2024 April National Superintendents Forum

Hilton Chicago Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, Oak Brook, IL
April 7th
- 9th

Event will start in:


About The Program

The April National Superintendents Forum, centered around the theme “From the Superintendent’s Office to the Classroom: Creating and Sustaining Positive Momentum,” serves as a pivotal platform for public school superintendents to engage in robust discussions and collaborative dialogue. The forum will explore topics on the forefront of superintendents’ minds, as all sessions are led by superintendents. Attendees will delve into topics such as curriculum development, teacher professional development, and bridging the gap between administrative decisions and implementation at the classroom level. Through insightful keynotes, interactive workshops, and peer-to-peer networking, superintendents are given the opportunity to exchange ideas on how to effectively translate their vision into tangible improvements on every level of their school districts. The forum serves not only as a knowledge-sharing hub but also as a catalyst for forging a collective commitment to remember why they’re here in the first place: students.

Topics Of Discussion

If you have recently been named superintendent or just looking for some strategies to help foster board/superintendent relations then this session is for you. I will share some approaches that have worked for me in my district as well as share examples from other superintendents across Illinois and Wisconsin. I hope that you will consider joining me.
In this session, Dr. Dawn Bartz, Superintendent of the Smithfield (RI) School District, will lead a roundtable discussion on developing community partnerships that enhance and expand instruction in K-12 school systems. The partnerships with local businesses, government, and higher education can provide invaluable opportunities to integrate inquiry-based learning into the curriculum. Through the community partnerships, chronic absenteeism declines, students’ sense of belonging in their schools increase, achievement increases, and there is a clear alignment between the academic world and the world outside. Hands-on, inquiry-based learning in which community resources partner with the schools is easy to do and Dr. Bartz has had success in both large and small districts as well as in urban, suburban and rural districts.
In his Keynote, Dr. Joe Gothard will center the critical question, “how are the children?” as a guiding principle for superintendents committed to fostering equity and amplifying student voices at every level of the school district.
The articulation and design of an exceptional educational experience should be the focus of educators at levels. But what does that really look like? What should be the focus and design of a district, a school, a class, a club or an activity. What are the components that should serve as the pillars and guideposts for such an endeavor? During this 45 minute collaborative and informal session, Michael Ben-David will share what education might learn from the private sector and, specifically, how a Michelin Star chef/restaurant approaches these same questions.
Leaders will share the process used to implement strategic planning initiatives with the board. The plan involves the board, superintendent, central office leaders, and other key stakeholders. Attendees will be able to learn about processes, templates, and ideas used in the Conway school district that have helped outline and define the strategic plan for the district as a whole.

In a world inundated with information and diverse perspectives, the ability to control the narrative has become a crucial skill. “Controlling the Narrative Through Consistency and Persistence” is a presentation that explores the art and “science” behind shaping perceptions, influencing opinions, and guiding the discourse in various contexts. This  presentation delves into the strategies and techniques employed by Superintendent  Douglas Mentzer to assert control over the stories told about Trenton Public Schools.

The most effective strategy often involves a strong defense, a sentiment frequently echoed in sports commentary—’The best offense is a good defense.’ This saying emphasizes the importance of proactivity, responsibility, and control in navigating challenging situations. Over the past three years, Superintendents nationwide have confronted circumstances demanding precise, politically correct, and, to some extent, personalized responses tailored to special interest groups or local communities within the community.

Looking ahead, the present moment provides a prime opportunity to recognize that a robust defense, specifically controlling the narrative with consistency and persistence, is the optimal approach for managing adversity. This roundtable discussion will not only review how actively engaging and maintaining open communication are crucial steps in effectively handling the uncertainties that lie ahead, but also connect these proactive efforts to advertising, marketing, community relationships, establishing trust, community pride, and increased enrollment.

