Keynotes and Featured

Through powerful presentations from prominent and emerging leaders, SXSWedu explores a diverse range of topics that impact the future of how we teach, learn and grow.

Keynotes kick off each day of programming, while featured sessions headline each hour of the conference day and the closing program completes the event with a single stage lineup of dynamic voices. Learn more about the speakers already confirmed for March by clicking on their photo or browse by session titles in the online schedule.


Dr. Christopher Emdin

Christopher Emdin

Associate Professor and Director, Teachers College, Columbia University

Christopher Emdin is an Associate Professor of Science Education and Director of Science Education in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University. He also serves as Associate Director of the Institute For Urban and Minority Education at the college.

Dr. Emdin is a social critic, public intellectual and science advocate whose commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in dozens of influential periodicals including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post and most recently his New York Time Best Seller, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood..and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education.

Sara Goldrick-Rab

Sara Goldrick-Rab

Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology, Temple University

Sara Goldrick-Rab is Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology at Temple University, and Founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. Her research examines the intended and unintended consequences of the college-for-all movement in the United States.

She is the recipient of the William T. Grant Foundation’s Faculty Scholars Award and the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award. In September 2016, the University of Chicago published her latest book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

Author, Entrepreneur, and Angel Investor

In conversation with
Charles Best, Founder & CEO,

Tim Ferriss has been listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People,” one of Forbes’s “Names You Need to Know,” and one of Fortune’s “40 under 40.” He is an early-stage technology investor/advisor (Uber, Facebook, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ others) and the author of three #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers: The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef. The Observer and other media have called Tim “the Oprah of audio” due to the influence of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, which has exceeded 100 million downloads and was selected for "Best of iTunes" in 2015. His latest book is Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.


Amanda Wahlstedt Amanda Wahlstedt

Andrew Brennen Andrew Brennen
Student Voice

Andrew Smith LewisAndrew Smith Lewis

Ben GurewitzBen Gurewitz
Diverse Learners Coalition

Carmen FarinaChancellor Carmen Farina
NYC Department of Education

Charles Best

Daniel R. PorterfieldDaniel R. Porterfield
Franklin & Marshall College

Elliott WitneyElliott Witney
Spring Branch ISD

Jahana Hayes, 2016 National Teacher of the YearJahana Hayes
National Teacher of the Year

Jessica O. MatthewsJessica O. Matthews
Uncharted Play

 Mike_KlebaMike Kleba
North Shore Sr High School

Juan CabreraSuperintendent Juan Cabrera
El Paso School District

Jodi NelsonJodi Nelson
International Rescue Committee

John MaedaJohn Maeda

Justin van FleetJustin van Fleet
the Education Commission

Kathleen McCartneyKathleen McCartney
Smith College

Kathryn Mayo-HudsonKathryn Mayo-Hudson
Turnaround Arts

Laura Weidman PowersLaura Weidman Powers

Leila ToplicLeila Toplic

Molly McMahonMolly McMahon

Rachel GoslinsRachel Goslins
Smithsonian Institution

Ross SzaboRoss Szabo
Human Power Project

Ryan OHaraRyan O'Hara
Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District

Sean DecaturSean Decatur
Kenyon College

Ursulina RamirezUrsulina Ramirez
NYC Department of Education

Z Mike WangZ Mike Wang
Minerva Schools at KGI

William McRavenChancellor William McRaven
The University of Texas System

Zaakir Tameez Zaakir Tameez
Houston ISD Student Congress