A Conference Created Just for You

From keynote speakers that hit all the right chords to sessions that speak to the challenges and opportunities of our time, UNITED’s programming will draw you into the community, give you opportunities to share your experiences with others, and learn from your peers.

The lessons you’ll takeaway from this experience will help you deliver an aligned learning experience for students as they transition from level to level. Our programming meets you where you are and you can be certain that you will see yourself on the stage, in the content or participating in a thought-provoking discussion.

Keynote Speakers

Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon – Best-Selling Author and Keynote Speaker

Jon Gordon’s best-selling books and talks have inspired readers and audiences around the world.He is the author of 28 books including 15 best sellers and 5 children’s books. His books include the timeless classic The Energy Bus which has sold over 3 million copies, The Carpenter which was a top 5 business book of the year, Training Camp, and The Power of Positive Leadership.
Jon Gordon

Rehema Ellis – Chief Education Correspondent for NBC News

Rehema Ellis, an award-winning television journalist, is NBC News’ Chief Education correspondent. She has covered generation-defining stories, including the attacks on the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina. Ellis has distinguished herself as a lead correspondent, having won an Emmy for her reporting on the 2008 Presidential Election of Barack Obama and his historic inauguration and playing an integral part of NBC News’ “Education Nation” initiative.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Add on a day of learning to your experience at UNITED with pre-conference sessions. On Sunday, July 14, 2024, four sessions will be offered in the morning from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will repeat in the afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., allowing you flexibility to select what best meets your needs and availability.

Stop Leading. Start Building: How to Turn Any School Into a Success Story With the People and Resources You Have Right Now

In this session, you’ll learn how to escape the “school improvement hamster wheel” and finally create the school that you, your teachers, and your students deserve.

Presenter: Robyn Jackson, CEO of Mindsteps Inc., which helps schools improve schools by using the teachers and resources they already have.

What Is My Value to the Teachers That I Supervise, Instructionally?

In this session, you’ll learn strategies to maintain a focus on the instructional side of leadership in ways that will significantly improve teacher pedagogy and make student achievement soar.

Presenter: Baruti Kafele, an author, a speaker, a master teacher, and a transformational school leader.

Creating a Culture Where Teachers Can Teach and Students Can Learn

Creating a culture begins with all of us. In this session, you’ll learn ways in which schools can discover values as a school community and create consistency among staff around behavior.

Presenter: Kim Campbell, an author, a speaker, a middle-level teacher, and a dean of students who founded the afterschool program called Students on the Academic Rise, or SOAR.

Mastery Unleashed: Using AI and Khan Academy District Partnerships to Transform Education

Artificial intelligence (AI) has arrived in school districts. In this session, you’ll learn how classroom educators and central office administrators are already weighing what technologies like ChatGPT will mean for everything from students’ critical thinking and streamlining teacher lesson plans to risks of academic fraud.

Presenter: Dr. Jason Feig, from Khan Academy, which offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.


Times are tentative and subject to change.

Saturday, July 13

4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Registration Hours

Sunday, July 14

7:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Registration Hours
8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Pre-Conference Workshops*
1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Pre-Conference Workshops*
4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Exhibit Hall Hours
5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Joint Opening Welcome Reception in Exhibit Hall

Monday, July 15

7:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Registration Hours
7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Exhibit Hall Hours
7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Dedicated Exhibit Hall Hours
8:00 – 8:45 a.m. Flash Concurrent Sessions
9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Opening Keynote Genereal Session
10:30 – 11:15 a.m. Dedicated Exhibit Hall Hours
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
12:15 – 1:45 p.m. Lunch on your own
12:30 – 1:45 p.m. “Motivating People During Difficult Times,” with Todd Whitaker
Presentation & Luncheon*
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
3:00 – 3:45 p.m. Dedicated Exhibit Hall Hours
3:45 – 4:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Tuesday, July 16

7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Registration Hours
7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Hours
7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Dedicated Exhibit Hall Hours
8:00 – 8:45 a.m. Flash Concurrent Sessions
9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Keynote General Session: Rehema Ellis
10:30 – 11:15 a.m. Dedicated Exhibit Hall Hours
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
12:15 – 1:45 p.m. Lunch on your own
12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Women in Leadership Luncheon*
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
3:00 – 3:45 p.m. Dedicated Exhibit Hall Hours
3:45 – 4:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Wednesday, July 17

7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Registration & Information Hours
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
9:15 – 10:15 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Closing General Session and Keynote

*Additional fee and registration required. Availability limited.
Pre-conference sessions offered in the morning will repeat in the afternoon.

