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38th Annual National Conference:

How Successful Directors Lead

About The Conference

The AELL Annual National Conference, How Successful Directors Lead is the ONE event specifically designed for early learning administrators featuring 40+ educational sessions on leadership, administration, finance, marketing, legal, and program quality presented by national experts.

Conference Sponsors


About the Conference
The AELL Annual National Conference, How Successful Directors Lead is the ONE event specifically designed for early learning administrators featuring 35+ educational sessions on leadership, administration, finance, marketing, legal, and program quality presented by national experts.

Who Should Participate?
Early Care and Education Directors, Owners, VPs & Managers, Agency Administrators, Education Coordinators, Specialists, Trainers & Consultants, Assistant Directors, and Emerging Leaders.

Where can I contact an organizer with questions?
Email us at [email protected] or call 512-301-5557. 

Are there any scholarship opportunities?
Yes! Please click here for more information and to apply for the Bobette Thompson Legacy Scholarship.

Can I update my registration information?
Yes, you can update your registration information at any time! Just email [email protected] for assistance.



You can access the full conference schedule by scrolling below or clicking here.


Conference Pricing


Member Non-Member

3-Day Conference Registration

  • 35+ available educational sessions on leadership, administration, finance, marketing, legal, and program quality presented by national experts
  • CEU certificates for every conference session attended at no additional cost
  • Breakfast included Thursday-Saturday and complimentary lunch provided on Thursday and Friday
  • Tickets to both the conference welcome party and the annual karaoke & dance party
  • Access to several industry leading vendors who are eager to share products and services that will help solve programs and improve program quality
$559 $634

Registration / Membership Bundle

(Includes 3-Day Conference Registration and 1 Full Year of Membership)
$654  N/A

Pre-Conference Session: Conscious Discipline 6.0 Training Hours – Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Conscious Discipline is an adult-first transformational, trauma-responsive approach to self-regulation that integrates social and emotional learning, equitable school culture, theory and application and research and brain-based discipline practices. Join Tym Smith, a certified Conscious Discipline Instructor, as he guides leaders through these principles and practices of this highly effective program.
$179 $209

Leaders’ Night Out: Gilley’s Dallas –  Wednesday, April 27, 2022

You don’t want to miss this fun night out at the infamous Gilley’s! 

Your fee will include round trip transportation, Texas BBQ buffet dinner, country line dancing lessons and an open bar with well liquors, domestic & imported beer, house wine, soft drinks and bottled water.

$179 $179



CEUs are offered for every session at no additional cost. The Association for Early Learning Leaders has partnered with Stalwart-Genesis to provide Continuing Education Units for conference attendees.



FOR 3-DAY CONFERENCE: Register four or more directors, owners, or administrators and receive 10% discount for ALL 3-day registrations.

Please email [email protected] or call us at 1-800-537-1118 for a group promo code.



All cancellations must be made in writing and sent to [email protected]. Cancellations received before December 31, 2021, are refundable minus a $75 processing fee. Cancellations received before February 28, 2022, are refundable minus a $125 processing fee. No-shows and cancellations received after March 1, 2022 will not be eligible for a refund.

REGISTRATION TRANSFERS: Registration is transferable (for up to one calendar year) without penalty or funds can be applied to another posted AELL training event.  


Bobette Thompson Legacy Commission Conference Scholarships

The Legacy Commission was formed by past Board Presidents of the Association with the purpose of “giving back” and supporting the mission and legacy of AELL and all it represents.  As an extension of that effort, we are making available a limited number of scholarship awards for use at 38th Annual National Conference, How Successful Directors Lead.  It is truly our joy to support the ongoing professional development of early learning leaders like you!

Please review the eligibility requirements and guidelines below and submit completed application below along with requested supporting documents.  Incomplete applications will not be considered. 


  • Candidate must be a member in good standing with AELL.
  • Candidate must be actively working in the field of early education.
  • Candidate must submit all required documents in a timely and complete manner.


  • Completed scholarship application
  • Updated resume
  • Letter on company letterhead from your current employer stating why you are deserving of this scholarship
  • Typewritten, double-spaced 200-word essay addressing the following questions: 
    • Why have you chosen a career in Early Education? 
    • What are your career goals? 
    • What impact would this scholarship have on your education and career goals?


Applications should be submitted via the link below or emailed to Lori Buxton, [email protected]. Applications must be received no later than December 31, 2021 for consideration for the 2022 conference awards. Award notifications will be made on or before January 31, 2022.



Keynote Speakers


Will Bowen

Founder of the Complaint Free Movement with 13+ Million Followers Worldwide
#1 International Bestselling Author
Humorous Motivational Speaker

After decades of unprecedented sales success in insurance, broadcasting, and advertising, on July 23, 2006, Will Bowen’s life changed forever…and so did the lives of tens of millions of people (so far). On that day, Will invited 250 people to try and break the negative habit of complaining by going 21 consecutive days without uttering a single gripe. Will gave each person a purple bracelet to be used as a mindfulness tool. His idea: switch the bracelet from wrist to wrist with each spoken complaint and keep switching until you go 21 consecutive days without complaining. Will’s idea EXPLODED around the world until now, some 15 years later, the worldwide Complaint Free bracelet total is over 13 Million and climbing.

Will Bowen’s 21-Day Complaint Free challenge has been recommended by Oprah, Maya Angelou, Dr. Oz, Tim Ferris, Joe Vitale, Gary Zukov, The Wall Street Journal, NBC’s Today Show, the ABC Evening News, NPR, and too many additional celebrities and media outlets to include here. Will has written 5 International Bestselling books that have sold in excess of 4 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 35 languages. Will travels the world motivating businesses and organizations of every size to understand the causes and embrace the cures of complaining.



Tabatha Rosproy

Preschool teacher and Kansas-NEA member Tabatha Rosproy is the first early childhood educator to win National Teacher of the Year, an award given annually by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

“I am so honored to have been chosen to represent the incredible educators in our nation,” said Rosproy, in a statement. As National Teacher of the Year, Rosproy said she hopes to shine a light on the importance of early childhood education, and also on the “powerful role of social-emotional education at all ages.”

Rosproy, who has taught for 10 years, teaches in a rare, intergenerational program—a preschool located inside a retirement community and nursing home in Winfield, Kansas, a small town near the Oklahoma state line. Her classroom is a loving, multi-generational space where preschoolers, including some with special needs, interact daily with residential volunteers, called “Grandmas and Grandpas,” who help foster a sense of community and connections.

Rosproy has served on her building leadership team and as the co-head teacher of the Winfield Early Learning Center and as co-president of Winfield National Education Association. She is also active at the state level with Kansas National Education Association. In addition, she is a member of the Cowley County Special Services Cooperative Early Childhood Academy Team, which provides training and support in positive behavior interventions for early childhood teachers in her county.

Before Kansas schools physically closed in March, as a state leader in public education, Rosproy served as co-chair of an emergency, statewide task force to plan for continuous learning. “It started as a ‘what-if’ situation, but the day we completed it, it was like a real situation,” she said.

In her physical classroom, Rosproy offers direct social-emotional instruction in a “place that’s rich with opportunities to solve conflicts and interact with peers,” she says. “We say it’s part of preparing them for the future, but it’s actually prepared them for right now!”

Regardless of where and how learning happens, Rosproy maintains that there “has to be a real focus on relationships.”

“Because that’s what there is in life: me and you. That’s what’s important,” she said. Everything else—the literacy lessons, the deep dive into advanced math, and so on—relies on a positive, committed relationship between teacher and student. “The willingness to do the work comes from that connection that you and I have,” she said.

Conference Accommodations

The 38th Annual National Conference will be held on April 27-30, 2022 at the beautiful Omni Las Colinas in Irving, TX


When you make your reservations at Omni Las Colinas Hotel (formerly Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas) in Irving, you’ll experience the urban energy of our community plus the tranquility of our waterfront location on Lake Carolyn. Enjoy access to a host of restaurants, shops, and businesses, then explore the Mandalay Canal by gondola or stand-up paddleboard during downtime. Boasting the largest standard guest accommodations in the Dallas area, our hotel features updated rooms that appeal to both business and leisure travelers and a newly renovated outdoor pool, patio, and bar.


Special AELL Conference Room Rate: $169 per night (standard double queen or single king room)
A deposit of one night’s lodging will be applied to your credit card at the time of reservation.
***Please note that the Omni Las Colinas is nearly sold out. We invite you to check out some of the local hotels listed below for your conference accommodation needs.

  • Marriott Dallas Las Colinas
    • 223 West Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, TX 7503
    • Distance from Conference Hotel: 0.4 miles
    • (972) 831-0000
    • Website
    • No shuttle service available
  • The Westin Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas
    • 400 West Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, TX 75039
    • Distance from Conference Hotel: 1 mile
    • (972) 505-2900
    • Website
    • Shuttle service not currently available
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Dallas-Irving-Las Colinas
    • 4300 Wingren Dr, Irving, TX 75039
    • Distance from Conference Hotel: 0.9 miles
    • (972) 556-0665
    • Website
    • Shuttle service not currently available
  • Aloft Las Colinas
    • 122 E John W Carpenter Fwy, Irving, TX 75062
    • Distance from Conference Hotel: 0.7 miles
    • (972) 717-6100
    • Website
    • Complimentary shuttle service available Monday-Friday 7:30 am – 4:00 pm within 5 mile radius.

COVID-19 Safety Measures
Omni resorts and hotels remain committed to the health and safety of their guests and associates. Omni’s Safe & Clean program actively monitors and evolves our solutions to ensure they adhere to local government requirements. Full details on their Safe & Clean program can be found here.

