Keynote Speaker

Dr. Penny Wallin is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Mississippi State University-Meridian, and a life-long teacher, administrator, and teaching artist. She has worked in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, and Mississippi where she has served as teacher, teaching artist, principal, curriculum director, clinical professor, and district superintendent. She holds degrees from Rider University, Harvard University, and University of Southern Mississippi, in the areas of Early Childhood, English, Social Sciences, Theatre, Learning Environments, and Educational Leadership.

She was among the first 81 educators in the USA to receive National Board Certification. Dr. Wallin is the author of A Comparative Study of Children's Theatre in Mississippi and New Jersey; Study on Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences; A Critical Study of Charter Schools; Transforming School Leadership with ELCC Standards and Best Practices; Teaching and Learning Style Factors of National Board Certified Teachers; Parenting of African American Children; The Impact of Formal Teacher Mentor Training to Scaffold Beginning Teachers in K-12 Settings; and university courses: Integrating Drama in K-8 Classrooms, Brain-friendly Classroom Management, and Educating for Diversity.

In 2004 she was named Mississippi's Outstanding Administrator of the Year for her work in arts-in-education, and currently serves as Executive Director for the Mississippi Alliance for Arts in Education. In 2012 she organized Mississippi's Imagination Conversation in partnership with the New York Lincoln Institute, and in 2013 she was highlighted by her university in Our People and honored at the Faculty Annual Awards and Recognition Forum for her work in educational leadership and arts in education.

This year she is serving on the Community Action Team with the J F Kennedy Center Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child Meridian, MS site to develop a comprehensive arts integration strategic plan that will impact every child pre-K through 8th grade with arts education. As a National Educational/Arts Consultant, she offers workshops in brain research, teacher mentoring, arts integration, multiple intelligences, tools for thinkers, and brain-based discipline.