Keynote Speakers

               Keynote Speakers


Tuesday – JoAnn Deak

JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., has spent more than thirty years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or significant ‘brain sculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “Every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”

Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identity formation and brain research.

Dr. Deak began her career as a teacher and head of the science department. She soon learned the complexity of dealing with the many brain and motivational patterns represented by the diverse students in her classes. This led to her work at Kent State University, one of only three universities in the United States to have a specialty in Preventive Psychology at that time. Her doctoral work focused on how to assess those environmental, school and family patterns that lead to the healthy development of children and, conversely, those patterns that cause issues, problems and disabilities.


Wednesday – Cindy Marten
As the San Diego Unified School District’s new superintendent, Cindy Marten looks forward to leading the district team and community with a singular focus on student success. She believes that there are NO EXCUSES when it comes to providing children with the very best conditions that will enable them to become confident, successful learners who can achieve their dreams. Marten will work with the Board of Education to implement Vision 2020, creating quality schools in every neighborhood throughout the district.

Cindy Marten is deeply committed to creating educational conditions and opportunities that enable all children to become actively literate, contributing and participating members of a democratic society who make a positive difference in the world. Her 25 years as an educator include teaching elementary grades as a classroom teacher and later, serving as a school-wide literacy specialist.

After participating in a seven-year improvement effort at a struggling school in Poway Unified, Marten chose to take her experience to one of the most challenging schools in San Diego Unified — Central Elementary in City Heights— where she served for 10 years as teacher, instructional leader and principal. Marten worked passionately at attracting and retaining high-quality, dedicated staff. She nurtured innovative programs to support her students and staff including: a highly successful bi-literacy program, a hands-on school garden program, quality after-school and preschool programs, employees’ child day care center, and a community health and wellness center for students and their families. Her team’s success was validated by steady and improved student achievement, which included an increase in the school’s Academic Performance Index (API). By 2012 it reached 788, just shy of the state target of 800.