Muncie Community Schools and Ball State SummitMore than 500 Muncie Community Schools administrators, teachers, and community stakeholders came together with nationally recognized educators to imagine the possibilities of the historic partnership between MCS and Ball State University during the Dream. Inspire. Lead. Academic Innovation Summit. Participants heard from keynote speakers before engaging in hands-on sessions to explore innovative strategies to support student success and community wellbeing. The summit also created space for meaningful conversations with MCS educators about their needs and hopes for our schools.

Outcomes from the summit informed the Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan, which the Joint MCS-Ball State Academic Innovation Council developed to guide the future of Muncie Community Schools (OR: to transform the district into a national model for innovative, holistic K-12 education).

The summit kicked off a series of ongoing professional development opportunities for MCS teachers and staff. Ball State’s supports Ball State Teachers College faculty, who are imbedded in each school throughout the district. These educational experts provide additional professional development, help coordinate student-teacher field experience, and lead school-based research tied to school improvement documents. These efforts and more ensure the partnership has the support structure in place to achieve success.

2019 Keynote Speakers

The Innovation Summit welcomed three keynote speakers to energize and inspire participants about the possibilities of this historic partnership. Get to know each of these renowned speakers, and connect with them on social.

George Couros, author of “The Innovator’s Mindset”

Afternoon keynote, Wednesday, Sept. 25

George Couros is a leading educator and award-winning author, focused on innovative leadership, teaching, and learning. He has worked in K-12 as a teacher, technology facilitator, and school and district administrator.

Author or The Innovator’s Mindset; Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, Couros has worked with and presented to schools and organizations across the globe about innovative student learning and engagement. His belief that meaningful change happens when you first connect to people’s hearts is modeled in his writing and speaking.

Learn more about Couros and his work on his blog, The Principal of Change, and connect with him on Twitter @gcouros.  

Jennifer Blatz — Champion of Cradle to Career

Morning keynote, Thursday, Sept. 26

Jennifer Blatz is president and CEO of StriveTogether, a national movement with a clear purpose: help every child succeed in school and in life from cradle to career, regardless of race, zip code or circumstance. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 13.7 million children and students, including 8.6 million children of color, in 29 states and Washington, D.C. This national, nonprofit network improves outcomes for kids by bringing together cross-sector partners around a shared community vision.

Prior to taking the helm at StriveTogether, Jennifer helped launch StrivePartnership, a cross-sector, cradle-to-career partnership that is one of the most notable collective impact initiatives in the country. Drawing on her passion for improving educational outcomes for underserved populations, Blatz has also served as executive director of the Ohio College Access Network and program officer for College & Career Access at KnowledgeWorks.

Read Blatz’s full bio and connect with her on Twitter @JenBlatz.

Robert Jackson, education consultant and award-winning author

Afternoon keynote, Thursday, Sept. 26

Robert Jackson is an expert in teaching cultural diversity, restorative practices, socio-emotional learning, and how to retain troubled students in school. He teaches educators and administrators how to use their power more effectively to educate, activate, and motivate all students and challenges parents to take a more active role in their children’s education and wellbeing.

Jackson began his teaching career more than 20 years ago in Indianapolis Public Schools with a No More Excuses approach, guiding low-performing students to become successful pastors, lawyers, school administrators, business owners, and more.

He has become one of the most sought-after education speakers in the country, delivering keynote addresses and workshops to educators, administrators, parents, and students. He has authored six books, including “Becoming The Educator They Need."

Read Jackson’s full bio, learn more about his work at, and follow him on Twitter @RJMotivates.