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.
2014 Keynote Speaker
Greg Toppo, Writer, USA Today, National K-12 Education Writer
Greg Toppo is the national K-12 education reporter for USA Today. A graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., he taught in both public and private schools for eight years before moving into journalism. His first job was with the Santa Fe New Mexican, a 50,000-circulation daily. He worked for four years as a wire service reporter with the Associated Press, first in Baltimore and then in Washington, D.C., where he became the AP’s national K-12 education writer.
He came to USA Today in 2002 and in 2005 broke the Armstrong Williams “pay for punditry” story that launched a widespread look at government propaganda. Toppo also co-led the USA Today team that in 2011 looked at educator-led cheating on standardized tests. The paper’s series prompted the Washington, D.C., inspector general to investigate high erasure rates in D.C. schools. Toppo was also a 2010 Spencer fellow at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Game Believes In You: How Games Can Make Our Kids Smarter (due April 2015).
Presenters, Moderators and Discussants
Kristen Amundson, Executive Director, National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
Kristen Amundson is the Executive Director for the National Association for State Boards of Education (NASBE). Prior to her role at NASBE, she represented the 44th District in the Virginia General Assembly from 1999-2009. During that time, she was a member of Virginia’s P–16 Council and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).
Before successfully running for an Assembly seat, Amundson—a former teacher— served for nearly a decade on the Fairfax County, Va., School Board, including two years as its chairwoman. Most recently, she was the Senior Vice President for External Affairs at Education Sector, an independent think tank. She writes frequently on education issues and has been published in The Washington Post and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, among others.
Jason Bailey, Senior eLearning Strategist, Indiana Department of Education
Jason Bailey is the Senior eLearning Strategist for the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). As a member of the state’s office of eLearning, his work is to provide leadership and support in digital innovation for Indiana classrooms. A former teacher, technology specialist, and district administrator, Jason’s work at the district level included leading a talented team of eLearning Coaches and Technology Specialists in integrating a wealth of technology, including 1:1 computing for more than 14,000 students in grades 6-12.
With degrees from Ball State University and the University of Southern Indiana, Jason recently completed coursework towards a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Indiana State University. He was also one of the first recipients of CoSN’s Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) designation. Past honors include participation in various white papers, keynote speaking at state level conferences, and publication in Educational Leadership (2002).
John Bailey, Vice President of Policy and Executive Director, Digital Learning Now
Sterling Beane, Chief Technology Officer, West Virginia State Department of Education
Sterling Beane, Chief Technology Officer for the West Virginia State Department of Education, is the lead visionary for the implementation of technology in West Virginia Schools. He is charged with oversight of the West Virginia Department of Education’s Division of Technology, which includes both the Office of Instructional Technology and the Office of Data Management and Analysis. Beane has more than 15 years of experience as a classroom teacher, technology specialist and district technology director.
In 2004, as the Technology Director of Braxton County Schools in West Virginia, he implemented a district wide fiber optic wide area network that linked all school facilities in the district. This network was the first of its kind in West Virginia and his design became a model that was used to create similar networks in school districts throughout the state. Currently, Sterling is leading systemic technological change throughout K-12 education in West Virginia. Sterling resides in Gassaway, West Virginia with his wife, Dr. Monica Beane, and sixteen year old son Price.
Cathy Casserly, Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet (Fellow, Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program)
Catherine M. Casserly, Ph.D. is dedicated to supporting learning opportunities for all through openness and knowledge sharing. Cathy works as an independent strategist with foundations and organizations to leverage the emerging opportunities afforded by the Internet to develop new pathways for lifelong learning.
Scott Cook, Content Director, Idaho Department of Education
Scott Cook directs activities associated with all the disciplines as well as STEM, OER, and the curricular material review process at the Idaho Department of Education. As lead on Common Core implementation, his team has created over the past year an innovative blended model of regional outreach that is enabling true job embedded training in over 100 Idaho districts and charters in its first year.
Cook has over 20 years prior experience in creating, scoring and reporting statewide performance assessment, he has volunteered time for more than three years for Smarter Balanced in editing content specifications, assessment targets, items, writing rubrics for the performance tasks, and directing hand scoring standard setting.
Richard Culatta, Director, US Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology
Richard Culatta is a leader in the field of educational innovation. He has worked in K-12, higher education, corporate, and government training environments. His current focus asDeputy Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the US Department of Education is on using data and learning analytics to create customized learning experiences for all students.
