Education in New Mexico is tough.  We work hard.  We face challenges every single day.  We are tired.

These are the words that we can transform.

Education in New Mexico is the golden standard.  We work smart.  We overcome challenges every single day.  We can’t be stopped.  

We are the teachers, the professors, the administrators and the policy makers that hold the key.  We are unlocking the potential of education in New Mexico because we can’t stand to be last any longer.

Together, on  April 1st, we will bring all of these individuals together in one place so that we can enjoy an evening dedicated to making RADICAL IMPACTS IN EDUCATION.

These ideas will transform your classroom, students, campus, school, staff, lessons, perspective and energy.

Our speakers have gotten their hands dirty by doing the research, implementing the practices and developing the best way to communicate their ideas to you.

We invite you to join us and embrace the possibilities, because as of right now, WE ARE DONE FOOLING AROUND.  


TEDxABQED | We're Done Fooling Around
Enlightening event for anyone interested in creative solutions for Education.


Saturday April 1st
From 6pm to 9pm (Doors Open 5pm)


Kimo Theatre
423 Central Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102


Free parking on street, Paid Covered Parking one block north of theatre on 5th and Copper. Additional Paid Parking Lot one block east of theatre on 6th and Central.
Concession counter with light snacks and drinks available will be open at the theatre before the start of the event and during intermission.


Adah Zhang

Adah Zhang:  A data-driven, statistics junkie who recognizes that the human brain isn’t all just analytics and computation. Even though her life revolves around doing just that at Sandia Labs, she realizes she wouldn’t have gotten there and stayed if it hadn’t been for a couple of crucial people’s skills she acquired along the way. Adah presents the case for a major subject area that seems to have been left outside the classroom door.  

LinkedIn: /adahzhang

Through the lens of her life experiences, Adah Zhang sees that our current approach to education is backwards. Adah wants to flip our approach to education to one that is data-driven and emphasizes learning the soft skills that are needed to solve the challenges of the future.

Zhang recently moved to Albuquerque from Cleveland, where she received a Master’s Degree in Biostatistics from Case Western Reserve University. She is a statistician who is passionate about reevaluating the culture surrounding education. Adah’s experience working as a high school tutor and 5th grade classroom assistant at the central landfill of Guatemala, camp counselor and tutoring different social classes has provided her with a depth of experience relating attitudes surrounding education and changes to shift the culture.

Daniel DeLeon:  Daniel wants to keep kids in the Duke City.  He offers proof and plans to engage our children, make our communities stronger and support economic productivity through the spirit of entrepreneurship in education.  He identifies and attacks the problem that New Mexico tends to lose its best innovators to bigger cities.  He applies these motives proactively as the Director of S.P.A.C.E., Sandia Prep’s Autonomous Creative Environment, and is working to inspire fresh entrepreneurs with the current reinvention revolution that’s underway right here in Albuquerque.  Join his movement not only for your students, but for your standard of living too!

Facebook: deleondaniel66
Twitter: @dadeleon

As an educator, entrepreneur, and life-long learner, Daniel wants to engage students in authentic learning experiences. His vision is to involve students in real-world economic opportunities to motivate a desire for learning. He is currently working on an entrepreneurial program that would put students right in the middle of the action with the city’s innovation endeavors and start-up community.

Daniel switched to a career in education after a successful career as an entrepreneur. His passion from both careers has led him to blending his experience to benefit the learning opportunities of his students. Daniel is a first-generation American Latino born in New York City who has made his way to Albuquerque via San Francisco and Austin.  Daniel’s vision has led him to presently serving as the director of SPACE, Sandia Preparatory’s innovation center serving as an academic incubator for future programs both in and out of the classroom.

Marcia Lee Unnever:  As the founder of Kids Focus, Marcia is ready to share her simple tactic to increase self-esteem and learning in your classrooms.  But be prepared, she didn’t put all of this together for you to just nod along and not get busy implementing.  Her talk is meant for only those who are ready to get down and boogie, literally.  She has shared her plans in many classrooms across ABQ and is ready to move your schools in the same direction.

Facebook: Marcia Lee and Kids Focus
LinkedIn: marcia-lee-kids-focus-educ-trainer-adhd-consultant-bb971612

Marcia knows something that will improve a student’s learning and is safe for kids, takes only 2 minutes and requires no additional budget. It’s movement. Marcia introduces us to the powers of cross-lateral movement and the neuroscience behind brain-body connection and learning.

