Former NASA astronaut Jose M. Hernandez and CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria will address the nation’s urban school leaders at the Council of the Great City Schools’ 59th Annual Fall Conference, Oct. 7 to 11 in Long Beach. The Long Beach Unified School District is hosting this year’s conference.
The Council is the nation’s primary coalition of urban school systems, including Long Beach, and the conference is expected to draw thousands of education leaders from throughout the U.S.
“These are impressive speakers who know the value of a good education. We look forward to hearing their words of wisdom,” said LBUSD Board of Education President Felton Williams, who is also president-elect of the Council of the Great City Schools.
Hernandez will keynote an Oct. 9 breakfast, while Zakaria will speak at a lunch later the same day.
Engineer and former astronaut Hernandez is believed to be the first person to tweet in Spanish while in space. He was part of the crew of the Space Shuttle STS-128 Discovery mission. Hernandez has also served as chief of the Materials and Processes branch at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. As an engineer, he developed cancer-detecting equipment for full-field mammography at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He will keynote an Oct. 9 breakfast at the conference.
As host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, contributing editor at The Atlantic, and a Washington Post columnist, Zakaria provides analysis on economic and political trends. Esquire magazine described him as “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation.” Winner of a 2012 Peabody Award, the Emmy-nominated GPS features Zakaria’s panel discussions and one-on-one interviews with heads of state, intellectuals and business leaders. His columns and cover stories reach millions of readers. Zakaria’s latest book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, (as in liberal arts) debuted at No. 6 on The New York Times best sellers list in April.
Born in India and educated at Yale and Harvard, where he received his Ph. D., Zakaria was editor of Newsweek International from 2000 to 2010 and Editor-at-Large at TIME from 2010 to 2014. He’s also was one of Jon Stewart’s favorite guests on The Daily Show.
At the Long Beach conference, some 75 discussion sessions will focus on topics such as equity and equality issues in education, common core standards, teacher effectiveness and evaluation, and programs contributing to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
Nearly 1,000 big-city school superintendents, board members and senior administrators from around the nation will meet at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach Hotel under the banner “Sailing to Success in Urban Education.”