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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 kicked out of Head Start. Some years later, he was in Juvenile Detention and leading a large violent gang in Mississippi. High School came around and after constant suspensions and trouble with the law, he was introduced to Conscious Discipline in a single moment, by his beloved teacher, Donna Porter. Read More >

Donna Porter is a certified instructor in the Conscious Discipline method of classroom management, and has been profiled with DJ Batiste on the CBS Evening News and in the book American Teacher. Porter continues to use the concepts of Conscious Discipline in her classroom, and as her former student, DJ has become an integral part of that classroom. Over the years, he learned new skills and strategies to handle conflict in life at home and at school.

A true renaissance educator, Porter has served in a wide variety of specialties: special education, early child education, speech pathology, dyslexia education, speech and debate, theater, and secondary education. Batiste leads and teaches from a different point of view and in turn inspires hundreds around the country with the message of Connection instead of Correction.

Throughout Porter’s journey, the common thread is a passion for using innovative techniques to unlock the boundless potential of every student. Those innovative techniques have made her one of the Southeast’s foremost experts on classroom management. Her skills transformed Batiste’s life, turning him from gang member and drug abuser to graduating senior. She has been recognized with numerous awards: Mississippi Congressional District IV Teacher of the Year, Thad Cochran Arts Integration Teacher of the Year, Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher of the Year, and the Promethean Organization’s Thank-A-Teacher Competition.

Porter holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in speech-language pathology with a concentration in speech education from the University of Southern Mississippi. This “teacher of teachers” will challenge the way you view education and DJ Batiste will inspire you to “shoot for the moon” as you impact the next generation. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

First Day


Connection in the Classroom

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.