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41st Annual Head Start Conference and Expo

Announcing our Keynote Speakers!

We're very excited to announce our keynote speaker lineup for the 41st annual National Head Start Conference and Expo!


Opening Session Keynote Speaker: Nirvan Mullick,Caine's Arcade

Keynote Speaker Nirvan Mullick is a filmmaker from California best known for the YouTube sensation, "Caine's Arcade." Nirvan's short film brought worldwide attention to a young boy from east L.A. who created an awe-inspiring arcade from nothing more than a pile of cardboard.

After the short film received a phenomenal global response of kids, parents, and educators, Nirvan founded a non-profit organization, called the Imagination Foundation. With a mission to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids around the world, the foundation seeks to raise a new generation of innovators and problem solvers.

We can't wait to hear what Nirvan has to say about innovation and children's education!


Closing Session Keynote Speaker: LeVar Burton!


Many know LeVar from his excellent work on the PBS television show, Reading Rainbow. Though the show has stopped running, LeVar and his company, RRKIDZ, have continued working to improve children's literacy through the Reading Rainbow educational iPad app.

We're very excited to hear LeVar speak at the annual conference!

Featured Speaker: Beth Kanter


Beth Kanter will be speaking at the Excellence Breakfast

Beth Kanter is a well-established international leader in nonprofits' use of social media. Her first book The Networked Nonprofit, introduced the sector to a new way of thinking and operating in a connected world. Her second book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, is a practical guide for using measurement and learning to achieve social impact. She is the author of Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, considered the go-to source for how nonprofits can use networks and social media for social change.

Beth has over 30 years working in the nonprofit sector in technology, training, and capacity and has facilitated trainings for nonprofits on every continent in the world (except Antarctica). She was named one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company and one of the BusinessWeek's "Voices of Innovation for Social Media," and was Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation 2009-2013.


Featured Speaker: Sandra Gutierrez

Sandra Gutierrez will be speaking at the Head Start Awards Dinner and Gala

Sandra Gutierrez is founder and National Program Director of Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors - the nation's first evidence based, comprehensive training program for Latino parents with children 0 to 5. Prior to her work with Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors, Ms. Gutierrez developed a series of training programs to support children and families involved in the child welfare system for Parents Action for Children. She brings over forty years of experience with legal, children's advocacy and community service organizations.

Her multi-faceted career has included founding the first service organization to assist Central American Refugees, developing health education programs for the United Farm Workers of America and leading campaigns to promote the benefits of preschool to the Latino community. In addition, for seven years, she served as a founding member and State Commissioner for First 5 California where she established the Advisory Committee on Equity. Ms. Gutierrez serves as an Advisory Board member for the Too Small To Fail Initiative.

Featured Speaker: Richard Martinez


Richard Martinez will be speaking at the Alumni Breakfast

Richard Martinez became Superintendent of the Pomona UnifiedSchool District in 2009, and is one of a select group of successful LatinoUrban School District Superintendents in Los Angeles County. He has beenhighly effective, both as a Chief Executive Officer and as an advocate forchildren. He has focused on closing the achievement gap and preparingyouth for a 21st students.

His professional career began as a crisis intervention counselor in Bell Gardens where he served in the police department providing crisis response and counseling services in the areas of child abuse, domestic violence, and gangs. After an exciting and rewarding experience in law enforcement, Mr. Martinez realized he could have greater impact on the development of youth by working within an educational environment. Richard began his career in education in the Montebello Unified School District as a Child Welfare and Attendance Counselor in 1988. Rising through the ranks, Richard has served as a guidance counselor, student support services worker, and in site and administrative district level roles. Century global economy by promoting high standards for all


Special Musical Guest: José-Luis Orozco


Jose-Luis Orozco will be playing at the Closing Session

José-Luis Orozco is a bilingual educator, children’s author, and recording artist who has dedicated his life to creating quality bilingual music, books, and videos for children. He encourages learning of the Spanish language and promotes Latin American culture through his art. His rich catalog includes 15 CDs, a DVD, and 3 award-winning songbooks. Each year, he shares his music in live performances for over 100,000 educators at education conferences nationwide, who then integrate his music into their classroom curriculum. In 2013, he celebrated his 40-year anniversary creating bilingual children’s music, with a Fall Tour, and a new 20-track compilation album titled Favorite Spanish Songs for Kids with José-Luis Orozco, released in partnership with the Duck Duck Moose label, that features some of the most beloved and popular children’s songs, like “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and “Old MacDonald" in Spanish.