Keynote Speakers 

*All Times are Eastern Daylight Time*

Thursday, June 25th - 7:00  - 8:30 PM - Peter Gray

Friday, June 26th - 2:00 - 3:30 PM - Joe Nathan & Wayne Jennings

Saturday, June 27th - 3:30 - 5:00 PM -  Amir Nathoo

Saturday, June 27th -  ​7:00 - 8:30 PM  - Cath Fraise 

                                         8:30 pm - 9:30 pm  -  Yong Zhao 


                                         9:30 pm - 10:00 pm - Panel - Yong, Adler, Ozzie


                                        10:00 pm - 11:00 pm - Keynote - Adler Yang & Ozzie Su

Cath Fraise

Cath Fraise founded Workspace Education as a result of 30 years in education exploring her passion of creating environments where humans thrive.  She started her career as a public high school teacher to reform education and realized the importance of the right environment and culture to maximize the potential of every human.  After three AMI Montessori certifications and 10 years of project based homeschooling, she set about to create a low-cost private alternative to traditional school that is adaptable, flexible and allows for authentic personalization for every child as well as a platform for authentic creative self-expression.  


Workspace Education seeks to be a beacon for those families who believe their children are underserved in the traditional school system and challenges them to use the wealth of available resources to create engaging, meaningful educational experiences that prepare learners for life, future academics, and the workforce with assistance from educational experts, the community and surrounding businesses. Insatiably curious and adventurous, Cath has traveled the world, living on four continents, skydiving, exploring alternative education, and deep diving into her passions.  More recently, Cath founded a research organization, the IACLC (International Association  of Colearning Communities) as the result of edupreneurs wanting to replicate the Workspace model and to launch studies that validate the work.

Peter Gray

We are very excited that Peter Gray will be able to keynote the AERO Conference to be held in Minneapolis from June 25-28! Many people asked us if it would be possible to bring him there. He is one of the most influential people in learner-centered education, and an expert in self-directed education.

Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College who has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 8th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books). He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine. He is a founding member and president of the nonprofit Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE), which is aimed at creating a world in which children’s natural ways of learning are facilitated rather than suppressed. He is also a founding board director of the nonprofit Let Grow, the mission of which is to renew children’s freedom to play and explore outdoors, independently of adults. He earned his undergraduate degree at Columbia College and Ph.D. in biological sciences at the Rockefeller University many years ago. His own current play includes kayaking, long-distance bicycling, backwoods skiing, and vegetable gardening. Listen to new show featuring Peter Gray on Unschooling

Wayne Jennings

Wayne Jennings, an educator for sixty years, has been a teacher and principal and has chaired the board of directors of two charter schools. He started eight schools during his career, including two schools for at-risk youth, five charter schools, and an arts school.  He supports experiential and progressive practices and believes that charter schools should be exemplars of innovation. 

Here is an amazing bio of Wayne:


Among other things, the Jennings Community Learning Center is named for him.


Read here about the Pioneer Award that the MN Association of Charter Schools presented to Wayne Jennings in 2017


Wayne Jennings was the founding principal of the pioneering St. Paul Open School in 1992. It was one of the most radical public alternatives. See how he did it here, among other things, writing the grant that led to the school in one weekend!


Read about it HERE

Amir Nathoo

Amir Nathoo is co-founder and CEO of Outschool, a marketplace of live online classes for kids. Outschool classes meet in small groups over online video to learn subject from coding, cooking, and drawing to traditional subjects like algebra and world history. The flexibility and variety of classes inspire kids to learn through their interests and give them autonomy to pursue their own path. Teachers earn flexible income through classes they’ve always wanted to teach.


As a child growing up near London, Amir found an early love of computers—not only playing games on them, but learning the nuts and bolts to build his own programs. His parents, both educators, noticed this affinity and fostered it by providing materials and learning opportunities. Amir attended a selective high school and studied at the University of Cambridge, where he earned a master’s of engineering. However, his experience learning to program outside the classroom convinced him of the life-changing value of fostering interest and learning outside of the traditional school structure.


