Leadership Summit presenters include a cross section of education leaders from across the country. Each year SETDA strives to include a variety of speakers including representatives from the White House, U.S. Department of Education, a variety of State Departments of Education, national education organizations, school administrators, teachers and students.
Ken (He/Him/His) currently holds an M.A. in Education with a specialization in Educational Technology as well as New Media Design and Production. He has worked as an Educator for over 20 years and spent most of his classroom experience teaching technology at the Middle School level. As a part of his active involvement within the Educational Technology community, Ken is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, and a Google Certified Innovator. Ken has worked extensively at the policy level with a number of State Departments of Education, Ministries of Education, non-Profits, and was appointed to the Education Technology Task Force formed by a previous California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Ken regularly gives keynotes, presentations, consults, and leads workshops, covering a wide variety of Educational Technology, Equity and Inclusion, Anti-Bias/Anti-Racist, Multimedia Literacy, Cultural Intelligences, Visual Storytelling, and Instructional Design topics. Ken is the ISTE Digital Equity PLN 2018 Excellence Award winner. Due to his extensive and broad impact Ken has also been named by EdTech Magazine as an influencer to follow.
CEO and Founder, ClassLink
Berj Akian founded ClassLink in 1998. What started as an effort to help one local school with their technology plan became ClassLink. Today ClassLink serves students and teachers around the world. Berj has been a panelist, presenter, and moderator at hundreds of conferences and webinars with industry experts on various aspects of education technology. His ongoing work with school and industry leaders for almost two decades gives him a front row seat on technology in the learning process and the use of data to improve learning outcomes. He has authored many articles for industry journals and has judged many education and technology industry award programs.
Director of Technology, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center
Kurt provides technology consulting and professional development for members. His knowledge and experience covers technology use at the administration level, including broadband needs, as well as teacher and student classroom technology use. Kurt has grown up with technology, learning how to program computers as a child back when personal computers were new. In 2012, he learned how schools were using technology to enhance education and decided to dedicate his future to helping public schools use technology effectively to engage students in their own learning. He worked for six years leading the education technology department at the Oklahoma State Department of Education before accepting the position at OPSRC. Kurt earned an MBA from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Oklahoma State University. He lives in Choctaw with his wife who is a third grade teacher, and his three sons.
Innovation Specialist, St. Albans City School
Grace is one of two Innovation Specialists at St. Albans City School. She has the unique role of being able to work with students one-on-one or in the class setting. She also has the opportunity to collaborate and co-teach with colleagues to integrate technology into their lessons and projects. “Technology is so pervasive in our students’ day to day lives. Our job is to inspire them, to educate them, give them access and to help them use technology safely.”
Educational Coordinator , Utah State Board of Education (USBE)
Todd helps oversee the Digital Teaching and Learning (DTL) Grant Program, Personalized, Competency-based Learning (PCBL) efforts, and other education initiatives. He has been with the USBE for over three years. Previous to USBE, he spent six years as a high school math teacher and district educational technology coach, and two years in enterprise mobile device deployment. Todd and his wife have four school-aged children, ranging from 1st to 8th grade, and are grateful for the amazing educators who have supported them over the years, especially over the past year. He loves sports, traveling with his family, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, and spending time outdoors.
Educational Technology, E-Rate Coordinator, New Mexico Public Education Department
John Chadwick has been with the New Mexico Public Education Department since January of 2015 and is the state E-Rate coordinator for K-12 schools and the Educational Technology Coordinator. John earned his doctorate in educational technology in 1998 from the University of New Mexico. Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, John has been collaborating with leadership within PED and partners in other state agencies to address the homework gap impacting students in New Mexico. In 2017, John began working with Dine Education (Navajo) to address connectivity for tribal schools on the reservation. There are multiple E-Rate applications for bringing fiber to the Navajo Nation that will meet their goal of a unified network serving education, public safety, health, and economic development. The network design will allow BIE schools to connect to fiber with scalable speeds up to 10 Gbps.
New Mexico Geospatial Information Officer
Gar supports the Broadband Program at the State Department of Information Technology (NM DoIT). He is managing a multi-year mapping of broadband availability that assists planning and implementation strategies to expand access and enhance adoption of broadband within the state. Previously, he was the Geospatial Information Technology Coordinator for the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer (NMOSE) and was charged with building an Enterprise solution that provided for water rights management statewide. In addition, he was employed by the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico where he built an intra departmental distributed Geographic Information System (GIS) that won an international award for excellence in 1999. While under the employment of a regional government council in the northwest he coordinated the development of a large multi-million dollar GIS based ground water management program that straddled two states. In 1983 he assisted in the development and implementation of the first GIS facility within the State of New Mexico. Previous to that he was a state botanist who coordinated all field survey projects for the Endangered Species Program in Hawai’i.
