Paul D. Houston has established himself as one of the leading spokespersons for American education through his extensive speaking engagements, published articles, and his regular appearances on national radio and television.nbsp;Formerly executive director of the American Association of School Administrators from 1994 to 2008, Houstonnbsp;has served asnbsp;a teacher and building administrator in North Carolina and New Jersey. He has also served as assistant superintendent in Birmingham, Alabama, and as superintendent of schools in Princeton, NJ; Tucson, AZ; and Riverside, CA. Houston has served in an adjunct capacity for the University of North Carolina, Harvard University, Brigham Young University, and Princeton University. He has served as a consultant and speaker throughout the United States and overseas, and he has published more than 100 articles in professional journals.
Award-winning author and visionary educational leader Alan M. Blankstein nbsp;served fornbsp; 25 years as President of the HOPE Foundation, a not-for-profit organization which he founded and whose honorary chair is Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A former "high-risk" youth, Alan began his career in education as a music teacher. Henbsp;has worked in several major youth-serving, including the March of Dimes, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National Educational Service (now Solution Tree), which he founded in 1987 and directed for 12 years. Through HOPE and Solution Tree, Blankstein helped launch and advance Professional Learning Communities beginning in the late 1980s. He is the author of the best-selling book nbsp; Failure Is Not an Optionï¿½: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools , which received the 2005 Book of the Year award from Learning Forward (formerly NSDC). In addition to authorship of this award-winning book, Blankstein is Publisher of three nbsp; Failure Is Not an Optionï¿½ nbsp; video series and has been Senior Editor, lead contributor, or author of an additional 18 books, including Equity through Excellence with Pedro Noguera. nbsp;Blankstein also authored some 20 articles in educational journals including nbsp; Educational Leadership, The School Administrator, Executive Educator, High School Magazine, and Reclaiming Children and Youth, to name a few. He has also provided keynote presentations and workshops for virtually every major educational U.S. organization, as well as in the UK, Middle East, South Africa and Singapore.Blankstein has served on the Harvard International Principals Centers advisory board, as Board member for Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, and as Co-Chair of Indiana University's Neal Marshall Black Culture Center's Community Network and advisor to the Faculty and Staff for Student Excellence (FASE) mentoring program. He also served as advisory board member for the Forum on Race, Equity, and Human Understanding with the Monroe County Schools in Indiana, and on the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Child Care Agency (JCCA), in which he was once a youth in residence. nbsp;nbsp;