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2021 SCECA Conference

Keynote Speakers

Thursday Night Keynote

Dr. Anthony Broughton, "MR. B"

Mr. B yellow coat

Mr. B is a native South Carolinian who is a product of our public schools and state universities. Anthony Broughton serves as a professor/early childhood coordinator at Claflin University, School of Education. Since his high school days as a South Carolina teacher cadet, in Cross, South Carolina, to becoming a certified kindergarten–first grade teacher, ensuring equity and excellence in education has been the heart of Dr. Anthony Broughton’s career. Affectionately known as “MiSTER B or Dr. B.” by teachers and young/tiny scholars worldwide, Dr. B. supports teachers in interweaving music and movement into their curriculums to foster all areas of development.

He is an author and illustrator and a children’s musical artist. Dr. B. earned a PhD in early childhood education by the age of 30, and he holds certificates from Cornell University and Harvard University. Before becoming a professor/early childhood coordinator at Claflin University, Dr. B. worked for the South Carolina Department of Education as a 4K regional coordinator, ensuring high-quality early learning statewide. Prior to that, he served as an administrator for the then NAEYC-accredited Benedict College Child Development Center, which earned accreditation under his tutelage. Dr. B. contributes to the field through research, service with several organizations—such as Call Me M.I.S.T.E.R., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and his LLC—and through advocacy with the South Carolina Early Childhood Association and the South Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children as a board member.

Friday's Keynote

Clarissa Willis

Clarissa Willis, PhD, is an associate professor of education at the University of Southern Indiana. She has been involved in early childhood education for over thirty years, including experience in public school, early intervention, curriculum development, and teacher training. With the philosophy that children should be educated through exploration and discovery, Dr. Willis offers a unique perspective on issues related to early childhood development and early childhood special education. She has written 19 teacher-resource books, including the award-winning Inclusive Literacy Lessons with Dr. Pam Schiller and Teaching Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Saturday's Keynote

NikiSpears 300sq

Niki Spears


Niki is a former school principal and now works as an educator and change leader.

She shares her passion and enthusiasm for creating positive school culture based on shared leadership – including students as young as 5 years of age. Niki is leading the charge to develop positive schools by sharing the importance of embracing a leadership mindset.

Niki has partnered with best-selling author, Jon Gordon and is touring around the country sharing how the success principles from Mr. Gordon’s book, The Energy Bus can reinforce positive leadership as we transform classrooms, schools and communities.

Niki resides in Houston, Texas with her husband and three beautiful girls.