Presenters, Moderators, Discussants and Staff
Laurel Ballard, Ph.D., Student and Teacher Resources Team Supervisor, Wyoming Department of Education, @laurel_ballard
Laurel Ballard, Ph.D. is the Student and Teacher Resources Team Supervisor for the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE). In this role she supervises staff and programs related to digital learning, virtual education, teacher and leader evaluation and accountability, educator equitable, at-risk students, computer science education. She is also the state lead for Wyoming’s Career Readiness Initiative.
Dr. Ballard has extensive and varied experience in leading and moving the work of large multi-agency projects and steering teams forward. She is actively leading six prominent steering teams including: Educator Equity Steering Team, Certified Personnel Evaluation System and Leader Accountability Advisory Panel, Wyoming Career Readiness Council, Virtual Education Advisory Committee, Statewide Digital Learning Advisory Panel, and Computer Science Education Advisory Panel. Previously, Previously, Dr. Ballard has previously successfully led or facilitated the Distance Education Task Force, P20W Statewide Longitudinal Data System Governance, Wyoming Summer School Advisory Team, and Accountability Steering Team. These steering teams and advisory panels include a diverse set of stakeholders including state legislators, Governor’s Office, industry, multiple state agencies, school district superintendents, school district technology directors, and virtual education providers. Laurel also represents the Superintendent of Public Instruction on Wyoming’s Workforce Development Council.
Previous positions Dr. Ballard has held include Education IT Enterprise Architect – Department of Enterprise Technology Services, Manager of Information and Accountability – Natrona County School District #1, Chief Information and Data Officer, Supervisor for Accountability, and School Improvement Consultant – Wyoming Department of Education.
Jeff Bradbury, Emcee – Shark Tank, Teacher & Podcaster, TeacherCast, @TeacherCast
Jeff Bradbury is a globally recognized educator, educational broadcaster, public speaker, and entrepreneur whose powerful message has inspired thousands of educators through the TeacherCast Educational Network.
Created as a passion project to assist teachers in understanding educational technology, Jeff recorded the first TeacherCast Podcast in the summer of 2011. Since then, the TeacherCast Network has been accessed in almost 180 countries and has amassed a following of more than 50,000 followers on Social Media. With more than 1,000 audio and video podcasts recorded featuring more than 500 EdTech Companies and thousands of educators, TeacherCast is rated as one of the top 50 educational websites.
In 2018, Jeff created the TeacherCast Tech Coaches Network to support Instructional Technology Coaches and EducationalPodcasting.com, a learning portal to teach educators how to infuse podcasting into their curriculum. More recently, Jeff has become an educational marketing coach, helping educators and edtech companies reach their goals of raising their brand awareness.
Jeff Bradbury is a Google for EDU Certified Innovator & Trainer, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert & Trainer, and a TEDx Speaker. In 2012, he was recognized as one of the Top 50 Educators Using Social Media at the inaugural Bammy Awards and was nominated three times in the category of Innovator of the Year. More recently, in 2019 EdTech Digest recognized Jeff as one of the Top 30 Educators in Educational Technology.
Sought after as a professional development presenter, Jeff Bradbury, co-founder of Edcamp New Jersey, has presented at the ISTE & FETC and Podcast Movement Conferences; he has also presented Keynote Addresses for Pearson, Podcast Mid-Atlantic Conference, and Columbia University’s Teacher College.
Currently, Jeff is on staff at West Rocks Middle School in the Norwalk Public Schools (CT), where he created and teaches courses in Technology Education and Broadcast Journalism as well as being the Technology Coach and webmaster while serving students in the largest inner city school district in Connecticut.
Candice Dodson, Executive Director, SETDA, @candicedodson
Candice Dodson is the Executive Director for the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA). Prior to joining the team at SETDA, she served as the Director of eLearning for the Indiana Department of Education. In that role, Candice focused on advancing and expanding Indiana’s efforts to take advantage of technology to improve student outcomes. She and her eLearning team worked to boost the state’s efforts to connect Indiana to great ideas in educational technology, virtual and online learning, and new learning models and instructional practices. Her strategic work included the formation of an eLearning Leadership Cadre, statewide professional development opportunities including the Summer of eLearning conferences, Admin Academies, and Digital Learning Grants, and resources and training to support digital learning. Prior to the Indiana Department of Education, Candice had 20 years of experience in a variety of roles from elementary teacher, media specialist, and high ability educator to curriculum and technology integration specialist, central office administrator, and assistant principal.
