P20 Conference :: Keynotes
P20 Conference Header

July 9 – 10, 2019
College of Southern Idaho
Twin Falls, Idaho


Jessica Lahey

Jessica LaheyEducator & Best-Selling Author of The Gift of Failure

Teacher, New York Times best-selling author and columnist Jessica Lahey is inspiring audiences with her rallying cry to allow children to experience failure as an integral part of becoming successful, resilient and self-reliant adults. Her breakthrough manifesto, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, has become essential reading for parents, educators and coaches and declared a "must-read" by magazines as varied as Working Mother, Fortune and Education Week. In schools around the world, The Gift of Failure is being deployed as a community read that sparks dialog and improves cultures. As a highly sought-after speaker, Jessica addresses "overparenting" with the helpful authority of a seasoned teacher and the empathetic, often humorous, personal perspective of a mom who has truly been there. Her engaging presentations simplify complex cognitive neuroscience and pedagogy, making the case that children learn and develop best when they are given autonomy, allowed to feel competent and valued for the content of their character rather than the letters on their report card. She also provides actionable recommendations to help parents (and the educators that work with them) reframe children's temporary setbacks as beneficial steps toward lasting, longer-term success.

Jessica has become internationally recognized as an expert and thought leader on how parenting styles affect students' motivation, learning and resilience. As a speaker, writer for The Atlantic, commentator for Vermont Public Radio and author of the popular New York Times "The Parent Teacher Conference" column that ran for three years, Jessica has covered topics ranging from education and parenting to addiction and child welfare. With each subject, she weaves in the latest research into her own vast experience as a teacher and parent. Jessica is also a member of the Amazon Studios Thought Leader Board and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids' The Stinky and Dirty Show, designed to model resilience and innovative thinking for preschoolers. She earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts and a J.D. with a concentration in juvenile and education law from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Still actively in the classroom, Jessica currently teaches English and writing to high school students in an inpatient drug and alcohol facility in Vermont.

Passionate about providing hope for children who have been given everything yet feel adrift in their own lives, Jessica creates a true connection with her audiences. Her presentations are filled with laughter, tales from her own life, experience in the classroom and on the front lines of education research. Taking on difficult, often emotionally challenging topics with grace, sensitivity and humor, she provides an uplifting and hopeful experience that changes thinking, inspires new behaviors and forever transforms how we feel about failure.


  • The Gift of Failure

George Couros

George CourosGeorge Couros is the Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division and an Innovative Learning and Leadership Consultant. He has worked with all levels of school from K-12 as a teacher, technology facilitator, and school administrator. He is a sought after speaker on the topic of innovative student learning and engagement and has worked with schools/organizations all over the world. George is also the creator of Connected Principals, the founder of Connected Canada, as well as the School Admin Virtual Mentor Program (#SAVMP). His focus is to help organizations create optimal learning environments for innovation within schools.

Although George is a leader in the area of innovation, his focus is always the development of leadership and people and what is best for kids. He uses humour as a way to connecting with all of those that he works with. His presentations are known to be both informative and entertaining, yet creating an emotional connection that helps people move to the next level. His mix of research, personal stories, and practical ways to implement new learning help participants feel comfortable in taking risks in their own learning. You can learn more about George at his site georgecouros.ca.