ASBA-ASA 63rd Annual Conference

December 3, 2020 - December 4, 2020

annual event

ASBA’s Annual Conference will be held on December 3-4, 2020. The Annual Conference is our celebratory end-of-year gathering of school board members and other district leaders in the state. Attendees will hear from three amazing keynote speakers, experience 15 breakout sessions in five topic tracks and participate in celebrations of leadership and educational excellence. Click to view the Annual Conference Guidebook!

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Anna Marie Chavez (Sponsored by Southwest Foodservice Excellence)

National School Boards Association Executive Director and Arizona Native

Former Interim President and CEO for the National Council on Aging. Previously, she was NCOA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer. For five years, Chávez served as Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the USA.


Byron Garrett (Sponsored by Grand Canyon University)

CEO of Equal Opportunity Schools, Chairman of the National Family Engagement Alliance

Former Director of Educational Leadership & Policy for Microsoft and former CEO of National PTA


D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas (Sponsored by Cox Business)

Author, Internationally Acclaimed Motivational Storyteller and Leadership and Personal Development Expert

63rd ASBA Virtual Annual Conference – Dec. 3

8:00 am - 8:30 am

Breakfast of (Education) Champions Café, sponsored by Midstate Energy, CORE Construction & Classroom Champions

Join entertainer and event emcee Gregory Offner and conference sponsors and win great prizes. (Must be present to win.)

8:30 am - 9:55 am

Opening General Session

Byron Garrett, sponsored by Grand Canyon University

An Arizona-wide conference kick-off, keynote speaker Byron Garrett and surprise student entertainment. Featuring posting of the colors by the Tolleson UHSD ROTC and a performance of the national anthem by TUHSD's Copper Canyon High School Choir.

10:00 am - 10:55 am

Breakout Sessions: Round 1 (choose from 3 sessions)

  • Hidden Gifts: Equitable Practices for Identifying and Assessing Gifted Students: While the number of students of color in gifted programs has increased with time, students of color, specifically Black, Latinx and Indigenous students, continue to be under-represented. Decisions on which students are tested as well as the types of tools used to assess giftedness can perpetuate disparities. Join us as we discuss new opportunities and approaches to gifted education that aim to provide more equitable access to gifted programming.
  • The Information Two-Lane Highway: Advocating for Rural Connectivity: COVID-19 has exposed the extreme gap between rural and metro areas when it comes to high-speed internet. Join ASBA’s governmental relations team and the president of the ASBA Rural Alliance to gain strategies, tools and templates to effectively advocate for your district and community around this issue.
  • Don't Get Burned: Sunshine Law, Serial Conversations and Social Media: With so much of our conversations taking place on social media ( Zoom Chat, Facebook, Twitter) or virtual platforms (email, text, Facebook Messenger) there are plenty of opportunities to accidently engage in serial conversation. These types of exchanges, which happen when one-on-one conversations between board members are linked or shared with other board members, can result in Sunshine Law (Open Meeting Law) violations. Join us as we share some common pitfalls and tips to avoid getting burned.

11:00 am - 11:55 am

Breakout Sessions: Round 2 (choose from 3 sessions)

  • Digital Citizenship: Supporting Our Students (and Ourselves) with Navigating Our Digital World: As many parts of the U.S. and world continue with distance learning because of the coronavirus pandemic, setting expectations for this new way of teaching and learning is essential. In this session, CommonSense.Org will share some of the topics district leaders should be aware of to help you establish a culture of digital citizenship and their most relevant digital citizenship lessons for this moment.
  • It’s YOUR Policy: Taking It from Model to Meaning ASBA’s model policies are compliance based but some school districts add to the model policy to make it meaningful for their district. See how that has been done in other districts and our recommended best practices if you chose to make those types of changes.
  • Leading for Equity: How Boards Can Begin or Accelerate Their Educational Equity Efforts: Join us for this interactive session where we will unveil the NEW Leading for Equity Curriculum aimed at supporting boards as they progress equity in their districts. In addition to reviewing the curriculum, we will engage in several activities from the new Leading For Equity Workbook that are designed to ready ourselves and others for systemic change.

12:00 pm - 12:55 pm

Celebration Café, sponsored by CORE Construction, Proximity Learning and ADM Group

Join us for live entertainment from conference emcee and pianoman Gregory Offner PLUS prize drawings and inside glimpses into the people and programs that are making Arizona education great. Featuring the celebrations of the winners of the ASA Superintendent of the Year Awards and ASBA Golden Bell Promise Program Award.

1:00 pm - 1:25 pm

General Session: Meet Arizona's 2021 Teacher of the Year and the Ambassadors of Excellence

The 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year and equity champion Sara Wyffels (Chandler USD) and Ambassadors of Excellence will be interviewed by special guest Veronica Sanchez, the Emmy award-winning former 12News journalist and current director of communication and community engagement for Cartwright ESD.

1:30 pm - 2:25 pm

Breakout Sessions: Round 3 (choose from 3 sessions)

  • Education, Equity and Employment: Solving the Teacher Shortage Locally: What if the teachers in your classrooms had deep connections with the community and reflected the culture and background of the students they taught? What if you could begin nurturing and growing those teachers for your school district in middle school and high school - now? And what if you were creating opportunities for your students through viable college and career pathways in the process? Educators Rising Arizona, a career and technical student organization with chapters in more than 60 public high schools across Arizona, is dedicated to doing all that. In this session, you’ll learn what Educators Rising is, who the students and districts are that are benefitting, how they are benefitting and how you can bring this win-win program to your district.
  • School Counselors Can Do (Virtually) Anything: With increased discussion around school safety and the social-emotional wellbeing of students, the importance of school counselors has never been more evident. With recent grant funds, many schools have received funding for these positions, but what is the best way to maximize the impact of these import professionals in your district? What are some questions boards can ask to better understand and support the work of school counselors? How can their work translate to a virtual environment? Join Tolleson ESD as they share tips on how to successfully and strategically utilize these important human resources on campus.
  • Going the Distance with Distance Learning: Virtual, distance and computer-based learning provides interesting opportunities for districts of any size or geographic location to meet the needs of students, families and staff – opportunities that will remain beyond the health and safety precautions necessitated by COVID. Superintendent Stephanie Miller from Congress ESD will share how her rural district has embraced and utilized technology before and during COVID, and how districts can continue to utilize these new skills after COVID.

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

ASBA Annual Membership Meeting

Including the election of officers to the ASBA Board of Directors, a state of the association report by Dr. Sheila Harrison-Williams, executive director, and a look at strategic legislative opportunities 2021. (Delegate check-in will take place from 2:15 - 3 p.m.) Click here for more information on meeting detail registration and delegate submission.


63rd ASBA Virtual Annual Conference – Dec. 4

8:00 am - 8:30 am

VIP (Very Important Partner) Breakfast

Start your day with entertainer and event emcee Gregory Offner and our premier year-round sponsors - BoardDocs, K12itc and ASBAIT - and win great prizes. (Must be present to win.)

8:30 am - 9:10 am

General Session: Tribute to Leadership, Part I

Anna Marie Chavez, sponsored by Southwest Foodservice Excellence

Featuring a keynote address by Anna Marie Chavez, NSBA executive director and Arizona native, PLUS the winners of the ASBA All-Arizona School Board Members Award and the Lou Ella Kleinz Award of Excellence (they may surprise you!), PLUS a Barbara Robey Lifetime Achievement Award Retrospective.

Thank you to Cox Business and Power School for your support of this session and Midstate Energy for sponsoring the awards videos.

9:10 am - 10:05 am

Breakout Sessions: Round 4 (choose from 3 sessions)

  • Transformational Change: A Look at Conscious Discipline: Conscious Discipline is a comprehensive social-emotional learning framework that is based on current brain research and incorporates self-regulation, school-wide discipline and school climate. Conscious Discipline is an adult first, child second framework. Adults must commit to doing the work to identify their triggers so they can intentionally implement strategies to regulate themselves. This is why Conscious Discipline promotes transformational change! Litchfield ESD is in year four of implementation and, without a doubt, it has far surpassed the benefits of any previously implemented social-emotional learning program. Join us as we share our implementation plans and tips for bringing Conscious Discipline to your district.
  • How Information and Opportunity Gaps Impact College-Going in Rural Arizona: Arizona statistics show that our rural students are less likely to enroll in or attend college. Join College Success Arizona for a discussion on why that is and what districts can do about it.
  • Building Community From the Ground Up: When Creighton ESD set out to build a new school designed around the students of today and tomorrow, they knew it could not be created using the same old processes. Join them as they share how they engaged community members, parents, students, and experts across the Valley and around the world to build a diverse team of co-creators to design everything from the building space to the curriculum of their new school of choice. Learn how these strategies can be applied to reimagine your district!

10:10 am - 11:00 am

Breakout Sessions: Round 5 (choose from 3 sessions)

  • Turning a Moment to a Movement: Harnessing COVID-19's Virtual Platforms to Sustain Engagement Year-Round: With the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, public school leaders have seen an increase in attention and outreach from their communities. Virtual tools have made access to board meetings easier in districts across the state and regular communication via Facebook, email and text has become an expectation. How can we turn this stressful situation into an opportunity to build and sustain engagement practices that will extend long after schools go back to business as usual?
  • Who’s Evaluating Your Teachers – and Have You Adapted for Hybrid and Distance?: Join two veteran principals who now provide qualified evaluator training statewide to learn more about teacher evaluation and feedback in the era of hybrid and distance learning; statutes and legal issues pertaining to teacher evaluation; the practice of “conferencing” with teachers to improve instruction; and key strategies to help retain high quality teachers.
  • Things We Can't "Unsee" - And What We Can Do about Them: Arizona teacher leaders share insights gleaned from teaching during COVID that could inform strategic leadership approaches moving forward.

11:05 am - 12:25 pm

Closing General Session: Tribute to Leadership, Part II

D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas with "Calling All Warriors"

Featuring the Passing of the Gavel and keynote speaker D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas.

Thank you to Cox Business and Power School for your support of this session.

12:20 pm - 12:30 pm


12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

BONUS WORKSHOP with Keynote Speaker D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas: "Keeping the Fires Lit"

D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas uses Native American warrior spirit principles to inspire audiences to lead with courage, thrive in tough conditions, and build united, resilient “tribes” - in business and in life. Learn how you can incorporate these principles in your leadership for Arizona public schools.

New Board Member Orientation - December 2nd

8:45 am - 2:30 pm

New Board Member Orientation, sponsored by The Arizona School Risk Retention Trust & Forecast5 Analytics


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Thank you to our Annual Conference Sponsors

View the ASBA Annual Conference Guidebook here:

Additional Information

December 3, 2020

8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Virtual Event

Event Registration

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