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.
Presenters, Moderators and Discussants
Kristen Amundson, Executive Director, National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), @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.
Kelly Brady, Director, Mastery Education, Idaho State Department of Education, @IdahoSDE
Kelly Brady is the Director of Mastery Education for the Idaho State Department of Education. Brady’s mission is to support Idaho schools beginning the transition to a mastery education system where student progress is based upon a student’s demonstration of mastery of competencies and content, not seat time, age or grade level of the student.
Prior to joining the SDE in October, Brady spent 30 years educating in classroom with K-8 students in both private and public schools. She devoted her last thirteen years, teaching in a unique program for highly gifted students. This program allowed students to progress through curriculum at an accelerated/flexible pace in conjunction with the development of appropriate social and emotional intelligence. The school day was structured around the student’s needs, preferences, and strengths. With her vast experience, Brady believes that all students deserve the opportunity to achieve their highest potential.
Brady graduated from Boise State University, where she received a B.A. in Elementary Education and a M.A. in Curriculum and Instructions. She also has a K-12 Gifted and Talented Endorsement and PCI Parent Coach Certification®. Brady lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband Tim where they love to ride bikes and spend time with their four grandchildren.
Becky Brown, Student, Northfield Community Middle School, @ncsnj
Becky Brown is an 8th grade student at Northfield Community Middle School. She spends a lot of her time in her school’s STEAM lab, which they call “digital shop”. Becky enjoys helping out with projects there. She is in honors classes, participates in National Junior Honors society, received highest GPA in her science class last year, and was selected for a prestigious math and science camp she attended over the summer. Becky is also in student council, participates in a program where she mentors incoming middle school students, and is a cheerleader for her town’s recreation football team.
Al Byers, Ph.D., Associate Executive Director, Services, National Science Teachers Association, @alsbyers
Since joining NSTA 14+ years ago, Dr. Byers collaborates with government agencies, universities, and foundations to develop high impact tools and learning opportunities for teachers across the US. He directs the design of large-scale blended learning experiences through the NSTA Learning Center. He holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Virginia Tech and served on two Primary Technical Working Groups for the US Department of Education related to online communities of practice. He’s an invited guest lecturer at Harvard School of Education and is an accomplished author with publications in journals and book chapters, his latest chapter appearing in: Teacher Learning in the Digital Age: Online Professional Development in STEM Education by Harvard Press (2016). See: https://www.linkedin.com/in/albyers.
Douglas Casey, Executive Director, Commission for Educational Technology, @dougcasey
Doug Casey serves as the Executive Director for the Connecticut State Commission for Educational Technology (CET). In that role, he designs and manages strategic plans that help ensure the successful integration of technology in Connecticut’s schools, libraries, universities, and towns. The CET has direct oversight of statewide programs including the Connecticut Education Network (CEN, the state’s research and education network), its digital library (researchIT, formerly iCONN), and other initiatives.
Prior to joining the CET, Doug served for nearly 10 years as the Director of Technology for the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) in Hartford. There he oversaw and implemented significant improvements in business processes, digital security, and information management for the agency’s 25 schools, 36 districts in the Hartford area, and schools statewide.
Doug began his career as a middle school English teacher in Virginia after graduating from the College of William & Mary. He applied his classroom experience to educational publishing, managing communications for the Smithsonian Institution’s office of education. He later earned a master of arts degree in online communications from Georgetown University and a master of science in management information systems from George Washington University. His diverse background includes managing technology for marketing firms as well as security and systems engineering for national security agencies and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Outside of work, Doug enjoys time with family, serving through missions, and triathlon.
Hall Davidson, Senior Director of Global Learning Initiatives, Discovery Education, @HallDavidson
Hall Davidson has worked from think tanks in Turkey to classrooms in Tennessee. He has collaborated with thought leaders including teachers, superintendents, and departments of education. A former K-12 bilingual math teacher and college faculty member, he left the classroom to became part of an Emmy-winning team, creating math and technology integration programs. For forty years, he has been an educational innovator in important waves of change, first in broadcasting, then computers, and now digital learning. His talks blend humor, deep insight, and data from both education and industry and illustrate the big picture with nuts and bolts examples. He has worked with transformational industry groups, education ministries, and with thousands of students through guidance of the nation’s oldest student media festival. Across four decades of work with education, he identifies right now as the most transformative and important time for teaching and learning.