Ms. Dodson’s most recent work prior to the IDOE centered on the implementation of a 6-12 one-to-one initiative, the development of leadership programs for district administrators, and expansion of professional development programs. Candice has previously represented Indiana on the Board of Directors of SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association), and the HECC (Hoosier Educational Computer Coordinators) Board. Candice continues to serve on the Indiana University School of Education Alumni Board of Directors She has presented, in Indiana and nationally, various sessions and talks on leadership in the digital age.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University, Bloomington, a Masters of Education from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, an Administrator Leadership, Administrative Licensure from University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, and a Leadership Institute Certificate from Brown University, Providence, RI.
Kevin Custer, Shark, Founding Principal, Arc Capital Development
Kevin Custer, Founding Principal, Arc Capital Development, an early stage venture firm for education and special needs markets. Arc has invested and been responsible for more than $16 million in 44 companies that provide products and technology for educators and people with special needs or autism. He serves on the Board for 4 of the companies and has an active role in 3 others. Previously he was the primary architect of six startups all achieving $20 million in revenues, two went public and led two Canadian companies to successful exits. His products have been installed in more than 80% of the K-12 schools in North America with more than 10 million online users weekly, generating over $100 million in revenue. He has served on the national board for Autism Society of America and for over twenty years as a volunteer ski instructor for the National Sports Center for the Disabled.
Rita Ferrandino, Shark, Founding Partner, Arc Capital Development, Instructor, University of Pennsylvania-Graduate School of Education, Education Entrepreneurship Program
Rita Ferrandino has built an international reputation as one of the most effective strategist and coalition-builders in the education entrepreneurship community. She is a recognized STEM education expert, an authority on US education policy and politics, and a leader in Future of Work strategies.
Rita is the founding partner at Arc Capital Development, a global private investment and advisory firm. Arc invests in, operates and advises companies in the education and corporate training markets and has served over 125 clients in the US, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, Turkey, Israel & India. Arc clients and portfolio companies provide products generating over a billion dollars a year worldwide. www.arccd.com
Rita’s career highlights include being salesperson of the year at Pearson Education for three consecutive years, selling more than $178 million of products to the higher education and K-12 markets, leading the acquisition effort for more than 50 STEM titles, and forming revenue-producing alliances with more than a dozen of the industry’s largest publishers and distributors. She has been responsible for double-digit sales growth for at least six years at two different major publishers.
Rita currently serves as an Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania in Entrepreneurship and has an appointment at the [email protected] Innovation Center. For three years, she was President of the Education Design Studio Inc Incubator funded in collaboration with the Milken Foundation & University of Pennsylvania.
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.
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.
Saul Hafenbredl, Shark, Strategy Director, C. Blohm & Associates
Driven by a “focus on what matters” philosophy, he directs marketing communications campaigns across CB&A’s client family. Saul helps account teams turn strategy into results, and he’s the primary point of contact in high-stakes communications scenarios. His background in account services gives Saul an advantage when it comes to forecasting challenges and opportunities. Saul’s leisure interests often lead him outside: walking his yellow lab sidekick, pushing his daughter’s stroller or looking for the nearest hiking trail.
Eric Hileman, Executive Director of IT Services, Oklahoma City Public Schools, @eshileman
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.
Luis Perez, Shark, Technical Assistance Specialist, AEM Center
Luis Pérez is a technical assistance specialist for the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM Center) at CAST. In this role, he promotes the creation, delivery and use of high quality accessible educational materials and technologies to support equitable learning opportunities for all students. He holds a doctorate in special education and a master’s degree in instructional technology from the University of South Florida. Luis is Past President of the Inclusive Learning Network of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which named him its 2016 Outstanding Inclusive Educator. Luis has published three books on accessibility, mobile learning and UDL: Mobile Learning for All (Corwin Press), Dive into UDL (ISTE) and Learning on the Go (CAST Publishing).
Stan Silverman, Shark, New York State Technology Committee & NYIT
Stan Silverman specializes in the application of instructional technologies to enhance teaching and learning in K–12 settings. He currently serves as the chair of the NYS Teacher Center Technology Committee, as a member of the NYS Board of Regents Technology Council, with the Professor Garfield Foundation, and is serving as a mentor in the Intel Education Accelerator. Silverman also runs the Technology Based Learning System Department that supports numerous grants and contracts supporting K–12 education throughout the United States, as well as coordinating the establishment of public/private partnerships in New York State. He received his degree in Physics from SUNY Stony Brook and his administrative degree from C.W. Post (LIU).