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  • Kitchener-Waterloo, ON and Baltimore, MD

Internationally Celebrated Teacher Rafe Esquith to Headline FUSION 2012 as Keynote Speaker

Press Release

Desire2Learn Incorporated (“Desire2Learn”), a leading provider of enterprise teaching and learning platforms, today announced that Rafe Esquith, award-winning elementary school teacher and acclaimed author, will be one of three keynote speakers at FUSION 2012 – Desire2Learn’s annual users’ conference.

Hailed as a “modern day Thoreau,” by Newsday, “a genius and a saint” by The New York Times, and “the most interesting and influential classroom teacher in the country,” by The Washington Post, Esquith has spent the last two decades transforming the lives of fifth-graders at Hobart Elementary School in Los Angeles, California. It is a neighborhood plagued by violence and poverty, but for Esquith’s students, his classroom – known simply as “Room 56” – is a refuge of learning, where students will voluntarily come to class at 6:30 in the morning and stay until 5:00 in the evening.

Esquith’s classes, comprised mostly of immigrants, children of immigrants, and impoverished students, regularly score in the top one per cent of standardized test scores, with most going on to attend the best universities in the world.
“Rafe Esquith shows us that education is the great equalizer – that no matter one’s status or upbringing, having a teacher that believes in you is the gateway to success,” remarks John McLeod, Vice President, Marketing, Desire2Learn. “We are honored to have Rafe speak at FUSION 2012, where his inspiring message will resonate with the hundreds of educators who make a difference in their students’ lives on a daily basis.”

In recognition of his accomplishments, Esquith has received the National Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, the National Medal of the Arts, Oprah Winfrey’s “Use Your Life” award, and the Dalai Lama’s “Compassion in Action Award.” He has also been named as an honorary member of the Order of the British Empire. Esquith is the author of three books entitled There are No Shortcuts, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, and Lighting their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World. His fourth book, Real Talk for Real Teachers, is scheduled for release later in 2012.

To learn more about FUSION and to register, visit, and follow the @Desire2Learn Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute notifications about FUSION.


The annual Desire2Learn Users’ Conference is where Desire2Learn clients convene! Every July, Desire2Learn invites clients from around the world to attend FUSION. The main conference runs for three days followed by two days of post conference training sessions where training is designed for varying roles and levels of experience with Desire2Learn technology. FUSION hosts a range of tracks, over 160 user and Desire2Learn team led sessions including, very popular poster sessions, hands-on sessions to actively participate in learning, focus groups, conference keynote speakers, and much more!

For more information about FUSION 2012 – Chart Your Course, being held July 16-18 in San Diego, California, please visit

About Desire2Learn

Desire2Learn Incorporated is a world-leading provider of enterprise eLearning solutions that enable institutions and other organizations to create teaching and learning environments that reflect their vision, goals, and branding. Desire2Learn and its subsidiaries support more than six million learners worldwide. Clients include higher education, K-12, and healthcare, as well as associations, government and other leading organizations. Founded in 1999, Desire2Learn has personnel in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. For more information, visit:, call 1.519.772.0325 or toll-free 1.888.772.0325 (within North America), +44 808.234.4235 (U.K. and Europe), 0.800.452.069 (New Zealand) and 1.800.656.210 (Australia).

Press Contacts:

John McLeod
Vice-President, Marketing, Desire2Learn
[email protected]
Twitter: @Desire2Learn