Daphne DeLeon, Nevada Ready 21 Program Director
Candice Dodson, Director of eLearning, Indiana Department of Education, @candicedodson
Candice Dodson is the Director of eLearning where she is focusing on advancing and expanding Indiana’s efforts to take advantage of technology to improve student outcomes. Candice comes to the IDOE from Evansville Vanderburgh Community Schools (EVSC) with over 20 years of experience in a variety of roles from elementary teacher, media specialist to curriculum and technology integration specialist, central office administrator, and assistant principal. Ms. Dodson’s most recent work in Evansville centered on the implementation of EVSC’s 1-to-1 initiative, the development of leadership programs for district administrators, and expansion of professional development programs and evaluation systems.
Elizabeth Drogula, Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission
Sharon Dublin, Special Projects Coordinator, South Carolina Department of Education, Office of Virtual Education, @EducationSC
Sharon Dublin manages and provides technical assistance to South Carolina teachers for VirtualSC online curriculum resources. In this role, she has supervised the expansion of VirtualSC’s Elementary Keyboarding project to over 35,000 students statewide. She was instrumental in the development and implementation of the student information system for VirtualSC Professional Development. Prior to the Department of Education, she worked for higher education institutions including Benedict College and Elizabeth City State University.
Val Emrich, Director of Instructional Technology, Maryland State Department of Education, @md_digilearning, @vemrich1
Val Emrich is the Maryland State Director of Instructional Technology and School Library Media. This role includes: Instructional Technology, School Library Media, Online Programs for Educators and Students, Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities, State Learning Management System, Science, Environmental Literacy, STEM, and Mathematics. Prior to this role, she served 9 years as a county level Instructional Technology Manager, 2 years as a county level Instructional Technology Specialist, and over twelve years as a school based educator.
The engagement level that personalized innovative strategies and instruction promote changes the learning landscape for all students. Her vision for learning requires a paradigm shift for teaching. To support this, the mission is to help educators understand and experience the transformation of teaching and learning though the effective interweaving of digital resources into student-centered environments.
Ruthe Farmer, Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, @ruthef
Ruthe Farmer has focused her efforts on diversity and inclusion in technology and engineering since 2001. She currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy focusing on President Obama’s call to action for Computer Science for All and other tech related initiatives. Over the course of her career, Ms. Farmer has successfully launched and scaled up multiple national programs including Intel Design & Discovery, LEGO Robotics for Girl Scouts, NCWIT Aspirations in Computing, the TECHNOLOchicas campaign for Latinas in technology, the AspireIT computing outreach program, and more.
She served as the 2012 Chair of Computer Science Education Week, was named a White House Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion in 2013, received the Anita Borg Institute Award for Social Impact in 2014, and the Education UK Alumni Award for Social Impact in 2015. She has been a guest contributor for TechCrunch and the Shriver Report, and has been featured in Forbes and TechRepublic for her work. Ruthe holds a BA from Lewis & Clark College and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship from the Oxford University’s Said Business School and is passionate about integrating innovative business strategies into social change efforts.
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.
Melinda George, President, NCTAF, @MelindaGeorge2
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.
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.
Kimberley Harrington, Acting Education Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Education
Kimberley Harrington is a former classroom teacher and school administrator who has more than 20 years of experience implementing academic programs and working directly with students and parents.
Kimberley worked as a classroom teacher in New Jersey for 16 years and taught all grades from kindergarten to eighth grade. She then served three years as director of curriculum and instruction at the local level in New Jersey.
In 2012, Kimberley came to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) as the Director of Academic Standards, where she led the Department’s outreach to teachers and school leaders on how to align their local curriculum with New Jersey’s academic standards.
Prior to becoming Commissioner, Kimberley served for two years as Assistant Commissioner/Chief Academic Officer for the NJDOE. In that role, she oversaw the NJDOE’s Division of Teaching and Learning, which has the responsibilities of the Division of Early Childhood Education, the offices of Primary Education, Intermediate and Secondary Education, Teaching and Learning Support, Academic Initiatives and Fiscal Accountability, Career Readiness, Educational Technology, and School Innovation, as well as the Amistad Commission and the Italian American Heritage Commission. Kimberley was also in charge of implementing New Jersey’s Student Learning Standards, with the ultimate goal of providing a path for students to become college- and career-ready.
