2023 NSAA Conference Agenda

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Thursday, October 19, 2023

9:00 am - 1:00 pm:   NSAA Board Meeting

2:00 - 3:00 pm:  EARLY BIRD SESSIONS:  Start your conference experience early and enjoy two extra hours to network and learn with your colleagues, including an hour of early bird ethics: 

Workalike Group Meeting (In House, Association Counsel, etc.) - Hosts:  Debra Silk, Montana School Boards Association; and Shelley Chatfield, Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington, KY - Join your in-house or state association counsel colleagues from across the country to network and discuss the legal landscape, including successes and strategies for addressing challenges. Location: In-House: Belle Meade B or SAC – Bell Meade A

Significant Issues in School Law - Host:  Jackie Gharapour Wernz, Thompson & Horton LLP, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX.  Speakers:  Andrew Manna, Church Church Hittle + Antrim, Noblesville, IN; and Ben Torres, Tennessee School Boards Association - This session will allow attendees to ask questions on the biggest issues facing school lawyers today.   It will be more than just a presentation. Participants will discuss topics in the audience and have the opportunity to interact with other attorneys from around the country and develop solutions to the problems they face. Location: Bellmont Ballroom

What's in an Acronym? NIL and the Sweeping Changes it's Bringing to Sports - Host:  Doug Thorne, Elkhart Community Schools, Elkhart, IN.  Speaker:  Todd Shumaker, Church Church Hittle + Antrim, Fishers, IN  - For even the casual sports fan, terms like “NIL” and “collectives” have dominated headlines over the last two years in a way no one could have imagined at the start of 2021. Developed with the NIL novice and seasoned veterans in mind, this session provides an overview of how we got here, the challenges we’ve encountered and where NIL is headed next as it filters down to the high school level. Bring your questions! Location: Charlotte

3:00 - 3:20 pm:  Refreshment Break

3:20 - 4:20 pm:  Ethics Issues and the Rise of Generative A.I. (Ethics) – Hosts: Ben Torres, Tennessee School Boards Association. Speaker: Brian Faughnan, Faughnan Law, PLLC, Memphis, TN - This session will explore current and likely future ethical implications for attorneys given the growth in availability of generative artificial intelligence technologies such as Chat GPT.  This session will also involve discussion of recent court orders hampering or limiting the growth of A.I. and some demonstration of how to use generative A.I. for various tasks lawyers have always performed or used staff to perform. - Location: Belmont Ballroom

4:20 – 4:30 pm:  Break

4:30 - 5:30 pm:  Opening General Session: School Board Lawyering in 2023 - Phil Hartley, Periera, Kirby, Kinsinger & Nguyen, Gainesville, GA; Jim Keith, Adams and Reese LLP, Jackson, MS; and Jim Walsh, Walsh Gallegos Treviño Kyle & Robinson P.C., Austin, TX.  Scott Bennett, Bennett & DeCamp PLLC, Chattanooga, TN - Join this group of well-respected school attorneys for a conversation on the current experiences and pressures school board lawyers are facing, including public comment at board meetings, conflicts among board members affecting meetings and board operations, and angry parents taking their complaints to the media.  Learn strategies to understand and navigate the legal landscape in your school community, while identifying and avoiding potential pitfalls. Location: Belmont Ballroom

5:30 - 7:30 pm:   Welcome Reception sponsored by Lewis Thomason, P.C., TN



Friday, October 20, 2023

All sessions will be held in the Belmont Ballroom

6:00 - 8:00 am:  Breakfast (provided to attendees staying at the Drury Plaza)

8:00 - 8:15 am:   Welcome from the Tennessee Council of School Board Attorneys and NSAA Leadership - Hosts: Carol Joiner, TCSBA President; and Ben Torres, Assistant Executive Director and General Counsel, Tennessee School Boards Association

8:15 - 10:15 am:  Title IX: Dude, Where's My Regulations? - Host: Phil Hartley, Periera, Kirby, Kinsinger & Nguyen, Gainesville, GA  Speakers:  Jackie Gharapour Wernz, Thompson & Horton LLP, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; and Jacqui Litra, F3 Law, Los Angeles, CA - The speakers will review important themes and take aways from the 2020 Title IX Regulations, provide recommendations on complying with the 2020 Regulations a little longer, and discuss their expectations for the highly anticipated new Title IX Regulations and assisting clients in implementing them.

10:15 - 10:30 am:  Break

10:30 - 11:30 am:  IDEA Updates and Predictions - Host: Jim Keith, Adams and Reese LLP, Jackson, MS  Speakers:  Kaitlin Atlas, Franczek P.C., Chicago, IL; Karen Haase, KSB School Law, Lincoln, NE; and Jennifer Smith, Franczek P.C., Chicago, IL - In this session, Jennifer, Kaitlin, and Karen will discuss recent IDEA case law updates in the post-COVID era, their own personal experiences in litigating IDEA due process cases and appeals, and their predictions for future trends in IDEA litigation. They will also discuss predictions for IDEA reauthorization. Time will be reserved for questions and discussion amongst special education law practitioners.

