Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
Students working together in a classroom.


Elevate the Future

Friday, April 21, 2023, 8 a.m.–3 p.m.

Northern Arizona University’s TARIAT conference provides professional development opportunities for our teacher candidates as they interact with recognized outstanding teachers through keynote addresses and breakout sessions. NAU’s College of Education teacher candidates come away from this conference with information on best practices that they will soon use daily in their classrooms as they enter the teaching profession. The College of Education is grateful and proud to present this conference in partnership with Bob and Claudia Bement, the Arizona K12 Center,  and the Arizona Educational Foundation.

Keynote speakers

Kurt Russell
2022 National Teacher of the Year
(Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Ohio Education Association. Photo by Rae Holloway)

A 25-year veteran of the classroom, Kurt Russell was first inspired to become a teacher in middle school, when he encountered his first Black male teacher. Now as 2022 National Teacher of the Year, he plans to advocate for classrooms to better reflect the students within them — from a curriculum that reflects their backgrounds and identities to a more diverse teaching profession.

Kurt teaches history at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, Ohio, where he was born and raised; his classes include African American history, which he has taught since the late 1990s, and Race, Gender and Oppression, a class he developed. He also serves as faculty advisor for the student-led Black Student Union, whose work has led to positive impacts for students across racial groups. In addition to his classroom and extracurricular duties, Kurt is the head coach for the school’s varsity basketball team. He sees basketball as an extension of the classroom, and a place where young people can learn about working together and how to handle both adversity and success.

Kurt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and a minor in Black studies from the College of Wooster and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University. He continues to take courses in child development at Oakland City University. He was previously recognized as teacher of the year by the Oberlin Heritage Center and the Oberlin chapter of the NAACP, and as Lorain County Basketball Association Coach of the Year and the Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year. Kurt lives with his wife, Donna, in Oberlin. They are the parents of two adult sons, Kurt Junior (KJ) and Korey. Kurt enjoys reading non-fiction and traveling.

Ty White
2023 AZ Teacher of the Year

Ty White currently teaches high school chemistry at Willcox High School in Willcox, Arizona. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Education in Secondary Education – Chemistry from Arizona State University, and his Master of Arts in Education in STEM Education from the Teachers in Industry program at the University of Arizona. White is a founding Board Member of InSimEd, a non-profit that creates “Industry Simulation” Challenges, affiliated with Aerospace Education Corporation (AEC). As a non-profit, they also assist underserved and underrepresented students to participate and travel to competitions. At Willcox High School, White sponsors the Science Club, the GATE Club, and the Knowledge Bowl. He is the CSO Cabinet Coordinator for Southeast Arizona, and the Southwest Regional Space Settlement Design Coordinator. White received the 2020 American Chemical Society Teacher of the Year Award for Southeast Arizona as well as the Rocky Mountain Region. He won the 2021 Rural Teacher of the Year award for the Arizona Rural School Association. He grew up outside of Globe, Arizona and is still a proud Tiger as well as a Cowboy. He manages a small cow-calf operation with his wife and father-in-law. He enjoys hunting and fishing and working in his garden. He competes in Team Roping. He is immensely proud of his daughter Arya, and grateful for all the support his wife gives him in all of these endeavors.