After starting his career at IBM, Amir co-founded his first startup, This company received early investment from Y Combinator before being acquired by Square six years later. After leading development on Square’s Payroll product for another two years, Amir left the company to launch Outschool. Driven by his past experience with learning outside the classroom, Amir believes in helping kids and teachers connect no matter where they are. He is dedicated to providing a space for the kind of learning that traditional classrooms often have to skip in favor of standardized testing.

Joe Nathan

Joe Nathan PhD, has been an urban public school teacher, administrator, PTA president, advocate and researcher.  He founded and directs the Center for School Change.  Since 1989, he has written regular newspaper columns for various newspapers and currently is a regular columnist for a number of suburban and rural Minnesota papers.  Nathan helped write chartered public school legislation in more than 30 years, including the first law.


He's also helped write and defend, since 1985, Mn's law allowing high school students to take free classes on college campuses or on line. He's appeared on more than 500 radio and television programs including the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC Nightly News and McNeil/Lehrer News Hour.  Married for 45 years (Wayne Jennings served as minister), 3 kids, 5 granddaughter.  

Yong Zhao

Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education, with a courtesy appointment in the School of Business, at the University of Kansas. He is also a global chair in education at East China Normal University. He previously served as the presidential chair and director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he was also a professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. Prior to Oregon, Yong Zhao was University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, where he also served as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology and executive director of the Confucius Institute as well as the US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and 30 books.

He has a been a keynoter at a previous AERO conference in Portland. 

Ozzie Su

Slightly overweight with a penchant for mischief, Ozzie Su is stubbornly committed to pursuing his dreams even after experiencing six failed startups.  Known as “Principal Sweet Potato”, he established ZA Share, a school for civil society well known for their not-so well-behaved attitude.

Gathering fanatics of lifelong learning to set new heights and trends in education, ZA Share boldly experiments with and implements various forms of innovation outside of established systems.  With the firm belief that art and creativity play vital roles in solving educational and social issues, they generate maximum social impact to more effectively push for progress and change, while focusing on the areas of cultural economy, innovation in education, social design, branding, marketing, and other related curatorial and interdisciplinary integration.  
Currently, Ozzie Su is the CEO of Ozzie Branding & Curating, Co., Ltd., founder of ZA Share Inc., and chairman of Taiwan Education and Technology Development Association.

Adler Yang

Adler Yang is a responsible world citizen who has devoted his entire adolescence to make a difference on education and youth issues. From the age of 14, he started to run initiatives about youth and education, aiming to actualize the cradle of societies where everyone contributes to the collective well-being through conscious self-actualization.

As his first professional project, If There is a Reason to Study is a documentary that followed 5 alternative school students’ lives for 7 years, examining the test-driven education system’s impact on students and the risk of alienation with socialization. The film has won awards internationally, influenced education movements in Taiwan, and was lauded the “Epitome of 2016 Taiwanese Movies” and the “Most important film on Taiwanese education.”

The Awakening Lab was one of the crystallization of his film's influence. It is a grassroots research/experiment community that emerged from the volunteers, supporters, and audiences of the film, which actualizes Adler’s mission by developing self-exploration and systems thinking programs, also by working on projects such as democratizing media.

He is also a supporter, advocate, advocate, organizer, or participant of several initiatives, such as the Design for Change Taiwan Challenge, Alternative Education Organization in New York, EDiversity in Hong Kong. He guest mentored/lectured at the National Chung Kung University Education Program in Taiwan and the Ednovator Teacher Fellowship in Hong Kong, also spoke at events like ANYSE Conference in Seoul. His talk at TEDxTaipei was named the 10 Most Important Taiwanese TEDx Talks in 2014. He was named to The News Lens 2015 “30 under 30” list.

While his starting point was education, his ultimate pursuit is a sincere, healthy, co-actualizing world with sustainable peace. He is now working as the R&D Director for Learning Systems and International Programs at Za Share, developing shareable models that facilitate the collective power in bettering the world through experimental learning. He is also a researcher and systems thinker with a focus on the systemic factors and interrelationships of the world’s crises.