ACU's Teaching Conference Information

Mindset, Motivation, and Memory

ACU’s Conference on Teaching, Learning, and the Brain

Mindsets, Motivation and Memory

Mark your calendars for June 23th, 2017!

Arizona Christian University is excited to announce this year’s conference on Teaching, Learning, and the Brain.  This conference brings together educators from all around Arizona, and we hope you will be able to attend!

Early Registration is OPEN! Seating is limited!

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL PRICE: $89!* INCLUDES LUNCH  Also, buy 4 tickets and get the 5th FREE!

*Purchase by April 30th, 2017, for the early bird price of $89. Price will increase to $99 on May 1st.

Register Here!

7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Registration, Check in, Refreshments
8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. Kickoff, Welcome, Announcements, Details of the day
8:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

(break at 10:00am)

Keynote – The Power of Mindsets – Dr. Bryan Harris
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.



Breakout sessions

  • Even More Surprisingly Simple Ways to Boost Memory & Recall – Dr. Bryan Harris (room SAC 101 or 212?)
  • Changing Math Mindsets – One District’s Approach to Developing Math Teachers – Lisa Dempsey (room 213)
  • The School Leader’s Toolbox – Developing Leadership within Your School – Dr. Gary Damore (room 221)
  • There’s MAGIC in This Classroom – Dr. Linnea Lyding (room 220)
  • Technology: Methods, Motivation, and Management – Hannah and Jon Peters (room 211)
2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Break
2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.



Breakout sessions

  • Helping Students Develop Conflict Resolution Skills – Dr. Bryan Harris (room 212)
  • Building Resiliency in Struggling Students – Lisa Dempsey (room 213)
  • The School Leader’s Toolbox – Designing Effective Feedback for Teacher Growth – Dr. Gary Damore (room 221)
  • Make a Move on Reading  – Dr. Linnea Lyding (room 220)
  • How the Brain Learns Best – A Radical “Neuro”logical Approach to Instruction – Ava Genung (room 211)

Morning Workshop:

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bryan Harris – “The Power of Mindsets”


Afternoon Breakouts:

Session Descriptions – 1:00pm-2:15pm

Even More Surprisingly Simple Ways to Boost Memory & RecallDr. Bryan Harris

This session is a follow up to the 2015 conference keynote where Dr. Harris provided relevant and effective ways to boost long-term memory in students.  Even if you didn’t attend that session, you will not want to miss this practical session that demonstrates research-proven methods to improve students’ long-term memory.

Changing Math Mindsets – One District’s Approach to Developing Math TeachersLisa Dempsey

Participants in this session will learn about an innovative and effective professional development model that focuses on helping teachers develop conceptual understanding of math concepts in order to best help students develop a deep mathematical understanding.

The School Leader’s Toolbox – Developing Leadership within Your SchoolDr. Gary Damore

This interactive session, led by veteran school leader Dr. Gary Damore, will offer participants with practical tools, proven strategies, and methods to develop and enhance leaders within your school.

There’s MAGIC in This ClassroomDr. Linnea Lyding

Magic in your classroom, like a growth mindset, is something that can be developed.  Research has shown that connecting to background knowledge, novelty, and relevance are all critical pieces in creating a magical learning environment.  When you include these pieces in your instruction, student motivation and memory increase.  This session will provide practical and relevant strategies for classroom use.

Technology: Methods, Motivation, and Management – Hannah and Jon Peters

Everyone knows that technology can be a great motivator for students.  But managing student use of technology can be a challenge.  This interactive and timely session will offer teachers with numerous tools and classroom management strategies for classroom use.


Session Descriptions – 2:30pm-3:45pm

Helping Students Develop Conflict Resolution Skills – Dr. Bryan Harris

In order to be successful in school and in life, students need to learn, develop, and refine conflict resolution skills.  However, many schools do not take the time to explicitly teach students this critical skill.   This session will offer participants with tools, strategies, models, and lessons that teach students how to cope with and resolve conflict.

Building Resiliency in Struggling Students – Lisa Dempsey

Resiliency is the ability to “bounce back”, recover, or persist in the face of adversity.  We all know students who seem to thrive despite sometimes overwhelming challenges.  And, we all know students who struggle to persevere through life’s challenges. There is good news for students who struggle – resiliency can be learned!  This important and relevant session will offer participants with research-based strategies to build resiliency in students.

