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2024 Summer Institute for Authentic Learning and Leadership

"Creating Beautiful Work"

Ron Berger, our 2024 Summer Institute opening keynote speaker, says: “When a student finishes her schooling and goes on to adult life, she will be judged for the rest of her life not by standardized test scores, but by two things . . . by the quality of her character and the quality of her work. Imagine what school would be if the focus of school . . . was creating meaningful, valuable, beautiful, important work. Work that matters in the world.”

Want to create “beautiful work” and help “make learning irresistible”? Bring a team (or just yourself) and join us for two inspiring days filled with hope, creativity, collaboration, and innovation where we:

Reimagine education!

Reconnect with the joy of teaching!

Empower students to change the world!


This K-12 conference will help you: 

  • Envision authentic learning and leadership; 

  • Be inspired by the work of others; 

  • Experience authentic instructional strategies; and

  • Commit to next steps. 

Most importantly, you’ll find ways to help students connect intellectually and emotionally with their own learning.

Check out all the fun we had last year here!

“Thank you so much for such a wonderful conference. This Institute was SO INSPIRING! And absolutely just what I needed to restore my faith in why I truly love this profession.”







July 23-24 | Upper Arlington High School | Columbus, OH

Summer Institute

“What started as hoping to get closer to Masters +40 turned into feeling inspired and excited about the start of a new school year. This was the most meaningful PD I have been part of! I can’t wait to return next summer!”

– 2023 Summer Institute Attendee

Michelle Sadrena Pledger

Michelle Sadrena Pledger

Director of Liberation, High Tech High Graduate School of Education

Dr. Michelle Sadrena Pledger is the Director of Liberation and a faculty member at High Tech High's Graduate School of Education, where she serves several significant initiatives, including the San Diego Teacher Residency Program, the Educational Leadership Program, the Center for Love and Justice, Improvement for Equity by Design, and Deeper Learning for Equity. She is a dynamic educator, keynote speaker, author, and changemaker with over twenty years of teaching experience.


Through her work in liberatory PBL and a plethora of authentic learning strategies, Michelle has inspired educators nationally and globally to help students think critically, act empathetically, and create positive change in their schools, communities, and the world. She is back this year by popular demand and will have a new keynote designed just for us!

Ron Berger

Ron Berger

Senior Advisor, EL Education

Ron Berger is the Senior Advisor at EL Education, a nonprofit school improvement organization that partners with public schools and districts across America, leads professional learning, and creates open educational resources. He is a well-known keynote speaker nationally and internationally on inspiring a commitment to quality, character, and citizenship in students.
Ron is the author of several best-selling education books, including An Ethic of Excellence and A Culture of Quality. He is also the co-author of Leaders of Their Own Learning, Transformational Literacy, Management in the Active Classroom, Learning that Lasts, and We Are Crew: A Teamwork Approach to School Culture. In addition, Ron taught at Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he did his graduate work and founded the website Models of Excellence, which houses the world’s largest collection of high-quality student work.

Keynote Presenters

There will be more than 55 breakout presenters, including the following Featured Presenters...

Lisa Lande headshot

Lisa Lande

Senior Field Director, The Quaglia Institute


Also joining us will be Dr. Lisa Lande, who serves as Senior Field Director for the Quaglia Institute for School Voice and Aspirations. Lisa has dedicated her professional endeavors to advocating for teachers and students around the globe. It is her aspiration that every classroom in every school is one that she would want her own three children to learn in.

Lisa is a former high school teacher, college professor, and director of several large-scale school reform projects. She is a co-author of Teacher Voice: Amplifying Success, Engagement by Design: Creating Learning Environments Where Students Thrive, and The Power of Voice in Schools: Listening, Learning, & Leading Together.

Featured Presenters:

Buddy Berry

Superintendent of Eminence Independent Schools (KY), is back by popular demand with a variety of breakout sessions, such as “Creating the Coolest Lessons Ever!”

Annalies Corbin

Founder, President, and CEO of the PAST Foundation and host of the widely popular Learning Unboxed podcast series, will return this year to share her passion for linking learning to life.

Jen Lehe

Beth Crane and Richard McKee Associate Director of Learning Innovation at the Columbus Museum of Art, will help educators plan for community impact by linking art and community engagement.

Sarah Lagrotteria

Head Educator at Just Bloom School, will empower us to see the importance of solving real-world problems through narrative rather than logic-based methods.

Missy McClain

Community Education Program Coordinator for School Health Services Department at Akron Children’s Hospital, will use a mix of personal experiences and lessons from the road to provide practical resources for any adult looking to make a difference in the life of a child.

Steve Shapiro

Host of the acclaimed experiential-learning and school reform podcast Experience Matters, will share his passion and enthusiasm for making school more relevant, engaging, and empowering for students and teachers alike

Donte Woods-Spikes

A gifted artist, communicator, and community leader, will educate and connect us to the world beyond perceptions and stereotypes through the sharing of authentic experiences.

Register NOW to get our Early Bird discount of $100 off the two-day conference price! Early bird registration is available until 04/12/2024.


Step 1:


If this is your first Summer Institute for Authentic Learning and Leadership and you do not have an existing Sched account, you must first create a free Sched account. If your school is a Google Workspace district, it is as easy as clicking “Sign in with Google.” Otherwise, you can create a Sched account with your work email address and a password.
If you have attended the Summer Institute in the past or have an existing Sched account from a different conference, simply click “Sign In.”
Step 2:
Once you are signed into Sched, you will be prompted to purchase your registration “ticket.” Because of how Sched works, individuals must have their own Sched account and register for the conference themselves. 


Participants have two options for payment at the time of Institute registration:


Credit Cards:
Credit Cards are processed by Stripe. This includes a non-refundable processing fee.
Purchase Orders:
Purchase orders should be made payable to:

ESC of Central Ohio

2080 Citygate Drive,

Columbus OH 43219

We ask that the creator of the Purchase Order send a copy to before distributing the PO number to your attendees for registration. 

group of people sitting at tables and talking


Before April 12, 2024

  • Early Bird – $350

After April 12, 2024

  • Individual – $450

  • Confirmed Breakout Presenters – $350

  • School/District Teams 15+ – $375

  • Teams 40+ – $350

Registration and Payment Information

Summer Institute

As a part of the 2024 Summer Institute for Authentic Learning and Leadership, July 23-24, 2024, two (2) semester hours of graduate credit through Ashland University are being offered, or participants may receive a certificate for 16 hours of professional learning from the ESCCO.

Earn Graduate or Contact Hour Credit

Join us at the 2024 Summer Institute!

Want to create “beautiful work” and help “make learning irresistible”? Join us for two inspiring days filled with hope, creativity, collaboration, and innovation where we:​ reimagine education, reconnect with the joy of teaching, and empower students to change the world!

Join us at the 2024 Summer Institute!

Want to create “beautiful work” and help “make learning irresistible”? Join us for two inspiring days filled with hope, creativity, collaboration, and innovation where we:​ reimagine education, reconnect with the joy of teaching, and empower students to change the world!

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