2018 Conference

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What are the OUTCOMES of taking a self-directed path?
“I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
-Robert Frost

The Rec in Grapevine, TX(2)


10:20-10:40 Jenifer Fox
10:45-11:05 Abe Nadimi
11:10-11:50 Peter Gray
11:55-12:15 Anita Mills
Intermission: 12:15-12:30
Workshops: 12:30-2:30
After Party at Makarios Community School: 3:00-4:00


Peter Gray HeadshotcopyDr. Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education.  He is author of an internationally used introductory psychology textbook (now in its 7th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective.  Much of his research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so.  He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine and is president of the nonprofit Alliance for Self-Directed Education.

15178999_10208206194256247_381336004171588479_nJenifer Fox is the internationally published author of Your Child’s StrengthsThe Differentiated Instruction Book of Lists. She has nearly thirty years’ experience as an educator, fifteen of which, her role was as an educational leader in K-12 schools. Her diverse experience as a turn-around leader spans independent schools, international schools, day and boarding schools, religiously affiliated schools, single sexed, and Montessori schools. Currently, Jenifer is the founding head and conceptual designer of The Delta School, a unique K-12 independent school in the Mississippi Delta.

Fox has written for the Huffington Post, The Independent School Magazine, Scholastic and Parent magazines, among other print and online publications. Additionally, she is a recognized expert in the education field. Fox has served on committees and boards throughout the country whose work it is to advance understanding of and awareness for innovation in education. She holds degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education, Middlebury College’s The Bread Loaf School of English, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in Wilson, Arkansas at The Delta School and in Taos, NM.


Abe Nadimi is an entrepreneur with a passion to assist business owners in thriving so they can create jobs and impact their communities. Abe worked as a Flight Test engineer for four years at Bell Helicopter on the Avionics platform both in the test lab and on the Huey aircraft. Abe resigned his engineering position to join his brother at Social Smoke in 2005. Social Smoke, now 14 years, has been featured on the INC 500 list, CNN Money, and generates over 10M in annual sales a year. In 2015 Abe left the daily operations at Social Smoke to develop a consulting practice assisting business owners to gain clarity and develop a strategy to realize immensely beneficial yet challenging opportunities. In 2016 Abe founded The Kinetic Experience to provide educational opportunities and events for entrepreneurs. He lives in Dallas with his wife and 3 children.

Bike plan night2Anita Mills worked for over 25 years in the financial services industry, primarily as a consultant on legal and compliance issues. When her last client retired, she moved toward what “made her heart sing” – gardening and teaching. She has been a champion for causes. From a neighborhood thoroughfare committee to zoning advocacy for her neighborhood, she has let her thoughts be known. Anita served on the Dallas Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee, during which, the entire zoning code for Dallas was rewritten; the Dallas Bicycle Advisory Committee which wrote the Bicycle Plan for Dallas; Board Member of the Bike Friendly Oak Cliff; member of the Urban Agriculture Task Force of the Dallas Hunger Coalition which changed the ordinance for urban agriculture in the City of Dallas; and now serves as Community Garden Consultant for GROW North Texas. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Social Justice through the Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, OK.


host headshotHannah Vaughan is a stand-up comedian that performs all over Dallas/Fort Worth. She grew up in DFW and graduated from Texas Tech University in 2014. With a lifelong passion for humor, Hannah took an unfamiliar path and dove into the comedy world head first. In her first year performing, she learned not only through formal classes, but sought mentors and consumed comedy in ways she never knew possible. Hannah self-directed her own education through podcasts, reading books on comedy theory and memoirs from historical comedic icons, and seeing as much live comedy as possible. She was a finalist for the Funniest Comic in Irving, a Semi-Finalist in the Improve Comedy Club’s 2017 Funniest Comic in Texas contest, and performed at the Lady Laughs Comedy Festival in Madison, WI. Hannah is also a Teaching Assistant for Stand Up Comedy at Dallas Comedy House and a regular performer on their ongoing Friday Night Stand Up Show.


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Self- Directed Education
What are the self-directed education options for students in DFW?
Hear from and speak with the North Texas Progressive Schools (NTxPS), a group of diverse, forward-thinking schools available in the DFW metroplex. Meet with Peter Gray and Jenifer Fox, leaders in self-directed education, and design personalized workshops geared towards your needs.

Entrepreneurship with Kinetic Experience
How do I take my self-directed business to the next level?
Design a personalized workshop with the Kinetic Experience group and get actionable strategy and tactics from leaders specializing in developing businesses. Consult with professionals on how to build or grow an innovative and successful company.

The Kinetic Experience Panel – We are a team of individuals dedicated to changing the world. We know what it is like to strive for something and not get it. We know what it is like to fail, only to get back up again the next day. We know what it is like to want to change the world, but find no one willing to change it with you. We give people like us a place where they can not be alone. We are building something where they can access resources and education, to help further their business. We are enabling them to achieve their dreams, no matter the odds. We are changing our world by helping them change theirs. What we do We help 1st generation entrepreneurs get to the next level, increase their sales, and grow their business so that they can go on to positively impact their communities. Our purpose is to acquire and share resources with those who think they can’t have it or do it.

Becoming a Leader in Your Community
How can you use your self-directed interests and skills to impact your community?
Meet with experienced community leaders and learn how to take your passion project to the next level and authentically impact your community. Design the workshop to take home the most meaning and useful new information to start making a difference.

How to Make a Living as a Creative
What are the different ways to pursue your own path as a creative and still be financially sound?
It’s the question everybody is asking, but no one is answering. Meet with tried and and true professionals in various creative professions and design your workshop to learn how you can pursue your creative endeavors as a sustainable career.

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