Private school head to give rousing TEDx Talk

Posted Monday, May. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Jenifer Fox wants the world to understand how much potential every child has, and she’s going to talk about it on one of the world’s largest stages: TEDx.

Fox, The head of The Clariden School of Southlake, will share her ideas on the missing piece of education reform at TEDxTraverseCity in Michigan today.

“Ultimately, [I hope] people really start to get the idea that kids are brilliant,” she said. “They have a lot to offer.”

Her presentation, “The Success Gap,” highlights her idea that addressing the success gap is necessary for education change. She defined the success gap as the difference from what parents expect and what motives children.

“It’s really about building kids’ strengths,” she said.

Fox will join 15 other speakers for the annual event in Traverse City, Michigan. TEDx is a series of independent events that continue the TED Talk tradition of hosting speakers who share innovative ideas.

Karen Ruedinger, one of the TEDxTraverseCity organizers and Northwestern Michigan College coordinator for Market Research and Organizational Planning, said she first heard of Fox in 2011 from a speaker at the first TEDxTraverseCity. The speaker credited Fox as a leader in the educational strengths movement, and Ruedinger was intrigued.

After reading Fox’s book, Your Child’s Strengths, Ruedinger invited her to speak in 2012, but schedules conflicted. This year, it worked out.

“I found it to offer a compelling and critical message for our schools, community and, as a mother of young children, my own children,” Ruedinger said of Fox’s book.

Fox, who gives speeches regularly, said she loves public speaking and enjoys that TEDx Talks are known to be just as entertaining as they are informative. She created a fable to hook in listeners and tie into her message.

She will tell the story of a woman who plants two different seeds believing they’re the same, and is disappointed when they turn out to be different.

“We have expectations for how kids could be,” she said. “Because we’re disappointed, we fail to see the real contribution they can offer in life.

“Parents work on fear. I want parents to stop being afraid of their kid’s future,” she said.

Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770 Twitter: @dussssstin

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