Throughout her career as a classroom teacher, district administrator, and in her roles at the NJDOE, Kimberley has always maintained a focus on the importance of the cycle of teaching and learning and its impact on improved outcomes for students. She continues to place an emphasis on building a strong climate and culture as a means of providing a solid foundation for sustainable progress and making a difference in children’s lives.
Kimberley earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Gordon College, and a Master of Arts in Education Leadership from The College of New Jersey. She holds New Jersey certifications as a teacher, principal, and supervisor.
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.
Alicia Kerns, Personalized Learning Consultant, Wyoming Department of Education
Alicia Vonberg Kerns is the Personalized Learning Consultant for the Wyoming Department of Education. Prior to becoming a member of the Digital Learning Team at the WDE Alicia was a classroom teacher and taught Kindergarten, First Grade, and 9-12 grade while also working with special education and at-risk youth programs. While at the Department of Education Alicia has been instrumental in working on the Distance Education Task Force and creating a comprehensive Statewide Digital Learning Plan. As the State of Wyoming moves forward with 21st Century learning Alicia will lead the work of the Wyoming Future Ready Initiative and further encourage the use of open educational resources in all classrooms throughout the state. Alicia is the proud mother to one son and three rescue puppies, and will rescue any animal that crosses her path to give them their “forever home”.
Kenneth Klau, Director of Digital Learning, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, @MASchoolsK12
Kenneth Klau is the Director of Digital Learning for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Ken is responsible for developing a strategy for rethinking the structure and delivery of learning, building a more student-centered system of public education, and creating the next generation of K–12 learning environments. He brings more than a decade of experience at the state level in accountability system design and instructional improvement at scale.
Prior to coming to the department, Ken worked in the private sector as director of operations for a start-up educational publishing company and served as manager of curriculum development for a comprehensive educational reform organization that served predominantly urban elementary and middle school students in ten states. He earned undergraduate degrees in history and secondary education from the University of Vermont and Trinity College of Vermont, respectively, and a masters degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Klau is a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts Excellence in Technology Award and a 2014 recipient of the Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.
Reg Leichty, Founder and Partner, FLP Advisors, @RegLeichty
With over two decades of policy and legal experience, Reg advises national education associations, state education agencies, school districts, nonprofit leaders, and companies about federal education, student data privacy, and technology law. He counsels a wide range of entities about how to work effectively with Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Federal Communications Commission, and frequently speaks and writes about emerging policy and legal issues in education reform.
Prior to co-founding Foresight Law + Policy, Reg practiced law for over a decade with two national law firms, and served as telecommunications, technology, and privacy counsel for U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson of Florida, and as a telecommunications and technology advisor to former Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska.
Reg received his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. and his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is a member of the Washington, D.C. and Virginia Bars, and the International Association of Privacy Professionals and the Federal Communications Bar Association.
Charmaine Mercer, Senior Researcher and Director, Learning Policy Institute, @O_MerC
Charmaine Mercer is Director of the Washington, DC, office and a Senior Researcher. Previously she worked at the Alliance for Excellent Education as the Vice President for policy and advocacy in standards, assessments and deeper learning and as the Director of policy and research for Communities for Teaching Excellence. Mercer also served in the federal government, including as the special assistant to the assistant secretary of the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education and as an analyst for the Congressional Research Service. She was a legislative staffer on the House Committee on Appropriations’ Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee and on the House Committee on Education and Labor’s K–12 education team.
Mercer received a Ph.D. in Political Science and Education Policy and an M.A. in American Government from Claremont Graduate University in California and a B.A. in Political Science from San Diego State University.
Janice Mertes, Assistant Director for Instructional Media and Technology/Digital Learning for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), @WisDPITech
Janice Mertes is the Assistant Director for Instructional Media and Technology/Digital Learning for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Janice comes to the Wisconsin DPI from the Sun Prairie School District with over 19 years of education experiences having served as a twice National Board certified secondary social studies educator, LMS administrator, professional learning facilitator, virtual learning integrator and technology coordinator.
