Presenters, Moderators, Discussants and Staff
Cynthia Curry, Senior Technical Assistance Specialist, AEM Center, @cicurry
Cynthia Curry is Senior Technical Assistance Specialist of the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM Center). She works with stakeholders across preK-12, postsecondary education and workforce development to ensure that all learners have the same access to high quality accessible educational materials and technologies for learning. Through resource development, technical assistance and training, she leads stakeholders in building capacity to implement AEM.
Cynthia was a practicing engineer for five years before pursuing her interest in science teaching, which sparked a passion for access to learning through technology. During her two-decade career in education, she has worked across K-12 schools, universities, non-profit organizations, and state agencies to improve outcomes for learners with disabilities. At the University of Southern Maine, she was a leader in three U.S. Department of Education funded projects to better prepare teachers to use technology to improve curriculum access by learners with disabilities. Additionally, she participated in two NSF-funded projects to increase the number of students with disabilities who pursue STEM in college and careers. For the Maine Department of Education, she delivered in-person and online professional development on teaching all learners in 1:1 computer classrooms across the state. Just prior to joining CAST, she was the coordinator of the Office for Students with Disabilities at the University of New England.
Julia Fallon, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington, @juliafallon
Julia is the Title II, Part A (Teacher and Principal Quality) Program Supervisor at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Julia Fallon is also a technology and learning alchemist. She explores and interrogates the big ideas in K-12 education with tech integration – how to make sure all kids acquire the skills to participate in a digital society, and what is the collective and creative impact of thriving online communities. Involved with learning technologies since 1989, Julia is an avid proponent of dynamic 21st century learning experiences where highly effective instructional strategies integrate a wide range of digital technologies. As the state’s Technology Integration Program Manager, she streamlined strategic planning for districts moving large- and small-scale technology projects forward, championed robust PD programming for educators facing a brave new world of 1-to-1 initiatives, and spoken out for smart, flexible network policy that connects teachers and kids to a wider world of collaborative learning and dynamic scholarship.
Christine Fox, Deputy Executive Director, SETDA, @cafox
Christine is the Deputy Executive Director for SETDA. Christine’s tasks include member professional development planning and implementation, research, and report writing. She manages the development of the annual SETDA national educational technology trends report, other SETDA research products and white papers, association professional development programs, and oversees all conference and event content.
Christine Fox’s background includes experience in education and consulting. She worked as a 3rd grade teacher, ESOL coordinator, educational consultant and curriculum developer for a national whole school reform model. Christine has a Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Florida International University and received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida State University.
Rick Gaisford, Educational Technology Specialist, Utah State Office of Education and Secretary, SETDA Board of Directors, @irick / @UTPublicEd
Rick Gaisford has 23 years in education at the classroom, school, district and state levels. Currently, Rick is the Educational Technology Specialist for the Utah State Office of Education. His current state responsibilities include teacher professional development on integrating technology, the educational technology core curriculum for K-12 students, and consulting with districts on how to effectively integrate technology tools and resources into teaching and learning. Previously he was an elementary school teacher, school technology specialist, district technology trainer and technology specialist. He is currently on the SETDA Board of Directors and previously served as the Board Chair. He has also served on the state ASCD and ISTE affiliate boards of directors.
Melissa Greene, Director, Strategic Partnerships, SETDA, @marymelgreene
Melissa is SETDA’s Director of Strategic Partnerships and brings over 20 years of experience in education, including eight years of experience working as a sales consultant and representative in educational publishing. While at both Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Teacher Created Materials, Inc., Melissa was known for her excellent customer service and relationship building skills, as well as her creative and customized marketing strategies for all of the New York school districts that she served.
Ms. Greene’s career has focused on increasing the quality of education for all students as an educator, in the private sector and most recently via New York’s state education agency. Prior to joining SETDA, Melissa was a project coordinator in the Higher Education Office of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness at the New York State Education Department. From 2013 through 2015, Melissa coordinated grants, teacher and leadership events and meetings, professional development projects, created presentations for the Board of Regents meetings, and participated in policy-making groups and conferences in order to improve teacher and leader quality in New York State.
Todd Lawrence, Executive Director, Idaho State Department of Education, @toddlawrence208
Todd Lawrence is the Educational Technology Coordinator for the Idaho State Department of Education. His focus is on building an effective online education portal for parents and high school students, managing state and federal grants, and facilitates the Idaho 1×1 Pilot Project that launched in August 2013. After spending more than 15 years in the technology industry with Micron and HP, he decided to make a change to the education field, specifically to become a teacher. After teaching for 4 years and earning his Masters in Education degree, he somehow found his way back into the technology field while still making a difference for the students and teachers of Idaho.
Luiz Perez, Technical Assistance Specialist, AEM Center
As a technical assistance specialist for the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials, Luis promotes the creation, delivery and use of high quality accessible educational materials and technologies to support equitable learning opportunities for all students. Prior to joining the AEM Center, Luis was an independent consultant focusing on mobile learning, UDL and assistive technology. He was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) in 2009 and as a Google in Education Certified Educator in 2014. Luis is President-Elect of the Inclusive Learning Network of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which named him its 2016 Outstanding Inclusive Educator. He also serves on the board of the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST). In addition to his work in educational technology, Luis is an avid photographer whose work has been featured on Better Photography magazine, Business Insider, the New York Times Bits Blog and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Dr. Tracy Weeks, Executive Director, SETDA, @tracyweeks
Dr. Tracy Weeks is the Executive Director for the State Education Technology Director’s Association (SETDA). Prior to joining the team at SETDA, she served as the Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the first senior state leadership position of its kind in the nation. In that role, Dr. Weeks oversaw the areas of: K-12 Curriculum and Instruction, Career and Technical Education, Exceptional Children, and the North Carolina Virtual Public School. She also served as the state agency lead on the development of the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan.
From 2008-2014, Tracy led the North Carolina Virtual Public School, the second largest state-led virtual school in the nation, as the Chief Academic Officer and subsequently the Executive Director. She holds a bachelors degree in Secondary Math Education from UNC-Chapel Hill, a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology with a Statistics minor and a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction from NC State University. She is a NC Teaching Fellow, NC Education Policy Fellow, and a member of Phi Kappa Phi.