The Durango School District (CO) epitomizes the “Wild West,” in spirit and in practice, with schools that have historically practiced autonomy over unity. Evidence demonstrates this has not resulted in students finding their Ikigai-their sense of purpose for life beyond graduation. Explore how Durango has moved together to create a unity of purpose, a system-wide Portrait of a Graduate, a guaranteed and viable curriculum for ALL students, and an instructional framework focused on deeper learning-all while honoring and celebrating autonomy- with the ultimate goal of students finding their Ikigai.

Overall Experience
RTM Staff Rating
Value of time OOO

80% of delegates said this is the best event they’ve attended all year

Keynote Speakers

A dynamic roster of keynote speakers drives innovation at our congress events. Discover thought leaders and game-changers whose invaluable insights foster growth and excellence in each of our delegates.

Dr. Joe Gothard
Saint Paul Public Schools
Theresa Plascencia
Waukegan Community Unit School District #60


Dr. Michael Barnes
Mayfield City Schools
Dr. Dawn Bartz
Smithfield Public Schools
Michael Ben-David
Tenafly Public School District
Dr. Karen Cheser
Durango School District No. 9-R
Jeff Collum
Conway Public Schools
Dr. Aaron Espolt
Shawnee Public Schools
Dr. Peter Hannigan
Hawthorn District 73
Dr. Sean Kirksey
Trenton Public Schools
Douglas Mentzer
Trenton Public Schools (Michigan)

The Schedule

10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Event Registration

12:20 pm - 1:20 pm

Opening Keynote

1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Strategy Sessions/Business Meetings

3:15 pm - 3:35 pm

Afternoon Refreshments and Networking

3:35 pm - 5:45 pm

Strategy Sessions/Business Meetings/Roundtable Discussions/Workshops

5:45 pm - 6:45 pm

Free Time

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Welcome Drinks and Dinner

7:00 am - 8:00 am

Networking Breakfast

8:00 am - 9:00 am

Morning Keynote/Panel Session

9:00 am - 10:30 am

Strategy Sessions/Business Meetings

10:30 am - 11:00 am

Morning Refreshments and Networking

11:00 am - 11:45 am

Strategy Sessions/Business Meetings

11:45 am - 12:30 pm

Workshops/Roundtable Discussions

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Networking Luncheon

1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Roundtables/Business Meetings/Workshops

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Afternoon Refreshments and Networking

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Strategy Sessions/Business Meetings

5:00 pm - 5:45 pm

Leadership Talk

5:45 pm - 6:45 pm

Free Time

6:45 pm - 8:30 pm

Networking Drinks and Dinner

8:00 am - 8:15 am

Morning Refreshments and Networking

8:20 am - 9:05 am

Workshops/Roundtable Discussions

9:10 am - 9:55 am


10:05 am - 11:05 am

Strategy Sessions/Business Meetings

11:15 am - 12:00 pm

Closing Session

If you have access to the full schedule, click here. Otherwise, click here to get access.

Our Commitments to You

Maximized Networking Opportunities

Cultivate meaningful relationships with peers and thought leaders via networking opportunities and functions, strategically designed and planned by our team ahead of the event.

A personal, customized itinerary

Participants customize their schedule by selecting from various sessions, tracks and private meetings that align specifically with their business needs and goals.

Exclusive qualified attendance

In order to facilitate the most optimal networking and meeting opportunities, participation is invitation only and strictly limited to Senior Level Administrators & Executives.

return on time and objective

Your time and the objectives you have set are our top priority. We strive to facilitate the right meetings and introductions to ensure your time with us is being justified with real value.

Delegate Testimonials

Nottoway County Public Schools, VA

"RTM is the best conference I attend that is geared specifically for superintendents to network and learn from each other regarding the role of the superintendent. I have left each meeting with lots of resources and ideas from those conversations. Add to that the strategic, one-on-one partner meetings and the value of the conference increases tremendously. My school district’s students and staff members have benefited from my exposure and experiences at RTM."

Anderson 3

This was my first experience at an event like this. I enjoyed having the variety of experiences from whole group to small group roundtables. The one-on-one opportunities with vendors allowed me to ask questions specific to me and allowed us both to use our time together most efficiently.