Keynote Speakers

January 5, 2022

Maha Al Romaihi is the Director of one of Qatar Foundation’s Primary Schools. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English language from Qatar University in 2000. She also obtained a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Qatar University in 2009. Maha has finished a one-year program on leadership from Qatar Leadership Center where she engaged in Modules from Harvard Business school, Oxford University, and many elite universities around the world.  Maha is currently enrolled in the University of Sothern California as a Doctorate in Education student in global education. She plans to graduate from the program in 2023. Maha won the Qatar University “Young Alumni Award” in 2009 for her contributions to education and society and to recognize her being a role model of a successful Qatar University graduate. Maha has 20 years of experience in K-12 education, starting as a homeroom teacher, then serving in curriculum coordination and middle management until she was promoted to a school director in 2019. 

Keynote Session Description

School leadership insights: the good times, the downfalls and moving forward

Maha, who is a k-12 school leader with 20 plus years of experience, will take you into the best insights she gained from her journey as a leader in international and public schools in Qatar. 

The keynote speaker will go through insights gained before and after the current pandemic that shaped her as a school leader and supported her in responding to school and educational challenges. 

Huge challenges face schools and educators working within them. Having the right set of competencies or traits, understanding and working with the complexities and challenges around us in the field of K-12 education is a huge necessity to persevere in the sector.

January 6, 2022

Louise Hayward is Professor of Educational Assessment and Innovation at University of Glasgow and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She was a member of the internationally-renowned Assessment Reform Group and has published widely on assessment and processes of change. Originally a teacher, Louise is committed to working with policymakers, practitioners and researchers to co-construct better assessment policy and practice. In 2018, Louise founded the International Educational Assessment Network, a group of researchers and policymakers from 12 nations who collaborate to tackle some of the more intransigent assessment challenges.  Recently, Louise has been working with UWTSD, the Welsh Government and Practitioners in Wales to design Progression in Learning as a key component of the new Curriculum for Wales. Louise works with OECD on the Learning 2030 programme and UNESCO on Assessment in STEM education. She currently chairs the Independent Assessment Commission (funded by the NEU) to review  Assessment and Qualifications in England, is a member of the NCCA’s International Expert Panel in Ireland and of the Expert Panel to inform the Muir Review post the OECD report on Scottish Education.

Keynote Session Description
Assessment: Villain or Hero?  The choice is ours.

Assessment is powerful.  It is a major driver of policy and practice in educational systems internationally. It is also a topic of public interest. Newspapers and television find much of concern – and sometimes mischief- in assessment evidence.  Yet, despite its ability to improve educational experiences and education systems, assessment is often the Cinderella of education, approached with suspicion and marginalised in the curriculum, pedagogy and systems change party.   

This interactive presentation will begin by exploring participants’ perceptions of assessment in countries internationally.  It will then reflect on evidence about the potential for assessment systems to drive educational equity or exacerbate inequality, enhance quality in learning or drive reductive practices, to promote sustainable change or, like the myth of Sisyphus, condemn education innovation into endless cycles of reform: going back to the future. 

Finally, the presentation will identify examples from the International Educational Assessment Network ( where researchers, policy makers and practitioners 12 nations/states are addressing the assessment challenge of transforming assessment systems into learning systems. 

January 10, 2022

Phillip Hallinger is Professor of Management at Mahidol University (Thailand) and Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Management in the University of Johannesburg (South Africa). He is well-known for his research on principal instructional leadership and school change with over 190 Scopus-indexed publications spanning five decades. Dr. Hallinger authored the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale which has been translated into more than 30 languages and used in more than 800 studies worldwide. In 2014 Professor Hallinger received the Roald F. Campbell Award for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement from the University Council for Educational Administration and in 2012 the Excellence in Research Award from the American Educational Research Association. He most recently was awarded an A-1 rating from the National Research Council in South Africa signifying the highest level of scholarship as well as international impact and recognition. Professor Hallinger has co-edited two special issues of School Effectiveness and School Improvement (1994 and 2012), and published 11 articles in ICSEI’s flagship journal. This is his third keynote at an ICSEI conference

Keynote Session Description

Leading Teacher Learning for Student Success: Findings from Empirical Studies in Asia

Interest in how school leaders can motivate and support the professional learning of teachers can be traced back at least five decades. However, it is only in the past decade that scholars in East Asia have assumed the challenge of examining how school leaders in this part of the world contribute toward building professionally rich learning environments for teachers. The impetus for this research comes from recognition that the continuous professional learning of teachers is an essential building block for education reform. This conclusion found a receptive audience among scholars in some East Asian societies where professional learning has long been viewed as a fundamental requirement for teachers. This presentation will examine findings from empirical studies of leadership and teacher learning in Asia with the aim of identifying practices that have been deemed effective across multiple societies. The presentation will highlight research challenges that have emerged from this body of research and the implications for scholars throughout the world.

