School leaders head to the Mile High City for NSBA's Annual Conference

Nearly 6,000 public education leaders, decision makers, vendors and exhibitors from across the country are converging on Denver for the 77th Annual National School Boards Association Conference and Exposition.

The conference officially opens on Saturday, March 25, at the Colorado Convention Center and runs through Monday, March 27. This year marks NSBA’s first return to the majestic Mile High City for Annual Conference since 1963.

A rich resource of sessions, speakers, and events are on tap to help school board members and other leaders in their work to reach, inspire, and elevate public education and student achievement. History-making NASA astronaut Captain Scott Kelly kicks off the conference at the first General Session on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

An astronaut since 1996, Kelly’s achievements over his illustrious 20-year career with NASA earned him the coveted position as America’s first year-round astronaut. On his historic mission that spanned from March 2015 to March 2016, Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko conducted experiments, reconfigured station modules, and captivated the world with live interviews and never-seen-before photos from the International Space Station.

The historic mission also included NASA’s groundbreaking Twins Study, in which Kelly’s identical twin brother, retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, served on the ground as a control model in an unprecedented experiment to understand how space affects the human body.

Sunday’s 10 a.m. General Session speaker is Arianna Huffington, author, commentator, and co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post news site, winner of a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for news reporting.

Huffington, who left her namesake media company in 2016, most recently launched Thrive Global, a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform. The Greek-born, naturalized U.S. citizen has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and Forbes Most Powerful Women list. She has written more than a dozen books, including the most recent, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.

On Monday, youth advocate, Rhodes Scholar, decorated U.S. Army officer, and acclaimed author Wes Moore finishes out the conference with his keynote address at 11:30 a.m. Moore’s most recent book, The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters has been received as a model for how we can weave valuable lessons together from supremely different people to forge individual paths to triumph. His earlier bestseller, The Other Wes Moore, about two Baltimore boys, captured the nation’s attention on what draws the line between success and failure in our communities.

While still a student at Johns Hopkins University, Moore founded STAND!, an organization which works with local youth in the criminal justice system. More recently, he is the founder and CEO of BridgeEdU, an innovative college platform that addresses the college completion and job placement crisis. Moore, a former paratrooper, is also the executive producer and host of PBS’s Coming Back with Wes Moore, which focuses on the re-integration of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their return home.

Conference attendees will be the first to see NSBA’s refreshed Stand Up 4 Public Schools national campaign. It is designed to capture the extraordinary activities and acts of heroism taking place every day in public schools. The campaign reveals the true teaching and learning in public schools and provides a means for people to demonstrate support for their community-based schools.

Other highlights of this year’s conference:

  • The Council of School Attorneys (COSA) celebrates its 50th anniversary of legal advocacy on behalf of public education during the group’s annual School Law Seminar.
  • Issues in Education, an influential national program dedicated to leaders in education and business who are advocates of education, will produce a live streaming broadcast focused on key education issues. Join the audience and hear what NSBA and school district representatives, as well as school law experts, have to say, on Saturday, 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., Lobby F on the Meeting Room Level.
  • Equity Monday offers a full day of programming dedicated to addressing cultural, socioeconomic, instructional, assessment, and linguistic inequities to positively impact student success.
  • The Exhibit Hall (open Saturday and Sunday) is rich with opportunities to learn about products and services from education companies and vendors. This year, the Relaxation Station joins popular favorites such as our expanded Green Zone and Music & Arts Main Street areas, as well as Cutting Edge AveNEW, the Technology Innovation Pavilion, Masonry Square, and the NSBA Marketplace.

Download the NSBA conference app and stay tuned to Conference Daily ( for updates, highlights, photos, and more. Use the Annual Conference Twitter hashtag #NSBAConf.


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