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Free conference for all Kalamazoo County educators offered by The Learning Network

The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo has announced Inspire 2014-2015, a three-hour conference to celebrate and support the important work being done in classrooms throughout the community, Aug. 21, from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Educators are invited to gather at Miller Auditorium for a focused event around the community’s need for and responsibility of education.

“Kalamazoo County educators will define our region’s future through their impact on students today,” says Amy Slancik, community investment officer for The Learning Network at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. “We want them to know that we recognize their contribution. We support their efforts. And we’re working to provide a network of resources that will sustain their students throughout their educational journey — cradle to career.”

The event is open to educators and their support staff from pre-kindergarten through college. The first 1,000 participants to register will receive $50 gift cards toward classroom supplies. Teachers may use the time toward State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs).

“Kalamazoo is widely known as a community with a strong commitment to education,” says Dave Campbell, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency superintendent. “The Inspire event gives us an opportunity to express a collective ‘thank you’ to the individual educators on the front line of that effort, and to the many layers of support within each school system who stand beside them.”

Kicking off the event will be Von Washington Jr., executive director of community relations for The Kalamazoo Promise. Washington will discuss “Local Impact and the Promise of Education” for our students individually and our community as a whole.

National speakers include Rich Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller of Menlo Innovations, who will speak on “Joy in the Workplace.” Sampson Davis, MD, an emergency physician with St. Michaels Medical Center in New Jersey and author of “Living and Dying in Brick City,” will discuss “Healthcare in our Inner Cities.” The event also features local Improv Effects founders Brian Lam and Dann Sytsema, who will lead a discussion on “Communication and Culture.”

The conference is sponsored by The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Registrants must work for a school within Kalamazoo County, Mich. To learn more, visit the event’s Facebook page at To register, visit The Eventbrite registration page includes a complete agenda with links to speaker profiles.