The School Leader’s Toolbox – Designing Effective Feedback for Teacher GrowthDr. Gary Damore

It is well-known that feedback is essential for growth.  This is true for both students and adults.    However, what methods, tools, and strategies are most effective to support teacher growth?  This question and more will be addressed in this practical and strategy-rich session.

Make a Move on Reading – Dr. Linnea Lyding

While the link between physical movement/kinesthetic activities, cognition, and learning are well established, many teachers do not think about using these strategies in reading instruction.  In this interactive and highly engaging session, Dr. Lyding will offer concrete, easy to use strategies to teach phonics, syllable types, vocabulary, and comprehension.  These strategies increase motivation and retention.  This session will address the new Arizona State Standard in grades 1-5 RF.3.  that states, “identify and apply all six syllable types to decode.”

How the Brain Learns Best – A Radical “Neuro”logical Approach to InstructionAva Genung

Advances in the neurology of learning have effected educational thinking about how students acquire and retain information. Studies in the area of neuroscience show strong correlations to maximizing learning with the practice of sound neuro-“logical” based strategies. Participants will be introduced to a RADical theory of teaching that captures student interests and cements long term memory.

Bryan Harris_WebBryan Harris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master of Educational Leadership degree from Northern Arizona University. He earned a doctoral degree (Ed.D.) from Bethel University in Minnesota after studying factors impacting new teacher retention. He also holds a certification in brain-based learning from Jensen Learning Corporation. As a former teacher, district-level specialist, and principal, he understands the challenges teachers and school leaders face as they strive to meet the needs of all students. He regularly speaks to educators all over the country on the topics of student engagement, motivation, classroom management, and brain-based learning. As the author of four highly regarded books published by Routledge and ASCD, he has a passion for helping educators discover ways to inspire students to achieve excellence.


Linnea_WebDr. Linnea Lyding is a reading specialist who spent over 18 years teaching in special education and general education classrooms. She understands the challenge of reaching all students, which is why she completed her doctoral work in the area of movement. She assisted teachers in adding movement to their instruction, which resulted in increased student engagement, enjoyment, and learning. Dr. Lyding has published three articles on movement through ASCD and was interviewed about the use of movement on an Internet talk show. Now, as an assistant professor in the Education Department at Arizona Christian University, she enjoys sharing her experience and passions with the pre-service teachers in her program.


Dr. Gary Damore has worked in the field of education for more than 40 years. He has been a teacher, principal, superintendent, college faculty member and provost during that time. Currently, Dr. Damore is with Cultivate Consulting Services providing training to educational institutions from pre-school to higher education in the areas of leadership development, strategic planning and school management.



Ava Genung, a National Board Certified Teacher, is the former Professional Development Specialist, Mentor, Reading Specialist, and teacher from the Paradise Valley Unified School District.  She provides trainings as an ED Specialist with Grand Canyon University, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Arizona Christian University.  Ava motivates and educates her university students, as well as teachers, in the areas of Thinking Maps, language arts, brain based learning,and student engagement.


Hannah Peters received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Arizona State University.  She then received her Master’s in Early Childhood Education through Northern Arizona University.  She has taught Sixth grade, First grade and is now a Media Specialist for grades K-6.  She has taught courses through Arizona Christian University and is excited to start teaching their online courses this fall.  She is always looking for ways to improve student literacy and engage students through the innovative use of technology.


Jonathan Peters received his bachelor’s degree in History/Secondary Education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. He has over a decade of teaching high school students in various Social Studies, leadership, and future educators. Jonathan has always enjoyed fostering positive relationships with students and helping them reach their potential in the classroom by marrying traditional educational practices with technology to create lifelong learners.

Lisa Dempsey has been in education for more than 25 years. She is currently a district specialist working with math coaches and teachers to promote deep understanding of mathematics. Lisa also teaches pre-service teachers seeking a degree in education and has presented for NCTM. She believes in building mathematical proficiency in students, teachers and administrators by changing mindsets, building conceptual understanding and use of the math practices.


Stay Tuned!

Resources will be posted here after the Conference!