Prior to joining the Department of Education, he served as an education policy advisor to US Senator Patty Murray. Culatta is a certified Spanish teacher and active in promoting bilingual and arts education in public schools.
Aleah Cutshall, Student, Madison Consolidated High School
Aleah Cutshall is a sophomore at Madison Consolidated High School. She is a member of the Thespian Society, participates in tennis, soccer, and keeps up a high GPA. Incorporating technology daily to enhance learning in a real-world environment is something Aleah loves learning about. In the future Aleah plans to attend college but is unsure of her potential major.
Lia Dossin, Manager Community & Technology, SETDA
Lia Dossin is the Manager of Online Community and Technology for SETDA. She manages content and community for all of SETDA’s online properties. She develops and implements strategies to support and facilitate online collaboration for in-person and live member events.
Prior to coming to SETDA, she worked for PBS Education as the senior manager of online facilitation and community where she supported a virtual faculty of over a hundred instructors and created an online facilitator performance evaluation program that was recognized by the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks.Lia was a third grade teacher, district technology trainer, and library media specialist. She holds her Master’s Degree in School Library Media from Old Dominion University and her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from Lynchburg College.
Peter Drescher, Education Technology Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Education, SETDA BOD Chair
Peter Drescher has been involved in education technology for nearly 20 years. He began his career in education as a social studies/technology teacher at a middle school in New Mexico.
Soon he held the technology coordinator position, where he worked to develop a robust technology program in the 1990’s. He has spent much of his career focused on the classroom level, providing professional development and leadership for teachers and staff around technology planning and integration. His most recent position, in January of 2008, as the Education Technology Coordinator for theVermont Agency of Education allows him the opportunity to move this work to a new level and hopefully impact the learning for all students in Vermont.
R. David Edelman, Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, and Privacy, Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council
Geoffrey H. Fletcher, Deputy Executive Director, SETDA
Dr. Geoffrey H. Fletcher serves as SETDA’s Deputy Executive Director. Prior to joining SETDA, Dr. Fletcher was Editorial Director for the Education Group of 1105 Media, Inc. with responsibility for all content of the Education Group, including T.H.E. Journal, Campus Technology and their web sites and e-newsletters.
He also served with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for 11 years in various positions including Assistant Commissioner with responsibility for standards and curriculum, the statewide assessment program, educational technology initiatives, textbooks and professional development. For two years he was responsible for TEA’s information system, including the Public Education Information Management System.
Christine is the Director of Educational Leadership & Research 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.
Jennifer Fritschi, Director, Strategic Partnerships, SETDA
Jennifer Fritschi pictureDr. Jennifer Fritschi is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for SETDA. Previously, she was the Director of State Education Partnerships and Professional Development for Verizon Foundation’s signature program, Thinkfinity.org. Before joining the Verizon Foundation, she worked on educational technology initiatives and professional development at the Alabama Department of Education.
Her background includes working as an Assistive Technology Coordinator and Instructional Technology Specialist for Shelby County Schools in Birmingham, Alabama. Her career began as an elementary special education teacher and high school basketball coach, and she later served as an adjunct professor of education technology in Alabama. Dr. Fritschi was elected as President and Vice President of the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Special Education Technology Special Interest Group in 2008. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with a focus in Instructional Technology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a Master’s in Assistive Technology from the University of Connecticut, and a Bachelor’s in Special Education from Miami University of Ohio. In 2010, she received the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s “Outstanding Alumnus” award from the Department of Education Leadership in the College of Education.
Melinda George, President, National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF)
Melinda George, President, oversees NCTAF’s research, policy, and implementation projects, develops and maintains strategic partnerships, and provides thought leadership about teaching for the 21st century. Melinda served as NCTAF’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from 2011-2013.
Prior to NCTAF, Melinda was the Senior Director of Education Strategic Relations at PBS, where she developed national partnerships and oversaw the development of PBS TeacherLine, an online professional development service. From 2002-2006, Melinda was the Executive Director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). Melinda served as a national spokesperson on education technology and was instrumental in developing collaborative resources and opportunities for state educational technology leaders. Earlier in her career, Ms. George was a 4th and 5th grade teacher in D.C. Public Schools. She also developed the state education technology advocacy program for the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA). She holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from The American University and received her Bachelors in American Culture from Vassar College.
Patrick Halley, Associate Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC
Patrick Halley is an Associate Chief of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau where he focuses primarily on broadband deployment and competition issues, including modernization of the Commission’s E-rate program to enable access to high-capacity broadband for all schools and libraries and implementation of the Connect America Fund to ensure voice and broadband connectivity for rural consumers and businesses.
