For the last four years, the greatest minds in education technology have congregated in Boston for the LearnLaunch Across Boundaries Conference. Our fifth annual conference is no exception! We have an incredible speaker line-up this year—from entrepreneurs to educators and investors to luminaries, experts from every facet of the edtech sector join us to impart their wisdom and connect with fellow conference attendees. View speaker biographies below and check back as even more are added!
Curt Allen, CEO, Agilix
Curt Allen is the Chairman and CEO of Agilix Labs, Inc. a software development firm based in Orem, Utah. Agilix provides the customizable Buzz Personalized Learning Platform which has been white-labeled by leading education publishers to meet the specific needs of their customers for personalized online, blended, and project-based learning and teacher Professional Development. Previously, Curt served as the Chairman and CEO of Ancestry.com and Folio Corporation. Curt lives in Provo, Utah with his wife Lara. They are the proud parents of five energetic and amazing children.
Joseph Aoun, President, Northeastern University
A respected voice on the value of global and experiential education, President Aoun has enhanced Northeastern’s signature co-op program with opportunities around the world and additional flexibility. Students have worked, studied, and conducted research in 131 countries, on all seven continents.
President Aoun has strategically aligned the University’s research enterprise with three global imperatives—health, security, and sustainability. Northeastern is home to seven federally recognized research centers and institutes, including the Center for Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats, the Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing, the Center for Translational Cancer Nanomedicine, the Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems, and the Institute for Information Assurance. Northeastern’s faculty focus on interdisciplinary research, entrepreneurship, and on transforming research into commercial solutions that address the world’s most pressing problems.
Northeastern’s excellence in education, research, and urban and global engagement is attracting highly-talented applicants from throughout the U.S. and around the world. This year, it received more than 54,000 applications for freshman admission— the highest in the University’s history. During Aoun’s presidency, Northeastern has also established a network of regional campuses and has amassed one of the largest libraries of online and hybrid professional masters programs of any university in the U.S.
President Aoun came to Northeastern from the University of Southern California’s College of Letters, Arts & Sciences where he was the inaugural holder of the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and advanced degrees from the University of Paris (France) VIII and Saint Joseph University (Beirut, Lebanon).
President Aoun has published seven books and written more than 40 articles. In 2006 he was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques (Knight of the Order of the Academic Palms) by the French government. In 2011, he received the Robert A. Muh Award from MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the immediate past Chair of the American Council on Education (ACE). In 2013, Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Mohannad Arbaji, Founder, ChalkTalk
Mohannad graduated from UWC-USA and then Brown University where he obtained his B.A. Economics & B.Sc. Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering. At Brown, Mohannad coauthored the world’s first triple-bottom line standard for oil & gas extraction, invented an affordable device that converts renewable energy into AC electricity for household use, published a textbook, and bootstrapped an education startup into becoming an international franchise.
Mohannad now leads another Education Technology company, Chalk Talk Solutions. Chalk Talk created an online platform that utilizes complex algorithms to personalize learning for students and drive up their test scores. The company raised more than $2.5 in seed funding and has offices in the Middle East and the US.
Prior to working in education, Mohannad worked in banking, consulting, and software engineering—both in the Middle East and the US.
Mark Atkinson, CEO, Mursion
Mark Atkinson is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mursion, Inc., the country’s leading virtual reality, simulation platform, where professionals rehearse and master the essential interpersonal skills required to be effective in high stakes careers. Mursion has deployed its VR training platform to more than 80 graduate schools of education and Fortune 500 corporations in the U.S. Mursion’s platform was selected as the tool for delivering simulations as part of the National Observational Teaching Exam, which Educational Testing Service is developing in partnership with TeachingWorks at the University of Michigan. Mr. Atkinson also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Educopia, a full service educational consulting firm with a proprietary web platform that delivers custom-developed, performance assessments to K-12 educators. Mr. Atkinson serves on the Board of Directors of PresenceLearning, Inc., The Achievement Network; and the One Purpose School, a San Francisco charter school.
Prior to launching Mursion, Mr. Atkinson co-founded Teachscape, Inc., and served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for twelve years. While at Teachscape, Mr. Atkinson served as an advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching Project.
Prior to founding Teachscape, Mr. Atkinson worked as Senior Producer and Manager of New Markets for CBS News Productions and an Emmy award winning Producer for Peter Jennings Reporting, ABC News, where he produced a series of network specials on U.S. foreign policy in Bosnia, Haiti and Iraq. He is a recipient of the Alfred I. DuPont Columbia University “Gold Baton” for his work in Bosnia.
Mr. Atkinson is a graduate of Yale College.
Arthur Baraf, Principal, The Met
Arthur Eduardo Baraf has been a high school principal for over ten years—for the past eight years at The Met, an innovative public school in Providence, Rhode Island, noted by Barack Obama as a model school and flagship of the Big Picture Learning network of over 200 schools worldwide. Additionally, he is a “JFF/Nellie Mae Students at the Center Distinguished Fellow”, teaches “Student-Centered Learning Learning” for the Providence College Urban Teaching Masters program, is the founder and host of Student-Centered Learning Podcast, and is advisor and mentor to aspiring principals through the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity’s Principal Residency Network.
After graduating from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2002, Arthur was a founding teacher and eventually principal of a charter school in Denver, Colorado, where he was named a Mile High Teacher of the Year. He has also been a founding board member and Vice President of the Montessori Community School of Rhode Island. Arthur is married, has two delightful daughters, and loves to ride his bike to work, make music, and play Ultimate Frisbee.
Curtiss Barnes, Managing Director of Product Management and Design Global Product, Pearson
Curtiss Barnes is the Managing Director for Product Management & Design in Pearson’s Global Product organization. The Global Product team is responsible for a $4B+ portfolio of products serving K-12, Higher Education and English Language Learning markets across the world.
A member of the executive team, Curtiss oversees product strategy, product management and learning & experience design for a broad range of Pearson’s digital content, assessment and delivery product offerings. His main focus is identifying ways to accelerate the transition away from traditional content models and leverage digital media and technology to develop the next generation of high-value, high-quality, and high-impact learning solutions for Pearson’s customers globally.
Curtiss has more than 25 years of experience in the education industry and expertise in a broad range of enterprise and instructional systems that support the core missions of education. His functional expertise ranges from strategy, marketing and sales to product management and product development, to business development, alliances, and mergers & acquisitions. Prior to joining Pearson, Curtiss held executive roles at large and small enterprises serving the education industry worldwide, including Cengage Learning, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SCT and Campus Pipeline. Before his career transition to the commercial sector, Curtiss held positions in alumni and corporate relations, development, admissions and executive education at a number of higher education institutions.
Curtiss holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Clark University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Curtiss lives in Lexington, MA with his wife and their three daughters.
Mike Baur, Program Officer, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
Mike manages a portfolio of investments in the U.S. data-driven education practice focused on unlocking innovation by improving data interoperability through standardization initiatives. He works with state, district, and vendor organizations which execute projects to empower educators and students by providing the infrastructure to enable real-time access to accurate, actionable education data.
Prior to joining the foundation, Mike was Managing Director at Academic Partnerships where he led efforts to promote the utilization of technology in delivering universal and affordable access to higher education institutes around the world. Earlier in his career, Mike was in higher education consulting and sales leadership for SunGard Higher Education and Ellucian where he was an Enterprise Architect and Senior Technical Consultant. Mike has a bachelor’s in computer science and a MBA from Harding University.
Julie Baudreau, Director of Digital Learning, Westford Public Schools
Julie is first and foremost a teacher. Her passion is using digital learning to improve the learning experience for students and the teaching experience for teachers. Julie has worked in the business sector and as a high school teacher, elementary classroom teacher, and technology integration specialist.
Julie is a life-long learner whose passions and expertise are focused on personalized learning, blended learning and 21st-century project-based learning. She holds masters degrees in Instructional Technology and Educational Leadership. She is a board member of MassCUE and a 2014 Pathfinder award winner. She is currently the Director of Digital Learning in Westford.
Sujata Bhatt, Managing Partner for Innovation, Boston Public Schools
Sujata Bhatt serves as Managing Partner of Innovation for Boston Public Schools, where she seeds and accelerates new ways of thinking, problem-solving, and designing in the nation’s oldest school district. Working cross-functionally, she grows capacity towards what the system may become three to ten years out and develops pathways for equitable access to the innovation economy. Previously, she was the founder of The Incubator School, a Los Angeles Unified school focused on equity and entrepreneurship. Her work draws upon her 14 years’ experience as a Nationally Board Certified teacher, her background in education reform, technology, and start-ups, as well as 19 years of learning with her son Indra Mar. She has advised and been on the founding teams of edtech companies, served on the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s Games and Learning Publishing Council, and written and spoken extensively on educational transformation. Sujata received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Medieval History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard.
David Blake, CEO and Co-Founder, Degreed
David is the Co-Founder and CEO of Degreed. Individuals and organizations apply Degreed’s platform to discover the world’s best learning resources and track their learning experience.
Prior to Degreed, he helped launched a competency-based, accredited university and was a founding team member at Zinch (acquired by Chegg NASDQ: CHGG). David was selected as a Top EdTech Entrepreneur by the Stanford d.School EdTech Lab which is sponsored by Teach For America and NewSchools Venture Fund.
David has been published in Harvard Technology Review, Business Insider, TechCrunch, and Huffington Post. He has spoken around the world on the topic of the future of learning, including at the ASU Education Innovation Summit, EdTech Europe, and at TEDx.
Jackson Boyar, Co-Founder and CEO, Shearwater
Jackson is the Co-founder and CEO of Shearwater, a company that partners with universities and secondary schools to provide transition support to new international and first-generation students. Shearwater’s partners include Tufts University, Penn State, Northeastern, University of South Carolina, and over 30 of the best independent schools in the United States.
Geordie Brackin, Director of Innovation, Bridge International Academies
Geordie leads the Innovation department for Bridge International Academies, the largest chain of private schools in Africa. Bridge disrupts the educational status quo by ensuring that every child has access to a high-quality education. The first Bridge International Academy opened in 2009. 7 years later Bridge now teaches over 100,000 pupils every day at 500+ schools across Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, India and Liberia.
Geordie takes big and small ideas for improving learning, pilots them in a few academies using a robust feedback loop, and brings them to scale across the entire Bridge network. Before joining Bridge, Geordie was an English teacher at the LEAP Science & Maths School in Cape Town. LEAP (www.leapschool.org.za) is a high-achieving school for township students with a focus on educating future leaders. In 2009 he received a Fulbright grant to teach in the school of Education at the University of Pretoria. He holds a teaching certificate and Master’s degree in Education from Vanderbilt University.
Monica Brady-Myerov, CEO, Listenwise
Monica Brady-Myerov is the Founder and CEO of Listenwise, an education technology tool that brings the power of public radio into the classroom. Monica was an award-winning public radio reporter for nearly 25 years. Because of her public speaking background and her expertise in auditory learning, Monica is a frequent speaker, workshop presenter, panelist and moderator. Before starting Listenwise Monica was Senior Reporter and Assistant Managing Editor at WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station. After graduating from Brown University she was a freelance reporter in Kenya and Brazil. She worked at the Christian Science Montior in Boston as a producer and then as a reporter in Washington, DC. She also worked on National Public Radio’s Washington Desk.
Leo Brehm, Director of IT and Digital Learning, Northborough & Southborough Public Schools
A career school CIO for public schools within Massachusetts, throughout his twenty-one year career, he has supported education in a variety of roles, including a technology support specialist, instructional technology specialist, network administrator, director of technology, and adjunct professor in four districts and a higher education institution. Currently he sits on the K12 advisory committee to IMS Global, the Board of Directors for The Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity, and the Board of Directors for SustainEd. For several years, he served on the MassCUE Board of Directors also serving as its treasurer and president. He has a B.A. in Media and Public Relations, an Ed.M. in Instructional Technology and is working on an Ed.D in Education Leadership from Northeastern University. He is passionate and dedicated to the advancement of learning through a schooling model that is both student-centered and personalized.
Liz Brooke, Chief Education Officer, Lexia Learning and Rosetta Stone
As Chief Education Officer for Lexia, Dr. Liz Brooke leads the Education and Research department for the company, setting the educational vision, developing the pedagogical approach, and establishing the research and efficacy strategy for Lexia’s literacy products. In addition, Liz serves as Chief Education Officer for Rosetta Stone, providing the educational vision for the organization and advising on the research and pedagogy of language products in development. Prior to joining Lexia in 2010, Liz worked as the Director of Interventions at the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR). She also served as a speech-language pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and in the public school setting. She began her career in the classroom as a first grade teacher.
Liz earned her bachelor’s degree in Child Study from Tufts University and a master’s degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders as well as a reading certification program at Massachusetts General Hospital-Institute of Health Professions. Focusing her studies on the connection between oral and written language, Liz earned her doctorate degree in Communication Disorders at Florida State University.
Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, MIT
Erik Brynjolfsson is Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Professor at MIT Sloan School, and Research Associate at NBER. His research examines the effects of information technologies on business strategy, productivity and performance, digital commerce, and intangible assets. At MIT, he teaches courses on the Economics of Information and the Analytics Lab.
Brynjolfsson was among the first researchers to measure the productivity contributions of IT and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles. His research also provided the first quantification of the value of online product variety, often known as the “Long Tail,” and developed pricing and bundling models for information goods. His research has appeared in leading economics, management, and science journals and has been recognized with ten Best Paper awards and five patents.
Author or co-editor of several books including NYTimes best-seller The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, Brynjolfsson is editor of SSRN’s Information System Network and has served on editorial boards of numerous academic journals. Holding Bachelors and Masters degrees from Harvard University in Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences and a PhD from MIT in Managerial Economics, he has also taught at Harvard and Stanford. His papers can be found at http://digital.mit.edu/erik.
Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Education and Workforce Development, Gallup
Brandon Busteed is a Partner at Gallup and Executive Director of Education and Workforce Development. His career spans a wide range of important work in education as an educational entrepreneur, speaker, writer and university trustee. Brandon’s work integrates Gallup’s research and science on talent, strengths, engagement and well-being to improve student success, teacher effectiveness and educational outcomes. His mission is to create a national movement to measure the educational outcomes that matter most, connect education to jobs and job creation and promote a paradigm shift from knowledge mastery to emotional engagement in education.
With Brandon’s leadership, Gallup Education has released several ground-breaking Gallup studies. These include State of America’s Schools: The Path to Winning Again in Education, which explores student and teacher engagement in public schools, and Great Jobs, Great Lives: The 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index Report, a comprehensive, nationally representative study of U.S. college graduates that focuses on their long-term outcomes in work and life.
Brandon has founded two companies and one nonprofit organization as a social entrepreneur. He is the founder and former CEO of Outside The Classroom, a company that pioneered adaptive online education in alcohol abuse prevention. A three-year, 30-school, national study funded by the National Institutes of Health showed that AlcoholEdu — the organization’s flagship alcohol-abuse prevention program — was effective in reducing binge drinking, drunk driving and sexual assaults. More than 5 million students have participated in the program. The company was acquired by EverFi in 2011.
An internationally known speaker and author on education policy, Brandon has frequently written for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Trusteeship Magazine, The Huffington Post, Fast Company and other publications. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today and on NPR and the NBC News “TODAY” show, among others.
Brandon received his bachelor’s degree in public policy from Duke University and an honorary doctorate from Augustana College. He is a trustee emeritus of Duke and has served on the Board of Visitors of the Sanford School of Public Policy. A former two-sport NCAA Division 1 athlete at Duke, Brandon continues to hone his competitive drive as an avid CrossFitter. He lives in Vienna, Virginia, with his wife, Deanna, and two children, Anabelle and Harrison.
Sharon Butler, EVP Global Sales, Flywire
Sharon Butler has over 17 years of experience in the education and technology industry. Sharon was one of the first employees at Flywire and, from the start, collaborated with schools in an advisory capacity to build a customized solution to meet their needs. In her current role at peerTransfer, Sharon travels the world educating schools on how to solve the complexities associated with international payments. Sharon has presented at numerous industry conferences, such as Mass Bursars, NAFSA, NACUBO, NYSOBA, PDG Bursars and TABS.
Prior to joining Flywire Sharon was a director for Tuition Management Systems, the leading provider of outsourced tuition planning, billing and payment processing services in Higher Education.
Dan Callahan, Training and Professional Learning Specialist, Massachusetts Teachers Association
Dan Callahan is an award-winning educator in professional development and instructional technology. He currently works as a Training & Professional Learning Specialist for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, where he creates professional learning experiences for its 113,000 members. He also teaches as an adjunct faculty member at Antioch University New England, where he designed the curriculum for the Educational Technology Graduate Program for working teachers. A co-founder of the Edcamp movement of unconferences, Dan served as the first Chair of the Board of Directors for the Edcamp Foundation. Dan previously taught in Upper Darby School District, PA, as a Special Educator, and Burlington Public Schools, MA, as an Instructional Technology Specialist. He has led dozens of workshops at conferences including ISTE, AASL, ATIA, NWP Annual Meeting, EduCon, and many regional conferences. Dan was honored with an Impact Award by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences in 2013, the MassCUE Pathfinder Award in 2014, and as an ASCD Emerging Leader in 2015. He blogs at http://dancallahan.netand tweets as @dancallahan.
Marybeth Campbell, Executive Director, SkillWorks
Marybeth Campbell has sixteen years of experience in public policy, public education and project management in the areas of clean energy, education, economic and workforce development. She currently serves as the Executive Director of SkillWorks, a funder collaborative that brings together philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers to address the twin goals of helping low income individuals attain family supporting jobs and businesses find skilled workers. Most recently Marybeth served in a role as the Commonwealth’s first cross-secretariat Director of Education and Workforce Development advising the Patrick Administration’s cabinet secretaries in the Executive Offices of Education, Labor and Workforce and Housing and Economic Development on workforce and education policy development, program strategy and implementation. Marybeth previously served as the state’s first Workforce Development Director at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center establishing national-leading green jobs programs by working with higher education, vocational schools, labor organizations and community based nonprofits to develop training and workforce capacity that supports the Commonwealth’s growing clean energy industry. Her previous work also includes serving as the Public Education Manager for the former Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust where she oversaw two education initiatives that funded projects to increase awareness among teachers, students and the public about the benefits of clean energy, and as a senior research analyst for the Massachusetts House of Representatives Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. She has a Bachelors degree in Political Science from Providence College and attended Suffolk University Law School.
Eric Cantor, CEO, New Mountain Learning
Eric Cantor is CEO of New Mountain Learning (NML), a diversified blended learning solutions company serving select segments of the secondary, post-secondary, and career readiness markets. Since joining NML in 2012, Eric’s focus has been on building a sustainable platform for growth and value creation, while transforming the company from a print to a fully digital learning solutions company.
Over his 40-year career, Eric has held a number of executive and management positions in education, professional development, information & media services and consumer products. Prior to joining NML, Eric spent six years at the College Board, his last position as senior vice-president of College Readiness, where he oversaw all K-12 education programs (assessments, curriculum, training, guidance publications and district transformation services) designed to prepare students for college and career success. Prior to the College Board, Eric served as CEO of Kaplan Professional, a division of Kaplan Inc., providing training, professional education and compliance management services to corporate clients and individuals preparing for licensing exams or seeking continuing education in a variety of professional education markets. Prior to joining Kaplan, Eric held senior level product management, sales, marketing and business planning positions with the McGraw-Hill Companies, NutriSystem Inc., and PepsiCo Inc.
Throughout his career, Eric has served on the boards of a number of small to mid-sized organizations, in the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors. He is currently a regent of the American Architectural Foundation, and an advisory board member of Carnegie Learning, Roadtrip Nation and Tootelage Inc. Eric received a BA in history from Haverford College and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently resides in Radnor, PA., a suburb of Philadelphia, with his wife Linda.
Ana Castro, CEO, Genius Plaza
Ana Roca Castro started her career at Columbia University where she managed educational projects for the School of Public Health. She then led the implementation of Oracle Learning Management System (OLM) for the United Nations. In 2008, Ana became a social entrepreneur and started her first tech venture to help businesses and organizations achieve their capacity building objectives via state-of-the-art application development. Ana and her team have developed a series of educational platforms and over 100 educational games. Her latest startup Genius Plaza is dedicated to closing the academic achievement gap particularly among children of recent immigrants and At-Risk students. Ana is also the founder of Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media (#LATISM). A non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of the Latino community in the areas of education, health, business and inclusion through the use of tech innovation and social media. LATISM has 22 chapters in the country and over 150,000 members who volunteer in schools, organize hackathons, mentor students in STEM careers and give a voice to the voiceless.
Debbie Cavalier, Senior Vice President, Online Learning & CEO Berklee Online
Debbie Cavalier is the Senior Vice President for Online Learning / CEO Berklee Online. She was part of the leadership team that founded Berklee’s online school in 2001.
Under Debbie’s leadership, Berklee Online has grown by 20% year over year, while its portfolio has expanded to include a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree program with eight majors; Massive open online courses (MOOCs) in partnership with Coursera, edX, and Kadenze with over 1.9 million learners; and a music business MBA program in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).
Prior to this, Debbie was the Dean of Online and Continuing Education at Berklee, a music publishing executive at CPP/Belwin and Warner Bros. Publications, and a music educator. She graduated from Berklee with a major in music education, and earned a Master’s in Education from Cambridge College. She spent many years as a music educator teaching k-12 general music and directing choirs.
As a music education publishing veteran, Debbie has penned 100+ music education methods books and arrangements for Carl Fischer, First Act, Alfred Publishing, and Warner Bros. Publications. She is also the leader of the award-winning kids/family band Debbie and Friends, performing live concerts throughout the US for families with young children. Debbie and Friends is known for their original animated music videos that have been placed on TV, cable, apps, and have been viewed 13 million times on the Debbie and Friends YouTube channel. Debbie and Friends had the great honor to be part of the 2011 Grammy award-winning Best Children’s Album with their anti-bullying song entitled, “Walk Away.”