Janice coordinated the district Morgridge Technology Grant project that included a student run SMART*ies tech squad to support model interactive classrooms. Janice has been recognized by Wisconsin and nationally as a Herb Kohl Fellowship recipient, Microsoft Innovative Educator, USA Today Teacher Team, James Madison Constitutional Fellow and a National Education I Can Learn award recipient. In addition, Janice brings national experience from her service on Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s ICivics educator gaming team, blogging on edtech topics and speaking at a variety of conferences. At the Wisconsin DPi, Janice is leading the statewide implementation of the Future Ready and #GoOpen programming initiatives connected to the refreshed Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan. In addition, Janice serves on internal work teams for ESSA, data privacy and digital citizenship, personalized learning and infrastructure. Janice coordinates partnership programming with the Wisconsin Digital Learning Collaborative virtual learning partners and numerous other professional organization efforts to impact personalized, innovative student learning opportunities.
Cecilia Miller, Education Specialist, Teacher Certification and Education, Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Cecilia Miller works for the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development (DEED) as an Education Specialist. In her twelve years at DEED, she has many coordinating roles including Professional Development, Educator Evaluation and Support, Educator Quality, Teacher Recognition, and Educational Technology. Cecilia is passionate about teachers and school leaders having the support to expand their instructional practices and enhance student learning. Her current position on the Teacher Education and Certification team will expand to include educational technology again. As the State Math Specialist, Cecilia was instrumental in the Alaska Mathematics Standards completion and the awareness implementation phase. As the State Technology Coordinator, Cecilia was focused on integrating technology into the classroom. In collaboration with Alaska districts and technology leaders, the state embraced the student, teacher and administrator ISTE technology standards.
Chris Minnich, Executive Director, CCSSO, @minnichc
Chris Minnich was appointed Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in December 2012. As executive director, Chris leads CCSSO’s work with states to raise the bar on standards, assessments and accountability, transform educator preparation programs, design new approaches to teaching and learning, and implement and sustain promising reforms across the country.
His leadership has centered CCSSO’s work on making sure all students in our public education system – regardless of background – graduate prepared for college, careers and life.
Chris first joined CCSSO in 2008. In his time with the organization, he facilitated the state-led Common Core State Standards Initiative and worked as Senior Membership Director, serving as the lead contact for all 58 of CCSSO’s members.
Chris has an extensive background in assessment and accountability systems, working to improve assessments for educators in both the public and private sectors since 2003.
Thomas C. Murray, Director of Innovation, Future Ready Schools, Alliance for Excellent Education, @thomascmurray
Tom serves as the Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, located in Washington, DC. He has testified before the United States Congress and works alongside that body and the US Senate, the White House, the US Department of Education and state departments of education, corporations, and school districts throughout the country to implement student-centered, personalized learning while helping to lead Future Ready and Digital Learning Day. Murray serves as a regular conference keynote, was named one of “20 to Watch” by NSBA, and was recently named the “Education Policy Person of the Year” by the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Connect with him at thomascmurray.com or @thomascmurray.
Giselle Obergfell, Student, Northfield Community Middle School
Giselle Obergfell is an eighth grade student at Northfield Community Middle School. She is a honor roll student also participating in NJHS (National Junior Honor Society) and the Star Mentor program. Giselle has done various extracurriculars and non-school activities such as Band (flute), Future Engineers club, earning a Black Belt in American Taekwondo, teaching as a junior Sensei, recreational crew, and training in judo for five years . Giselle has also taken part in multiple STEAM events including, National Maker faire DC, speaking at the USPTO conference in 2016, the Future City competition, and the Maker Pipe kickstarter this summer. On a personal note, Giselle is a companion to three rescued cats, a practicing vegetarian, and aspiring to pursue a career in biochemistry.
Ashley Palelis, Instructional Technology Specialist, Bureau of Standards and Instructional Support, Division of Public Schools, Florida Department of Education, @EducationFL
Ashley Palelis is an Instructional Technology Specialist at the Florida Department of Education. She works with teachers, district personnel, and Florida Department of Education content and education specialists to assist in integrating technology in the classroom. Ashley also works closely with the Instructional Materials office to assist with training modules, reviewing of materials, and the integration of digital materials. Prior to working at the Florida Department of Education, Ashley taught third and fourth grades and physical education at an elementary school in Tallahassee where she was also the technology representative responsible for working with staff members to provide assistance with technology needs.