He also works on consumer and competition policy issues concerning the nation’s ongoing transition from 20th century legacy networks to modern all-IP fiber and mobile networks. Patrick is responsible for policy development, strategy, and coordination within the Commission and with external stakeholders, including other federal agencies and Congress. Prior to his current role, Patrick most recently served as Acting Director of the Commission’s Office of Legislative Affairs under Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Trent Harkrader is an associate chief in the Wireline Competition Bureau at the FCC, where he is responsible for developing the Bureau’s policy for the E-rate program, as well as the universal service Lifeline and rural health care programs. Prior to taking this position, Harkrader was the chief of Telecommunications Access Policy Division, where he supervised Bureau staff working on all universal service fund matters. Harkrader also has worked in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.
Chase Icenogle, Student, Madison Consolidated High School
Chase Icenogle is a sophomore at Madison Consolidated High School. He became a digital leader through his love of technology. His interest in technology was sparked at the age of six when received his first computer. Chase is in the school marching band, volunteers as a junior staff member at the community public library, and contributes to various school functions. He plans on continuing his education at a university but is undecided on his major.
Michael Jay, President, Education Systemics
Michael began his career as a science educator and helped develop the first California Technology in the Curriculum guide in 1984. While at Apple, he held many roles, all related to pK-12 education. In 1994, Michael founded Mediaseek Technologies where he laid the groundwork for many innovations in standards and instructional resource integration that followed.
Michael is in his fourth (and final) year chairing the AAP pK-12 Learning Group’s Content in Context conference and for the past three years he has driven publisher adoption of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI). Michael’s organization, Educational Systemics, creates lasting change in how we learn and educate through their work with corporations and other institutions. As part of his commitment to systemic change, he hosts a monthly internet show, Education Table Talk, in which education leaders introduce topics to those who serve pK-12 education.
Paige Kowalski, Director of State Policy and Advocacy, Data Quality Campaign
Paige joined DQC in 2008 to promote the essential role education data plays in making instructional, management, and policy decisions. In her current role Paige manages DQC’s efforts to support state policymakers in understanding their roles and responsibilities in supporting effective data use at all levels.
She leads a team of professionals to develop DQC’s Data for Action state survey, provide direct policy assistance to states, identify emerging issues, and connect data use to current policies and practices. Prior to leading DQC’s state policy efforts, she led DQC’s work to inform state and national teacher effectiveness policies and supported state efforts to effectively implement data-related provisions of the 2009 federal stimulus act. From 2006 to 2008 Paige managed several national data initiatives for the Council of Chief State School Officers and participated as a managing partner of DQC in its early years. Paige also has significant state and local experience through her tenures with the University of California, the City and County of San Francisco, and Chicago Public Schools. Paige received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of California, Davis, and earned a master’s degree in public policy from The George Washington University, where she focused on education policy.
Abe Krisst, Education Consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education
Abe Krisst is an Education Consultant in the Academic Office at the Connecticut State Department of Education. He has worked in the assessment office at the department for 15 years and currently serves as the Assessment Unit Coordinator.
This unit is responsible for administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the state alternate assessments, as well as the state Science test. Prior to his position as Unit Coordinator, Abe worked as the State Readiness Coordinator for Connecticut in preparation for the 2014 Smarter Balanced Field Test. Prior to that, his focus was on the development and implementation of the mathematics portion of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT), as well as the implementation and administration of the CMT to students in Grades 3 through 8.
Blair Levin recently joined the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. as a Nonresidernt Senior Fellow. Prior to joining the Brookings Institution, Mr. Levin was a Communications & Society Fellow with the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program.
He served on the Federal Communications Commission, where he served as the Executive Director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative. In his role at the Federal Communications Commission, Mr. Levin oversaw the development of a National Broadband Plan, a project mandated by Congress in the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Mr. Levin rejoined the Commission in June, 2009, after eight years as an analyst at Legg Mason and Stifel Nicolaus. As Barron’s Magazine noted, Levin “has always been on top of developing trends and policy shifts in media and telecommunications … and has proved visionary in getting out in front of many of today’s headline making events.” Previously, Mr. Levin served as Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt from December 1993 through October 1997. Mr. Levin oversaw, among other matters, the implementation of the historic 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act, the first spectrum auctions, the development of digital television standards, and the Commission’s Internet initiative.Prior to his position with the FCC, Mr. Levin was a partner in the North Carolina law firm of Parker, Poe, Adams and Bernstein, where he represented new communications ventures, as well as numerous local governments on public financing issues. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.
