Keynote Speakers


Over the course of the two-day event, the 2017 Texas Transition Conference will feature dozens of great presentations from speakers who provide a wealth of experience and information about evidence-based practices, special programming, and trending transition topics. 


Erik Carter - Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017

Erik Carter, Ph.D., FAIDD, is a Professor in the Department Special Education at Vanderbilt University and a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Investigator. His research and teaching focuses on evidence-based strategies for supporting strong transitions, access to inclusive experiences, and valued roles for children and adults with intellectual disability, autism, and multiple disabilities. Prior to receiving his doctorate, he worked as a high school teacher and transition specialist. He has published more than 150 articles, chapters, and books in the areas of educational and transition services for children and youth with severe disabilities. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, the Early Career Award from the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Patricia L. Sitlington Research in Transition Award from the Division on Career Development and Transition, and the Young Professional Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. He lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and three children.



Anthony Ianni - Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017

Anthony Ianni, of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, is one of the most sought after anti-bullying motivational speakers in the Nation.

At the age of 4 Anthony was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which is on the Autism Spectrum (ASD). Doctors and specialists told Anthony’s parents that he would barely graduate from high school, would never graduate from college, would never have a shot at being an athlete and would likely live in a group institution with other Autistic kids for his adult life. His family was devastated but pledged they would help Anthony be successful no matter what.

And he is. Despite bullies, adversity and numerous personal challenges Anthony worked hard and never gave up. Not only did he earn his Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in Sociology he is the first Division 1 Basketball Player in NCAA History with Autism.  Anthony played for legendary coach Tom Izzo while at MSU. He won two Big Ten Championships, a Big Ten Tournament Title, was the recipient of the 2011 Tim Bograkos Walk On Award and the 2012 Unsung Player Award, and was also a member of the 2010 Final Four team. He is the recipient of 2014 Eppling Agent of Change Award, a Finalist for the 2013 Detroit Pistons Game Changer Award , was named by Autism Speak’s  1 of 10 People with Autism who inspired 2014, the 2016 Autism West Shore “You Make a Difference” Award Winner and was named one of CBS News’s Inspiring Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Anthony has pledged his life and career to help those who face similar challenges. He has been invited to tell his story and share his message across the country and has inspired countless individuals to Live Your Dreams. 


Denise Bissonnette - Friday, Feb. 24, 2017

Denise Bissonnette is a highly acclaimed author, trainer, writer, and keynote speaker in the field of Employment and Training.  As an impassioned advocate for individuals with barriers to employment, Denise has been inspiring audiences throughout North America for the past two decades with innovative thinking and practical strategies for helping people find their place in the world of work.  Her first book, Beyond Traditional Job Development: The Art of Creating Opportunity  is considered the definitive text in classrooms throughout the country, and often referred to as the job developer’s bible.  Her celebrated book on job retention, 30 Ways to Shine, is championed in schools, job clubs, and utilized in a variety of workplaces and industries. Denise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics from the University of California in Santa Cruz, California and her Master’s Degree in Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco. 





Page last updated: October 7, 2016 - 11:14am