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Thursday Keynote:

Deep Kindness

In a world filled with division and anxiety, Houston will talk about practical ways to infuse compassion into the schools we serve and our daily personal routines. From his experience speaking in over 600 schools and working with over 5,000 schools as co-founder of CharacterStrong, he will share powerful insights and exercises to help create more kind communities.


Friday Keynote:

Be the Change: The Ethics of Advocacy

School counselors work with and on behalf of the students they serve to improve academic, behavioral, and personal outcomes. School counselors must use advocacy skills to ensure students have equitable access to opportunities that lead to post-secondary success. Advocacy is, in fact, an ethical imperative for school counselors. This presentation will explore the ethical imperative of advocacy from the micro-level to the macro-level and the implication our advocacy has for students.


Houston Kraft

Co-Founder, CharacterStrong

Houston is a speaker, author, and kindness advocate who has spoken at over 600 schools or events internationally. He is the co-founder CharacterStrong which works in 6000 schools across all 50 states and 22 countries with a focus on providing engaging social & emotional learning curriculum PK-12 and meaningful professional development for educators. In 2019, his face was featured on Lays BBQ chip bags as someone who helps "spread smiles.” In 2020, his first book, Deep Kindness was published by Simon & Schuster. His mom is his hero and her best life lesson is to “hug like you mean it.”


Wendy Rock

Assistant Professor, School Counseling Program Coordinator

A professional school counselor with almost two decades of experience, Dr. Rock joined the Southeastern Louisiana University faculty full-time in the fall of 2017 as an assistant professor. She is a licensed professional counselor/board-approved supervisor, nationally certified counselor, and nationally certified school counselor.  She currently serves as the school counseling coordinator. Dr. Rock received her M.Ed. from the University of Texas at Austin in Educational Psychology (concentration in school counseling) and her Ph.D. from the University of Holy Cross (New Orleans) in Counselor Education and Supervision. She presents on a variety of topics at both the state and national levels. Her leadership and service to the school counseling profession include serving as a past president of the Louisiana School Counselor Association (LSCA).  She is a past co-Chair of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Positions Statement Committee, a past member of the Louisiana High School ReDESIGN Professional School Counseling Task Force, and a past Associate Editor of The Professional School Counselor. She is a member of the Louisiana ACT Council, a member of the national ACT Steering Committee, a member of the Louisiana Counseling Association Government Relations Committee, Chair of the LSCA Counselor Ethics and Professional Standards Committee, Co-Chair of the Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors (ACES), School Counselor Interest Network, Secondary School Counselors Workgroup, and Chair of the ASCA Ethics Committee. She received the 2021 LCA Presidential Award, 2019 LCA Advocacy Award, was awarded both the LCA and LSCA Advocacy Awards in 2009, and was recognized as the 2006 LSCA High School Counselor of the Year. Research interests include school counselor professional identity, the school counselor’s role in student mental health, school counselor-principal relationship, school counselor advocacy, and school counselor ethics.