Manager of Strategic Relationships and Initiatives, ENA
Monica Cougan is the Manager of Strategic Relationships and Initiatives, where she leverages more than 35 years of experience in education and technology to help schools make the most of new technology. She has been an evangelist for the adoption of technology as a transformative educational tool. Monica has extensive experience helping K-12 school districts implement programs that foster systemic change.
Director for Ecosystem Sales, Microsoft US Education
Lindsey has held a multiple positions during her sales tenure, most recently leading the Ecosystem team within Microsoft’s US Education space, where she leads all go-to-market strategies for Microsoft’s Education Channel business across the U.S., including K–12 and higher education institutions. In this capacity, Lindsey manages the teams responsible for guidance, development, and delivery and strategy for the full Microsoft portfolio, ultimately empowering every student within our nation.
Director, National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM Center) at CAST
Cynthia works with stakeholders across early learning, K-12, higher ed, workforce development, families and EdTech developers to increase the availability and use of accessible materials and technologies for individuals with disabilities. Cynthia brings diverse career experiences to her role, including positions as an engineer, science teacher, statewide technology integration mentor for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, OSEP project director and lecturer at the University of Southern Maine, and instructional designer and disability services coordinator at the University of New England.
Education Programs Professional, Nevada Department of Education
As a member of the Standards and Instructional Support (SIS) team, André’s responsibilities focus on K-12 science education and instructional material adoption for the state of Nevada. Professional experience includes over 25 years as a teacher, school administrator and school board member as well as work as a research sociologist and youth-at-risk counselor.
Education Specialist, Utah State Board of Education
Melanie Durfee, PhD is an education specialist at the Utah State Board of Education (USBE). She works with her team to manage the implementation of the Digital Teaching and Learning (DTL) Grant Program. Her specific area of expertise is helping educators write plans and collect relevant data that reinforce schools’ existing visions and cultures. Previous to USBE, she worked at a regional service center in southwest Utah, providing technology professional learning to the educators in the rural areas of the state. Melanie has taught secondary math, English, theatre, and computer technology. She looks forward to being able to safely interact with large groups of people for long durations of time.
Digital Access Coordinator for the Learning Technology Center of Illinois
Melinda provides networking opportunities, consulting services, professional development for school districts, and advocates for the advancement of educational technology across Illinois. She serves as one of the Illinois representatives to the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and also serves as a governing board member. She is one of the Illinois State E-rate Coordinators (SECA), and is a founding member of the Classroom Connectivity Project. Melinda is in her 20th year working in IL educational technology, and is currently excited about IL broadband opportunities, the Future Ready School Initiative, and is passionate about creating immersive learning experiences for staff and students.
K12 Education Manager, Esri
After being a formal student for many years, Charlie taught social studies in grades 7-12 (mostly 8th grade geography) for 15 years. He also started teaching teachers to understand the patterns, relationships, and systems of the world using computers. He joined Esri as education manager in 1992, where he works with students, educators, and influencers across the nation. He and his colleagues work to provide software, instructional resources, and educator support free to every school and club, so learners of all ages can explore and understand the world, analyze information, make good decisions, and solve problems by thinking geographically using GIS.
Interim Executive Director, SETDA
As Interim Executive Director, Christine is charged with charting the strategic direction, administration, planning and financial decisions involving SETDA. She also facilitates the members’ online and in-person professional learning opportunities. In addition, she manages SETDA’s research and product development projects from conception to publication. The management of such projects includes supervising consultants and staff, coordinating data collection from all states, ensuring member input and supervising the publication process. Recent publications and projects include the eLearning Coalition, Navigating the Digital Shift reports 2015-2019, the Professional Learning and K12 Instructional Materials Dashboards, the Broadband Imperative Report Series, Guide to Quality Instructional Materials and the Digital Instructional Materials Acquisition Policies for States online portal. Christine’s background includes experience in education as an educational consultant and curriculum developer, ESOL coordinator and third grade teacher. She has a Master of Science in teaching English as a second language from Florida International University and received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida State University. She lives in south Florida with her husband and two daughters.