Kristina Peters, K-12 Open Education Fellow, U.S. Department of Education, @Mrskmpeters
This year, Kristina Peters found herself in the nation’s capital leading the #GoOpen movement, in the perfect culmination of her passion for removing roadblocks for student access to resources and providing professional learning development for educators. She has a fire for finding ways to give people equitable access to learning, especially in areas that have been notoriously underserved, such as rural areas in Nebraska. Kristina didn’t start her career in education, but she’s leveraged her skill set in business and mass communications in her varied roles in education.
Currently, Kristina serves as the Open Education Fellow for the U.S. Department of Education. Previously, she worked as the Digital Learning Specialist for the Nebraska Department of Education where she collaborated with Nebraska Educational Service Units and 245 school districts, lead professional learning, and advocated for school libraries. Prior to that, she was a teacher to high risk ELL students in Ralston Public Schools and before that, a second grade and kindergarten teacher in Omaha Public Schools. Kristina is a co-founder of #edcampomaha, and has served on boards for the Edcamp Foundation, Nebraska Educational Technology Association, Omaha Young Professional Summit, and is a Google for Education Certified Trainer.
Kristina is an advocate for students and educators alike. If she can find an opportunity to benefit a colleague, she brings it to that colleague. She sparkles very brightly, but she helps everyone around her to shine brightly as well. If you spend any time with Kristina at all, you will begin to realize how contagious her attitude is. She is excited about learning and she wants you to learn too. If you know something she doesn’t know, she wants you to teach her; if you want to learn something she knows, she wants to teach you.
“I live ‘out loud,’” is one thing you may hear Kristina say, and if you were to follow her on social media, you would see evidence that she is proud mother to fur babes Finnegan and Murphy, and is temporarily parenting them from afar with her husband and best friend, Ryan. She lives the foodie lifestyle as she follows her wanderlust—traveling to beautiful locations and eating delicious dishes.
Aryan Preetom, Student, Northfield Community Middle School
Aryan Preetom goes to Northfield Community Middle School. Aryan Preetom is an avid fan of computers and all kinds of technology. He enjoys participating in Media Club and wishes to expand on what he already knows about on the topic of modern-day devices such as smartphones and computers. Aside for Aryan’s passion for computers he also enjoys playing sports including baseball, which he played in elementary school, and soccer. Aryan also recreationally plays basketball with friends.
Abel Real, Business Analyst, Information Technology and Services, Bank of America
Abel Real is a Business Analyst for Bank of America’s Information Technology and Services department. Prior to this position he worked as a Business Operations Analyst II at Wells Fargo. Before switching to the IT sector, Abel was a registered nurse at Vidant Medical Center. Abel has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Health and Wellness from East Carolina University and is currently working towards his MBA.
He graduated from Greene Central High School in rural Greene County, North Carolina in 2008. He graduated 1 of 10 Outstanding Seniors, Student of the Year, had perfect attendance, over 500 of community service, a captained several team sports. During his academic career at Greene Central High School, Abel participated in a 1-to-1 laptop program and presented as one of the 2008 SETDA Student Voices award winners. In 2009, Abel testified during the Congressional Hearing, The Future of Learning: How Technology is Transforming Public Schools.
Glenn Robbins, Northfield Community Middle School Principal, @NCSNJ
Glenn Robbins is the proud principal at the Northfield Community Middle School, in Northfield, New Jersey. His passion is harnessing a school culture that thrives on design thinking skills, innovative digital spaces, BYOD/1to1, and Makerspaces. In addition, Glenn encourages all students to have a voice, not only in building a school culture, but also in designing daily student led EdCamp courses.
He was named as a 2016 Digital Principal of the Year by NASSP for exhibiting bold, creative leadership in his drive to harness the potential of new technologies to further learning goals for staff, students, and the school community. Glenn has been recognized by numerous organizations for his innovative technology implementation methods, and has been a featured speaker at numerous events across the globe. His extensive travels to various schools across the globe have helped to diversify his views on education and implement new instructional methods to better both students and staff. By empowering students and staff to have a growth mindset through design thinking, while implementing digital tools, we can better prepare them to be agile, flexible and adaptive, towards the profound shifts that they will encounter in life.
