Keynote Speakers

Elliot Washor

Thursday, March 14th | University of Winnipeg| 7:00 pm

Purchase tickets for $10 here!

All proceeds to the Seven Oaks Education Foundation

headshot_elliot_highres copyElliot Washor, Ed.D., has been involved in education innovation and school design for more than 40 years as a teacher, principal, administrator, designer, video producer, speaker and writer. Twenty-three years ago, Elliot co-founded Big Picture Learning and the Met Center in Providence, RI, recognized by President Barack Obama as one of the most innovative high schools in the country; one which should serve as an example to any educator focusing their efforts on student-centered, real-world learning. Given the success of the Big Picture design in the United States, Elliot has been recruited to repeat its successes across the world and, to date, has helped form over 100 Big Picture international schools in places like Australia, Barbados, Belize, Canada, India, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, New Zealand and The United Kingdom.

As detailed in Elliot’s latest book, Leaving to Learn co-written with Charles Mojkowski, he is most interested in how schools connect with communities to better understand how students (and adults) learn both inside and outside formal education settings.

Elliot WashorBeyond school design, Elliot has played a key role in developing programs (such as Seed-to-Table programs and Makerspaces) —that are specifically shaped to entwine head, heart, and hand. Elliot has always held that the key to education—and really to humanity—is to have students and staff—and people in general—do things that matter to them and their communities.  If this “do-think-do” mentality seems simple, it’s intended to. Elliot’s educational philosophy—one which is embedded at the core of Big Picture’s successful school design—is that practice should inform theory and that theory should inform practice, a cycle that can lead to profound change, and one that has earned Elliot wide acclaim and recognition.

 Elliot was selected as one of the Twelve Most Daring Educators in the World by the George Lucas Educational Foundation. His dissertation on Innovative Pedagogy and New Facilities won the merit award from DesignShare, the international forum for innovative schools. Elliot has won a regional Emmy for his work as an Executive Producer on Big Picture Learning’s early Public Service Announcements.

 Elliot lives in sunny San Diego with his wife and dogs.

Laura McBain

Friday, March 15th | Maples Collegiate Commons| 9:00 am


Laura is the K12 Lab Director of Community and Implementation at the Stanford In this role she leads the K12 Lab network and aims to use design thinking to transform education and the world. As a human-centered designer, her work focuses on understanding the ecosystem of education and finding meaningful opportunities for disruptive design.

She is advocate for equity and social justice work and is leading experiments to ensure more students have access to an innovative educational experience that will help them thrive in a changing world. Formerly Laura was the Director of External Relations at  the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. As the Director of External Relations, Laura traveled the globe designing and leading professional development focused on the implementation of progressive education, school transformation, deeper learning and equity initiatives.

She has served as a principal of two HTH sites and has taught middle and high school classes in public charter and comprehensive schools. Laura was the architect of the Deeper Learning Conference, a 1200 person, adult learning experience aimed at activating and galvanizing educators for large-scale change.