January 11, 2022

Karen Pittman has made a career of starting organizations and initiatives that promote youth development – including the Forum for Youth Investment, which she co-founded with Merita Irby in 1998. After serving as the President & CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment until February 2021, Karen stepped away from organizational management to dedicate her time to galvanizing the growing interest in using science informed strategies to truly change the odds that all children and youth can be successful.

In December 2021, Karen announced her decision to become a Partner in KP Catalysts, LLC, helping friend and colleague Katherine Plog Martinez strengthen and expand her nimble, capacity business. Together, they launched Changing the Odds Remix, a new public platform for sharpening the ideas about how, where, when, why, and with whom learning and development happens (or doesn’t happen).

Karen’s commitment to public thought leadership is grounded in a much deeper commitment to servant leadership. In addition to CTO Remix, each year Karen reaffirms her commitment to use her knowledge and connections to help selected organizations and initiatives whose leaders are on the same journey to change the odds for youth success. In 2022, she takes on new roles with the Readiness Projects co-leads – as a scholar-in-residence at the National Urban League and as an Institute Fellow at the American Institutes for Research. She continues her role as governing partner of the SoLD Alliance and is continuing or taking on new roles – senior advisor, consultant, fellow, or board member – with a handful of organizations committed to creating equitable, learner-centered ecosystems including the New Teacher Center and Education Reimagined.

Karen currently serves as a board member for Attendance Works, the Center for the Developing Adolescent, the Children’s Funding Project, and Turnaround for Children. She is also an advisory board member for ASU Teachers College/Next Ed Workforce Initiative, Special Olympics’ National Education Leadership Network, Student Experience Research Network/Mid-career Fellows Program, and Teach for America/National SEL Programming Evaluation.

A sociologist and recognized leader in youth development, Karen started her career at the Urban Institute, conducting studies on social services for children and families. She later moved to the Children’s Defense Fund, launching its adolescent pregnancy prevention initiatives and helping to create its adolescent policy agenda. In 1990 she became a vice president at the Academy for Educational Development, where she founded and directed the Center for Youth Development and Policy Research and its spin-off, the National Training Institute for Community Youth Work.

In 1995 Karen joined the Clinton administration as director of the President’s Crime Prevention Council, where she worked with 13 cabinet secretaries to create a coordinated prevention agenda. From there she moved to the executive team of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), charged with helping the organization strengthen its program content and develop an evaluation strategy. In 1998 she and Rick Little, head of the foundation, took a leave of absence to work with ret. Gen. Colin Powell to create America’s Promise. Upon her return, she and Merita Irby launched the Forum, which later became an entity separate from IYF.

Karen has written three books and dozens of articles on youth issues, and is once again a regular columnist in the youth development newspaper, Youth Today, as she was for decades. She is also a respected public speaker and has served on numerous boards and panels, including those of the Kauffman Foundation, the Educational Testing Service, YouthBuild and the National Center for Children in Poverty. Karen also served on The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, a national effort to unite leaders to re-envision what constitutes success in our schools.

Karen has been honored with the National Commission for African American Education Augustus F. Hawkins Service Award (2002), the American Youth Policy Forum Decade of Service Award for Sustained Visionary Leadership in Advancing Youth Policy (2003), the Healthy Teen Network Sprit of Service Award (2007), The Non Profit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50 (2009) and was named one of the 25 most influential leaders in Afterschool by the National Afterschool Association. She also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Partners for Livable Cities, joining previous awardees such as President William Clinton and Lady Bird Johnson.

Keynote Session Description

Transformative Learning, Robust Equity, Youth Thriving: A Science-Informed Formula for Youth Success

The science of learning and development makes clear that each and every young person has potential to thrive. The Readiness Projects released the Thriving, Robust Equity, and Transformative Learning & Development paper in July 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the call for systemic changes in the United States after the murder of George Floyd and other Black Americans.

“Thriving”, “equity”, and “learning and development” are often in the same sentence together but the relationship between the terms is not always apparent. In this session, Karen Pittman will dive into the definitions of each as well as the formula created to explain the connection between the terms – Transformative Learning & Development X Robust Equity = Thriving Youth. Karen will demonstrate how, when equipped with this formula, all adults across the learning and development ecosystem play an aligned and interconnected role in supporting all learners across all settings to reach their full potential and how rather than just seeing some young people beat the odds, we can truly change the odds to ensure all young people can thrive.