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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

A huge shoutout to our 2021 National Conference Sponsors: IntelliKid Systems, Markel, Winnie, KidKare by Minute Menu, and Learning Beyond Paper!


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.


Conference Schedule


Please check back soon for our conference schedule!

Conference Pricing


Early, Early Bird 3-Day Conference Registration

Early, Early Bird Registration / Membership Bundle

(includes 3-Day Conference Registration and 1 Full Year of Membership)

$574 N/A
PreConference Training Event: TBD
April 27, 2022

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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 512-551-0857 for 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 without penalty or funds can be applied to another posted AELL training event.



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 emailed to Lori Buxton, [email protected].



Keynote Speaker


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 year 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.


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 September 30, 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 January 31, 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 expenses 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 to enhance 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 distribution of your materials.

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


2022 Conference Presenter Request for Proposal

2022 Conference Presenter Guidelines & Agreement

Conference Accomodations

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 paddle board 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.

Reservations are now being accepted. 


Special AELL Conference Room Rate: $169 per night (standard double queen or single king room)

Room blocks traditionally sell out at this venue, so please reserve early!  A deposit of one night’s lodging will be applied to your credit card at the time of reservation.  

Check In: 3:00 p.m.          Check Out: 12:00 p.m.


Shuttle & Transportation Services

Transportation information will be posted no later than January 15, 2022.


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 Conference Accommodations page.

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




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 DFW International Airport and Love Field. 

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Beginning 6/1/2020, the National Accreditation Commission will resume conducting validation visits. The Accreditation Office will work with individual programs to determine the impact of local restrictions on a potential visit. The safety of program families and staff and National Accreditation Commission validators is of the utmost importance and at the heart of all decisions made during the ongoing public health crisis. Please direct any questions and concerns to Erin Schmidt, Director of Accreditation, at [email protected]. Please monitor this website for further developments and updates. From the Accreditation Team to your team, stay safe and be well.


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