Keynotes

Keynotes are at the apex of each day’s programming and represent well-regarded leaders extending the frontiers of education. While these hour-long presentations vary in topic and theme, all bring to the stage inspired visionaries committed to the future of teaching and learning.

Learn more about the speakers already confirmed for SXSWedu 2015 and stay tuned for additional keynote announcements throughout the season.

Charles Best

How the Crowd Will Change Education
Opening Keynote

Charles Best

Founder
DonorsChoose.org

Charles Best leads DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization that provides a simple way to address educational inequity. At DonorsChoose.org, public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors can choose the projects they want to support.

Charles launched the organization in 2000 out of a Bronx public high school where he taught history. DonorsChoose.org is one of Oprah Winfrey's "ultimate favorite things" and was featured on the cover of Fast Company as one of the "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World." For three years, Fortune Magazine has named Charles to its "40 under 40 hottest rising stars in business.” 

Great Instructors: Are They Born or Built?
Keynote Debate

Elizabeth_Green © Daniel Deitch

Elizabeth Green

Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Chalkbeat

Elizabeth Green is co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering educational change in local communities across the country. She is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, Building a Better Teacher, published in August 2014 by W.W. Norton. 

Elizabeth previously co-founded GothamSchools, now Chalkbeat New York, and covered education for The New York Sun and U.S. News & World Report. She has also written about education issues for The New York Times Magazine.

In 2009-2010, Elizabeth was a Spencer Fellow in education journalism at Columbia University, and in 2011, she was an Abe Journalism Fellow studying education in Japan.

David Epstein

David Epstein

Investigative Reporter and Author
ProPublica

David Epstein is an investigative reporter at ProPublica, a former senior writer at Sports Illustrated, and author of the top 10 New York Times best seller The Sports Gene--chosen as one of the best books of 2013 by The Washington Post, Publisher's Weekly, Inc., and Financial Times. Epstein is on the advisory board of Classroom Champions, a non-profit that connects inner-city classrooms to Olympians and Paralympians for mentoring via digital technology. He recently helped the organization procure a Google Glass development grant that will equip Paralympians with Google Glass so that students can literally see through their eyes as they train and navigate the world. Epstein was formerly a crime reporter at the New York Daily News, and the first reporter hired at Inside Higher Ed, where he started the science instruction and policy beat. During that time, he taught creative writing at a juvenile detention center in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Sports Gene has been incorporated into school curricula from St. Albans in Washington D.C. to Yale University. It was a finalist for the PEN/ESPN literary sports writing award, the National Academy of Sciences Communication Award, and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. Runner's World chose it as the book of the year for 2013. It has been translated into 13 languages, and was publicly purchased by Barack Obama and Condoleezza Rice. Epstein's 2014 TED Talk on the counter-intuitive causes of improving athletic performance has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. Epstein has master's degrees in environmental science and journalism and will be the first science writer in residence at the University of Florida, he will start the residency in January.