Douglas Levin, Executive Director, SETDA
Named by Tech & Learning as one of the top 10 most influential people in EdTech in 2011, Mr. Douglas Levin leads SETDA with 20 years of Washington, DC-based education policy and research experience. A passionate advocate on behalf of state educational technology leaders, Mr. Levin has served in prominent roles in the private and non-profit sectors, including in senior leadership positions with the National Association of State Boards of Education, the American Institutes for Research, and Cable in the Classroom, the cable industry’s national education foundation.
Mr. Levin played key roles in developing the nation’s first three national education technology plans and in conducting research and evaluations of major educational technology programs and initiatives, including as primary author of the Pew Internet study of internet-savvy students, The Digital Disconnect.
Joni Lupovitz, Vice President of Policy, Common Sense Media
Joni Lupovitz joined Common Sense Media as Vice President of Policy in April, 2013. She previously served as Chief of Staff to the Federal Trade Commission Chairman from March 2009 to March 2013. In that position, she was a senior adviser to the FTC Chairman on policy, strategic planning, and management.
She coordinated with the FTC senior staff to advance the agency’s consumer protection and competition missions, including law enforcement and policy initiatives involving consumer privacy, new technologies, and marketing to children. Joni joined the FTC in 1999 as an attorney in the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Division of Enforcement. Before that, she was a partner with McDermott, Will & Emery, where she had a diverse civil litigation and administrative practice. She graduated from McGill University and The George Washington University Law School.
Alex Macdonald, Director of Instructional Technology, Idaho State Department of Education
Alex Macdonald is currently serving educators across Idaho as the Director of Instructional Technology at the Idaho State Department of Education, where he was previously the Education Technology Coordinator. Having started out as a Mathematics and computer applications teacher, he quickly recognized the benefit of effective technology integration, and worked diligently to research best practices to meet the needs of students.
His past experience also includes being an online teacher, technology coordinator, testing coordinator, and an administrator, where he implemented and conducted professional development opportunities in technology integration for teachers. Alex holds a B.S. in Mathematics Education from Boise State University, a M.A. Ed. in Curriculum & Technology from the University of Phoenix, and a M.A. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northwest Nazarene University. But most importantly, he is a husband to a wonderful wife, and father to three exceptional children.
Ron Nieto, Deputy Commissioner of Innovation, Florida Department of Education
Ron Nieto serves as the Deputy Commissioner of Innovation for the Florida Department of Education Division of Technology & Innovation. Mr. Nieto recently rejoined FLDOE after 7 years as the Gulf Coast Account Manager for Apple Inc.
One of his main goals is to help school districts to envision, plan, and develop effective technology integration programs utilizing the latest tools. Prior to joining Apple Inc., Ron was the Executive Director for the Florida Education Foundation for the State of Florida. Ron is a graduate of Fort Walton Beach High School and Florida State University. He resides in Tallahassee, FL with his wife Eve and their two sons.
Connor Richmond, Student, Madison Consolidated High School
Conner Richmond is a sophomore at Madison Consolidated High School. He currently plays tennis for the high school and trombone in the school’s band. He is currently enrolled in 3 college credit classes: Spanish 101, PLTW POE, and AP World History. Conner loves to make YouTube videos and play video games. In the future, he hopes to attend a college in Indiana for Engineering. He also hopes to have a job in technology where he can be his own boss.
Jennifer Sattem, Fellow, New York Regents Research Fund
Jennifer Sattem is a Fellow at the New York Regents Research Fund and works closely with the New York State Education Department on college and career readiness, postsecondary engagement, and assessment. She serves as a state lead for the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in New York and leads the state’s transition to computer-based testing.
Jennifer has an extensive background in building partnerships between school districts and postsecondary institutions to increase alignment around college and career readiness, dual enrollment, and dropout reengagement. Jennifer started her career in education in a small school district in Central Texas. She received a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a focus in Social Studies education and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy, both from Oregon State University.
Stephanie Shipton, Director of Policy, Innovation, Planning, and Evaluation, Hawaii Department of Education
Ms. Shipton is currently an Institutional Analyst at the Hawaii Department of Education in the Office of Strategic Reform. In this role, she is responsible for oversight and management of Race to the Top reforms on standards, assessments, and network upgrades. In addition to overseeing portions of the state’s Race to the Top grant and providing strategic policy support.