11:30 am - 1:30 pm:    Lunch (On Your Own)

1:30 - 2:30 pm:    Mindfulness for School Attorneys: Strategies to Help Attorneys Manage Stress, Behave Ethically, and Support School Clients Through High-Conflict Situations (Ethics) - Host:  Shelley Chatfield, Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington, KY  Speaker:  Claire Parsons, Wood + Lamping, LLP, Cincinnati, OH - This presentation is intended to introduce you to mindfulness concepts and strategies so that you understand how the practice of mindfulness can help you live up to your ethical obligations as an attorney and enhance your practice and life. It will discuss our ethical obligations to take care of ourselves as attorneys and then explain the science of why mindfulness practices can help. The session will conclude with a review of meditation and in-the-moment practices that can help any school attorney manage stress so they can support their school clients better.

2:30 - 2:40 pm:  Break

2:40 - 3:40 pm:  Say Whatttt?! Workplace Speech in 2023 -  Host: Jayne Harrell Williams, Alabama Association of School Boards  Speakers:  Chandler Lawson Flynn, Church Church Hittle + Antrim, Fishers, IN; and Doug Thorne, Elkhart Community Schools, Elkhart, IN - This presentation will cover how schools should and have dealt with employee free speech and First Amendment issues, LGBTQIA+ topics, social media use by employees, political activities, curriculum issues, and more. Special attention will be paid to recent case law.

3:40 - 4:00 pm:  Refreshment Break

4:00 – 5:00 pm:  Navigating the First Amendment and Book/Curriculum Challenges - Host:  Tiffany Richardson, Richland School District One, South Carolina  Speakers:  Katie Anderson, Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P., Dallas, TX; and Brandon Wright, Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd., Monticello, IL - With an eye toward the news from around the country on the removal of books from school libraries and course curricula, this session will include the legal foundations, including the key case law and circumstances that allow “opt outs,” alongside the varying approaches by state legislatures around the country.  Join the  6 discussion of pragmatic solutions on advising clients to handle parent complaints, employee controversies (including everything from “I refuse to teach that” to I am going to teach that and you can’t stop me!”), as well as managing board decisions and preparing to defend our clients’ decision-making in light of the trending litigation.



Saturday, October 21

All sessions will be held in the Belmont Ballroom

7:00 - 8:00 am:  Breakfast (provided to attendees staying at the Drury Plaza)

8:00 - 9:00 am:  AI – Beyond the Buzz - Host: Heidi Maynard, Vandeberg Johnson & Gandara, PS, Tacoma, WA  Speakers: Jessica Billingsley, Chuch Church Hittle + Antrim, Noblesville, IN; and Dr. Kecia Ray, K20Connect, Nashville, TN - Generative artificial intelligence seems mystifying and world shifting. In this presentation the speakers will provide an overview of how generative artificial intelligence works and the history of artificial intelligence in K-12 education. Spoiler Alert! Artificial intelligence – in various forms – has been around for a while. That overview leads to natural conversation about the legal pitfalls of schools utilizing artificial intelligence and how the law applies to the same.

9:00 – 9:10 am:  Break 

9:10 - 10:10 am:  Key Considerations for Effective Administrator Contracts - Host:  Joy Baskin, Texas Association of School Boards.  Speakers:  A. Lynn Himes, Himes, Petrarca & Fester, Chtd., Chicago, IL; and Richard Schwartz, Schwartz Law, PLLC, Raleigh, NC - School administrators are the leaders of our educational communities.  As such, hiring them and effectively reviewing their employment contract throughout their tenure is a vitally important obligation of a school board.  Join Lynn and Rich for practical guidance on reviewing administrator contracts from the initial hiring to retirement, addressing concerns and avoiding common mistakes.   

10:20 - 11:20 am:  Federal Legislative and Court Update  - Host: Debra Silk, Montana School Boards Association  Speakers:  David Rubin, David B. Rubin, P.C., Metuchen, NJ; and Cory Rush, Spalding Nichols Lamp and Langlois, Houston, TX - The Supreme Court's past term left in its wake a dizzying array of blockbuster precedents with significant implications for race-based decision-making, religious accommodation, free expression, special needs litigation and more.  Join David Rubin and Cory Rush for a review of these important rulings, other recent developments in the lower courts impacting K-12 education, and federal legislation to keep an eye on in the year ahead.

11:20 - 11:45 am: NSAA Leadership: The Future of NSAA - Comments from the NSAA Board

11:45 am:  Adjourn