2012 NAIS Annual Conference | Seattle | Feb 29 - Mar 2, 2012

Featured Speakers

Featured Workshop Speakers

 Click here to view the main slideshow for the 2012 NAIS Annual Conference.  
Soraya Darabi 

Soraya Darabi
Thursday, March 1, 10:00 - 11:00 AM
Creativity and Emerging Media

Click here to read an article about Darabi's workshop

Soraya Darabi began her career as manager of digital partnerships and social media at The New York Times, where she successfully led the drive to syndicate NYTimes.com news and video across multiple social media platforms.

In 2009, her New York Times multimedia Inauguration Day campaign on Facebook won first prize at the INMA Awards for excellence in marketing. Darabi was named one of AdAge magazine's 25 People in Media to Follow on Twitter and was on the Silicon Alley 100 list in 2009. In June 2010, Fast Company featured Darabi on the cover of its annual Most Creative People in Business issue and in October she appeared on the cover of Brandweek's Hot Digital issue.

She served as product lead at drop.io, a real-time online sharing and collaboration and presentation service based in New York recently acquired by Facebook.

Today, Darabi dedicates her time to the location-based mobile application Foodspotting and to ABC News, where she reports on online communities as their social media strategist.

Darabi leverages her social media expertise to help important nonprofit causes, including Charity: Water, The Robin Hood Foundation, and Goods4Good.org. In 2011, she became the first digital ambassador to The United Nation's technology group Global Pulse.

Raymond Yan 

Raymond Yan
Thursday, March 1, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Game Development as a Teaching Tool

Download the PDF of the graphic recording of Yan.

Click here to read an article about Yan's workshop

Raymond Yan, senior vice president of DigiPen Institute of Technology, has worked in digital interactive technology development since 1990. After a period of almost 10 years leading the artists and designers of Nintendo's first game team located outside of Japan, Yan joined DigiPen as the program director for its Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation degree. With a family of six children, he naturally became focused on the state of K-12 education and took on the responsibility to develop exploratory and preparatory STEM-based programs that teach game programming, 3-D animation production, and robotics technology. These imaginative programs would eventually be offered in cooperation with the Washington state department of education, as well as other youth organizations that serve at-risk students in underserved communities. These include the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and even the National Urban League, for which Yan was recognized by the Congressional Black Congress. With the success of the programs, he now strives to provide opportunities to even more students by training middle and high school instructors on how they can utilize game development as a learning vehicle in their classrooms. 


John Medina
Thursday, March 1, 1:30 - 2:30 PM
Brain Rules for Education

Download the PDF of the graphic recording of Medina

Visit http://brainrules.net/the-rules to view this PowerPoint presentation.
Click here to download the PDF of the Brain Rules posters.
Click here to read an article about Medina's workshop.

Brain Rules author John J. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development and the genetics of psychiatric disorders. He has spent most of his professional life as a private research consultant, working primarily in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries on research related to mental health. Medina holds joint affiliate faculty appointments at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in its Department of Bioengineering, and at Seattle Pacific University, where he is the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research.

Medina was the founding director of the Talaris Research Institute, a Seattle-based research center originally focused on how infants encode and process information at the cognitive, cellular, and molecular levels.

Winner of myriad awards, Medina has a lifelong fascination with how the mind reacts to and organizes information. As the father of two boys, he has an interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children. Medina's books include: Brain Rules, Brain Rules for Baby, The Genetic Inferno, The Clock of Ages, Depression, What You Need to Know About Alzheimer's, The Outer Limits of Life, Uncovering the Mystery of AIDS, and Of Serotonin, Dopamine and Antipsychotic Medications.

TJ Vassar

T.J. Vassar
Friday, March 2, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
NAIS Diversity Leadership Award

Download the PDF of the graphic recording of Vassar.

Click here to read NAIS President Patrick F. Bassett's remarks as he honored Vassar

Click here to read an article about Vassar's acceptance speech.

For nearly 20 years, Seattle native T.J. Vassar has served as director of diversity for Lakeside School (Washington). However his tenure at Lakeside started decades beforehand. While in junior high school, he was invited to attend the Lakeside Education Enrichment Program (LEEP), a six-week program that aims to boost students to higher achievement during the summer and later in their school life. The LEEP director recruited Vassar to attend Lakeside in 1965, which he eventually agreed to do despite the fact that he was one of the few students of color -- and they were all boys!

What began with the brave action of a teenager venturing into the unknown has culminated in a lifelong career dedicated to diversity and inclusion, respect and dignity. Earning degrees from Lakeside, Harvard University, and University of Washington, Vassar then worked tirelessly in public policy for the Seattle Public Schools and the state of Washington. Together with Bernie Noe, head of school for Lakeside, Vassar has intentionally altered the school's demographics -- doubling the number of students of color to 48 percent of total enrollment in the last 13 years -- and increasing financial aid. Never compromising the school's academic standards. Today LEEP proudly refers to Vassar as "The Godfather." 

Dan Savage 

Dan Savage
Friday, March 2, 1:30 - 2:30 PM
It Gets Better

Download the PDF of the graphic recording of Savage.

Click here to download the PDF about the It Gets Better project

Click here to read an article about Savage's workshop.

Originally known as a gay-sex columnist, Dan Savage is now a household name thanks to his It Gets Better video project on YouTube. The September 2010 project won instant acclaim asking people to upload short, positive videos about their experience with the LGBT community. Millions have viewed the popular videos, including President Barack Obama and entertainer Janet Jackson. Advertising Age called It Gets Better one of the top social media campaigns of 2010. Savage's book, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living, released in March 2011.

His column, "Savage Love," debuted in 1991, in the first issue of The Stranger, a Seattle newspaper, and is now syndicated nationwide. Readers of any sexual persuasion seek Savage's pithy advice. In addition to writing his funny, informative, outrageous column, Savage is now editor of The Stranger.

Savage is the author of The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family; Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins And The Pursuit Of Happiness In America; Savage Love: Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist; and The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant.

"Dying is easy," says Savage. "Coming out is hard."

 Originally Kiran Sethi was scheduled to speak on Friday morning of the conference. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, Ms. Sethi will be unable to join us in Seattle. 

Conference Program
NAIS - National Association of Independent Schools