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Keynote Speakers

Dr. B. Grant Hayes

Dr. Grant Hayes is a distinguished professor and dean of the College of Education at East Carolina University.

Dr. Hayes has spent the last 30 years as an innovative leader, teacher, professor, and administrator who is noted for empowering faculty and students to seek creative solutions to some of the most pressing educational issues. Before coming to ECU, Dr. Hayes was a professor of counselor education and served as interim dean of the College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida. While there he also held numerous leadership positions over the span of more than a decade. Dr. Hayes began his career in academia in the Department of Psychology at James Madison University in Virginia.

Dr. Hayes has published extensively, conducting research in a variety of areas including technological applications in counselor education, counseling children and adolescents, and character education/moral development in schools and youth settings. His publications have appeared in the Journal ofCounseling and Development, Childhood Education, Psychological Reports, Journal of Education and Psychology, and Counselor Education and Supervision. He has built a national reputation for his lectures and presentations at numerous national and international conferences, seminars, educational meetings and professional development events.

Dr. Hayes is a fellow of the American Counseling Association and is a past member of the board of directors of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. He has served on the board of examiners for NCATE/CAEP, the executive advisory board of directors of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), and the board of directors for the Association of Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling, where he received the Meritorious Service Award. He is a past president of the Counseling Association for Humanistic Education and Development and recipient of the association’s Humanistic Processes Award. This prolific service record on a variety of governing boards is firm evidence of Hayes’ commitment to advancing ideas, forwarding professional standards, and promoting policies that positively impact faculty and professionals in the field.

Dr. Hayes earned his doctoral, educational specialist, and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, and his bachelor’s degree from Limestone College. He has a lifelong love for music and still participates in a variety of musical and theater productions.

Dr. Jane West

A former teacher and education administrator, Dr. Jane West is visiting professor at the University of Maryland and policy advisor to several national education organizations, including the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education(, the National Network of State Teacher of the Year(, the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education ( and the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children( For 8 years she led AACTE’s advocacy and policy work as Senior Vice President.In the mid 1980’s she worked as senior education advisor on the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions where she led the national effort to craft multiple federal education statutes.

Focusing on bringing the voice of expert education practitioners into the national policy dialogue, West supports professionals – teacher educators, expert teachers, researchers, principals, doctoral students and others — in engaging in the policy making process by honing their message, supporting it with evidence, engaging at the right time during the process and building effective political alliances.

With a focus on teaching quality, West has led the effort to build an influential100 organization coalition – the Coalition for Teaching Quality ( – to advocate for a professional continuum for teaching and education leadership with a focus on a diverse workforce and bringing the most accomplished educators to the students with greatest need.She has organized multiple briefings for policy makers and routinely consults with elected officials to develop education policy which will serve the highest need students.

West contributed to multiple legislative provisions in the new federal education law — the Every Student Succeeds Act — which promote teacher leadership and comprehensive educator preparation as strategies to address critical teacher shortages, teacher recruitment and teacher retention challenges, particularly for diverse student populations and high need schools.

Her scholarship focuses on analyzing education policy and effective strategies for professionals to ensure that their expert practice and scholarship influence national education policy.As co-editor of a recent special issue of Teacher Education for Special Education, she has articulated a powerful analysis of effective advocacy for educators (

Her extensive publications and national keynote lectures bring education policy to life for teachers and researchers alike.

West has served on the faculties of the University of San Francisco, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland and Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been a special education teacher and administrator and edited two books about the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law she participated in crafting.

West holds a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Maryland.



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