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Donna Porter and DJ Batiste

Donna Porter and DJ Batiste

Teacher & Student Inspirational Speakers


Passionate. Dynamic. Motivational. Donna Porter and DJ Batiste have a story that is sure to inspire all audiences. Porter has dedicated her life to the field of education, and has gained a breadth of wisdom and experience that she now pours into audiences across the nation. Early in his life, DJ Batiste was expelled from Head Start. His educational career was filled with constant discipline issues resulting in suspensions, expulsions, and enrollment in alternative education. In the fifth grade, he organized a gang and continued to effectively lead gangs throughout his high school years. In the community, he endured arrests and time spent in Juvenile Detention. DJ was traveling on a path of complete destruction until he stepped into Ms. Porter’s Oral Communications class his senior year. From their first novel encounter, both of their lives were forever changed through the power of a judgement free relationship. Read More >

A true renaissance educator, Ms. Porter has served in a variety of specialties: speech/language pathology, dyslexia support, theatre, public speaking teacher and speech and debate coach. DJ leads and teaches from a different point of view and inspires thousands of educators across the nation with his important message of Connection Before Correction.

Throughout Ms. Porter’s journey, the common thread is a passion for using innovative techniques to unlock the boundless potential of every student. Those unique techniques have made her one of the Southeast’s foremost experts in the development of a relationship-based classroom. Her skills transformed Batiste’s life, turning him away from gang life to a high school graduate and motivational speaker. She has been recognized with numerous awards: Mississippi Congressional District IV Teacher of the Year, Thad Cochran Arts Integration Teacher of the Year, STAR Teacher, Promethean Organization’s Thank-A-Teacher Competition Winner, and Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher.

Porter holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi. This teacher of teachers will change the way you view the classroom and DJ Batiste will inspire you as you impact the next generation. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

First Day


Connection in the Classroom

Professionally Not Personally

Skills Can Be Taught

Speech Topics

The Boundless Potential of Every Student

What if ninety seconds could change the way you see your students forever? What if a simple shift in perspective could turn your quintessential “problem” students into your most passionate learners? What if one moment is the key to unlocking an infinite realm of life-changing possibilities for each student you encounter?

In this moving presentation, you will hear the story of DJ, the attention-seeking troublemaker, Donna, the teacher who saw things differently, and the ninety seconds that changed both of their lives forever. On that fateful day many years ago, DJ walked into Donna’s classroom with one goal: to get kicked out as quickly as possible so that he could continue his self-destructive life of gangs and violence. But then – Donna saw DJ differently, and everything changed. This story will make you laugh. It will make you cry. But most importantly, it may very well be the one moment which will change your life too.

Let Donna and DJ transform the way you teach and kindle a renewed passion for education by showing you how to see “problems” as “opportunities.” With a unique blend of philosophy, strategy, humor, and warmth, Donna and DJ have captivated audiences across the nation with this marvelous tale of the ninety seconds which changed everything, and how those ninety seconds can happen every single day.

The Three R's of Classroom Management: Relationships, Responsibility, and Respect

You may have mastered the subject which you teach. But have you mastered the classroom environment in which you teach it? Education which transforms our world starts with building school communities which transform our students.

Combining the best insights from multi-dimensional research and extensive praxis, Donna and DJ offer a unique approach to classroom management seen through the eyes of both teacher and student. DJ’s life was literally saved by Donna’s approach to modeling the importance of the three R’s within the school community, and they now travel the nation sharing the blueprint for replicating this philosophy in classrooms of all shapes and sizes.

Their philosophy is based upon a simple but revolutionary insight: effective classroom management is driven by positive, assertive empowerment of students which transitions the classroom from an autocracy to a democracy. A democratic classroom allows students to take ownership of the environment in which they learn, and their investment creates immeasurable returns. This presentation will reshape how you think about classroom management, with proven strategies and anecdotes of success.

Project Wipeout Dropout: The New Wave of Dropout Prevention

Ensuring that students graduate from high school is one the key goals of the educational community. Achieving this goal requires a dynamic commitment to a multi-faceted strategy which serves the needs of students far beyond grades.

While teaching high school, Donna developed a unique approach to dropout prevention which utilized peer tutors as a way to provide empowerment and accountability. This strategy encouraged students to invest in each other as members of the school community, and take ownership in the success of their friends.

The program was an instant success: graduation rates increased, the State Department of Education recognized the program, and Donna’s efforts were replicated in schools across the state. Wipeout Dropout was also integral to ensuring DJ’s continued journey along his path to success, as peer mentors became a support group during DJ’s transformation. Donna and DJ will share their proven strategies with you, demonstrating how you can build a community of peer support which complements the classroom environment and equips students with the tools which they need to successfully achieve all of their goals.

Listen to the Students

Are you similar to DJ Batiste and need a Donna Porter to help you overcome your obstacles? Or do you want to learn how to make a complete 360 with your school life? Donna and DJ will work with you to meet the needs of your specific community. Whether you need a student assembly to motivate and inspire all students, or an intimate intensive conversation with students who are struggling, Donna and DJ will take the priorities and concerns of your community and provide the answers you need. This is a customized presentation that can be for a student assembly or an intimate small group.