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Opening Keynote

Dr. Gary McGiboney

Title: Change or Compliance: It’s Your Choice


Dr. McGiboney currently serves as the Deputy State Superintendent for External Affairs and Policy at the Georgia Department of Education. He worked in elementary, middle, high school, and alternative schools and in district administration before joining the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. McGiboney has a Ph.D. in both school psychology and administration from Georgia State University. He is a member of several professional organizations and has served on state and national boards. Dr. McGiboney was appointed by the Governor of Georgia to serve on the Joint Study Committee on Mental Health Access. He also serves by appointment on the Georgia Supreme Court’s Justice for Children Committee; the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Steering Committee of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform; the Georgia Accrediting Commission; and he is Chair of the Executive Steering Committee of a multi-million dollar National Institute of Justice grant.

Dr. McGiboney has over 30 professional journal publications on education, psychology, and youth-related issues, and he is the author of eight books: Student Relations and Discipline; The Private Side of Public Education; Lessons for Leaders and Governing Boards; Crisis Management for Schools; Pandemic Planning; When Darkness Finds Light; Daily Wisdom and Inspiration, and the recently published book – The Psychology of School Climate, which was published by Cambridge University Scholars in Great Britain.

Dr. McGiboney has written guest columns for magazines and newspapers, and he has been interviewed by CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and many regional and local television and radio affiliates. Also, he was featured in a bullying awareness program for children on the Nickelodeon Network and on an A&E television special on school violence. Additionally, Dr. McGiboney appeared in a United States Department of Education video production of Emergency Preparedness for Families that was broadcast on PBS and other networks.

Dr. McGiboney has been quoted in Time Magazine, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Wall Street Journal, and other publications, including the international press, on many topics. He has made numerous state and national presentations, including the American Bar Association, National Association of School Psychologists, United States Office of Special Education Programs, National Institutes of Health, The Carter Center, National Association of Pupil Personnel Administrators, National Council of State Governments, and others. He has testified several times in the Georgia legislature, in other state legislatures, and in Congress. Dr. McGiboney was recently invited by both the United States Department of Education and Department of Justice to make a presentation to teams from 31 states about school climate and school improvement. Dr. McGiboney is the recipient of several awards, including NAACP Educator of the Year; the National Association of School Psychologists National Friend of Children Award; Georgia School Counselors Advocate of the Year Award; Georgia Association of School Nurses Hero Award; School Social Workers Association of Georgia Friend of Children Award; Mental Health America Board Member of the Year, and others. Recently, he was inducted into the Georgia Board of Regents Hall of Fame for his career-long efforts on behalf of children.

Closing Keynote

Denna Lambert

Title: Transforming Hidden Figures:  The Pivotal Role of Special Education Professionals to the Development of Students with Disabilities" 


Denna Lambert is a Program Manager with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where she coordinates the Center's efforts in developing and launching the GSFC's Information and Collaboration Center (GIC2), a collaboration center specifically designed GSFC’s research earth and space scientists.  Previously, Denna provided overall leadership in developing programs, resources, and initiatives supporting 9,000 employees which included of individuals and students with disabilities, managers, other NASA Centers, and external federal agencies. Her subject matter expertise includes disability law, special education policy, STEM recruitment, program compliance with federal laws. She spearheaded many of GSFC’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives including “Power & Privilege”, Diversity Dialogue Program (DDP), and Can We Talk sessions with the Center’s senior management.  Her professional interests also include collaborative partnerships, community outreach, mediation, and social policy.  Like any true NASA geek, she is a Star Trek enthusiast, but will take a break and watch the latest Netflix series.

Outside of NASA, Denna is an avid cyclist.  She is actively involved as a Girl Scout Troop Leader within her community.  She is a graduate of University of Arkansas where she received her undergraduate degree in Business and The George Washington University where she earned a Master of Public Administration​​