Marcia Lee Unnever is the creator of Kids Focus, the brain-based program that helps kids focus using movement in the classroom. Marcia has 30 years of experience teaching, movement and using neuroscience to find healthy, medication-free answers to children’s behavioral and developmental challenges. She offers Kids Focus trainings to teachers, counselors, and parents across New Mexico and California.  She also gives private sessions for children in Albuquerque, NM. She is a New Mexico certified Educational Trainer, Reading Specialist, ADHD Consultant, speaker and writer.

Rick Sherwood: Changing people’s entire lives for the better isn’t what Rick expected to happen when he started implementing some unique concepts into his management style at Sandia Labs.   Well it turns out that’s just what happened, along with an increase in productivity and a bit of his own personal happiness when going into work everyday.  He’s got the solutions to bringing joy back into the job and school.  Who even knew that was possible?  

Twitter: @Skittles_Rick
LinkedIn: /rick-sherwood-b6433110

Want to learn how to AMP up your classroom? Three simple words can make a bigger impact than you think: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. As a technologist and leader, Rick explains how these three words from Dan Pink’s book “Drive” have transformed his team into a highly productive and motivated unit and how it can work for you.

Rick is a successful manager who enjoys supporting his teams to excel and collaborate to innovate and problem solve. Rick’s leadership style is focused on autonomy, mastery and purpose which supports his style to connect with people he manages in a personal way. This approach creates a highly productive and motivated people who are engaged in their work. Rick has a Master’s in Business Administration from UNM and is a lean six sigma master black belt.

Melinda Forward:  Passionate about helping schools create a connected, healthy, and inspired school community, Melinda knows the challenges educators are facing in schools. Why? She lives it every day. Melinda is an activist for happiness in schools with a new vision for you. Do you believe in the magic of kindness? We hope so! Melinda is ready to share her radical solution to the negativity that is chasing so many students and teachers out of schools. Get ready to Pass Your Gratitude ON!

Twitter: @melinda_forward
Facebook: 1000 Thank Yous Challenge

Can gratitude be a source of positive change for a school? Melinda Forward has a simple, yet powerful, challenge to empower students and teachers with gratitude. Melinda invites you to create a radical opportunity for students to engage campus-wide to build a school climate of positivity so everyone thrives.

27 years in education, with the past 11 in high-poverty Title 1 schools, Melinda Forward knows there is a crisis with teacher and student retention. Melinda believes it is time for schools to get serious about helping students empower themselves, inspire others, and help their schools shift the way they care for their teachers and students. Every teacher and student deserves an innovative school where positivity is the rule, not the exception.  To empower teachers and students to inspire one another, Melinda is building a global network of schools connected with enthusiasm and excitement about the present and future.

Zachary Leonard: Zach makes educators like the words, “professional learning.”  Think that’s impossible? He’s got evidence that it’s not.  When we work to engage our teachers just as much as we do to engage our students, Zach and his colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Math and Science Academy have found that it makes all of the difference.  Zach has found passion in reshaping the framework of teacher progress, just so that we can achieve what we’ve been intending to all along, education.

LinkedIn: /zacharyleonard2017
Facebook: @lanlcommunity

In the face of low teacher morale, severe teacher shortages, and other challenges facing educators today, Zachary proposes a new model to transform the culture of the teaching profession. Known as the 60/40 model, he showcases a structural change that both catalyzes progress and increases teacher engagement based on his work as a STEM professional in Northern New Mexico schools.

Zachary A. Leonard is a STEM education professional with a passion for creating positive change. Dr. Leonard has had a varied career spanning the disciplines of engineering, science and math education over the last 23 years. His current work with the Los Alamos National Laboratory Math and Science Academy (LANL MSA) is focused on areas of STEM professional learning, school leadership, and school professional culture. He works to develop the individual and collective capacity of teachers and school leaders in schools around northern New Mexico.

Russ Fisher-Ives:  World traveller, scientist, linguistic savior, robot builder and now, TEDx talker.  Russ is about to bring the stage to life with one of his pals from RoboRAVE .  His “pal” has done more with native New Mexican languages than what we humans have been able to achieve in 200 years.  He presents the concept of STEM in a way that doesn’t make students roll their eyes when they hear the acronym.  Bring on the ROBOTS!

Facebook: @roborave
Twitter: @RoboRAVEIntl

Indigenous languages are being lost around the world and our Native American communities are no exception. Can 21st century technology curb this trend? Using the power of play, Russ demonstrates a new approach to learning language using Native American voice controlled robots known as NAVCAR.

Russ Fisher-Ives’s experiences as a prospector for gold and geologist in Alaska, instructor of High School math & science in Albuquerque and leader of a cutting edge Science Academy at Rio Rancho High School has now led him to be a global voice for robotics in education. Russ is Co-Founder of RoboRAVE International, a 16 year old robotics education & competition program that has expanded to 17 countries on 5 continents. His latest endeavor is an exciting product that reengages kids in education, language, and culture through a robot.