Ms. Shipton also oversees the Department’s Access Learning Pilot Project – an $8.2 million 1:1 pilot in 8 schools across the state. Prior to her role at the Hawaii Department of Education, Ms. Shipton served as a policy analyst with the National Governors Association (NGA), where she led strategic consulting services to the nation’s governors on education policy efforts related to charter schools, the Common Core State Standards, and supporting learning outside of the school day. Ms. Shipton also worked on early warning indicator, adolescent literacy, and graduation rate policy and research for the Alliance for Excellent Education and has held roles at Capital Partners, Inc; and on the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions for Senator Kennedy. Ms. Shipton has researched and written a number of education policy publications and served on advisory committees on competency based education and the Common Core State Standards. Ms. Shipton has a B.A. in Political Science, and course work toward an M.P.S in Political Management from The George Washington University.
Joseph South, Deputy Director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education
Joseph South has extensive experience establishing and scaling educational technology solutions in startup, corporate, non-profit, and higher education settings. He was most recently Senior Director at K12 Inc where he performed double duty as a strategic consultant on higher education initiatives while directing K-12 curriculum development offices in Utah and Oklahoma.
He has pioneered online and blended learning solutions for institutions of higher education in science, foreign language, religion, and humanities. Working closely with Middlebury College senior leadership and faculty, Joseph led a multinational team as Senior Director of Product Development for Middlebury Interactive Languages, helping launch their first large scale online learning venture. While there, he led the development of a 3D immersive language learning role-playing game that earned a Serious Play Bronze Medal. He has also partnered with Gale Cengage to design and develop online world language and ESL courses for adults that have been distributed in public libraries throughout the country. Joseph has served as a strategic consultant and advisor to edtech startups, museums, and institutions of higher education.
Melanie Torline, Teacher, Madison Consolidated Schools
Melinae Torline is the co-teacher of Madison Consolidated Schools Digital Leadership and is a visual arts educator at Madison Junior High School. She is a member of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and is a participant in the Young Professionals Organization in Madison.
Melanie has a passion for technology, digital citizenship, art, and theatre and is committed to inspiring students to develop skills for lifelong learning. Melanie earned her bachelor’s degree in K-12 Visual Arts Education from Indiana University Bloomington in 2012.
Amelia Vance, Policy Analyst, National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
Amelia Vance is the policy analyst for the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). Amelia has deep expertise in data privacy issues. She recently published NASBE’s report on student data privacy and organized a student data privacy session for state education agency attorneys.
She also works on implementing college-and-career-ready standards. Amelia is a member of the Virginia State Bar. She previously served as a legal fellow at the Family Equality Council and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, interned at the White House, the State Department, and the House of Representatives, and worked on the 2008 Obama campaign. Amelia is a graduate of William & Mary Law School and McDaniel College.
Susan Van Gundy, Principal Consultant and Founder, Eduvate
Susan Van Gundy is the Principal and Founder of Eduvate, a strategy consulting organization supporting innovations in K-12 learning and assessment, with an emphasis on effective educational technology practices.
She is the former Director of Technology for the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (the PARCC Assessment Consortium), where she provided leadership for technical systems development, technology-enhanced assessment design, technical standards implementation and interoperability, and school technology readiness.
Van Gundy is also the former Director of Education and Strategic Partnerships for the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), where she was responsible for orchestrating national-scale digital learning resource initiatives, and brokering cross-sector collaborations among stakeholders and policymakers. In addition, Susan was part of the initial team that conceptualized and developed the Learning Registry, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education intended to better connect educators to effective teaching and learning materials.
Jordyn Watson, Student, Madison Consolidated High School
Jordyn Watson is a senior at Madison Consolidated High School. In addition to being a mentor in the Digital Leadership course, she is also the varsity captain of the girls’ soccer team, treasurer of the Mayor’s Youth Council, a member of the Thespian Society, the National Honors Society. She has taken many AP courses including AP German, AP Calculus, and AP Literature. With her strong academic background, she plans to attend an out-of-state university next fall and major in International Studies.
Tracy Weeks, Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Dr. Tracy Weeks is part of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s senior leadership team as its first Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer. Prior to this, she served as the Executive Director for the North Carolina Virtual Public School.
She holds a bachelor’s 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 North Carolina State University. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, North Carolina Education Policy Fellow, and a member of Phi Kappa Phi.