• 2021 ABEC Annual Conference



    To view the Conference Video Recording click here.     

    To view or print the Conference Program Agenda and bios click here.                                              

    For more information on the Integrated Vision of a Thriving Arizona click here. 



    KEYNOTE:  What role does Business play in public education? 

      Don Budinger, Chairman and Founding Director, Rodel Charitable Foundations  (his bio here)

    A high quality of life and standard of living and robust economy where more people benefit rests on the quality of public education - we need a high performing public education system. It is our number one investment, our number one asset, and our number one responsibility.   It is time to look at it differently, time to have a hard conversation with our elected leaders. 

    His opening remarks begin at 15:53 in the video recording. 




    PANEL: What is the one key thing from the school/business connection that provides the greatest impact for student achievement gains? Myth Buster!  The greatest impact on student achievement is “workforce development and career exploration.”  


    • Career Development ---> Talent/Workforce Development (a well filled pipeline) ---> Economic Development
    • Education is the proven sure fire method for binging people from one point in life to another.  It is the strategy that has consistently worked especially for those facing barriers others may not face. 
    • Education is an investment, as the voters have repeatedly indicated. 
    • We need to change the narrative in our state, and now is the time for bold action.  
    • We need a shared plan of action; concrete steps, advocacy for policies and funding that will drive progress to meet these goals. 
    • One caring adult that pays attention to a student's well being, shows them a positive role model and that they care, especially for students facing barriers, and  holds each other accountable,  will produce successful student.


    Q&A with the panel begins at 1:16:52 in the video recording. 


  • Katherine Pappas   bio

    Executive Director


    Katherine's slide deck here. 

    Katherine's remarks begin at 33:00 in the video recording.




  • Rich Nickel   bio

    President & CEO

    Education Forward Arizona

    Rich's remarks begin at 40:42. 

  • Dave Howell   bio

    Senior Vice President

    Government Relations

    Wells Fargo

    Dave's remarks begin at 50:58 in the recording. 


  • Dr. Randy Kimmens, Ed.D.  bio

    Vice President, Strategic Partnerships

    Futures Inc.

    Randy's remarks begin at 59:46.

  • Rachel Yanof   bio

    Education Leader

    Rachel's remarks begin at 1:06:33

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    PANEL:  What is the greatest, most proven graduation rate accelerator?  Myth Buster! The greatest graduation accelerator is Career and Technical Education and Career Pathways engagement. 


    • The Why, How, and What of CTEDs.
    • Workforce Development - Connecting the dots and building bridges:  College and Career Readiness.   Credits for CTE courses. 
    • Support the under-supported students. 
    • Be the partner you expect others to be. 
    • Myth Buster:  Business has supported Equity Funding for years! 

    Listen for the Eddie Basha and Jake Flake anecdotes! 


    Q&A with the panel begins at 2:26:21.  

    John Kelly's recap of successful public education policy initiatives this past legislative session begins at 2:28:38 (in response to a question).


  • Dr. Spencer Isom, Ed.D.   bio

    Director, Business & Government Affairs


    Spencer's remarks begin at 2:03:25. 

  • John Kelly   bio


    Triadvocates, LLC

    John's remarks begin at 1:58:45.

    John's recap of successful public education policy initiatives this past legislative session begins at 2:28:38 (during Q&A). 

  • Jake Logan   bio

    President & CEO

    Arizona Charter Schools Association

    Jake's remarks begin at 2:14:56.

  • Dr. Chad Wilson. Ed.D.   bio


    East Valley Institute of Technology

    Chad's remarks begin at 2:10:41. 

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    • How do we incorporate soft skill training? How do we partner with schools to develop those kinds of skill sets that employers think are most important? 
    • Ask not what education can do for you but what you can do for education.  (paraphrasing a famous President's quote) 
    • Why the business and education relationship is so important to Mayors and other elected leaders:  We all have to have ownership of our public education system and its challenges. 

  • Jackie Norton  

    President  & CEO

    Rodel Charitable Foundations

    Jackie's remarks begin at 2:39:50.

  • Dr. Roger Freeman, Ed.D.  bio


    Littleton Elementary School District

    Roger's remarks begin at 2:46:21. 

  • The Honorable John Giles   bio


    City of Mesa, Arizona

    Mayor Giles' intro and remarks begin at 3:04:41. 

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    GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES: In your administration as governor of Arizona what is your vision for students in our public schools?

  • The Honorable Katie Hobbs

    Arizona Secretary of State and Gubernatorial Candidate

    Katie's remarks begin at 4:33:23.

  • The Honorable Matt Salmon

    Gubernatorial Candidate

    Matt's remarks begin at 4:10:09.

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