John Norlin is the Program Administrator for Student Leadership & Community Involvement for the Sumner School District, a Servant Leadership trainer, and motivational speaker. He was Washington Advisor of the Year and taught 5 leadership classes per semester for 10 years at Sumner High School. John's mission is to spread the word of the power of Servant-Leadership while teaching others how to build influence in the lives of those around them.
Houston Kraft is a professional speaker, leadership consultant, and kindness advocate who speaks to middle schools, high schools, colleges, and businesses nationally. He has spoken at over 500 events and counting. Student Body President in High School, Class President at Bowdoin College, Leadership Camp Staff for 12 years in Washington - he is a lifelong learner of character, culture, kindness, and leadership.
Sally Rusk has her Masters in Teaching from the University of Washington and has taught for 18 years at the middle school level. She is the daughter of a nurse and a police officer so serving her students, and others, is in her blood. She enjoys spending the summer at her cabin in Montana with her family which brings her joy and calm in the midst of a crazy teaching year and recharges her batteries to face another year with an open heart.
Linda Bisarek has an English degree from Ripon College and has taught at almost every level K-12 over the last 20+ years in a variety of areas and schools. Her and her husband enjoy spending time with their two kids and all the activities they are in. She has called Wisconsin home all her life, but enjoys traveling around the country with her family. Education, students, and school has been the conversation of her life and she is thrilled to be a part of the CharacterStrong team.
Vincent Perez currently leads Rethink Manhood, working with men and boys to deconstruct and counter cultural narratives regarding what it means to be a "real" man. Vincent’s practice is rooted in experiential education with a focus on culturally responsive pedagogy, trauma-informed systems, juvenile justice reform, ethnic studies, family engagement, near-peer mentorship and Latinx bilingual leadership. He frequently speaks at schools, facilitates student programs and trains adult staff to better serve their students. As a 20+ year veteran in education, Vincent Perez aims to sustain the integrity, courage, and commitment of children, families, and service providers.
Christi Shannon is a graduate of University of Texas with twenty-six years experience in the Texas public education classroom-grades 7-12 teaching English, Student Leadership and AVID. Currently a consultant with the Texas Association of Student Councils and involved in coordinating summer workshops, retreats, and conventions and teaching leadership lessons to students and advisors around the state.
Bryan Slater is an experienced classroom teacher who has spent the last 15 years teaching high school Social Studies in Tacoma, WA, Lagos, Nigeria, and Sumner, WA. Bryan's passion centers on helping teachers and students understand the importance relationships play in developing a culture of learning and trust in the classroom. He believes the Eight Essentials are the key to those relationships and works hard to challenge his fellow colleagues and students to think about how they are creating their "Character Brand" as teachers and learners through the 1,000's of choices they make each day.
David Volke has spent the last five years in the Camas School District, teaching Humanities and ASB Leadership. Prior to that, he lived and taught in Honduras at an international high school for two years. He got into teaching after completing his master’s degree at Concordia University in Portland, OR. He and his wife Lisa have two wonderful daughters, Natalie and Stephanie. David wholeheartedly believes that the best service we can be doing for our kids is to make them feel loved, respected, safe, and welcome. By teaching them character, we can help them let others feel the same way.
Don Bartel has been a teacher and coach for over 20 years. He and his wife have been married for 10 years and he is not only a proud husband but also proud father of two. Don is a steadfast member of the West Coast Character Army.