2019 ITDHH Conference

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Keynote Speaker Information
 Karla Giese

For Karla, deaf education has been a way of life.  Born hearing, Karla began losing her hearing as an infant and became profoundly deaf as a toddler. Her parents chose to raise her with an emphasis on spoken language, using speech therapy, hearing aids, and FM systems while being educated in the mainstream setting. By middle school, Karla began learning sign language and used an interpreter through high school and college.  After many years of teaching in a variety of total communication programs, Karla learned about Cued Speech and its benefits.  She is now a certified instructor of Cued Speech and conducts regular workshops.  Her passion is parent advocacy and literacy.

Karla earned a BA in Deaf Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  She later obtained her Masters in Early Childhood Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. She also got her Early Intervention credential as a Developmental Therapist-Hearing (DTH) and as a Deaf Mentor and spent some time working in the early intervention system in Illinois.

As a licensed teacher of the deaf, Karla has worked with deaf and hard of hearing children of all ages, from birth to age 21, across all educational settings, utilizing all modes of communication.  It’s been a great learning experience, both personally and professionally!  Throughout her career, Karla has been an active participant in a variety of organizations and has attended numerous trainings, conferences, and workshops on a variety of topics related to deafness. In addition, Karla has given several presentations on various topics including Cued Speech, language acquisition, hearing loss, parent advocacy, preservice teacher training, and service dogs for the deaf.

Currently, Karla is enrolled at Illinois State University’s Special Education EdD Program with a focus on deafness and parent support in early intervention. She is also the Coordinator of CHOICES for Parents, a statewide parent support organization that works to connect parents of deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing children with resources, advocacy, information, services, and support.  In addition, she also oversees a deaf education program that utilizes Cued Speech. In her free time she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

As a student, teacher, and administrator of deaf education programs, Karla has come full circle. She is very excited as she continues her journey in the field of deaf awareness, education, and learning how to support families with deaf and hard of hearing children.



Monica Genta

Monica is the author of two books, Game Changers and 180 Days of Awesome, a middle school science teacher, and nationwide educational consultant and motivational speaker. She has earned a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction and a Masters in Educational Leadership & Administration and is a National Board Certified teacher.

Her goal is to transform teachers, leaders, and schools from seeing education as an ordinary job into an extraordinary adventure. Genta feels that every person who walks into a school deserves to love their experience! She is a believer in finding awesome and celebrating life every day! Genta is full of energy, full of passion, and full of love for helping others on their journey in life and learning.

In her free time, she enjoys long road trips, accomplishing new challenges, eating unique pizzas, and impromptu dance parties. She is pumped to share her life and experiences with you and is confident you will laugh along the way.   Monica lives in Illinois and is surrounded by loving friends and family.

180 Days of Awesome Keynote

180 Days of School = 180 Days of Awesome! Awesome is all around us. Every day you walk into your school something amazing is bound to happen. Some days that awesome is easy to see, it comes in the form of laughter, academic progress, achieving goals, and building relationships with kids. Some days that awesome is nearly impossible to see among all the meetings, curriculum changes, displeased parents, and behavior concerns. Here is the cool part, whether you are having a level 10 day or level 0 day, focusing on the awesome has the power to turn each day of education into an exciting adventure in learning. Come along with me on this 180 day quest as we learn to focus on those little awesome moments that have the power to change everything. Because sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

At the book signing/meet and greet I will have the following books for sale:

180 Days of Awesome: Celebrating Every Day of Education $15
180 Days of Awesome: The Journal $10
Game Changers: Innovative, Engaging Ideas that Motivate Students $15
(if you need/want full descriptions for the books those are on my website at www.monicagenta.com/shop)

Here is a link to my website for promotions: www.monicagenta.com

I can be found on twitter, instagram, and Facebook at @MonicaGentaEd

Parent Category: ROOT


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