Conference Strands

Explore the topics that we’ll be diving into at UNITED:

Building Leadership Capacity

The role of a school leader in today’s challenging educational environment is more complex than ever. Leading a community through change and school improvement efforts with a set of collaborative systems and structures is essential to empowering the stakeholders in your building. Part of our job as school leaders is to empower teacher and student leaders through intentional professional development and the building of strong relationships so that we can work together to be strategic instructional leaders for our students. By working together to create a sense of collective efficacy in our teams, we begin to build leadership capacity with our teacher leaders so that all stakeholders feel prepared to lead many aspects of operations in the school. Sub-strands include:


  • Defining The Role of the Assistant Principal
  • Implementing Leadership Coaching and Mentoring
  • Optimizing Systems
  • Utilizing Shared/Distributive Leadership Practices
  • Providing New and Early Career Principal Support
  • Planning Strategically
  • Using Structures of Collaboration
  • Supporting Aspiring School Leaders
  • Expanding Career Building and Professional Leadership Skills

Instructional Leadership

The ultimate goal of all building leaders is to support and lead teaching and learning–by being an instructional leader. This necessitates a deep understanding of research-based best instructional practices; an understanding of data analysis and the connection between data and improvement; an ability to coach and evaluate teachers; and a desire to be the lead learner of the building, staying ahead of new ideas, innovation, and research regarding teaching and learning. The most common characteristic that we hear about being a building leader is the need to be an instructional leader. This is often easier said than done when the other fires that come up during the day take us away from this essential focus. Sub-strands include:


  • Promoting a Culture of Continuous
  • Improvement • Navigating Change
  • Providing Quality Professional Learning
  • Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness
  • Bridging Academic Gaps
  • Supporting Diverse Student Populations
  • Utilizing Data to Inform Decision Making
  • Differentiating Instruction
  • Leading with a Growth Mindset
  • Thinking Strategically to Engage and Motivate Students
  • Using Innovative Practices

Leveraging Student Voice & Agency

Each student is a unique individual with their own strengths and areas for growth. They come to school the way they come to school, and it’s our job as educators to figure out where they are in their knowledge and learning and to support them with the necessary strategies and interventions to support them so they can reach their potential. Students learn best when they are engaged, actively learning, critically thinking, and doing the talking. Our goal is to share strategies and ideas to differentiate learning, to leverage student voice, and to increase student agency in the classroom so students feel motivated to do their best in school and empowered to take ownership for their learning. Sub-strands include:


  • Prioritizing Critical Thinking
  • Promoting Digital Citizenship
  • Focusing on School Attendance
  • Acting on and Providing for Students with Neurodiverse Needs
  • Offering Service Learning Opportunities
  • Emphasizing Student Leadership
  • Implementing STEM, Instructional Technology, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools

School Climate, Culture & Inclusivity

Have you heard the phrase, “Climate and culture will eat strategy for lunch every day?” Building relationships with staff, faculty, the family community, and students is the bedrock of a safe, strong, and empathetic learning environment for all adults and students in a school environment. By fostering a climate and culture of trust, we begin to see each other as human beings and as educators who want to do what is best for our students. And when that happens, we show our vulnerabilities about what good teaching and learning looks like. Sub-strands include:


  • Building Family and Community Partnerships
  • Having Difficult Conversations
  • Ensuring Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Cultural Responsiveness
  • Navigating External Climate and Conflict
  • Leading Staff Inclusivity, Belonging & Support
  • Prioritizing Staff Recruitment, Induction, & Retention
  • Creating Trust in Leadership and Schools
  • Implementing Restorative Practices

Whole School Wellness

Adults’ and students’ mental health and well-being are quite fragile. And part of the school’s responsibility is to support our stakeholders to be resilient with trauma, to effectively navigate crisis management, and to teach our community of learners how to embrace a healthy way of life by integrating tools of social emotional learning so that they can be the best versions of themselves. When students feel safe making mistakes and feel confident to be their authentic selves, high levels of learning can occur, especially when intentional systems of support are in place. Our goal is to create a school-wide system of support to empower all adults and students to feel confident in what they do with the appropriate scaffolds and interventions in place to ensure that everyone succeeds. Sub-strands include:


  • Determining Effective Crisis Management/School Safety Practices
  • Prioritizing Mental Health & Wellbeing
  • Providing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
  • Implementing Evidence-based Social-Emotional Learning
  • Ensuring Student Inclusivity, Belonging and Support
  • Utilizing Trauma-informed Instructional Practices
  • Maintaining Work-life balance
  • Celebrating Staff, Students & Families


Sign up to stay on top of the latest conference news.

Updates Sign-Up

This is the capture for all of the sign-ups for updates until the meeting starts.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Join the conversation online at #PrincipalsUNITED

Reach out to NAESP or NASSP
NAESP logo NASSP logo

Music City Center
201 Rep. John Lewis Way S
Nashville, TN 37203