Keynote speakers

Kantis Simmons

Former NASA scientist, renowned speaker and author, Kantis Simmons is on a mission.

As the nation’s leading school success strategist Simmons aims to put an end to the academic failure epidemic, teacher turnover rate and student loan debt crisis across America’s schools and colleges.

  • 7,000 students drop out every school day
  • 1.3 million students fail to graduate from high school every year
  • 33% of college freshmen graduate and find a job in their field
  • 46% of new teachers quit within the first five years
  • The U.S. dropped to No.17 — we were once No. 3 in STEM careers

In spite of these disturbing numbers, Simmons is winning and helping others due the same. The schools that go through his Play Your ‘A’ Game Academic Success Program are seeing up to a 23 percent improvement in student performance and test scores.
More and more students and families are equipped to go to college because of his funding strategies. Educators are more fired up today, and schools are retaining more teachers due to his teacher motivation program. Simmons holds a BS in Chemistry
from Norfolk State University, a MS in Polymer Science & Engineering from Lehigh University and a MS degree in Textile and Fiber Engineering from Georgia Tech. Simmons has developed products for Mobil Chemical Company, created contact lens products
for CIBA Vision and improved aircrafts, space shuttles and military jets for NASA Langley Research Center. After more than a decade of working in the lab, solving scientific problems for the government and corporate industries, Simmons now travels
the world, helping to solve the problems of students, parents, educators, schools and colleges. To learn more about Simmons, visit, email him him at or call 844-445-2684.

Mawi Asgedom

Mawi Asgedom has written eight books that are read in thousands of classrooms across North America, and spoken to over one million students and educators in more than 40 states. Mawi Learning’s online leadership courses have inspired students around the
world. As a child, Asgedom fled civil war in Ethiopia and survived a Sudanese refugee camp for three years. After being resettled in The United States, Asgedom overcame poverty, language barriers and personal tragedy to graduate from Harvard University,
where he gave the Commencement address to an audience of 30,000. Asgedom’s bestselling memoir, “Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard,” has been read as a one-book, one-community reading selection by thousands
of schools and communities. His latest book, “Powerful Educator,” helps parents and educators to recognize and leverage their power to profoundly impact the youth in their lives. Citing the impact of Asgedom’s work, The Illinois Association of Teachers
of English named Asgedom the 2006 Illinois Author of the Year. Media outlets that have featured Asgedom include:

  • The Oprah Winfrey Show, “One of the 20 Best Moments of Oprah’s Career”
  • ESSENCE, “One of the 40 Most Inspiring African-Americans"
  • Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Seattle Times, Harvard Magazine, Ebony Magazine

You can learn more about Mawi’s work in education at

Emily Calandrelli

Aerospace Engineer; Host and Producer of FOX's, "Xploration Outer Space" Emily Calandrelli is an Executive Producer and an Emmy nominated host of FOX’s, “Xploration Outer Space;” a chief correspondent on the Netflix show, “Bill Nye Saves The World;” and writer and host of “Spotlight Space,” a YouTube series from Lockheed Martin detailing their latest space projects in development. Calandrelli, who was honored as one of Adweek’s, “11 Celebrities and Influencers Raising the Bar for Creativity in 2017”, is an accomplished writer and speaker on topics of space exploration, scientific literacy, and equality. Her first two novels in a new chapter book series, “The Ada Lace Adventures,” center around an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math and solving mysteries with technology, were released in August of 2017. The second book in the series, “Ada Lace: Sees Red,” was included in the National Science Teachers Association’s list of best STEM books of 2018. The third book, “Ada Lace: Take Me To Your Leader,” will be published May 1. Calandrelli has given talks about the importance of science literacy, the benefits of space exploration and the challenges for women in STEM careers for clients like Google, Pixar, MIT, Texas Instruments, as well as dozens of K-12 schools across the nation. Her first two TEDx talks, “I Don’t Do Math” and “Space Exploration Is the Worst,” have garnered over 700,000 views on YouTube. Prior to her work in science communication, Calandrelli
attended West Virginia University, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, and MIT where she received two Masters of Science degrees, one in Aeronautics and Astronautics and the other in Technology and Policy.