TLI: Technology Leadership Institute

Events from TLI 2021-2022

Virtual Keynote: Friday 10/29/21

Virtual Keynote Series October


Personalizing our schools and classrooms is an aspirational effort that requires a new approach to the change process. This keynote breaks down Highlander Institute’s “Pathways to Personalization” Framework, calling out the crucial components necessary for school redesign through our stories of successes and challenges. This keynote provides resources and tactical next steps for launching or sustaining your own personalized school change effort that is rooted in your own local context.


As the Interim Executive Director of Highlander Institute, Shawn acts as the organization’s lead architect, ensuring the Institute’s work serves our most important constituents- students. He is a national thought leader on coaching and consulting approaches to classroom personalization and school change management.  His days are split between providing on the ground support in schools and districts supporting educators and leadership, and the creation and design of new processes for systemic educational change.

His ten years in the classroom have informed his insider’s view into the challenges teachers face on a daily basis. Shawn is a co-author of the book Pathways to Personalization: A Framework for School Change, through Harvard Education Press. In 2017, Shawn received the iNACOL Innovator Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to Personalized Learning. He holds a Masters Degree in Education from Lesley University. Shawn lives in Providence, RI with his wife and two boys.


Virtual Keynote: Friday 1/28/22

Virtual Keynote Series January


 Alex J. Bowers is a Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he works to help school leaders use the data that they already collect in schools in more effective ways to help direct the limited resources of schools and districts to specific student needs. His research focuses on the intersection of effective school and district leadership, organization and HR, data driven decision making, student grades and test scores, student persistence and dropouts. His work also considers the influence of school finance, facilities, and technology on student achievement. Professor Bowers studies these domains through the application of data science, and big data analytics, such as data visualization analytics, machine learning, multilevel and growth mixture modeling, and cluster analysis heatmap data dashboards.


Active=Con 2022: Friday 3/4/22

Active=Con, now in its 6th year, is the hallmark event of the TLI series. The conference highlights the intersection of active and flexible learning spaces, instructional design, and technology. This year we welcome two keynotes, Dr. Robert Dillon and Dr. John Spencer, who will explore the concepts of sustainability, creative constraint, self-directed learning, and divergent thinking.

Location: LHRIC offices, 450 Mamaroneck Ave. · Harrison, NY

Navigating the Maze of an Unpredictable World
Dr. John Spencer

For years, we were taught a formula. Go to school, get good grades, graduate from a university, and climb a corporate ladder. But the ladder is gone and our students will instead navigate a complex maze. The past two years have proven just how unpredictable our world can be. In this keynote, we explore what vital skills students will need to become self-directed learners who can thrive in the maze. We'll examine how we can integrate vital soft skills into our curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices to prepare our students for an unpredictable world.

Sustainable Space Concepts That Will Survive the Stress Test of COVID
Dr. Robert Dillon

The pressure of COVID has stressed and tested all systems of learning. We have learned what can transfer between online, hybrid and modified learning. This is true in the area of space design as well. COVID has taught us what we don't want and what is essential. This presentation features the elements of sustainable space design and looks to answer the question. What will last?

Dr. Dillon and Dr. Spencer will also lead interactive breakout sessions and moderate a panel discussion featuring local educators and leaders.


Dr. John Spencer is a former middle school teacher and current college professor on a quest to transform schools into bastions of creativity and wonder. Spencer wants to see teachers unleash the creative potential in all of their students so that kids can be makers, designers, artists, and engineers. He explores research, interviews educators, deconstructs systems, and studies real-world examples of design thinking in action — and shares what he’s learning in books, blog posts, journal articles, free resources, animated videos, and podcasts.

Dr. Robert Dillon has served as an educator and leader for the past twenty years. Through this work, he has excelled in change leadership, supporting organization with new ideas and energy, and providing solutions to meet specific organizational needs. Dr. Dillon draws upon his experience, national network, and research-based practices to support innovation that impacts learning. Dr. Dillon truly embeds himself in the work of an organization, supporting, coaching, and getting in the weeds where it is needed.


TELL Awards: Monday 3/24/22

This exciting annual award celebration give us an opportunity to celebrate and learn from educators and leaders from across the region who have been actively Transforming Education through Leading and Learning (TELL). Awardees apply for, or are nominated by their peers for their outstanding accomplishments in innovation, and are recognized by LHRIC leadership through a selection and review process. Participants will benefit from hearing directly from each awardee (Outstanding Innovative Teacher and Outstanding Innovative Leader). We are planning a dinner event this year.

Location: Edith Macy Conference Center, Briarcliff Manor, NY


Dr. Devorah Heitner is the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World and founder of Raising Digital Natives. Dr. Heitner’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN Opinion. She has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology & Society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul and Northwestern. She is delighted to be raising her own digital native. Dr. Heitner founded Raising Digital Natives for parents and educators seeking advice on how to help children thrive in a digital world. She has positioned herself to help take the fear out of this emotionally-charged topic and help districts and community members guide kids towards empathy, kindness, and integrity.

Virtual Keynote Series: Friday 4/29/22

Passing Through the Pandemic Portal: Who Will We Choose to Become, as Individuals and as Institutions 
KEYNOTE:Will Richardson and Homa Tavangar

 Will Richardson Homa TavagnarWe stand at what many are calling a “hinge-moment” in history, a moment when we’re faced with fundamental choices of who we want to become as individuals and as institutions as we stare down multiple, growing existential crises. For educators especially, navigating this moment requires asking fundamental questions about our purpose, our practice, and our systems and structures. And, it also requires seizing the opportunity to reimagine our schools as places that center wellness, relevance, justice, and sustainability.  

 In this keynote, we will: 

  • Examine the key global contexts that must serve as a lens for our work in schools
  • Interrogate the ways in which schooling and learning are in many ways at odds
  • Define the “epic design challenge” that we now face in education
  • Share a framework for engaging in meaningful, sustainable change work
  • Offer eight starting points for change in the short term.  

Tech Expo: Friday 5/20/22

Dave Burgess

TECH EXPO is the annual capstone event for TLI. It highlights the contributions of regional teachers and administrators, and provides ample opportunities for 

networking with peers, experts and vendors. This massively popular event has grown steadily in attendance over the years, and recently we’ve had some fun with conference themes. This year's theme is: Carnival!

Location: Edith Macy Conference Center, Briarcliff Manor, NY


Dave Burgess is the New York Times Best-Selling author of Teach Like A PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator and co-author of P is for PIRATE: Inspirational ABC’s for Educators. He is a highly sought after professional development speaker well known for his creative, entertaining, and outrageously energetic style. His workshops, seminars, and keynotes not only motivate and inspire teachers, but also help them to develop practical ways to become more creative and engaging in the classroom. Dave empowers teachers to embrace the mighty purpose of being an educator and sparks them to design classes that are life-changing experiences for students.

As a teacher at West Hills High School in San Diego, he was the 2001 and 2012 Golden Apple recipient and the 2007/2008 Teacher of the Year. He was voted a faculty standout for seventeen consecutive years in categories such as: Most Entertaining, Most Energetic, and Most Dramatic. At a ceremony in Washington D.C., the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences awarded him the 2014 BAMMY for Secondary School Teacher of the Year.

He specializes in teaching hard-to-reach, hard-to-motivate students with techniques that incorporate showmanship and creativity.

About TLI

LHRIC's TLI program offers our districts the opportunity to come together to learn about, share ideas on, and discuss excellence in teaching and learning through technology. Our efforts each year are formed by our ability to expand upon our connections with vendors to allow you to experience new technologies and learn how they have impacted teaching and learning. The programs brings in new as well as established vendors to help you plan out and realize the vision of your school district.

Participation in TLI's member-only events gives you the best opportunity to stay abreast of the rapidly changing landscape of education technology. The goal of the TLI Leadership Series is to bring national conferences, topics, and discussions to local venues.  We continually provide opportunities to learn from and engage with renowned keynote speakers that are thought-provoking and inspiring. TLI also provided your district with the chance to network with peers are we explore each leadership topic as it pertains to current challenges and future planning. 

TLI Event Recaps

Our TLI Event Recaps page is designed to archive  event stories — including photos from the events and full articles that explain the topics covered.