    Transportation | Driving | Parking

    The 38th Annual National Conference will be held at the beautiful Omni Las Colinas (formerly Omni Mandalay at Las Colinas), April 27-30, 2022.  Hotel reservations are now being accepted.  More information can be found on the Hotel Accommodations page.

    Conference participants will receive complimentary self-parking at the Omni Las Colinas.

    The conference hotel is located within 15 minutes of both Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport. We recommend using Uber or Lyft for transportation to the conference hotel or a local taxi service.

    Local Taxi Service Information

    • Irving Instant Cab: (972) 357-6044
    • Irving Taxi 24/7:  (214) 470-0318 



    The 38th Annual National Conference will be held April 27-30, 2022 at the Omni Las Colinas (formerly Omni Mandalay at Las Colinas).  This beautiful property is conveniently located within 15 minutes of both Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport

    Exhibitors & Sponsors

    Raise your profile at the leadership level in the early childhood community by exhibiting at the 38th Anniversary National Conference, How Successful Directors Lead!

    Market your products and services to early childhood professionals who have the buying power–nearly a third of our attendees approve or authorize purchases for their program, and another third are involved in the buying process.

    Our Annual National Conference Sponsor/Exhibitor Prospectus will guide you through our event and available engagement opportunities. Please submit your application and agreements through the links below for consideration.

    2022 Conference Sponsor/Advertiser Application

    2022 Conference Exhibitor Application

    2022 Conference Exhibitor Agreement


    Please read the following information carefully before submitting your proposal.  

    The Association for Early Learning Leaders pursues experts in the early care and education community to present sessions from a national perspective to early care and education directors, administrators, and owners at our Annual Conference, How Successful Directors Lead! The Association prides itself on the high level of quality and professionalism that is upheld throughout the conference.

    Sessions incorporate the following areas of expertise: leadership, legal, business administration, budgeting, insurance-liability, health & safety, curriculum, assessment, instructional leadership, parent education, and program quality accreditation. In order to lead a quality early learning program, directors are required to have knowledge, skills, and abilities from diverse areas. Nationally known experts from across the country are secured to share a wealth of knowledge and experience with our participants.

    The Association for Early Learning Leaders is a professional organization committed to strengthening the skill level of leaders in the field of early care and education. We believe that effective management is the critical link to superior programs.

    The Association will accept applications for the 2022 National Conference through October 15, 2021. The requests are thoroughly reviewed and presenters will be notified of acceptance by November 15, 2021. Presentations are to be 1 hour and 45 minutes in length. Selected presenters will be required to submit a completed and approved CEU application no later than February 15, 2022.

    Travel and Hotel Arrangements for Presenters

    Each presenter is responsible for making individual travel and hotel arrangements. The availability of hotel accommodations is limited at the conference site so reserve early. Conference group rate information is available on the Conference Accommodations page.

    Conference Registration

    All presenters will receive one complimentary conference registration that includes many conference extended events including lunch on Thursday and Friday.   After we receive your signed agreement, we will provide you with information regarding registration.

    The Association does not offer honorariums for session presenters but is pleased to provide a letter of participation for you to include in your professional speaking portfolio.


    The training room will be set up for approximately 40-80 people with a presenter’s table in front.


    Each presenter will have access to a projector and screen. These items will be provided by the Association at no extra cost. We respectfully request that each presenter provide a laptop if one is needed during the presentation. Should additional audio/visual equipment be required, arrangements will be made at your expense with the contracted audio visual company for the Conference.  Internet access is not always freely available.  Please consider this when building your training content.


    The Association requests that each presenter provide a handout corresponding with the topic of discussion and sufficient copies for all attendees. Handouts should be no more than four (4) pages in length and contain a minimum of three website resources and two additional resources or references related to the topic.


    The Association for Early Learning Leaders sponsors the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs. If accreditation standards are referenced during the presentation, please include accreditation standards in the reference. For questions on particular standards, contact [email protected].


    The Association for Early Learning Leaders recognizes that the National Conference is often used as a vehicle for presenters to expand their own markets.  The Association encourages the dissemination of knowledge promoting personal and professional development and enhancing the quality of early care and education programs.  To respectively maintain a balance of dissemination of information and marketing, presenters are encouraged to purchase an exhibit booth in the Exhibit Hall.  Interested presenters may contact Aryam Andom, Member & Event Services Coordinator, at [email protected] for reservations in the Exhibit Hall.

    Please help us maintain the professional integrity of the conference by abstaining from the appearance of using your session as a marketing venue.  Presenters will not be allowed to sell, display, or promote their events, publications, materials, and/or services during their training presentation.  You will be permitted to distribute promotional materials to participants at the conclusion of your session and our conference Ambassadors are happy to facilitate the distribution of your materials.

    Failure to abide by presenter guidelines may result in your not being invited to present at future AELL training events.


    The Association for Early Learning Leaders is committed to excellence in the field of early childhood care and education by promoting leadership development and enhancing program quality.

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