LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 19, 2021) – The Student Focused Teacher Led conference in Little Rock Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 will feature some of the nation’s leading educators and researchers.

The opening keynote speaker, Ruby Payne, educator and author best known for the book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” will speak about “Emotional Poverty in All Demographics.” Payne holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies.

In other sessions, NBA legend Sidney Moncrief, will about “Taking Ownership of Creating a Better World,” and education expert Tammy Pawlowski, who holds a doctorate in Early Childhood Education, will talk about “Myths and Misconceptions: Why Poverty Matters and Why Schools and Teachers Can Matter More.”

“We want to empower educators with research-based practices and industry-proven resources,” said Arkansas State Teachers Association Executive Director Michele Linch, who holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. “Then, they can take these tools back to their classrooms and lead at their schools.”

The Arkansas State Teachers Association, Bright Futures USA, The Reform Alliance and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education are hosting the conference.

Early registration until August 31 comes with a discounted rate of $50, a complimentary Student Focused Teacher Led T-shirt and a copy of Payne’s book “”Emotional Poverty in All Demographics: How to Reduce Anger, Anxiety and Violence in the Classroom.” Beginning Sept. 1, registration will cost $100. Registration is available at

“Over the past couple decades, the paradigm in education has shifted toward making sure instruction, relationships and classroom interactions are all centered around what is best for students,” said Emmy Henley, managing director of The Reform Alliance. “We invite all educators to attend the conference to learn more about what it means to be student focused like this.”

ABOUT BRIGHT FUTURES USA: Bright Futures USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing communities together to focus on the success of children. This grassroots movement uses the Bright Futures framework to engage businesses, human service agencies, faith-based organizations, and parent groups within communities to meet the needs of children so every child can be successful, now and in the future.

ABOUT THE ARKANSAS STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: As a state chapter of the Association of American Educators (AAE), the Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA) is a statewide non-union, professional educators’ organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to teacher representation and educational advocacy, as well as promoting professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda.

ABOUT THE REFORM ALLIANCE: The Reform Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring every K-12 student in Arkansas has equal access to a world-class education. The Reform Alliance is proud to manage the Succeed Scholarship at no cost to the State of Arkansas. Even small expenses like the cost of mailing checks to schools are paid for by a private foundation grant. Free educational resources and more information about The Reform Alliance are available at

ABOUT THE DIVISION OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION: The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is a division of the Arkansas Department of Education which provides leadership, support and service to schools, districts and communities so every student graduates prepared for college, career, and community engagement.