2020 Pre-Conference and Institute are cancelled

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2020 Pre-Conference and State-wide Institute on Best Practices in Inclusive Education are cancelled. Many of the scheduled 2020 presenters will be presenting at the 2021 Pre-Conference and Inclusion Institute, which is scheduled for July 26-28, 2021 at the Westwood Conference Center in Wausau, WI. Stay well & we will see you in 2021!

July 26 to 28, 2021

Monday, July 26
8:00am to 4:00pm

Main Institute
Monday, July 26 4:00pm
to Wednesday, July 28 at 2:15pm

Look for early bird registration in March

“I have been impressed with every aspect of the program and highly recommend this program for all educators and parents of children with special needs.”​

Jackie Paullin, Genesee Lake School

“I look forward to the conference every year because I always leave with ideas that I can implement immediately.” ​

Mary Wudtke, 3rd Grade at Bondeul Elementary School

“This Institute has helped me become a more effective teacher by using the tools I learn here.”

Tamara Smith, 4th Grade Teacher at Algoma Elementary School

Pre-Conference Keynote Speakers

“Learning Better Together: Including Students with Significant Disabilities in Comprehensive Literacy Instruction”

 Dr. Danielle Cowley, Jessica Stakey, & Colleagues will share instructional strategies and resources to support all. Real-life examples will be shared – leading for inclusion, collaborating across general and special education, designing evidence-based, inclusive literacy instruction, and delivering for high learner engagement.

Danielle Cowley

Dr. Danielle Cowley

Pre-Conference Keynote


Dr. Cowley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Northern Iowa. She teaches courses in the areas of humanistic behavior supports, inclusive education, best practices for students with significant disabilities, and educational and post-school transitions. Dr. Cowley serves as an Educational Consultant for the state of Iowa in the area of Specially Designed Literacy Instruction for students with significant disabilities. Danielle has published and presented extensively. 

Jessica Stakey

Jessica Stakey

Pre-Conference Keynote


Jessica is special education teacher and K-12 instructional coach for the Waterloo, IA Public School District. Jessica has taught inclusive practices and strong differentiation strategies that equitably teach all students in the buildings she supports.

Main Institute Keynote Speakers

Brett Bernard

Brett Bernard

Tuesday Keynote

"Why Not You? Success for All"

Brett is a math anxiety survivor and has more than 20 years of experience as an educator and coach. Brett earned his M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and is a published author. Brett’s books include: Math Anxiety, Total Math Engagement, and How to Talk Math, which takes a whole brain approach to teaching students the universal language of mathematics. He knows how to succeed and how to use all of his own experiences to help others achieve success. In Brett’s Keynote address, “Why Not You? Success for All,” he will share strategies, along with inspirational (and humorous) stories, regarding how former students of all backgrounds succeeded in many aspects of life. This Keynote will not only motivate you to dream big for you and your students, but it will also give you practical strategies that you can used to help any child be successful in the classroom. Brett’s follow-up forum, “The ABC’s of Experiencing Math,” will focus on how students can experience math, rather than trying to learn math through simply reading or hearing about it. This emphasis of this forum will be on math anxiety reduction, building math vocabulary and creating effective conversations about math. Brett resides in Minnesota. More information on Brett can be found on his website: https://www.brettbernard.com.

Ryan Haack

Ryan Haack

Wednesday Keynote

"Different is Awesome! Acknowledging, Accepting, and Celebrating What Makes Us Unique""

Ryan believes that being different is Awesome! Living one-handed since birth, Ryan has faced challenges and overcome them with determination and a  vibrant sense of humor. As a speaker and author, he has been able to share his message of hope, inclusion and celebration of our differences, with thousands of children and adults all over the country. Schools, hospitals, small businesses, large corporations, associations…wherever people are gathered and doing hard & amazing work, Ryan’s message resonates and inspires. In his Keynote, “Different Is Awesome! Acknowledging, Accepting and Celebrating What Makes Us Unique!,” Ryan will share his journey of growing-up with one hand and overcoming the challenges he encounters on a daily basis while living in a world designed for two hands. Through story-telling and humor, Ryan will talk about the surprising simplicity of building community and the truth that our differences (those things that make us unique) are the very things that make us awesome! Ryan lives with his wife, Julie, and their three children (Sam, Anna and Claire) in Verona, Wisconsin He is the author of the children’s book, Different Is Awesome! More information on Ryan can be found on his website: http://www.livingonehanded.com.

Don't miss it! July 26 to 28, 2021 is the 27th Annual State-Wide Institute on Best Practices in Inclusive Education