Join us June 7, 2024 for our Annual Leadership Conference.Learn More.   |   Scholarship submissions due March 1, 2024.Learn More.

2024 NJAFPA Annual Leadership Conference

Friday, June 7, 2024

Montclair University, University Hall

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  • 8:00 am – 9:00 pm – Registration, Breakfast, Exhibits
  • 9:00 am – 9:15 am – Welcome
  • 9:15 am – 10:15 am – Keynote Presentation
  • 10:15 am -10:45 am – Break / Exhibits
  • 10:45 am – 11:45 am – Breakout Session #1
  • 11:45 am – 12:45 pm – Lunch / Exhibits
  • 12:45 pm – 1:00 pm – Scholarship Award
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm – Breakout Session #2
  • 2:00 pm -2:30 pm – Break / Exhibits
  • 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm – Networking Reception / Exhibits /Prizes

Keynote Presentation:

Topic: How Teaching Kids to Read Went Wrong

For the past six years, journalist Emily Hanford has been reporting on how children learn to read. Her work has sent shockwaves across the United States and around the globe. In this keynote, Emily will tell the story of how she became interested in early reading instruction, discuss key insights from scientific research, share what she has learned from teachers, parents, and kids, and talk about her latest project, the podcast Sold a Story.

Meet Emily Hanford

Emily Hanford is a senior correspondent and producer for APM Reports, the documentary and investigative reporting group at American Public Media. Her work has appeared on NPR and in The New York Times and other publications. For the past several years, she has been reporting on reading instruction. Her 2018 podcast episode “Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read?” won the inaugural public service award from EWA. Her most recent project, the podcast Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong, won a 2023 IRE Award and was nominated for a Peabody. Emily is based in the Washington, D.C. area. She is a graduate of Amherst College.

Confirmed Presentations:

Stop Swimming Upstream: The Secret to Brain-Friendly Learning

Together we’ll examine what the brain -simply put- likes to do, and how to embed that in learning experiences. We will identify how hemispheres of the brain impact verbal and emotional responses, and the causality of reactive behavior. We will also identify three concrete strategies creating ease for our brains in learning environments.

Empowering District Leadership Through Executive Coaching

Embark on a transformative journey with Dr. Sean McCarron, Administrator and Executive Coach, in this comprehensive workshop designed to empower K-12 school and district leaders through the practice of executive coaching. As education landscapes evolve, the significance of effective leadership cannot be overstated, making this session a pivotal experience for those seeking to reshape their district’s performance.

In this dynamic workshop, participants will delve into the nuanced world of executive coaching under the guidance of Dr. McCarron. With a condensed yet impactful format, the session is crafted to offer a concentrated exploration of coaching principles tailored specifically for K-12 leaders. Drawing on his extensive background as an Educator, Administrator and Executive Coach, Dr. McCarron will share insights, strategies, and tangible takeaways aimed at immediate implementation.


Expect to uncover the power of executive coaching, gaining a heightened understanding of its application in the educational leadership context. Dr. McCarron will provide a holistic view, emphasizing the potential impact on both personal and professional dimensions of leadership. The workshop is designed to equip attendees with immediate takeaways poised to enhance their leadership skills. These actionable insights are geared towards inspiring tangible change within the participants’ roles and contributing to the overall success of their districts. The goal is not just to inform but to empower leaders, fostering a renewed sense of purpose and motivation.

As a result of this session, participants can anticipate a redefined perspective on leadership. Dr. McCarron’s expertise, coupled with practical applications of executive coaching principles, will empower leaders to navigate challenges, inspire their teams, and drive positive change within their educational institutions. The workshop sets the stage for ongoing personal and professional growth, establishing a foundation for sustained success. Join us for an immersive experience that promises profound insights, immediate impact, and the tools needed to navigate the complexities of educational leadership through the lens of executive coaching.

Innovate to Elevate: Revitalizing Professional Development Practices

The three main goals are: 1.Understand the needs of staff and strengths and weaknesses that exist within those identified needs. 2. Develop a strategic plan that embeds professional development in unique and individualized ways. 3. Maximize your current human capital and empower risk-taking and change.

You’re In Charge of Title I, Now What?

The presentation is to help new Title I program coordinators with the basics on how to navigate through the ESEA Grant. The presentation will discuss program manager responsibility, understanding Title I, supplement vs. supplant, function and object codes, stakeholder engagement, and evaluating programs.

Improving Climate and Culture to Impact Absenteeism and Academics

This presentation will discuss ways to impact the climate and culture of schools for both staff and students. We will also look at how this helps to improve student and staff attendance, student academic achievement, and the social and emotional well-being of the school community. Participants will engage in conversations with colleagues, and offer ideas and share past experiences that have worked!

The Science of Reading: Practical Application for Your Classroom and School

As a result of attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the Simple View of Reading and the importance of language comprehension and word recognition.
  • Evaluate their reading program for five key components that drive growth.
  • Identify practices they can implement in their school to improve reading performance.
  • Objective: The overarching goal of this session is to introduce several strategies schools can implement to improve their students’ reading outcomes.

Making the School Day Work for Your Students

This presentation will explore ways to optimize student learning within the least restrictive environment. The discussion will touch on master scheduling, inclusive practices, data analysis, MTSS, and other topics. Participants will walk away with a comprehensive framework to begin their own journey, including a sample schedule, an MTSS flowchart and other documents, and sample assessments for in-depth screening.

Setting Limits Through Play: A Trauma-Informed Approach

  1. Participants will understand how emotional development is influenced by the child’s social environment and early experience.
  2. Participants will recognize how preventive strategies reduce the likelihood of challenging behaviors from occurring.
  3. Participants will learn how to set limits while engaging children in play and how to generalize the skill throughout the day.


In this workshop, participants will develop an understanding how early experience, particularly adversity, influences children’s social-emotional development. Preventive strategies, including; structuring the child’s routine, the use of descriptive praise, the importance of control in relation to challenging behavior, and the influence of supportive and attuned teacher-child relationships will be emphasized. Play-based strategies that support children’s social-emotional learning and facilitate the acquisition of new skills will be shared,
including; identifying the child’s feelings, choice giving through play, social skill building, and how to set limits with children using choices and natural consequences through video examples, experiential exercises, and group discussion.

Diamond Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors: