The convention general sessions always leave attendees inspired and energized — and #SHAPENOLA will be no exception!

Opening General Session

New day and time!

Tuesday, April 26

4-5:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jessica Bartley

Director of Mental Health Services, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee

Mental Health Is Health

It is unclear how much elite athletes struggle with mental health; these elite athletes have protective factors that create resilience for mental health and risk factors that create vulnerability to mental health. But we know that elite athlete struggle… And it starts early. Parents, teachers, educators, and administrators can all notice when an athlete is struggling, and they can make a significant impact.

In her keynote presentation, Bartley will discuss how the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) will be tackling mental health and developing a world-class mental health program to address elite athlete mental health. She will share what they are doing to address elite athletes’ unique mental health concerns, where they plan to go, and most importantly, how you can help!

More about Dr. Jessica Bartley:

  • Her areas of expertise include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and mental health with athletes – specifically depression, anxiety, eating disorders and body image, substance use, performance anxiety, motivation, and sport transition/retirement after sport.
  • Jess has served college student-athletes’ mental health and performance needs at the University of Denver, the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), and the Ohio State University.
  • Serves as the Sport Psychologist with USA Karate and USA Track and Field and has been providing mental health and performance psychology services to Professional Bull Riding athletes.

Keynote Speaker: Breezy Johnson

U.S. Ski Team Alpine Ski Racer, Mental Health Advocate

Photo: Michael Carmichael

Breezy Johnson is an American World Cup alpine ski racer and Olympian on the U.S. Ski Team. As a Classroom Champions Athlete Mentor, Breezy shares her stories and experiences with her K-8 mentees, demonstrating to them critical social and emotional learning skills through her journey.

Now, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Breezy will share her journey with you, stories from her childhood (she learned to ski in her driveway!) and how she aspires to become an Olympic medalist in the speed events of downhill and super-G.

Breezy will also share how she persevered and maintained a positive headspace despite her injury just weeks before she was set to race in the past Winter Olympic Games.

More about Breezy Johnson:

  • 7th place Olympics (Downhill) 2018
  • 14th place Olympics (Super-G) 2018
  • 4 consecutive podiums World Cup 2021

The Opening General Session is sponsored by:



Closing General Session

Friday, April 29

4-5:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker: Chris Nikic

Special Olympics Champion Ambassador

1% Better: Reaching My Full Potential and How You Can Too

Chris Nikic is one inspiring young man! In November 2020, he set a new world record by being the first person with Down Syndrome to complete a 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon.

His mission is to inspire others like him to pursue their dreams and goals — and his story is one that will inspire you to believe you can achieve more with a simple plan to build a 1% better habit.

In his keynote address, Nikic will give the how-to behind his success — getting better 1% at a time — which is something everyone can do in any area of their lives.

More about Chris Nikic:

Guest Commentary: Championing Health for All

Dr. Alicia Bazzano

Chief Health Officer, Special Olympics

Educators face enormous responsibility to reach and teach today’s children, many of whom are traumatized, overstimulated, underestimated and excluded. In her presentation, Dr. Bazzano will address how these students have the potential to be the next inactive, unhealthy generation or to be the strongest, healthiest, and most inclusive generation to date.

Health and physical educators are today’s critical unsung heroes — forging the positive outcomes of tomorrow. The healthy growth and development of every child in the next generation is in your hands and you can make the difference through championing inclusive fitness and health programming.

Keynote Speaker: Sylvia Crawley

Former WNBA Player and Collegiate Coach

Sylvia Crawley will give a keynote presentation about the importance of seeing girls in sports — and how Title IX aligns with advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in sports.

More about Sylvia Crawley:

  • Crawley played four WNBA seasons as a forward with the Portland Fire and San Antonio Silver Stars.
  • She was a member of the 1994 U.S. Select team and an alternate for the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, which earned a gold medal.

Sylvia Crawley’s presentation is sponsored by:

The Closing General Session is sponsored by:


or call 864-342-6260


Friday afternoon's Closing General Session will also include the live announcement of our 2022 National Teachers of the Year!

Join us to honor these six individuals ... and all our District winners as well!

Schedule At-A-Glance
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