaders. She currently works as the senior program officer, School Programs, and the director of the summer academic enrichment program for the College Success Foundation DC.

Nhi Truong

Nhi Truong is currently an English teacher lead and adviser at ARISE High School, a small charter school in Oakland, CA. Prior to becoming a classroom teacher, she worked with students in many different capacities. She has been a youth organizer, workshop facilitator, tutor, and residential adviser. Her passion for working with high school students stems from working with various youth organizations like College Summit and AYPAL. She is committed to working with students toward liberating their minds and fight for social justice by making positive changes in their own lives, communities, and the world.

Stephon Harris

Stephon Harris is a senior technology consultant architecting front-end applications for leading publications and institutions. His experience has helped Fortune 500 companies with critical technology projects and business ventures. Stephon co-founded Black Code Collective in 2016, an organization for black software developers in the D.C., and leads workshops and events to train and cultivate community for underrepresented minorities in technology. He has a passion for education and empowering students to think critically and analytically. Stephon is a native Texan, graduating from Texas Tech University. He now lives in the D.C. area.

Tom Heethuis

Tom Heethuis

Tom Heethuis has been involved in advising student activities for 40 years. He has been a student council adviser, activity director, leadership camp director, and building principal. An award-winning adviser, he has been a presenter at numerous conferences and workshops. Through his workshops, attendees discover hands-on, practical leadership activities that they can take back to their schools and use with their students as soon as they return.

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Eva Vega-Olds

Eva Vega-Olds is an anti-bias education trainer, performer, and diversity and inclusion expert who has worked with all ages and stages. She admits, however, to having a special love of working with aspiring leaders among Millennials and Generation Z. She is currently the director of community and diversity, The Town School, New York.

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