Rachel Thomas & Steven Lamb: Steven and Rachel work as team teachers at two very different schools in Albuquerque.  They told us a story on the TEDx stage last year about the valuable impact of connecting with classrooms outside of your own school, just as they have.  They even showed us how to do it! They are back again with a whole new talk about grappling with technology in the classroom and connecting not only your students more effectively with it, but the instructor too.  Let them transform your technology frustrations and encourage you to enjoy the art of this process a little bit more.

Twitter: @collabgenius
LinkedIn: /rachel-thomas-95bb8510
LinkedIn: /steven-lamb-aa098a11

Nearly everyone will say that technology is important in education, but can anyone answer how best to do so? Rachel Thomas and Steven Lamb, the dynamic duo pioneering Virtual Team Teaching in ABQ, want to show you how to take technology from buzzword to an essential, daily, classroom inspiration.

Rachel is a National Board Certified Teacher and Steven is an award winning elementary educator and together they believe in making ludicrous brainstorming ideas into positive learning experiences. Together they passionately explore Virtual Team Teaching, a method in which two geographically separated teachers digitally collaborate to engage their students in continuous shared learning experiences. One driving reason to connect the students to peers across the city is to let them share and learn from each other. Getting students to consider what they know from their own sphere of influence, and asking each other questions about it, is the best way Rachel and Steven know how to guide teaching and learning.

Chad McDaniel:  Chad didn’t allow the fact that he struggled in school to hold him back in the real world. He quickly found that one didn’t equate to the other, which seems to be at odds with the entire purpose of school. He decided to take his education into his own hands and achieve his goals, despite the reports telling him he was “below proficiency.” Now, less than two years after high school and a successful business owner of Modern Approach, he is ready to share why education failed him and how we can easily adjust the type of support students receive so that anyone can succeed.

Instagram: chad2757
Facebook: chad.mcdaniel.359
Snapchat: chad2757

Chad McDaniel knows first hand why traditional education is failing the modern student…he was one. Students are disengaged by a system that rewards repetition and memorization. Chad underscores the need for mentors and aligning education with the modern student so they will stay engaged and develop an ability to adapt to their rapidly evolving world.

A rising New Mexico Entrepreneur, Chad McDaniel is the founder of the Modern Approach; a company that is helping modernize local businesses and adapt to the digital economy. After dropping out of college, Chad sought out mentors and discovered how, through the power of mentorship, he could learn faster and perform at a higher level than he did in traditional education. Chad is now ready to use his experience to modernize New Mexico’s education to be a leader in innovator-friendly public education.
Sean Ritchel:  Sean identifies one of the major reasons our students are falling behind and forgetting everything they learn year after year.  And better yet, he offers a proven solution.  As a professional speaker, motivator and voice for students, he is ready to lay on the real talk and encourage us to reevaluate the framework for which all of our learning takes place.  His idea is definitely radical.  You might not love the sound of it initially, but you can’t refute the evidence.  Isn’t that what we’re all here to do?  Let’s get radical.

Facebook: @seanritchel
Instagram: @seanritchel
Twitter: @seanritchel

Is summer vacation standing in the way of providing students the opportunity to thrive in school? Sean Ritchel examines this question from the perspective of his own experience in school and recent research. Sean unfolds this simple, but effective way to create an environment that uses the entire year to help our students to learn and grow.

Sean Ritchel is a professional youth speaker, rapper, and activist with a passion for student success. Sean’s message emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance, encouraging students to “Look in the mirror. Love it. Now go above it.” Sean advocates for education reform and believes positive change can only happen if we speak loud about things that matter. He often uses rapping to speak loud and is also known as “The Motivational Rapper.”

Tickets On Sale Soon

TEDxABQSalon | The Future of Medicine is one of several annual events offered under the TEDxABQ umbrella. It is open to the public, but focuses specifically on education. In addition to TEDxABQWomen in May, TEDxYouth@ABQ in November, we also host TEDxABQ’s Biggest event in September.

Our Mission
TEDxABQ unlocks the creative & economic potential of New Mexicans through events that draw out inspiring ideas, generate meaningful connections and foster innovation.

Our History
TEDxABQ was formed by a team of volunteers in early 2010. Since then, we’ve hosted over 50 community events built around a passion for sharing great ideas. We believe strongly in the power of community, and we want you to be a part of it! Check our events page, partner with us, or volunteer.

Our Partners

Educational Partner

Community Partners