5th Annual Minnesota Charter School Conference

  • 7/19/2017
  • St. Paul, MN
  • Sponsoring


CliftonLarsonAllen is honored to host the 5th Annual Minnesota Charter School Conference – a learning and networking event for Minnesota charter school educators, leaders, and advocates. The conference will be at the Anderson at Hamline University this year. The following is a summary of the schedule and keynote session. A more detailed schedule and breakout session topics will be released at a later date.


8:00 – 8:45 a.m.

Registration and breakfast

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks, Ben Aase, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Ben Aase is a Principal with CliftonLarsonAllen LLP (CLA), and leads the Public Sector Group’s national K-12 Education and Consulting practices. CLA is a professional services firm delivering integrated wealth advisory, outsourcing, and public accounting capabilities to help clients succeed professionally and personally. Ben works with a range of foundation, nonprofit, and education clients nationwide to drive both organizational and field-wide change and results at the intersection of strategy, finance and operations. Prior to joining CLA, Ben co-founded a company that provided outsourced accounting services in the K-12 space.

9:10 – 10:00 a.m.

Breakout Sessions, Round 1

  • True Financial Leadership, Beyond Accounting and Compliance: Ben Aase, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP; Phil Hatlie, Senior Loan Officer and Trainer, Nonprofit Assistance Fund
  • Lessons From Blue Ribbon Schools: Nell Collier, Arts Enrichment Coordinator, Friendship Academy of the Arts; Sam Fredrickson, Principal, Birchwood Elementary School in Wayzata; Debra Lach, Executive Director, DaVinci Academy of Arts and Science; Joe Nathan, Director, Center for School Change (Moderator)

10:10 – 11:00 a.m.

Breakout Sessions, Round 2

  • Assuring Success for ALL Students in Higher Education: Alvin Abraham, Founding Dean, Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas
  • All About the CSP Grant: Paula Higgins, Charter Center Specialist, Minnesota Department of Education
  • Ask The Experts – Onsite Technical Assistance and Advice: Governance, Finance, Audit, Banking/Lending, Bonding/Facilities, Authorizing

11:10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Keynote: Using Technology to Promote Social Learning and Equal Voice: Plenary Session, Jim Leslie and Phil Soran, Cofounders of Flipgrid

Flipgrid is a Minneapolis company focused on enabling video-driven social learning in classrooms around the world. Flipgrid has hosted more than 10 Million shared videos in over 55,000 classrooms across 137 countries on seven continents.

Jim Leslie is the Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Flipgrid. Prior to Flipgrid, Jim was the Founder and CEO of Midwave Corporation and the President of OPM Information Systems. , In 2015 the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal inducted Mr. Leslie as a Tech Titan for Investment Catalyst. He was also honored as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 for his accomplishments as the Founder and CEO of Midwave Corporation. Mr. Leslie has served on numerous public, private, industry, and non-profit boards, most recently as Director of Orion Energy Systems Inc (NASDAQ:OESX) and The Blake School. In 1998, Jim and his wife, Norma, founded the James D. Leslie Family Foundation with a primary focus on educational, community, health, and career opportunities for inner-city youth.

Phil Soran is the Cofounder and Executive Chairman of Flipgrip. Phil a serial technology entrepreneur, founding both Compellent Technologies, which started in Phil’s basement in 2002, went public on the NYSE in 2007, and was one of the fastest growing storage companies in the world before acquisition by Dell for $960 Million dollars in 2011; and XIOtech Corp, which he started in his basement in 1995 and was purchased by Seagate in January of 2000 for $360M. Phil was inducted into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame in 2016, was the inaugural inductee to the Titans of Technology Hall of Fame in 2014, was recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young in 2008 and El Dorado Ventures in 2007, and was selected as one of 40 Minnesotans on the Move in 2009. Phil serves on the board of Piper Jaffray, SPS Commerce, Help Systems, as well as MN Comeback, Great MN Schools, Teach for America, and the U of Minnesota Foundation. Prior to his technology career, Phil was a junior high Math teacher.

12:00 – 1:10 p.m.

Lunch and networking

1:10 – 2:00 p.m.

Keynote: The Importance of Global Knowledge and 21st Century Skills: Plenary Session, Dana Mortenson, Cofounder and CEO of World Savvy

World Savvy is a national education nonprofit that works with educators to integrate the highest quality of global competence teaching and learning into K-12 classrooms, so all young people can be prepared to engage, succeed, and meet the challenges of 21st century citizenship.

Dana Mortenson is a cofounder and the CEO of World Savvy. Ms. Mortenson has led the organization through extensive growth and expansion, reaching more than 580,000 students and 3,500 educators from three offices nationwide. Ms. Mortenson is a recognized expert in the field of global education and serves as advisor and board member to a range of nonprofits focused on international education and youth development. She is an Ashoka Fellow, a recipient of the Tides Foundation’s JBL award for excellence in public advocacy, and was named one of The New Leaders Council’s 40 Under 40 Progressive American Leaders. Dana is a frequent speaker on the subject of global citizenship and social entrepreneurship, and has spoken recently at the Harvard University School of Education, 21st Century Schools Consortium, Nebraska Global Education Consortium, SXSWedu, and Social Venture Partners international conference. Ms. Mortenson is also a board member of the Mortenson Family Foundation.

2:10 – 3:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions, Round 3

  • Legislative Update: Brandie Burris-Gallagher, Policy Director, EdAllies; Josh Crosson, Senior Policy Director, EdAllies
  • Ask The Experts – Onsite Technical Assistance and Advice: Governance, Finance, Audit, Banking/Lending, Bonding/Facilities, Authorizing

2:45 – 4:00 p.m.

Special Workshop: The Power of Effective Fundraising: Karen Kelley-Ariwoola, Chief Officer of External Relations, Harvest Network of Schools

3:10 – 4:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions, Round 4

  • Special Education & Time Effort Reporting; Bridgette Ramaley,  Fiscal Monitoring Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Education
  • Retooling Your Reserves: Balancing Risk and Reward: Sarah Curfman, Consultant, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP; Sheilah Kavaney, Assistant Director, Great MN Schools

4:10 – 5:00 p.m.

Hosted reception and closing remarks

New this year:
Join us for a pre- or post-conference offsite experience at: Best Buy’s Connected Classroom (July 18), Global Learning at World Savvy (July 20), or Individualize Education at Venture Academy (July 20).


For more information:

  • Mindy Plewacki
  • Associate Director - CLA Foundation