Jim Warford

Program Director at the Peter R. Marsh Foundation

Jim Warford is an author, Keynote Speaker, Leadership and Instructional Coach. He is recognized as a courageous leader who did not follow a traditional career path. His unique combination of educational, business, and creative experience allows him to translate his vision and passion for school improvement into well executed, systemic changes resulting in dramatic increases in student performance.

Jim currently serves as Program Director for the Peter R. Marsh Foundation helping America’s schools improve Social Emotional Learning through empathetic Service Learning. In addition, he is a Lead Consultant for the National Dropout Prevention Center and Successful Practices Network.

Previously, he served as Senior Advisor and Keynote Speaker for the International Center for Leadership in Education, working with states, districts, and schools nationwide. Prior to that he was Executive Director of the Florida Association of School Administrators for five years, representing over 10,000 school leaders.

In early 2003, Jim was appointed as Florida’s first-ever Chancellor for public schools, where he was responsible for the $16 billion public school budget and for focusing every bureau within the Department of Education on the goal of raising student achievement. He created and implemented Florida’s Continuous Improvement Model used by the Assistance Plus program, the largest state intervention in low-performing schools in the nation, which resulted in over 80% of these schools moving off the list of failing schools.

As Superintendent of the Marion County Public Schools, Jim implemented the Continuous Improvement Model districtwide. As a result, school grades went from three “F,” eight “D,” and only one “A” school in 1999 to 20 “A,” 16 “B,” and no “F” schools in 2003. Under his leadership the high school dropout rate was cut almost in half, and Marion County had the lowest elementary class size in Florida.

Jim taught applied technology courses at the high school level for 17 years and created a Computer Graphics/Television Production program that won national and state awards. He was named Vanguard High School Teacher of the Year three times.

* Schedule: Jim will be presenting a keynote address titled “Personalized Instruction: We Must Maslow Before We Can Bloom” on Wednesday, March 3rd 9:10-9:35 am MST.

Keynote Description: Long before the COVID pandemic, Neuroscientists and Social Scientists agreed there was a crisis of empathy and trust in our culture, particularly among the young. What happens to a culture, when empathy declines? When we lose the ability to trust each other, to connect with each other? And what does this mean for schools who deliver teaching and learning online? In this session, Jim Warford will draw on his new book, The Chemistry of Culture, which brings brain research on SEL out of the lab and into our schools. You will learn how to personalize learning and build better relationships. You will apply and personalize the content of this session in breakouts.

Jim will also be presenting a breakout session titled “Action Planning” on Friday, March 4th 10:00-11:00 am MST.

Breakout Session Description: Jim will also be presenting a breakout session titled: “Action Planning” In this session your group will begin the process of creating an Action Plan to apply the content of selected conference sessions. You may use the Action Plan Handout template or create your own. Your plan should prioritize specific strategies and actions your group believes are needed to achieve specific goals.