Cliff Rudnick, Administrator, Instructional Resources Unit, California Department of Education, @CADeptED
Cliff Rudnick has been with the California Department of Education for over 28 years, serving as the Administrator of the Instructional Resources Unit for the last five 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.
Joseph South, Director of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education, @southjoseph
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.
Skip Stahl, Senior Policy Analyst; Co-Director, National Center on Accessible Educational Materials, CAST, Inc., @CAST_UDL
A nationally recognized expert in accessible educational materials and Universal Design for Learning, Skip Stahl has extensive experience in advising education stakeholders–including states, district leaders, publishers and policy makers–on how to make learning environments and products more effective for all.
Mr. Stahl is Co-Director of the federally-funded National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (the AEM Center), where he leads a national initiative to assure that educational materials are developed and distributed in ways that are accessible, appropriate, and readily available to all students.
He is also CAST’s Project Director for the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities, a partnership with the University of Kansas and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.
Skip is a nationally recognized conference presenter and one of CAST’s five founding staff members.
Christie Terry, Director, eMINTS National Center, University of Missouri College of Education, @eLearn4Edu
Christie Terry, Director of the eMINTS National Center, has focused her 16-year career at the University of Missouri on the the intersection of technology and best teaching practices. She has served as project director on several grants, including two Investing in Innovation (i3) Validation grants awarded to study the eMINTS flagship program, and an NSF grant focused on teaching students computational thinking as they design and program their own video games. She began her career teaching math and science in rural Mississippi with one computer for 30 students and believes strongly that technology needs to play an important role as we strive to provide a quality education to all students.
Carla Wade, Digital Learning Specialist, Oregon Department of Education
Carla Wade is the Digital Learning Specialist for the Oregon Department of Education. Her experience in ranges from creating Zoo Education programs that grew 750% in the first year to managing curriculum and instruction (including Spaceflight Academy) at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry before getting into the formal education arena.Carla is committed to providing quality education for students in an environment where they have access to tools, effective teachers and processes for learning that inspire them to develop college and career ready skills and a desire for life-long learning.
She has managed federal grant programs including Title I-A, Title II-A, Title IID and the Technology Literacy Fund. She has authored and/or implemented successful grants including grants from Intel Education Foundation, federal ESEA programs, Meyer Memorial Trust, and the National Science Foundation. Carla has served on the boards of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and the Oregon Science Teachers Association (OSTA). She has received recognition for her work in educational technology from the George Lucas Education Foundation, ISTE and SETDA where she won the 2010 State Leader of the Year Award.
Holly Walsh, Instructional Technology and E-Learning, Office of Multiple Pathways, Rhode Island Department of Education, @HollyWalshRI
Holly Walsh has served as the eLearning and Instructional Technology Specialist at the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) since 2008. She has supervised the development of state-wide virtual learning policy and has managed several projects including the RI state Innovation Powered by Technology Conferences, #GoOpen, Future Ready, #CS4RI, ERATE, and E2T2 programs in Rhode Island. Prior to taking her position RIDE, Holly taught in the public school system for 21 years at both the elementary and middle school levels as a classroom educator and technology coach.
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.
Jean Weller, Instructional Technology Specialist, Virginia Department of Education
Jean Weller is an Educational Technology Specialist with the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology. She has been involved with educational technology since 1988, and focuses on uses of technology combined with cognitive research to support the continual development of effective teaching and learning approaches. Distilling research results into practical information and recommendations for educators is one of her most important responsibilities. Current projects include OER, badging, alternative assessments and preparing the next Virginia State Technology Plan.
Cameron Wilson, COO & VP of Government Affairs, code.org, @cameronpwilson
Cameron Wilson is Chief Operating Officer and VP of Government Relations for Code.org. He oversees the advocacy, outreach and operations teams for Code.org and helps guide the organization’s efforts to expand access to K-12 computer science education.
He helped create Computer Science Education Week, and has been deeply involved on education issues within the computing community having served on the AP Computer Science Principles Advisory Commission, coauthored a major study on K-12 computer science education – Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age and helped direct the University Of Chicago’s study Building an Operating System For Computer Science Education.
He joined Code.org in June of 2013. Before Code.org he was Director of the Office of Public Policy for the Association for Computing Machinery, which is the largest professional society for computing. He joined ACM after spending 10 years on Capitol Hill. During his congressional career he served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) and on Representative Nick Smith’s (R-MI) staff. He also served as professional staff on the House Science Committee, where he oversaw technology, standards and environmental issues.
John Windhausen, Executive Director, Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), @SHLBCoalition
John Windhausen, Jr., Executive Director of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalitiona diverse coalition of community anchor institutions, broadband companies, foundations (such as the Gates Foundation) and public interest groups. The SHLB (“SHELL-bee”) Coalition advocates for open, affordable, high-capacity broadband services for anchor institutions around the country. Mr. Windhausen also represents a variety of non-profit and commercial organizations through his consulting firm, Telepoly Consulting. In prior years, he served as President of a telecommunications trade association in Washington D.C., as counsel and senior counsel to the United States Senate Commerce Committee working for Senator Hollings (S.C.) and Senator Inouye (HA), and as staff attorney at the FCC. Mr. Windhausen graduated from Yale University and the UCLA School of Law.
Governor Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education, @bobwise48, @all4ed
Former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise is president of the Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance), a nonprofit organization that has become a national leader for reforming the nation’s high schools so that all students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and a career. Led by Gov. Wise since 2005, the Alliance has become a respected advocate for the Common Core State Standards, deeper learning, Linked Learning, digital learning, adolescent literacy, and other key education policy issues.
After serving a combined twenty-four years as governor, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and state legislator, Gov. Wise has become a sought-after speaker and advisor on education issues as well as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, White House, and key state and federal policymakers. As governor of West Virginia from 2001 to 2005, Gov. Wise fought for and signed legislation to fund the PROMISE Scholarship program, which has helped thousands of West Virginia high school graduates continue their education in the Mountain State. During his administration, West Virginia saw a significant increase in the number of students completing high school and entering college.
Gov. Wise has earned many awards and recognitions, including the 2015 Friday Medal, which honors significant, distinguished, and enduring contributions to education and beyond through advocating innovation, advancing education, and imparting inspiration. He was also bestowed with the 2014 Bammy Award for Education Policy/Researcher, which recognizes extraordinary work and leadership in education. Also in 2014, he was named one of the ten most influential people in education technology by Tech & Learning and in 2011, he was named to the NonProfit Times’s “Power & Influence Top 50,” an annual listing of the fifty most influential executives in the nonprofit sector.
Gov. Wise earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a juris doctorate degree from Tulane University School of Law.
Mary Ann Wolf, Ph.D., Director of Digital Learning Programs, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, @maryannwolfed
Mary Ann Wolf is the Director of Digital Learning Programs for the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University. Mary Ann has worked closely with federal, state, and local education leaders; policy-makers; and organizations on connecting policy and practice for innovative education reform, digital learning, and instructional practices. Mary Ann played a lead role in developing and facilitating the Digital Learning Transition MOOC-Ed and in establishing the Friday Institute’s growing initiative on MOOCs for Educators.
She is also a part of the development and facilitation team for the Distinguished Leadership in Practice – Digital Learning for principals across the state in conjunction with NCPAPA. Mary Ann wrote Innovate to Educate: Education System [Re]Design for Personalized Learning, an influential report based upon a Symposium held by SIIA, ASCD, and CCSSO. She also co-authored Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered by Digital Learning for the Alliance for Excellent Education and two reports on Mobile Learning in North America for UNESCO and CoSN. Previously, Mary Ann was the Executive Director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). In this position, she worked with education leaders and policymakers in all 50 states to share data and models of how to improve education to ensure America’s and our students’ competitiveness in the global economy.
Mary Ann served on the Congress on the Future of Content Task Force and was a member of the NAEP Technology Literacy Assessment steering committee. She testified before the US House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee; and SETDA hosted, with the National Science Foundation, Future of Learning educational technology showcases for members of Congress and staffers in the House and the Senate. Mary Ann taught fifth grade in Virginia and has three children – one each in elementary, middle, and high school.
Molly Yowell, English Teacher, Danville Community High School
Molly Yowell is the Digital Content Coordinator for the IDOE’s Office of eLearning and works directly with Indiana teachers to support digital learning across the state. She leads the Rockstars of Curation which is a cohort of educators that vet and curate quality digital content to share throughout Indiana and beyond. Additionally, Molly is a classroom teacher at Danville Community Schools. She has been in education for 10 years.