Keynote Speakers

2022 Annual Conference Keynote Speakers

The keynote speakers at WSSDA’s Annual Conference are known for inspiring and motivating attendees with their unique perspectives and expertise. This year’s keynote speakers are committed to developing authentic connections and share a belief that each of us can practice compassion and empathy in our daily lives to create a better world, especially in our education spaces.

Dr. Adolph Brown

Featured keynote speaker Dr. Adolph Brown describes: Closing the Empathy Gap™, based in his ground breaking research. Dr. Brown coined the term “The Empathy Gap™” as the space that exists between individuals where there’s not a bridge of understanding and compassion. Empathy is the foundation for which human beings connect. When the connection is absent, anything built on this divided foundation, will also have a divide, including health, wealth, justice, achievement, and equity. This is an inspiring and informing journey of self-reflection and if needed, self-correction.

Teacher of the Year
Jerad Koepp (Wukchumni)

In his role as the Native Student Program Specialist for the North Thurston School District, Jerad provides cultural and academic support for about 230 Native American students from over 50 tribes, nations, bands, and villages. Jerad offers training and support to colleagues, is growing his district’s Native studies program, and serves as the liaison to local tribes. He has played a key role in creating district policies supporting Native education, culture, and students. His most recent project was working on a bill requiring training in equity and government to government relations for educators and administrators. Jerad says, “My advice to new teachers was the theme of my graduate cohort: teach the child in front of you. This involves adapting pedagogy, materials, relationships, supports, everything to each child and each class. Each new student is a new relationship and culture to learn from and use that knowledge to inform instruction, content, and inspire critical evaluation of curricula. Learning from and adapting to students makes us better teachers.”
OSPI 2022 Washington State Teacher of the Year

General session emcee – Erin Jones  

In the realm of education in Washington state, Erin needs no introduction. She was the first Black woman in Washington state to run for statewide office in 2016. Erin garnered several awards during her many years as a teacher, including recognition as a “Champion of Change” by the White House in 2013.   As a highly accomplished athlete, educator, and equity champion, Erin now invests her talents and unique experiences to inspire others to examine education systems and practices to help them better serve all students.