Distinguished authors highlight AEC; state leaders to discuss California education

CSBA’s premier event — the Annual Education Conference and Trade Show — takes place at Moscone West in San Francisco from Nov. 29–Dec. 1.

Drawing education leaders, trustees and school staff from across California, the conference provides critical issue and workshop sessions, table talks, networking and other activities to help governance teams from districts and county offices of education improve student learning and achievement, and advocate for public education. AEC also includes featured speakers for each of the conference’s General Sessions. A brief overview of this year’s speakers is below.

First General Session

The First General Session, on Thursday, Nov. 29, features bestselling author Charles Duhigg. In his career as a journalist, Duhigg has explored productivity and the science of habit formation in people’s lives, companies and societies. His newest book, Smarter, Better, Faster: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, covers the science of productivity, and why, in today’s world, managing how you think — rather than what you think — can transform your life.

In addition to writing books, Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times Magazine. His journalism work has included investigative series for the Times including “The Reckoning” on the causes and outcomes of the 2008 financial crisis and “The iEconomy,” which examined the global economy through the lens of Apple. That series won the 2013 Pulitzer prize in explanatory journalism. He also won the George Polk Award in 2007, the Gerald Loeb Award in 2008 and the National Journalism Award in 2009, among other honors.

Duhigg is also a regular contributor to television and radio programs, including the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Frontline, Dr. Oz and various programs on CNBC and National Public Radio.

Second General Session

The Second General Session, on Friday, Nov. 30, features speaker Ruha Benjamin. Benjamin is a professor of African American studies at Princeton University (earning the university’s 2017 President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching) and studies the social dimensions of science, technology and medicine. She speaks widely on issues of innovation, equity, health and justice in the U.S. and globally, and is author of the book People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier. Benjamin has also published in numerous academic journals and her research has been covered by national and international news outlets including The Guardian, National Geographic, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Nature.

In addition to her writing and teaching, Ruha has received many awards as well as grants and fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study, American Council for Learned Societies, National Science Foundation and California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, among others.

Third General Session

The Third General Session will provide a candid look at the complex issues that are expected to impact public education in 2019 and beyond through a panel discussion with statewide leaders. CSBA CEO and Executive Director Vernon M. Billy will be joined by Learning Policy Institute President and CEO Linda Darling-Hammond; Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, chair of the Assembly Education Committee; Association of California School Administrators Executive Director Wes Smith; School Services of California President and CEO John Gray; and Capital Advisors Group, LLC President Kevin Gordon. This discussion takes place on the final day of the conference.

Vernon M. Billy,
CEO and Executive
Director CSBA

Dr. Linda Darling-
President and CEO
Learning Policy Institute

Patrick O’Donnell
State of California

Wes Smith
Executive Director
Association of California
School Administrators

John Gray
President and CEO
School Services of California

Kevin Gordon
Capital Advisors Group, LLC

To learn more about the AEC General Session speakers, visit: