OKLAHOMA CITY – Businessman and Olympic champion Bart Conner will be among four keynote speakers for the three-day Oklahoma Transition Institute scheduled for October 3 through 5 in Norman.
OTI brings 500 stakeholders together to share strategies that help Oklahoma youth with disabilities successfully prepare for post-secondary education and employment. Educators, employment counselors, families, employers and other partners are encouraged to attend.
Keynote speakers will include Joseph Siano, Ph.D., superintendent of Norman Public Schools; R. Michael Carter, Ed.S, superintendent of Rainier School District in Rainier, Oregon; and Laurie Kash, Ph.D, student services and curriculum director for Rainier School District.
The OTI theme is “Expanding the Possibilities” with an Employment First philosophy.
The annual institute will take place at the Marriott Conference Center at National Center for Employee Development located at 2801 East State Highway 9 in Norman.
The institute is sponsored by the Oklahoma Transition Council and funded by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council and other partners on the OTC.
The OTI program on October 3 will offer optional pre-institute sessions for first-time attendees, those new to transition programs for youth with disabilities or those who want a refresher.
The full-day sessions on October 4 and 5 include team meetings, breakout sessions and keynote presentations.
“Participants will gain new information, discover beneficial resources, share effective strategies and hopefully walk away with a deep appreciation for the critical need to prepare our youth to succeed in the next phase of their lives,” explained, DRS Transition Coordinator Kim Osmani.
Osmani believes that this year’s keynote speakers are “among the best ever heard at OTI.”
Bart Conner owns and operates Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Norman with his wife, Romanian Olympic champion Nadia Comaneci. The couple is involved in several charities including Special Olympics International and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He was an award-winning champion on three Olympic teams and is the only American male gymnast to win gold medals at every level of national and international competition.
Joseph Siano, Ph.D, served Oklahoma City Public Schools as assistant superintendent and Putnam City Public Schools as assistant superintendent, director of elementary education, elementary principal and elementary assistant principal. In addition to his Superintendent certification, he is certified in guidance and counseling, elementary education, and elementary administration.
R. Michael Carter, Ed.S, was honored as superintendent of the year by the Oregon Small Schools Association for his creative solutions to budgetary problems. He teaches advanced finance for school administrators at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Laurie Kash, Ph.D, earned a distinguished service award in 2015 from the National Association for Workforce Improvement for her efforts to expand employment opportunities for all people. She earned a Ph.D from Oregon State University in education with an emphasis in teacher leadership.
Pre-registration for the OTI has closed. Participants may register at the door. The cost is $50.
For more information, contact Kimberly Osmani, DRS Transition coordinator at (405) 635-2768 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Larry Hartzell, DRS programs field representative, at (405) 635-2759 or email@example.com.
The Oklahoma Transition Council has provided educational opportunities and support to more than 4,200 professionals and 36 teams organized to expand transition services for students across Oklahoma. The council consists of 25 organizations as well as public schools, parents and other community partners.
The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services is the employment agency for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. The agency served nearly 88,400 Oklahomans in 2015 through career planning employment, education and independent living programs and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits.