Presenters, Moderators, Discussants and Staff

Bernadette Adams headshotBernadette Adams, Senior Policy Advisor, White House Leadership Fellow, @bernadetteadams

As Senior Policy Advisor, Bernadette has led projects to provide practitioners and policymakers with guidance on: research-based policies and practices implemented by successful Future Ready Leaders; new strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of learning technologies; the role of online communities of practice in enhancing educator performance; exemplary strategies for district leaders to design, acquire, and maintain technology infrastructure; exemplary strategies for developers to leverage technology to solve persistent problems in education; and key considerations for implementing personalized student learning in schools. Prior to joining OET, Bernadette worked to advance the use of technology for workforce development at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, and served as a consultant to design an innovative technology-based science curriculum for the Atlanta Public School District.

Jason Bailey headshotJason Bailey, Ph.D., Senior Specialist of Workforce and Digital Learning, Indiana Department of Education, @jbailey626

Dr. Jason Bailey is the Senior Specialist of Workforce and Digital Learning at 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 2009. At the state level, Jason is responsible for growing the Summer of eLearning conference series, designing and publishing the Indiana Tech Plan Survey, and building Indiana’s educational cybersecurity initiative. With degrees from Ball State University and the University of Southern Indiana, Jason completed his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Indiana State University. He was also one of the early recipients of CoSN’s Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) designation.

Robert Ballance headshotDr. Robert Ballance, Founder, Center for Internet as Infrastructure, LLC

Dr. Robert Ballance is the founder of the Center for Internet as Infrastructure, LLC. Internet connectivity in the US is in transition from a desirable innovation to essential infrastructure. The Center’s purpose is to accelerate that transition. The Center’s first major project is the I3 Connectivity Explorer, a broadband visualization tool for anyone who knows that her or his broadband options are limited and wants to make their situation better. Prior to founding the Center, Bob served as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow (1/2016-4/2017) where he was the principal architect of the Broadband Connectivity Assessment Tool, a data-driven community self-assessment tool for broadband. Dr. Ballance received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the ACM, the IEEE Computer Society, and the Internet Society.

Jim Blew headshotJim Blew, Assistant Secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development

Jim Blew is the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining the Department, Jim advocated for education reform across the country. His roles included serving as the director of the 50CAN affiliate Student Success California, the national president of StudentsFirst, and national director for the Alliance for School Choice and its predecessor, the American Education Reform Council. Jim also helped guide the Walton Family Foundation’s K‑12 Reform investments for nearly a decade. Before committing himself full-time to education reform, Jim worked at political and communications firms in New York and California. He holds a BA from Occidental College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Jerome Browning 2019 HeadshotJerome Browning, Utah State E-Rate Coordinator, Utah Education Network (UEN), @aubreyjb54

Jerome Browning is the State E-Rate Coordinator currently for the State of Utah with the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN). He has over 27 years of experience in education as a classroom math teacher, school and district technology coordinator, and State level administrator/State E-Rate Coordinator. Jerome has been a part of the E-Rate since the program. He began as a local school Alabama rural district applicant while teaching and coaching, and then spent 16 years at the Alabama State Department of Education as the E-Rate Coordinator. Additionally, he has over 10 years of experience in the business field focusing upon accounting and IT Network and applications management.  Jerome has been awarded the “Making IT Happen” award through the ISTE affiliate Alabama Leaders in Educational Technology and recently was awarded the SETDA 2018 State Leader of the Year Award.

Richard Culatta, Chief Executive Officer, ISTE, @rec54

Richard Culatta, chief executive officer, brings vast experience in education policy, teacher preparation, educational technology and innovation to his role with ISTE. Culatta is a longtime ISTE member and a past recipient of the ISTE Making IT Happen Award.

Prior to joining ISTE, Culatta served as the chief innovation officer for the state of Rhode Island. In this role, he focused on developing partnerships to improve opportunities for students, including launching a program to make Rhode Island the first state to offer computer science in every K-12 school and creating a state vision for personalized learning. 

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As the director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, Culatta was at the helm of numerous efforts to expand connectivity to schools across the country, promote personalized learning and develop the National Education Technology Plan. He also pioneered new ways for the department to engage with educators and tech developers.

Prior to his role with the Department of Education, Culatta served as an education policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. He was also the learning technologies adviser for the David O. McKay School of Education at Brigham Young University where he redesigned the technology component of the teacher prep program. He also served as the director of operations for the Rose Education Foundation, which brought the first internet connections to schools in rural Guatemala.

Culatta began his career in the classroom as a high school teacher and, across his career, has coached educators and national leaders around the world on using technology as a tool to reimagine learning.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish teaching and a master’s in educational psychology and technology, both from Brigham Young University.

Cynthia CurryCynthia Curry, Director, AEM Center, @clcurry

Cynthia Curry is Director of the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM Center). She works with stakeholders across preK-12, postsecondary education and workforce development to ensure that all learners have the same access to high quality accessible educational materials and technologies for learning. Through resource development, technical assistance and training, she leads stakeholders in building capacity to implement AEM.

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Cynthia was a practicing engineer for five years before pursuing her interest in science teaching, which sparked a passion for access to learning through technology. During her two-decade career in education, she has worked across K-12 schools, universities, non-profit organizations, and state agencies to improve outcomes for learners with disabilities. At the University of Southern Maine, she was a leader in three U.S. Department of Education funded projects to better prepare teachers to use technology to improve curriculum access by learners with disabilities. Additionally, she participated in two NSF-funded projects to increase the number of students with disabilities who pursue STEM in college and careers. For the Maine Department of Education, she delivered in-person and online professional development on teaching all learners in 1:1 computer classrooms across the state. Just prior to joining CAST, she was the coordinator of the Office for Students with Disabilities at the University of New England.

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.

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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. 

Julie Evans headshotJulie Evans, Chief Executive Officer, Project Tomorrow, @JulieEvans_PT

Julie Evans is the CEO of Project Tomorrow (, an internationally recognized education nonprofit organization that focuses on improving learning opportunities for student through the effective use of STEM resources.  

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Dr. Evans has been CEO of this organization since 1999 and during that tenure has created several innovative initiatives to impact education including the heralded Speak Up Research Project which annually collects and reports on the authentic views of 500,000 K-12 students, parents and educators on education issues each year.  Dr. Evans serves as the lead strategist and chief researcher on the Speak Up Project as well as leading research efforts on the impact of mobile devices, digital content and blended learning models in both K-12 and higher education.  Over the past thirteen years, 5 million K-12 students, teachers and parents have participated in the Speak Up Project representing over 35,000 schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and around the world.

Prior to this position, Dr. Evans enjoyed a successful career in national and regional sales and marketing management with Unisys and two education technology startups.  She is a graduate of Brown University and earned her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of California, San Diego.  She serves on several boards and advisory councils including the Project Tomorrow Board of Directors, the FETC Advisory Board, the NCTET Board, Blackboard’s K-12 Advisory Council, the THE Journal Editorial Advisory Board and the Reaching At-Promise Students Association (RAPSA) Advisory Board.  Dr. Evans is a frequent speaker and writer on K-12 and higher education issues around digital learning.  In November 2015, she was named one of the Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers nationwide by the Center for Digital Education. 

Julia Fallon, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington, @juliafallon

Julia is the Title II, Part A (Teacher and Principal Quality) Program Supervisor at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Julia Fallon is also a technology and learning alchemist. She explores and interrogates the big ideas in K-12 education with tech integration – how to make sure all kids acquire the skills to participate in a digital society, and what is the collective and creative impact of thriving online communities. Involved with learning technologies since 1989, Julia is an avid proponent of dynamic 21st century learning experiences where highly effective instructional strategies integrate a wide range of digital technologies. As the state’s Technology Integration Program Manager, she streamlined strategic planning for districts moving large- and small-scale technology projects forward, championed robust PD programming for educators facing a brave new world of 1-to-1 initiatives, and spoken out for smart, flexible network policy that connects teachers and kids to a wider world of collaborative learning and dynamic scholarship.

Melinda Fiscus headshotMelinda Fiscus, Director, Area 6 Learning Technology Center, Illinois State Board of Education, @Fiscus29

Melinda Fiscus is happy to be spending her eighteenth year with The Learning Technology Centers of Illinois. In this role she provides networking opportunities, consulting services, professional development for school districts, and advocates for the advancement of educational technology across Illinois.

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She also serves as one of the Illinois representatives to SETDA, serving on the Professional Learning committee. She is one of the Illinois State E-rate Coordinators (SECA), and serves on the Classroom Connectivity Project and ICN Advanced Engineering Task force. Melinda is proud to be an alumni of University of Illinois Springfield, and has successfully implemented several grants to support districts in the southern Illinois area. She is currently excited about helping with the adoption of Open Educational Resources (#GoOpen), the Future Ready School Initiative, and is passionate about creating immersive learning experiences for staff and students.

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.

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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.

gaisfordRick Gaisford, Educational Technology Specialist, Utah State Office of Education and Secretary, SETDA Board of Directors, @irick / @UTPublicEd

Rick Gaisford has 23 years in education at the classroom, school, district and state levels. Currently, Rick is the Educational Technology Specialist for the Utah State Office of Education. His current state responsibilities include teacher professional development on integrating technology, the educational technology core curriculum for K-12 students, and consulting with districts on how to effectively integrate technology tools and resources into teaching and learning. Previously he was an elementary school teacher, school technology specialist, district technology trainer and technology specialist. He is currently on the SETDA Board of Directors and previously served as the Board Chair. He has also served on the state ASCD and ISTE affiliate boards of directors.

Julia Green HeadshotJulia Green, Educator on Loan, Michigan Department of Education

Julia Green is a digital badging pioneer, developing and supporting the system for FIRST Robotics Competition teams.  A Michigan certified educator, she earned a NBCT credential in 2004 in Early Adolescence Science and now supports teaching and learning as a Senior Business Analyst working with Student Information Systems for Oakland ISD in Waterford, Michigan.  In her free time, she is a technical volunteer for FIRST for both the high school and middle school robotics leagues and mentors FRC Team 33, the Killer Bees.

Greene iSmile 2015 (1 of 12)

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. 

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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. 

Pam Grossman head shotDr. Pam Grossman, Dean of the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, @PamPennGSE

Pam Grossman is the Dean of the Graduate School of Education and the George and Diane Weiss Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. A distinguished scholar, she came to Penn from Stanford University’s School of Education, where she was the Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education. At Stanford she founded and led the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching and established the Hollyhock Fellowship for early career teachers in underserved schools. Before joining Stanford, she was the Boeing Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Washington.

Dr. Grossman’s research focuses on the preparation of teachers and other professionals and issues of instructional quality, particularly in English Language Arts. Her most recent work focuses on practice-based teacher education and the role of core practices of teaching in teacher preparation and professional development. She co-directs the Core Practice Consortium, a consortium of faculty from 11 different institutions that has been investigating pedagogies useful for helping novices learn to teach. She was elected to the National Academy of Education in 2009 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. In addition to chairing the Board for the Spencer Foundation, she currently serves on the Board of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Todd Lawrence, Executive Director, Idaho State Department of Education, @toddlawrence208

Todd Lawrence is the Educational Technology Coordinator for the Idaho State Department of Education. His focus is on building an effective online education portal for parents and high school students, managing state and federal grants, and facilitates the Idaho 1×1 Pilot Project that launched in August 2013. After spending more than 15 years in the technology industry with Micron and HP, he decided to make a change to the education field, specifically to become a teacher. After teaching for 4 years and earning his Masters in Education degree, he somehow found his way back into the technology field while still making a difference for the students and teachers of Idaho.

Sharon Leu headshotSharon Leu, Senior Policy Advisor, Higher Education Innovation

Sharon leads the Office of Educational Technology’s higher education innovation initiatives, including next generation assessments, individualized learning pathways, use of open resources and platforms, and strategic partnerships with stakeholders. Sharon also works in offices across the Department to design programs that improve quality of education and increase success of students and adult learners. Prior to joining OET, Sharon oversaw the design and implementation of the Department of Labor’s $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, the largest federal investment in postsecondary innovation and systematic infrastructure change. Sharon can often be found leaping from boulder to boulder with a heavy backpack and dreams of becoming a park ranger when she grows up.

Ann-Marie Mapes, Educational Technology Manager,  Office of Systems, Evaluation, and Technology (OSET), Michigan Department of Education, @annmariemapes

Ann-Marie Mapes is an Education Technology Consultant in the P-20 Office of Data and Information Management at the Michigan Department of Education. She has served in various roles at the Michigan Department of Education for over 14 years, from coordinating teacher recognition programs to teaching technology to adult learners. Her current efforts focus on various statewide technology initiatives, including Michigan’s State Education Technology Plan, the Michigan #GoOpen Community and the state refresh of education technology standards for students, in addition to technology planning and school connectivity.  Ann-Marie believes that strategic partnerships are essential elements to accelerate, amplify, expand access and opportunity, and positively impact student achievement and engagement through technology.

Erin Mote HeadshotErin Mote, Executive Director, InnovateEDU, @erinmote

Erin Mote is the Executive Director of InnovateEDU and co-founder of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools (LAB). She leads InnovateEDU and its major projects including the development of Cortex, work on data interoperability, an urban education Fellowship to diversify the teacher pipeline, and supports for LAB’s growth. She has spent much of her career focused on public service and expanding access to technology in both the US and abroad. Her work spans private sector collaborations and groundbreaking initiatives with Intel, Cisco, Google, and Mozilla, as well as work with leading US government technology partnerships. Erin served as the founding Chief of Party for the USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Alliance and has worked on numerous projects with the US Department of State and the White House. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Eric, her son Robert, and her daughter Clare and bleeds maize and blue as a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Karen Archer Perry HeadshotKaren Archer Perry, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), @KarenAPerry

Karen Archer Perry is a Senior Policy Analyst at the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) where she works with state, local, and non-profit leaders across America to advance broadband deployment, improve adoption and use, and strengthen field capacity. Previously, Karen served as a Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she managed a portfolio of grants and contracts supporting America’s public libraries’ efforts to sustain and expand access to technology and information services. Karen holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and a BSEE from the University of Washington.


Luiz Perez AEM HeadshotLuiz Perez, Ph.D., Technical Assistance Specialist, AEM Center, @eyeonaxs

As a technical assistance specialist for the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials, Luis promotes the creation, delivery and use of high quality accessible educational materials and technologies to support equitable learning opportunities for all students. Prior to joining the AEM Center, Luis was an independent consultant focusing on mobile learning, UDL and assistive technology. He was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) in 2009 and as a Google in Education Certified Educator in 2014. Luis is President-Elect of the Inclusive Learning Network of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which named him its 2016 Outstanding Inclusive Educator. He also serves on the board of the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST). In addition to his work in educational technology, Luis is an avid photographer whose work has been featured on Better Photography magazine, Business Insider, the New York Times Bits Blog and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Jake Steel headshotJake Steel, Deputy Director, Office of Educational Technology

Jake Steel is the Deputy Director of the Office of Educational Technology and the Senior Advisor over K-12 Education in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining the Department, Jake was appointed by the President as a White House Fellow at the Domestic Policy Council. A former math teacher in Oklahoma City, Jake focused on closing the achievement gap through personalized learning and technology. Jake earned a B.S. in communications from Brigham Young University–Idaho and an M.S. in education from Johns Hopkins University.

Sara Trettin Headshot 2019Sara Trettin, Policy Advisor & Open Education, Digital Engagement & Libraries Lead, U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, @saratrettin

Sara Trettin is a Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education where she leads the broadband and K-12 open education work for the Department, directs digital engagement for the Office of Educational Technology and leads the office’s efforts surrounding libraries and librarians. Sara joined the Department as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2014. Prior to joining the Department, she worked as a Learning Services Librarian and served as Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress. A former teacher, Sara holds a B.A. from Clemson University, a graduate certificate from Duke University, and a Master’s in Library Science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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