Phil Boyte

Creating the School That No One Wants to Leave


By popular demand, we have invited Learning For Living, Inc. founder Phil Boyte to return to Bridging the Gap 2019 to expand upon his past work with North Carolina’s STEM education community.

In his 2019 keynote presentation, Phil will address practical ideas for building strong school culture. He also will address simple ways educators can become the best version of themselves with the goal being to create schools that no one will want to leave. His audience will walk away inspired and ignited to keep doing life changing work – be it in the office, in a classroom or in the hallways.

Two back-to-back concurrent sessions with Phil immediately will follow his opening keynote on October 22.

Phil is founder of Learning For Living, Inc., an organization that empowers school administrators, teachers and student leaders to create optimal school culture.

Learning For Living, Inc. was established in 1984 from Phil Boyte’s vision for building communities of care on campuses around the continent. Phil is passionate about creating beneficial school culture. He has spoken to thousands of schools across North America, empowering both students and educators to transform their campus’ climate. Phil’s dynamic and transformative message to students and teachers enhances the quality of life for each individual, school and community. As a motivational speaker, keynote, consultant, husband, father, and friend, Phil aims to be a force of enthusiasm and encouragement in the world.

In his keynote, Phil will help attendees understand their role in creating great culture, he will share inspirational stories and he will provide ideas that can be used immediately after the conference, no matter one’s role in education.

Maria Fadiman

Inspiring Science Through the Connection Between Plants and People: The Amazon, Tibet and Abaco Island


Maria Fadiman, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and environmental conservationist, will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Bridging the Gap conference.

Using examples from the Amazon, Tibet and Abaco Island, Maria will illustrate how students connect with their environments through ethnobotanical knowledge (the relationship between plants and people). She first will take her audience on a tour of the rainforest to explore the connection between humans and the environment. Then she will move into examples of working with K-12 students in the Bahamas, connecting them with their own forest and exploring how this awareness can lead to conservation. She then will take her audience into the Tibetan Plateau, where she will share experiences with high school students who took ownership of their own ecological heritage after better understanding their cultural relationship to their ecosystem.

Maria is an associate professor in the department of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University, and she is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She received her Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and a B.A. from Vassar College. She researches the human/environmental aspect of conservation through ethnobotany, which is the study of the relationship between people and plants throughout the globe. Maria loves teaching her students and working with the public who keep her inspired to continue researching and educating others about the connection between people and the environment.

2019 STEM Career Focus

There’s No Place Like Home: Working Remotely in STEM
What Educators and Their Students Need to Know


In continuing with the focus on STEM workforce needs in North Carolina, we will showcase a sampling of in-demand STEM careers that allow employees to work remotely from all corners of the state. This keynote session will provide attendees with information from industry representatives about STEM career opportunities and workforce shortages throughout the state. Attendees will leave this session with insights that can be shared with students about how to successfully prepare for and find in-demand STEM remote workforce careers throughout North Carolina.

Featured speakers will be:

Randy Hughes, Vice President, Human Resources, Clinical Development, Syneos Health
Jessica Mitsch, Co-founder and CEO, Momentum Learning
Susan Walker, President, Apex Biostatistics, Inc.