Dr. Adam Sáenz how did he go from juvenile detention to two doctorates with training at Harvard Medical School and Oxford University? Dr. Sáenz will tell you: it was the power of a teacher. His story is one the Huffington Post says “will never fail to inspire,” a journey through profound lows and soaring highs. At every important juncture, there have been two common elements—lifesavers that appeared when he most needed it: education and teachers. Whether you’re searching for a reason to believe or you just need a hope-filled reminder, the bottom line is that you do have tremendous power to make a difference in students’ lives, and Dr. Sáenz’ message will compel you to engage your calling with passion, with purpose, and with vision.
John-David Bowman has taught for 8 years at Westwood High School in Mesa. While he has taught 7 different courses, he currently teaches IB Theory of Knowledge and AP US History to juniors and seniors. In addition, he also teaches a history methods class to juniors, seniors, and graduate students at ASU. Mr. Bowman’s educational background is rooted in this great state. He has a BA in History and a BA in Political Science from ASU, and a MA in Secondary Education with an emphasis in History from NAU. John-David feels that are tremendous things going on in Arizona schools and we need to celebrate that while also acknowledging where we can improve. Mr. Bowman is Arizona’s 2015 Teacher of the Year.
Sarah Brown Wessling is a 17-year veteran of the high school English classroom. While a member of the faculty at Johnston High School she has taught all kinds of courses from at-risk to Advanced Placement and has served the department and district in a variety of leadership roles. Sarah is a National Board Certified Teacher since 2005 and in 2010 was selected as the National Teacher of the Year. In that capacity she worked as an ambassador for education, giving over 250 talks and workshops in 39 different states as well as Japan and Finland. Currently she teaches in the mornings and works for the non-profit Teaching Channel in the afternoons as their Teacher Laureate and host of their PBS show Teaching Channel Presents. She is an author of Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards and frequently blogs on teaching and learning.