March 21st 2024 | 7 PM

Embark on a journey of intellectual exploration as we bring you EDTalks: Reimagine, a captivating night featuring five visionary speakers at the forefront of Wake County Public Schools.



EdTalks is WakeEd’s premier spring event. Modeled after the highly-regarded TEDtalk, and inspired by the CMS Foundation’s TeacherTalks, this event is meant to create a public platform for leading educators of the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) to share their stories, their truths, and their experiences.

The 2024 theme is REIMAGINE.

Each speaker’s individual EdTalk can be viewed and shared below – just click on the button below their photo.

2024 Speaker LineUp

Leonardo Baquero

Heritage High 

Experience is a relative term, but when you have taught in other continents, countries, states, and cities, you tend to pick up some fairly specific skills. From classrooms in Perú to Title I schools in The Bronx, and eventually to Heritage High in Wake Forest, North Carolina, Leonardo Baquero has been making an impact on students all over the world.


Holding Master’s degrees from both NC State and The City College of New York, Leonardo’s real formative education was his High School Math classroom. There he learned daily that math must often take a backseat to students’ personal issues and family tragedies. Like many teachers, he was not only an educator but also a counselor, coach, and often a walking target for students to vent their anger and frustration about more than math but their lives.


Teaching has never been an easy profession nor for the faint of heart. But in a time when the needs of students often exceed just academics, Leonardo thrives. He thrives not because the job comes easy to him, but because he is willing. Willing to talk, willing to listen, willing to hold students accountable, and willing to show students another way of learning Math.

Jason King is in his 20th year of teaching and his 10th year at Heritage High school.  He is Nationally Board Certified, and holds a Master’s Degree in School Administration.  However, Jason’s love of teaching has kept him in the classroom as opposed to administrative pursuits, as long ago, he internalized Frederick Douglass’ wisdom, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”  


Jason has dedicated his life to creating highly interactive experiences for his students, as well as a culture of growth and development.  Over time at Heritage, he has served as both a Department Chair and School Improvement Plan Chair, as well as led professional development sessions on highly engaging classroom protocols that are applicable across all disciplines.  Additionally, Jason has helped to build the Capstone program at HHS, which philosophically is dedicated to building student capacity across multiple metrics and modalities, and he is also expanding film studies through his Cultural Media Literacy course.   

Jason King

Heritage High 

Neil McEwen

Partnership Magnet Elementary

The single greatest experience that influenced Neil to become a teacher was working as a 

camp counselor at the YMCA. The summer before he started college, he had no idea what he wanted to do with my life. He took a job working at the YMCA and led a huddle of twenty 5th  graders with very little experience working with kids. Needless to say, he was overwhelmed. Over the course of that summer, however, he learned many things that he still carry with him as a teacher today. The most important thing Neil learned was how incredible it was to have the opportunity to help foster character growth in the life of a child.  


That summer made Neil realize he want to have that kind of impact on kids for the rest of my life. That led Neil to major in education at Appalachian State University and he never looked back.He has taught 14 years within the Wake County Public School System and found a home teaching 5th grade at Partnership Elementary. His hope as an educator is that his students are in a better position to be respectful, responsible and caring individuals because of having been in his class. 

Betsy Ballard Moore has been an educator for 28 years. Currently, she is the Instructional Facilitator and Literacy Coach at Richland Creek Elementary School.  She also serves as the School Improvement co-chair and testing Coordinator co-chair and is on the BIMAS Team, Canvas Crew, and Intervention Team.  Betsy graduated from East Carolina University with a BS degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in behavioral studies.  Later she received her Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of New England.  Betsy has been a 1st-grade teacher and 2nd-grade teacher before she moved into her current positions. 


She has a passion for teaching and empowering not only the students but also the teachers in her building.  Betsy believes that everyone has a gift and wants everyone to have a voice.  In her spare time, Betsy enjoys spending time with family and friends, her son, Wilson, and her pets Daisy and Minnie. Betsy also is very active in her church and teaches cycle and group fitness classes at her local gym. 

Betsy Moore

Richland Creek Elementary

Bettina Pope

Wake Forest High

A native of Rich Square, North Carolina (located in Northampton County), Bettina Pope earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secondary English Education from North Carolina State University in 1994 and a Master of Education in School Counseling from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2022. She has spent the last twenty-nine years dedicated to students in several school systems throughout the state as an educator in various forms- as a classroom teacher, private tutor, school counselor, and English instructor and College Advisory Counselor with the Chowan University and NC State University TRiO Upward Bound Programs. As a 10th-grade English/World Literature & African American Literature teacher for twenty-five years at Wake Forest High School. 


Pope has a passion for teaching writing and guiding students in closely analyzing literature, finding their voice, and learning how to effectively tell their story. 


The 2024 wrap-up

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