Keynote Speakers

Sugata Mitra

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A Ph.D. in theoretical physics, Sugata Mitra retired in 2019 as Professor of Educational Technology at
Newcastle University in England, after 13 years there including a year in 2012 as Visiting Professor at MIT
MediaLab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. He is Professor Emeritus at NIIT University, Rajasthan, India.
His work on children’s education include the ‘hole in the wall’ experiment where children access the internet
in unsupervised groups, the idea of Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) in schools, the role of
experienced educators over the internet in a ‘Granny Cloud’ and the School in the Cloud where children take
charge of their learning – anywhere.

His interests include Children’s Education, Remote Presence, Self-organising systems, Cognitive Systems,
Complex Dynamical Systems, Physics and Consciousness.

He received, among many global awards, the million-dollar TED Prize in 2013. Website:


Je'anna Clements

Je'anna L Clements (Psych Hons) is a mother of two self-educating young people aged 10 and 15. She supports parents, teachers and facilitators around the globe in learning to optimise Self-Directed Education. She is the author of What If School Creates DYSlexia? and the forthcoming Helping The Butterfly Hatch book series, which has grown out of her online facilitation courses. Her writing has previously been published by Tipping Points magazine (ASDE), Journal for Children, Youth and Environment (Univ Colorado) Save The Children (Sweden) and more. She is a core founder of Riverstone Village, the first Sudbury-inspired SDE learning community in South Africa.

Zak Stein


Zak Stein is a philosopher of education working at the interface of psychology, metaphysics, and politics. He has published two books, including Education in Time Between Worlds, along with dozens of articles. He has worked co-founding a non-profit and think tank, teaching graduate students at Harvard, and consulting with technology start-ups. Zak is a long time meditator, musician and caregiver, which has shaped him more than any professional engagements.

Yaacov Hecht

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Yaacov Hecht (married and father of 4 sons) founded in 1987 the Democratic School in Hadera, Israel - the first school in the world to be called a democratic school. 

In 1993 he initiated IDEC - International Democratic Education Conference which convenes every year in a different continent. IDEC has facilitated the establishment of hundreds of innovative democratic schools around the globe, 30 of them in Israel.  

In 1996, Yaacov Hecht founded IDE - the Institute for Democratic Education and within it a groundbreaking academic faculty for teachers training in the Kibuzim college, the biggest academic institute for teachers in Israel.
His book "Democratic Education - A Beginning of a Story", which has been translated into English, Portuguese, Bulgarian and Korean, is a worldwide source of inspiration for groundbreaking educators and entrepreneurs. 
In 2010 he founded Education Cities – the Art of Collaborations that weaves and maintains municipal collaborations that aim to turn the city into “one big school”. It also promotes collaborations and networking in the classroom, in the school, in the city, in the state, and in the world. WIRED magazine has chosen Education Cities' MOOC learning model (How2MOOC) to one of the leading trends in 2015. In January 2017 Education Cities was chosen to one of the 10 leading innovations in the world, by HundrED the Finish initiative for globally promoting educational innovation.

Yaacov has served as an advisor to 6 Ministers of Education in Israel, as an expert in interfacing between the state and alternative education. He regards the preparing and directing of the educational system towards the future, as his main mission today. 

Tracy Gray

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Tracy L. Gray holds a dual Master of Science Degrees in Early Childhood and General Education. As an entrepreneur and education consultant, Tracy has devoted her career to building effective equitable S.T.E.A.M. initiatives. In her commitment to advance 21st century learning competency skills, Tracy has established international partnerships to expand student cultural and global awareness. Tracy's curiosity for research and her thirst for intellectual pursuits allow her to develop and present original contributions to the field of education, and gives her the freedom of tech development as an educator, researcher, and teacher-practitioner.

Tracy Gray attended the I Have a Dream Workshop on Inclusive Youth Entrepreneurship in partnership with My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative and the White House Council on Women and Girls (CWG), hosted by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Student Dream, a youth entrepreneurship nonprofit. At the workshop, the Obama Administration issued A Call to Action to Expand High-Quality STEM Education Opportunities for All Students. Ms. Gray answered the call by submitting Sankofa Global’s Education Program which was announced in the official release of the White House Fact Sheet as one of the commitments to expand STEM Learning for young learners nationwide. 

Notable Accomplishments:

Sankofa Global Project Launch: March 2013

Food, Fitness, Tech Hack-a-Thon: May 2014

Education Conference Presenter (Yiwu China): July 2015

National Week of Making: June 17 - June 23, 2016

World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science: October 1 - October 2, 2016

White House SXSL Festival of Ideas, Art, and Action: October 3, 2016

Sankofa Global Project’s Tech Education Conference: April 2017

Education Cultural Exchange Program (Agege, Nigeria): August 2017

"It's A Family Affair” (IAFA): October 2018

American Educational Research Association (AERA) Presentation: April 2019

“Build Your Own Wakanda” Hack-a-Thon: July 2019

21st Century Education for All Fireside Chat Series: January - March 2020

Racial Equity & Justice Initiative (REJI): September 2020

GED+ Ed Tech Program: November 2020

Henry Readhead

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Henry Readhead was born in 1977. He is the
 grandson of A.S.Neill, founder of Summerhill School, world renowned as a pioneer in democratic, learner-centered education.
 His mother is Neill’s daughter, Zöe, current Head of Summerhill. She was famously mentioned as a toddler in Neill’s book, Summerhill, which was a best-seller with millions of copies sold in the early 1960’s. It led to the free school and alternative school movement.

Henry was a pupil at Summerhill from the age of 3 to 16.
 He studied sound engineering at SAE Institute in London in 1997 and started a recording studio in 2002. 
He returned to Summerhill for several years to help with the successful court case against the Department for Education in 1999. 
He was the music teacher at Summerhill between 2002-2012 whilst working in the music industry.

He is presently Deputy Principal of Summerhill School with his brother Will, in support Zöe, their mother, who is still the principal.

Over the past 6 years Henry has also been the main ambassador for Summerhill School, representing it all over the world. He has been doing talks, workshops and lectures about Summerhill and A.S.Neill’s educational philosophies, speaking in dozens of countries (see list below). He recently said, “I’m very excited about coming to America as it will be my first time and to speak at AERO as I have been friends with Jerry Mintz for many years.”

Here is a list of some of the places where Henry Readhead has presented:

Keynotes, Workshops and Lectures of Henry Readhead


Global HR Forum, Arirang TV


IDEC 2014 Urupia, 
University Lecture Conference


Alicante University Lecture INNOVATION 2015, 
Free-Learning Education Conference University Lecture 




Seou,l Puglia, Bielefeld Chichester

Madrid, Moscow, Prague, Castellon Valencia

South Korea, Italy, Germany, England

Spain, Russia, Czech, Spain

Mikkeli, Finland

Alicante University Lecture, APDEC 2016
, CAIEV Educational Project


IDEC 2017
, APDEC and S-Hill Promo Events, Conversation for Change
, University Lecture
APDEC 2017, 
EUDEC,  2018
 Oasis Movement Tour (9 dates), Poverty & Education, Kings College


Freedom to Learn Forum
, Humanity School Campaign Suppor,t Taipei, AERO 2018, 
Forgotten Majority, Invisible Minority 
New Oriental Education Conference

Madrid, Barcelona

Kyoto & Tokyo, Anton, 
Madrid, Moscow, Tokyo, 
Multiple, London


New York Hampshire

Spain, Taiwan, Spain

Israel, Japan, Austria, Spain, Russia, Japan, France, India, England

England, Taiwan, USA, England, China


Note from Henry Readhead to AERO Readers:

The subject of Summerhill School is not always so easy to cover in a short talk. Over the years I have covered most of the elements, so we thought it would be fun to give you all a list of topics I could speak about for my keynote and you can all vote on which ones you would like me to emphasize.

I will be giving a keynote speech with a Q&A, and a separate session later on in the conference. Here is a list of topics I can cover:

100 years of freedom within education

Social and emotional development

Community life and boarding at Summerhill

100 years of democracy at Summerhill

Learning at Summerhill with non-compulsory lessons

The meeting process, laws and conflict resolution

Parenting and Summerhill