Keynote Speakers


2019 Sponsors

Mega Star


Blazing Star



Star Bright


CAAEYC proudly thanks its sponsors in recognition of their generous financial support and other donations that contribute greatly to the success of this event.

lisa Lasky

Lisa has worked in education for more than 30 years as a teacher, leader, school and systems coach and has led several organizational/system change projects across the country.  Before joining the National Equity Project in 1995, Lisa worked with Theodore Sizer at the National Office of the Coalition of Essential Schools – a national school reform movement that began with five high schools and expanded to thousands of schools and several centers across the country. 

Lisa moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast to grow a local center (BayCES). As a founding member of the National Equity Project, she has served in many roles including Associate Director, Director of Elementary and Middle Schools, Director of the School Grants Program and Deputy Director. She currently leads our Oakland Office portfolio of work– overseeing support and services to clients in California, the Pacific Northwest, the East Coast and the South. Lisa holds a bachelors in Sociology and English from the State University of New York, College at Cortland and a Masters of Arts in Urban Education from University California, Berkeley.

Asali Waters

Asali joined the National Equity Project in 2017 after 24 years as an educator in public and independent schools. In 2016, she was a National Equity Project Leading for Equity Fellow. Asali is passionate about adult learning, instruction, and youth development, and is known for supporting learning communities with engaging in collaborative reflection, inquiry, and experiential learning.

Asali taught at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California and Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island and was an administrator for the San Leandro Unified and Oakland Unified School Districts. In 2004, Asali joined Oakland Unified’s New Small Schools movement where she led the design and was a founding middle school principal. She was a district manager for Oakland’s K-12 Expanded Learning programs for ten years where she supported compliance, professional development, operations and the coordination of continuous program quality improvement in partnership with community-based organizations.

Asali received her bachelors from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University and an Administrative Credential from California State University, East Bay. Asali was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. She currently resides in Alameda, California with her husband and son.

Steve Gross

Steve Gross, M.S.W., is the founder and chief playmaker of the Life is Good Kids Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to spread the power of optimism to help kids heal. The foundation partners with leading childcare organizations to strengthen their capacity to build healing, life-changing relationships with the children in their care.

Steve’s teachings have been utilized across the country and throughout the world in response to the social and emotional needs of communities deeply impacted by poverty, violence and illness. Steve helps others discover their own sense of optimism so that they can inspire the people around them to focus on the good and overcome life’s most difficult challenges.