2024.02.01 Winter Refresh 2024


No one wants to feel drained in the middle of the school year, yet too often the winter months feel heavy.
Join The Lead Learners as we recharge, learn, and sharpen our skills to make a positive difference.

February 1, 2024 | 9:00 – 3:00 PM |Join at a satellite site or virtually from your own computer.

Primary Audience:
instructional influencers like instructional coaches, reading specialists, STEM coordinators, curriculum directors, principals, and others who would like a shot of energy for leading change

Free Registration for The Lead Learners Members Coupon Code: TLLfree
(Use school email address in checkout.)

$50 Discount for ESC Members Coupon Code: ESCdiscount
(Use school email address in checkout.)

Important Note: Participant’s email address must be used during the check out process in order to receive information about the workshop. If you do not receive a confirmation email reach out to Ruth through the Contact Form.

If requesting an invoice, please add accounts payable information in the other notes section of checkout.



Are you feeling drained from all of the stress and negativity overwhelming you at school?

No one wants to feel drained in the middle of the school year, yet too often the winter months feel heavy. This is the time of the school year when we want to rock-n-roll. Our initiatives are set in motion, relationships have been established, and we’re starting to see positive changes.

Why then do we feel tattered? It’s because we need to refuel. The best way to do that is to connect with your people and learn together.

Winter Refresh 2024 is an invitation for instructional influencers to learn, recharge, and sharpen their skills to make a positive difference.

February 1, 2024 | Join at a satellite site or virtually from your own computer.

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM (virtual) | 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM (Think Tank satellite site)

In this unique format that blends the best of aspects of professional learning, you will be able to choose your location.

  • Join our Indiana-based Think Tanks at an in-person site. There are several satellite sites, so find one near you.
  • Join virtually from anywhere in the world. We’ll provide opportunities for breakout room conversations and make adjustments for an incredible remote experience.

Winter Refresh 2024
Navigating Change and Understanding Who You Need to Be for the People You Serve

Being a Force for Positivity (Even While Navigating Difficult Situations) with Ruth Ayres

Do you believe you have the ability to make positive change happen? When we strip away all of the sweet and inspirational messages about the possibility of making change happen, do you believe it is true for you? We begin our day with the importance of owning the identity of a change agent and the three essential mindsets to develop in order to be a force for positivity.

Systems of Coaching and Working in the “Grey” Areas with Brian Sepe

Instructional influencers have their eyes on two things: (1) the people they serve and (2) the systems and goals in place to achieve change. Brian helps us understand how to attend to both priorities by exploring the way change technically works…which is always in the “grey” areas outside of the neatly defined boxes and flow charts of change models. By becoming a thought-partner with colleagues and becoming intentional about our role in shaping positive change, we will find a renewed energy for strengthening relationships and pressing on toward the goal.

Combatting Leadership Loneliness: The “YOU” in Influence with Gwen Blumberg

When only a handful of people sign up for a book study, respond to an email, or accept an invitation to collaborate, it’s easy to feel irrelevant and ineffective. Gwen Blumberg reminds us that we live in the days of small wins. It’s time to adjust our attitudes to believe no change is too small, and we can find traction when things move slower than we expected. Gwen shares some leadership traps to avoid, how to find your place in the change model, and ways to use self-reflection to stay engaged and sharp. Gwen helps us believe that many small wins add up and eventually positive change will happen.

Learn from in-the-field educators who are just as smart and funny as you.

Gwen Blumberg is excited to join The Lead Learners for Winter Refresh 2024. Gwen is a literacy leader for a K-8 district in Greater Boston. She’s a lifelong, avid reader who loves to share books with kids and listen to the stories they write and tell. She believes book and topic choice are essential ingredients for students to develop authentic reading and writing lives.  You can find her sharing about all things literacy on Twitter and Instagram @gwenblumberg.


Brian Sepe is back by popular demand! He led our Fall Kickoff, and 96% of the participants said they felt more equipped to make a positive difference in their schools after spending the day learning with The Lead Learners. Brian is a K-8 instructional literacy coach in Buffalo, New York. He is also a consultant and instructional coach with the Western New York Teaching Residency Program. Brian spent a year working alongside Jim Knight with the Instructional Coaching Group. Brian believes that everyone deserves a thought partner. You can find Brian at briansepe.com  and @Brian_Sepe_  through social media.


Ruth Ayres is the editor in chief of the Choice Literacy site and the director The Lead Learners in northern Indiana. She spends her days nourishing and connecting a local, state, and global community of instructional influencers in order to create positive change in schools. Ruth’s background includes work as a middle and high school language arts and science teacher and as a K-12 instructional coach, and writing books, articles, and lots of blog posts. She has written Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers (Stenhouse, 2017) and many other books.  You can follow her at Ruth Ayres Writes or on LinkedIn.

Registration Notes

  • After you register, you will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive this email, check your spam. If you still do not have it, please reach out to Ruth Ayres via the Contact Form.
  • You may register one person at a time. Please use the participant’s email address when registering. This ensures that each attendee receives direct emails with workshop information. (Accounts payable should be entered in the notes section.)
  • If you are from a school district who is a member of The Lead Learners, please use the coupon code: TLLfree for free registration.
  • If your school district is a member of an Indiana Educational Service Center, please use the coupon code: ESCdiscount for a discounted price.
  • If there are multiple registrations from the same district and you select “Invoice Payment,” all registrations will be included on one invoice. In the other notes section of the registration, please include the email address of the person who should receive the invoice.
  • When you register, you will be part of The Lead Learners email list.



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