The Space Between: How Progressive Education Fosters Curiosity, Creativity, Community and Connection

October 18- 20, 2024 (Pre-Conference Activities Available on October 17th & 18th)
Columbus, Ohio
Early Bird Registration (until July 1) $465.00

Conference Theme


Our conference attendees are interested in practical, hands-on classroom approaches that embody a progressive educational philosophy and reach towards our shared vision of a more equitable and just world.  Our theme for the 2024 year, The Space Between: How Progressive Education Fosters Curiosity, Creativity, Community, and Connection, speaks to this twin desire for big conversations and practical suggestions – how the space between is where both the opportunity and action of progressive education exist.


**We received over 150 proposals this spring– thank you to all who submitted! We look forward to an engaging conference with sessions for everyone! 




Featured Speakers

Since our 2007 conference in San Francisco, PEN has welcomed renowned speakers, each of whom has provided our attendees with the thought- provoking, inspiring, challenging and expansive experience of considering and re considering the meaning of progressive education, learning, creating, and teaching. Some of our past speakers have included scholars and artists, activists and advocates for progressive education:

Dr. Bettina Love, Sam Chaltain, Jesse Hagopian, Paul Gorski, Julian Randall, Sonia Nieto, The Honorable Justice Alan C. Page, Bill Ayers, Roland Barth, Augusta Souza Kappner, Dr. Pedro Nogera, Jonathan Kozol, Denisha Jones, Alfie Kohn, Deborah W. Meier, Linda Darling-Hammond, Francisco Guajardo, Curtis Acosta, Angela Davis, Jacqueline Woodson,  Andrea Davis Pinckney, James Lecesne, Diane Ravitch, Fania Davis and more!

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We are thrilled with this year’s featured speakers and panelists– you can read about all of them HERE.



Liza Talusan

Dr. Liza (LIE-zuh) Talusan (taLOOS-ahn) is an educator, speaker, leader, writer, coach and parent. With over 25 years of experience in PreK-graduate education, Liza is an engaging facilitator in conversations about diversity, anti-racism, bias, privilege and power and creates environments that allow for people to discuss these difficult topics openly. 

Dr. Talusan has been invited to more than 375 organizations across the country and internationally to facilitate dialogue groups, workshops, strategic planning, change management, and community focused sessions. 

Liza is the recipient of numerous awards including “Best 40 Under 40”; NASPA Region I Mid-Level Professional Award; NASPA APIKC VIP Award; Asian Women for Health’s Peer Leader Award; Promise in Action Mentoring Nominee; Network for Equity, Excellence in Education Award; the REAPA (AERA) Dissertation of the Year Award; the Harriet Buescher Lawrence Prize from Connecticut College; The Early Career Award (REAPA); the YMCA Leadership Award; and a number of institutional grants. 

She earned her Bachelor degree from Connecticut College; Masters of Arts from New York University; Ph.D. from University of Massachusetts Boston; Certificate in Human Resources; and her PCC Coaching Credentials from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. Liza is currently a faculty member in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she teaches courses on leadership and anti-racism.

Liza has been a guest on a number of podcasts focused on educational equity and is the new co-host for the podcast Teaching While White. Liza’s book, “The Identity Conscious Educator: Building habits and skills for more inclusive schools”,published by Solution Tree Press, is the 2023 Gold Medal Recipient of IPPY Awards.

Liza’s Top 5 StrengthsQuest Themes are Achiever, Maximizer, Discipline, Activator, and Connectedness. She is someone who is driven, results-oriented, effective and organized, engages others to reach their potential, and practices the principles of community and human connection.

You can connect with Liza at her website.

Jose L. Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a veteran educator who started his career in middle school in the Inwood / Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, NY teaching students math. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in mathematics education from the City College of New York, and a master’s degree in philosophy from Teachers’ College, Columbia University. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Teachers’ College, Columbia University studying sociology and education with a policy concentration. He’s also a committed writer, activist, web designer, and father. He is the co-founder and executive director of EduColor, an organization dedicated to race and social justice issues in education. Read more about Jose and his work here

Stephanie Rond

Ohio artist and painter whose work reimagines space, place, gender & power

Read more about Stephanie Rond.


Cynthia Amoah

Ohio Poet, Performer & Teaching Artist and author of the chapbook, Handrails

Read More about Cynthia Amoah.

Jason Blair

Creativity Specialist & Art Educator Jason Blair is the force behind Grow Creative Thinkers!

Read more about Jason Blair.

Peter H. Reynolds

Writer, Storyteller, Illustrator of The dot, Ish, Sky Color, and more!

Read more about Peter H. Reynolds.

Mara Krechevsky

Researcher & Author of Making Learning Visible & Pedagogy of Play

Read more about Mara Krechevsky.

David Brown

Founder & Creative Director of The Harmony Project, based in Ohio

Read more about David Brown here!


We are proud that Wickliffe Progressive Elementary is the host school for PEN 2024.

Read more about Wickliffe here.

2405 Wickliffe Road, Columbus OH 43221

Lodging Information

PEN Conference Hotels

Springhill Suites Columbus OSU (Thursday 10/17- Saturday 10/19 only; 139/night- Please book on/before TUESDAY, 9.17.24)

Homewood Suites (Wednesday 10/16- Saturday 10/19 only; 189/night)

Towneplace Suites (Wednesday 10/16- Saturday 10/19; 169/night- Please book on/before TUESDAY, 9.17.24)