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Opening Session Keynote

Ashley Merryman

Award-winning Journalist

Ashley Merryman is the co-author of New York Times bestseller, NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, and just released Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing.

Merryman and her co-author Po Bronson have won nine national awards for their reporting, including: the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Award for Journalism, an "Audie," two Clarion Awards, the Mensa Press Award, and the award for outstanding journalism from the Council on Contemporary Families.

Merryman's work has appeared in Newsweek, Time, New York, the Washington Post and many other publications.

Merryman holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, a Juris Doctorate from the Georgetown University's Law Center, and a Certificate in Irish Studies from Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

She lives in Los Angeles, where she has directed a small all-volunteer tutoring program for inner-city kids for almost 15 years. For her civic involvement, Merryman received commendations from both the Clinton and Bush Administrations.


Closing Session Keynote

Luis A. Hernandez

Early Childhood Education Specialist Training & Technical Assistance Services
Western Kentucky University

Luis A. Hernandez, T/TAS Early Childhood Education Specialist, holds an M.A. in Bilingual/Multicultural education from the University of San Francisco. Luis brings solid expertise based on his work history in Head Start, child care, Pre K programs, college and universities, child care resource and referral administration, and professional development design.

At TTAS-WKU, his work focuses in a wide range of early childhood education and professional development topics. His expertise includes early literacy, dual language learning, adult learning practices, changing demographics and diversity, and ECE management and partnership topics. As a regular presenter and keynote speaker at national, state, and local conferences, Luis is highly regarded for his motivational and energizing presentations. In addition, Luis recently published his first book, “Learning from Bumps on the Road,” focused on leadership topics as in early childhood education. The book is a compilation of presentations and conversations with three fantastic leaders in the field.

Mr. Hernandez is active in a number of organizations that support children and family interests. At the National Association for the Education of Young Children –NAEYC-, he is active in the accreditation process, and developing professional and leadership development opportunities. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership, the United Way's Center for Excellence in Early Childhood, and serves on the Board of the National Latino Children’s Institute. He has served on the Boards of the Florida Children’s Forum, the Child Care Workforce, NACCRRA - the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, and PSP- Parent Services Project in California. For Luis, a new area of work and professional interest centers in advancing the goals of the World Forum on Early Care and Education. Lastly, Luis has been selected to serve as Trustee on the Board of Hampshire College in Amherst Massachusetts, his undergraduate alma mater.