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12th National TAP Conference: Building a System of Teacher Leaders

More than 1,000 TAP educators, policymakers and partners from districts, states, organizations, foundations and businesses to gather in Los Angeles

February 29, 2012

Santa Monica, CA (February 29, 2012)—The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) will hold its 12th TAP Conference: Building a System of Teacher Leaders in Los Angeles, CA, on March 9-10, 2012, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The working conference will join more than 1,000 practitioners, policymakers and members of diverse districts, states, organizations, foundations and businesses across the country who are integral to building the TAP system of teacher leaders in schools to advance teacher effectiveness and student achievement.

Launched in 1999, TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement is a revolutionary education reform that provides teachers with powerful opportunities for career advancement, ongoing job-embedded professional development, educator evaluation and performance-based compensation.

Conference participants will hear from education experts and leaders as to how states and districts can deliver effective education system reform. TAP policymakers and educators will discuss the impact of the TAP system on teacher practices and student growth. New and veteran TAP practitioners will speak about their effective practices and lessons learned in the process. Topics on national education policy will include spurring state innovations through Race to the Top, maximizing the resources in Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and responding to the recent call by President Barack Obama for a revitalization of the teaching profession through the Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) initiative.

NIET Chairman and TAP Founder Lowell Milken will open the conference Friday morning, March 9, with a keynote presentation analyzing the TAP system’s progress and future goals. "Next to home and family, we know that the quality of the educator is the most important factor to improve student performance and provide our nation’s future leaders with the opportunity to succeed," he said. "TAP’s track record of developing and nurturing teacher leaders offers real promise for the teaching profession to enable every child in our country to receive a high-quality educational experience."


Featured speakers and conference panelists will include Lowell Milken, NIET Chairman/Founder and TAP Founder; Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, U.S. Congressman, California; Steven Means, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; Robert Scott, Texas Education Commissioner; Mitchell M. "Mick" Zais, South Carolina State Superintendent of Education; Michael D. McFarland, Lancaster Independent School District (Texas) Superintendent; James P. McIntyre Jr., Knox County Schools (Tennessee) Superintendent; Patrice Pujol, Ascension Parish School System (Louisiana) Superintendent; Andrea Thomas-Reynolds, Algiers Charter Schools Association (New Orleans, Louisiana) CEO; Richard Lee Colvin, Education Sector Executive Director; Cindy Brown, Center for American Progress Vice President of Education Policy; and Linda Fandel, Special Assistant for Education to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.

In addition to the panels, there will be a series of trainings and workshops on the nuts and bolts of TAP implementation as well as on the use of NIET's innovative online tools, such as the TAP System Training Portal, the CODE data management system for educator evaluation, and the new tapObserver scripting app for the iPad.

"Each year we refine the conference to fit the individual needs of TAP teachers, schools and other partners on the forefront of our proven reform efforts," said Dr. Gary Stark, president and CEO of NIET. "Our ultimate goal is for TAP participants and those exploring TAP to return to their districts reinvigorated with new ideas, skills and knowledge to meet the challenges of the coming year."

Conference agenda highlights including all panelists can be found online.

News and developments throughout the TAP Conference will be posted to Follow the TAP system on Twitter for live-tweeting from the scene. New videos will also be posted to the TAP system’s YouTube channel at

For more information about TAP, visit

Due to the high demand of this conference and hotel capacity policies, media must RSVP directly to Jana Rausch, senior manager of media and public affairs, at (310) 570-4774 (office), (310) 435-9259 (cell) or