What Can You Expect?

TEPSA applauds the work Barbara Blackburn has done in the area of academic rigor. A long-time partner, Barbara has consistently provided top-notch professional development to Texas elementary principals through both face-to-face training and webinars.  Regardless of the platform, Barbara effectively engages her audience and challenges them to new levels of rigor for their students. While TEPSA’s member principals benefit tremendously from learning from Barbara in a conference-style setting, the webinars enable archived recordings and repeated access. This a been a big benefit to our members. 


Trae Kendrick, Texas Elementary Principals’ and Supervisors’ Association (TEPSA). 

Customizable Topics

Are you looking for a kick-off to the school year?  Or perhaps a rejuvenating session during the year?  Barbara’s keynotes and workshops are inspiring, lively, humorous, and engaging.  Keynotes and workshops appeal to teachers of all grade levels and subject areas, as well as school and district leaders.  Her most popular topics are listed below,,but topics and areas of focus are typically customized to your specific audience.


"I can highly recommend Barbara as a keynote speaker. She is also a very skilled seminar leader with engaging and practical content, and one who can make anything from a breakout session to a full-day event a huge success. During my time as a central office administrator, we brought Barbara in to conduct our back-to-school keynote. Her message was one of hope that inspired us long after the day was over. Her words of, “On your worst day, you are someone's best hope” are hard to forget. Since that time, she has continued as a prolific author and a speaker in high demand. Her work on rigor has made her possibly the education arena's top authority on the subject.”

--Dr. Frank Buck, Talladega City Schools, Alabama


Popular Topics Include:

Rigor is a key focus of today’s educational reform.  What exactly is rigor?  What does it look like in the classroom?  What are the myths about rigor? Rigor is not a negative; it can be integrated into everyday lessons by teachers to increase learning for students.


"Barbara Blackburn is an outstanding authority on raising the rigor in the instructional program. Dr. Blackburn brings her many years in education to provide concrete examples that educator can easily implement in their classrooms. Her presentations are stimulating, lively and relevant for the needs of today's students. I highly recommend Dr. Blackburn as a consultant, speaker, and presenter. Participants will receive invaluable resources and ideas to raise the academic achievement of all students."

--Rosie Young, Executive Director, KY Association of Elementary

   School Principals



Implementing rigor at the classroom level is best supported by leadership practices.  There are a variety of strategies leaders can incorporate to spur school-wide change and to encourage teachers to raise the level of rigor in their classrooms.


"I strongly encourage anyone who is seeking a change agent for increased rigor to acquire her services."

--Adrian Leday, Administrative Intern Garland ISD, TX


Do you have students who are unmotivated?  That’s a myth!  Learn about the myths of motivation the keys to creating a motivating environment, and strategies to help your students thrive.

"I sincerely hope that every teacher can be inspired by you. My measure of success as a teacher is that students leave my class feeling respected as an individual and cared for-I think you and your book are all about that."

--Lori Nicholson 


How do we determine which strategies are most effectivee?  In this session, we'll look at those that are research-based, with a particular eye toward John Hattie's work. Participants experience hands-on activities for all subject areas and grade levels.  This session can be incorporated into any of the other professional development options, or it can serve as a standalone keynote. 


From my perspective, your practical strategies from your own years of experience as a classroom teacher are achievable and realistic. Your credibility as a teacher enhances the power of your presentation as well as interaction within the workshop. When teachers see you in action, they know it can happen in their classes as well.

Timothy Nolan, Coach High Schools That Work, Southwest Ohio



One of the challenges in today's schools is working with students with learning disabilities.  In this session, we look at the facets of motivation that impact these students, as well as how to incorporate the elements of rigor into instruction. Participants experience hands-on activities for all subject areas and grade levels.  This session can be incorporated into any of the other professional development options, or it can serve as a standalone keynote. 


The material is so practical!  A large percentage of our students have learning 

disabilities and the session was on target.  I particularly appreciated the 

strategies for dealing with learned helplessness and motivation.

Texas Principal, TEPSA




Motivation, Engagement, and Expectations!
What are our biggest challenges in the classroom today? Three of the major ones are student motivation, student engagement, and high expectations for learning.  How can we make a difference in each of these areas to positively impact student learning?


"Each year teachers gather to begin a brand new school year. They have been off during the summer and the transition can be hard. Talladega City Schools was fortunate to have Barbara Blackburn to help us kick off an awesome school year. She was creative, knowledgeable, and passionate about the teaching of students. She touched our teachers' heartstrings and helped them remember the joys of being an educator. They were ready!"

--Patti Thomas, Alabama


Do you need a jumpstart for the year or the semester?  Are you tired, and at times hopeless about the progress of your students? Inject hope and nourishment for teachers’ souls, and mix in strategies for a motivational classroom.

"I loved your presentation. The morning flew by. As a returning-after-many-years teacher, I need the inspiration and the dream as much as the hands-on tips." --Kathleen 


"For a lady from North Carolina, which is a compliment, what you said does apply to teaching inner-city students such as mine. Thank you"

--Teacher, Chicago Public Schools