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Keynote Speakers


April 27 - John Broussard

In life the mess always comes before the message and the storm before the triumphant story. That is the journey of John Broussard. Born in Los Angeles in communal style living, to witnessing his sisters murder at a young age, foster care, welfare, abuse, and abandonment; performing well below state benchmarks were the least of his worries. After decades of camouflaging his past to fit in he realized that to fully live his passion he must also relive his early childhood years, boldly. As a Two-time Nationally recognized top 10 Athletic Director Award Recipient, Assistant Principal, Author, Poet, and Philanthropist John uses any vehicle he can to champion his purpose in life: Child Activism.

Speaking with students, attending a training, or listening to a Keynote, John’s message is always introspective. He takes you further than your “Why” and entices the reflection of your “How” to maximize student growth. With a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, John constantly scans his experiences as both the patient and the practitioner of child welfare to ensure that the proper Social Emotional Learning (SEL) needs are being addressed. John is that bold voice for the inflicted child. John Broussard’s SEL emphasis digs further than just the needs of the student as he also targets the educator. As leaders of young people, he believes that it would prove impossible to reach young people fully unless we also reach the depths of who we are. Broussard’s message equips educators with the tools necessary to discover themselves so that they may also discover their students.

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John Broussard

Book Signing

April 27 - 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Broussard believes words are wings to the chained spirit and he encourages us all to use our wings to help free young people trapped in tragedy. His message is not only inviting but a call to action for students, coaches, and educators across the country.

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April 28 - Dr. Julia Garcia

By age 20, JULIA GARCIA, had already set out on her mission to create safe spaces for students to feel seen, heard and be truly connected. After losing people close to her from drugs and violence, GARCIA was determined to be the voice she wished she had growing up. Her grasp of such a wide range of social economic challenges whether they be manifested by, childhood, hopelessness, self-esteem, or assault is staggering.

While spending the first 5 years of her speaking career as the co-founder of a motivational speaking arts CRU in Arizona, Truality, GARCIA worked extensively with local k-12 schools, juvenile detention centers and outreach organizations.

Recently, GARCIA helped coach inmates for the first TEDx event in a women’s prison, where she was also a featured speaker. She is the creator of an award winning social impact campaign as well as a mission-based mobile app to improve social health on social media. As a published author whose spoken word videos have garnered over 60,000 views, she uniquely leverages art, education and technology to connect with students. Her commitment to support causes that create social impact in the community has also led her to become a certified trainer for advocacy and educational organizations such as and the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate Movement and Kids at Hope.

Her diverse background, unparalleled passion, and PHD research make JULIA GARCIA one of the most dynamic and critical voices of our generation. In a digital era with overwhelming pressures and fake highlight reels, JULIA GARCIA is a refreshing reminder that we are never alone and your story and your voice matter.

JULIA GARCIA admits that she never set out to be a speaker, she just set out to speak up… Now she is leading the next generation of voices.

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Dr. Julia Garcia

April 29 - Voices of our Youth: Facilitated by John Vandenburgh

John Vandenburgh has spent his career listening to the Voice of our Youth. He has held endless conversations with young people to elevate Student Voice and learn more on the experiences of all kids in our schools. As a result, John authored the evidence-based program Peer Leaders Uniting Students (PLUS) which utilizes Student Voice initiatives to increase student engagement. John has been a high school teacher, school site administrator, and district administrator.

In this general session, John has brought together a diverse cross section of youth for a panel discussion so that we can all hear the Voice of our Youth.  In this highly interactive session, the youth will be guided through a series of questions and conversations in an effort to gather insight into the latest trends impacting our young people.  The last two years have been hard!  Hard on teachers, school administrators, parents and especially our students. On the final day of the conference, let's hear the Voices of our Youth!

Do you have a question you would like to ask our Youth Panel?

Submit a question and John will work it into the conversation with the youth.

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