State Educational Technology Director, Bureau of Student Support, New Hampshire Department of Education
Stan is the State Educational Technology Director and online learning specialist at the New Hampshire Department of Education. His focus is to provide guidance, resources, and technical assistance to districts regarding programs that include digital literacy, educational technology, and/or online learning. His work involves participation in the NH School Connectivity Initiative, Future Ready New Hampshire, Title IV-A State Technical Assistance Team, and other statewide initiatives and programs in which technology integration, blended learning, and digital literacy are involved; along with other broader New Hampshire initiatives, such as personalized learning and competency-based education. Stan received bachelors’ degrees in both physics and biology, and earned master’s degrees in limnology and oceanography, and education. He also earned an advanced graduate certificate in educational technology and online learning. Stan has worked at the NH Department of Education since 2006. Prior to his work for the State of New Hampshire, Stan taught at both the secondary and post-secondary levels, in the online and face-to-face environments, teaching a variety of science, mathematics, and education courses.
Educational Technology Specialist, Utah State Office of Education and Secretary
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.
Director, Strategic Partnerships, SETDA
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.
Curriculum Content Specialist, Utah State Board of Education
Alan Griffin has been an educator in Utah for the past 38 years. He is currently the curriculum content specialist at the Utah State Office of Education (USOE). He has taught in many areas of social studies, as well as in computer applications and programming. Mr. Griffin has served on the executive boards of the Utah Commission of Volunteers, the Utah Coalition for Civic, Character, and Service Learning, and the Utah 3Rs organization. He has served as the State Education Agency coordinator for Learn and Serve grants awarded in the state. He has presented at numerous state and national conferences on service learning, life skills, and evaluating instructional materials. He has also been heavily involved in technology, serving as the technology coordinator in the Weber District for 11 years, and presently provides technology support for the teaching and learning staff at USOE. He is currently President of the State Instructional Materials Review Association (SIMRA), a national organization that collaborates regarding curriculum evaluation processes. He and his wife Billie are the parents of 11 children and live in West Haven, Utah.
Executive Director of IT Services, Oklahoma City Public Schools
Eric is the Executive Director of IT Services for Oklahoma City Public Schools, Oklahoma’s largest and most diverse school district with approximately 45 thousand students and 4700 teachers. Prior to joining OKCPS, Eric served as the Director of Instructional Technology for the Oklahoma State Department of Education where he held that post for 14 years. Additionally, he conducts a church choir for an Episcopal parish in Oklahoma City. Eric holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Oklahoma City University, Master of Education in Instructional Psychology and Technology from the University of Oklahoma, and currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Teaching and Learning.
Senior Manager of Product Management, ENA
In this capacity, Colleen serves as the leader for all product team needs and specifically oversees the development and management of ENA’s suite of security products. Previously, Colleen served in product management capacities in her roles with the Nashville Technology Council and Emerge Financial Wellness. In addition, Colleen has served as consultant with c/3 consulting (now Ankura), and in numerous community capacities to create and support Learning Technology at Metro Nashville Public Schools since 2012. Colleen has a BA from Dickinson College and a M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University in International Education Policy & Management.
English Department Chair, Math, Science, and Technology Magnet Academy
Alice Im is English Department Chair at the Math, Science, and Technology Magnet Academy, on the campus of Roosevelt High School, of Los Angeles Unified School District, in East LA’s storied Boyle Heights neighborhood. Her work focuses on the reimagining of “schooling” for communities of color to be equitable, transformative, and liberatory primarily through the development of student researchers. Alice led students on stage of Esri’s UC2013, and she and a colleague received Esri’s UC2018 Making A Difference Award.
Mary T. Lane
Education Consultant, New Hampshire Department of Education
Mary’s responsibilities include her role as the liaison to the implementation of IDEA regarding accessibility and equity for all students, schools, and families. She is the NH NIMAC Coordinator, and the NH American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Ex-Officio for infants and school age children. Mary oversees the NHAEM Center, the New Hampshire Universal Design Innovation Network; the NH Assistive Technology Connect; the NH Scholastic Center for Family Voice; the New Hampshire Building Innovation Learning Ecosystems and the New Hampshire All Together Now New Hampshire (ATN) work based on the NASDSE Deaf Education Guidelines. Mary earned her BS in elementary mathematics from Salem State University, and her MEd in Special Education and Multi-Cultural Education from Lesley University. Mary enjoys spending quality time at the New Hampshire seashore with her family at Hampton Beach.
Founder and Partner, FLP Advisors
With over two decades of legal, policy, and lobbying experience, Reg advises education leaders, national associations, and other stakeholders about the federal laws, regulations, and programs that directly impact and support efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities. Among other laws, he counsels clients about the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the Universal Service provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. His recent work has included a specific focus on federal requirements and programs related to education technology, early learning, accountability and assessment, data use, and educator professional development and preparation.
