Pastor Drew Ross
Drew is a husband, father, and pastor in Orange County, CA, with campuses in Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach, California (Christ Lutheran). Committed to connecting the local church into community partnerships, Drew has won multiple awards in Florida and Colorado for creating education and need-based initiatives for students and families in public school districts, even being named “Business Partner of the Year” by the Florida Department of Education. In addition, his work with the homeless and working poor populations in metro Denver, led to him being named “Influencer of the Year” by the city of Lakewood, Colorado. In ministry, Drew has actively planted multiple campuses through multisite expansion in Florida, Missouri, and Illinois. Currently, Drew serves on the pastoral lead team of Trellis, a collaborative ministry in Costa Mesa which focuses on education initiatives, homelessness, neighboring, and prayer. Drew is also enjoying becoming a Southern California sports fan, realizing that Tom Brady will only quarterback his beloved Buccaneers for so long.
Matt Miller is an educator, blogger and presenter from West Central Indiana. He has infused technology and innovative teaching methods in his classes for more than 10 years. He is the author of the five books, including Ditch That Textbook: Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom. He writes at the Ditch That Textbook blog about using technology and creative ideas in teaching. He is a Google Certified Innovator (Austin ’14), a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, a Bammy! Awards nominee, and winner of the WTHI-TV Golden Apple Award.
After trying to do the traditional “teach by the textbook” for a few years, he launched into a textbook-less path where learning activities were often custom-produced for his students as well as infused with technology. He likes the results a lot, and his students do, too.
Matt has presented to thousands of teachers at hundreds of workshops on a number of topics related to educational technology, student engagement, and more. He combines a conversational, engaging speaking style with loads of resources, leaving teachers equipped and inspired to move forward.
Donalyn Miller is an award-winning Texas teacher and independent reading advocate. She is the author or coauthor of numerous books and articles about engaging young people with reading, including most recently The Joy of Reading, coauthored with Teri S. Lesesne, and Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids, coauthored with Colby Sharp. She is cofounder of the Nerdy Book Club and founder of #bookaday.
Dr. Becky Peters
Dr. Becky Peters taught in Lutheran schools for 44 years (if you count 6 years of subbing and serving in various capacities). She earned her B.A. at Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, M.A. from Concordia Irvine, and Ed.D. at Talbots School of Theology/Biola University. Her teaching experience started in a small Lutheran school just outside of New York City and ended with 17 years at Concordia Irvine. She is author of the book Building Faith One Child at a Time. She has been married to Dr. Tim Peters for 50 years and has 2 adult children (Brad and Katie) with 4 grandsons ranging in age from 21 to 4.
Matt de la Pena
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of seven young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and Superman: Dawnbreaker) and six picture books (including Milo Imagines the World and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific where he attended school on a full basketball scholarship. In 2019 Matt was given an honorary doctorate from UOP. de la Peña currently lives in Southern California. He teaches creative writing and visits schools and colleges throughout the country.
LCMS Associate Director of School Ministry, Dr. Alan Freeman
Dr. Alan Freeman is the Associate Director of LCMS School Ministry. Prior to this position Alan served as Director of Schools (Superintendent) for the Missouri District – Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) consisting of 111 Lutheran schools. In his role, Alan is responsible for serving all Lutheran schools throughout the United States and overseas through resources and programs as they prepare the next generation of Christian leaders. Alan is well versed in accreditation, professional development, legal, financial, and human resource concerns, administrator placement, and school sustainability and growth.
Alan and his wife, Kristin — who serves in Life Ministry for the LCMS —have two children, Holly and Samuel, both of whom graduated from Lutheran High School of St. Charles County in St. Peters, Mo., and both are current students at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville.