Leadership Development Strategist
Capturing Kids Hearts®
Keynote Speaker | Thursday Luncheon
Monica has enjoyed being an educator for over 24 years, and during this time, she has
served as an elementary and special education teacher, literacy interventionist, and K-8
assistant principal. She is currently the principal of Vandenberg World Cultures Academy
in Southfield, MI. She has been an adjunct professor for Oakland University and Baker
College, served as a board member of the Galileo Teacher Leader Institute, and
currently serves on the board of directors of New Paradigm Loving Glazer Academies in
Detroit, MI. During this time, Monica was nominated for the National Life Group’s Life
Changer of the Year Award. She was recognized as Teacher of the Month by the
Southfield Public School District, and she was featured in Kappan Magazine in April
2014. She has presented to educators and district administrators at the state and
national levels, and she has had the pleasure of working with educators from Michigan,
Georgia, and Texas. Monica began her work with the Capturing Kids Hearts® (CKH)
team, training educators in 2019 with the CKH program.
Monica grew up in Long Island, NY. She graduated with honors from the University of
Dayton with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. She received a
master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instruction from the University of
Michigan and an Educational Specialist degree in Administration and Supervision from
Wayne State University.
Monica currently resides in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and is married to Dwayne Eason,
who is a high school principal. Together they delight in traveling and spending time with
their two daughters, Kennedy and Madison. She is an energetic and enthusiastic
educator who truly believes in the statement, “Be the change you wish to see in the
world.” Monica is passionate about building relationships, and she does all she can to
impact the lives of children everywhere positively.
Capturing Kids' Hearts® is the premier source of professional development for educators nationwide. Through in-person trainings, expert coaching, and ongoing support Capturing Kids' Hearts® equips teachers, coaches, administrators, and district leaders to implement transformational processes focused on social-emotional wellbeing, relationship-driven culture, and student connectedness.
Change of Heart: My Journey of Transplantation, Revelation & Transformation
Keynote Speaker | Friday Breakfast
Few people get a second chance at life. Kristy Sidlar is a shining example of what it means to go from exceptional health to near death to a SurThrivor - using her experiences to inspire people to take small steps for long-lasting change. Kristy is a heart transplant recipient, author, American Heart Association board member, and she is on a mission to save lives and influence healthy behaviors. Her Wellness Widget brings to the forefront six dimensions of wellness that she believes contribute to living a fulfilling life. Kristy shared her story at the DKG Michigan fall conference and looks forward to impacting the international audience through her journey and practical ways to make long-lasting change.
Kristy is a Michigan native with a Bachelor of Arts from Hope College. During her thirty-year career as a sales professional in the staffing and recruiting industry, she has lived and worked in Singapore and traveled the world. She and her husband, Dave, love spending time in Northern California.
Dr. Debbie LeBlanc & Nita Scott
International DKG President | DKG exEcutive Director
Keynote Speakers | Friday Luncheon
Dr. Dr. Debbie LeBlanc currently serves as the DKG Society International President. She has served in multiple positions in her chapter, Beta Phi as well as the state level. She was the ILSO President in 2017-2019, Northeast Regional Director in 2020-2022 and has served on several international committees. Debbie is a graduate of the 2012 Leadership Management Seminar (now DKG Ignite). Debbie has presented leadership workshops and seminars at local, state, and international venues.
She is equally as passionate about developing teacher leaders. Debbie is the co-chair of the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit, where the mission is to build a sustainable culture for teacher leadership in Illinois. The primary goal is to increase success for all students through teacher leadership in instruction, professional collaboration, policy, and advocacy. She has published multiple articles on this initiative to increase awareness of this Summit.
Nita R. Scott joined DKG International Society Headquarters in August of 2011 – serving first as membership director and now as executive director. Scott, an experienced educator, taught secondary mathematics and business in Tennessee and Arkansas before moving to Texas to work with DKG. During her career in education, she chaired continuous improvement/accreditation teams in two states and worked with the Tennessee State Department of Education as a presenter and instructor, as well as co-chair of the Standards Revision Team for Algebra I.
Scott is also a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE). In addition to attending conferences and seminars, she has worked with TSAE as a volunteer mentor for TSAE Leadership, panelist for Learn@Lunch sessions, instructor for CAE Study Courses, and has served on task forces for conference planning and for the association magazine. Scott is currently serving a three-year term as a member of the TSAE Board of Directors and chairing one of the board’s four strategic initiatives, “Leveraging Data to Align Priorities with Capacity.”