Director, Community Leaning Network (CLN)
CLN is an educational nonprofit dedicated to “building stronger communities through real-life learning,” and is the home of the New Mexico TechWorks initiative to “”expand Tech access and education and increase Tech enterprise and employment”” and the “1000 websites in 1000 days” campaign. A professional, credentialed educator with a Master’s degree in Education, Jennifer facilitates the Northern New Mexico Regional Tech Task Force and the Northern New Mexico STEAM Coalition, and she is an active member of the New Mexico Homework Gap Team.”
Janice D. Mertes
Assistant Director of Digital Learning , WI Department of Public Instruction
Janice Mertes is the Assistant Director for Teaching and Learning -Digital Learning team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Janice leads the statewide Future Ready and Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan programs in addition to the State Superintendent’s Digital Learning Advisory Council (DLAC) focused on policy, practice, funding, and research. Janice coordinates partnership programming with the Wisconsin Digital Learning Collaborative (WDLC) to support online and blended learning along with other partners to support personalized, innovative student learning opportunities. The digital learning team supports the Wisconsin standards for Information and Technology Literacy, Keeping Kids Safe Online Cybersafety, digital leadership development, Title IVA and ESSA program support, coding, and district planning. Janice is a CoSN Certified Educator Technology Leader (CETL) and helps to coordinate the statewide credentialing program with the Wisconsin Education Technology Leaders. Janice previously served on the SETDA Board of Directors and currently leads the SETDA State Action committee. She currently serves on the CoSN Driving Innovation workgroup. She was named as one of Ed Scoop’s Top 25 State Leaders in 2017.
Global Practice Leader, Global Diversity & Inclusion, Microsoft
In this capacity Jocelyn is responsible for leading Global Diversity & Inclusion for the Go to Market groups. She brings 20 years of progressive Human Resources experience from global companies like Aon Hewitt, Medline Industries, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and DXC Technology. She holds a Bachelor of Science in HR Management and MBA from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois and currently resides in the Seattle, WA area.
Superintendent of Schools, Mineola Public Schools
Michael P. Nagler, Ed.D., has held many positions in his 32 years in education. Before assuming his current position as Superintendent of the Mineola Public schools, he began his career as a school teacher in NYC while completing his Master’s and earning his professional diploma. Dr. Nagler then went on to earn his doctorate from Columbia University and accepted an administrative position with Mineola in 1999. Believing strongly in the district’s mission to create lifelong learners who contribute positively to a global society, Dr. Nagler rooted himself in the Mineola School District and never left.
Administrator, Instructional Resources Unit, California Department of Education
Cliff Rudnick has been with the California Department of Education for over 32 years, serving as the Administrator of the Instructional Resources Unit for the last nine years. Prior to his current position, he also served as the State Education Technology Director from 2008 to 2011. Cliff’s teaching experience is at the high school level, specifically ninth grade English. He has undergraduate degrees in English and Communication Studies and an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from California State University, Sacramento
Principal, Mountain Heights Academy
DeLaina has been involved in education since 1991. Prior to coming to Mountain Heights Academy, DeLaina taught high school French and Spanish, and worked as an instructional designer in Upper Arlington, Ohio. She is a 2014 “Best of State – Principal” winner and was named as one of Utah Business’s “30 Women to Watch.” She holds a PhD in Instructional Psychology and Technology from Brigham Young University, her initial alma mater, where she also earned a BA in French and Spanish Teaching. She also has a Master of Arts in Linguistics/Second Language Acquisition from the Ohio State University.
Computer Science Consultant, Michigan Department of Education
Cheryl’s primary role is to help with the implementation of Michigan’s Computer Science Standards in districts throughout the state. As the first step in district implementation, she is leading districts through SCRIPT (Strategic CSforALL Resource & Implementation Planning Tool) workshops to help them develop a computer science vision as well as goals to form a district computer science education pathway for students. During the workshops she shares the experiences and knowledge that were accumulated through thirteen years of teaching computer science and mathematics in addition to seven years as a technology consultant.
Director of Professional Development, Five Star Technology Solutions
Kelly is a Google Certified Trainer who has a passion for creating awesome professional development for educators. Kelly is a wife, mother, and tech enthusiast with more than a decade of classroom experiences and eCoach support. With teaching experience at the elementary and middle level, she developed a strong love for strong instructional approaches, technology and innovation. Kelly is an Indiana University graduate, Go Hoosiers!