Wendy Cebula, President and COO, edX
Wendy Cebula is president and chief operating officer at edX, managing the nonprofit’s day-to-day operations and positioning it for accelerated growth. Wendy brings strong digital and business expertise and has successfully grown and run large online businesses. She is best known for her 13-year tenure at Vistaprint, a leading online provider of professional marketing products and services to micro businesses and the home, where she recently served as chief operating officer and helped grow and scale the company from $1 million to more than $1 billion in revenue globally. Wendy is a member of the Board of Directors for ResearchNow and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Institute, a nonprofit founded to help women-led businesses become and stay successful. Wendy received her B.S. in international finance from Rochester Institute of Technology. Outside of work, you will most often find Wendy enjoying time with her family.
Elizabeth Chou, Partner, New Markets Venture Partners
Elizabeth Chou joined New Markets Venture Partners in 2010 and is a Partner. She is a board director for Kickboard and Questar Assessment and a board observer for BetterLesson, PresenceLearning, Graduation Alliance, Think Through Learning, Three Ring and previously for Moodlerooms.
Prior to New Markets, Elizabeth was a Senior Associate at The Gladstone Companies, a family of public funds (NASDAQ: GLAD, GAIN, GOOD) providing private equity, debt and real estate financing based in McLean, VA. At Gladstone she invested in and managed equity control and mezzanine debt investments in middle market companies in specialty manufacturing and healthcare services. Prior to Gladstone, Elizabeth was an Account Executive with M&T Bank’s Middle Market Commercial and Industrial Lending Group in Philadelphia, PA.
Brook Colangelo, CTO, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Brook joined HMH in 2013 as the CIO and was promoted to HMH’s first-ever Chief Technology Officer in 2014. Brook focuses on strengthening and evolving the Company’s digital core, leading enterprise-wide data and information security strategies, and elevating HMH’s business processes and analytics function. Prior to joining HMH, Brook was the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the White House & Executive Office of the President. Brook led efforts to develop systems for the most expansive online presence in the history of The White House and the United States presidency. Previously, Brook held several senior IT leadership roles, including CIO of the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee, and helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Wilma and Retia recover as a member of the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Recovery Program. Brook holds an honors degree in Political Communications from The George Washington University.
Kathleen Colburn, Product Manager, Texthelp
Kathleen is a Product Manager at Texthelp, an industry leader in literacy support software. Now in her fourth year with the company, she oversees updates and releases to Texthelp’s suite of literacy products in North America, including the award-winning Read&Write software used by millions of students and teachers worldwide. She works closely with the software development, marketing and sales teams to create, evolve and promote support software that meets the needs of educators and students alike, while keeping up with the changing landscape of edtech and the classroom. Outside of her role at Texthelp, Kathleen is a Google Certified Educator, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Tufts University, and has taught and tutored students in high school math and college entrance exam preparation.
Elizabeth Combs, Managing Director, Frontline Research & Learning Institute
Elizabeth Combs is the Managing Director of the Frontline Research & Learning Institute. The Institute provides data-driven research, resources and insights to support and advance the education community. She began her career as an elementary school teacher and Director of Administrative and Instructional Technology a New York School District before moving to Imperial Software Systems, a professional learning services company, where she eventually served as President. She then held positions at My Learning Plan Inc. as President and Chief Strategy Officer. Elizabeth holds a Masters degree from Teachers College at Columbia University in Educational Technology.
Patti Constantakis, Director of Adult Education Initiatives, Digital Promise
Patti is the Director of Adult Learning Initiatives at Digital Promise. She has a long-held commitment to innovation, technology and education and has spent the bulk of her career in the educational technology field largely working with adult learners. Prior to Digital Promise, Patti was the Director of Product, Content and Curriculum at GreatSchools.org and was responsible for several large parent education initiatives that included developing digital media components, implementing on-the-ground workshops and events, and managing community-based media campaigns. Prior to GreatSchools, Patti worked with several start-ups, developing and implementing e-learning courseware, online educational games, and mobile apps for a variety of audiences, including English language learners, older returning community college students, parents and families, and teachers. Patti earned her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in communications, with an emphasis in Spanish-language media and Latinos in the U.S. She received her master’s degree in Radio, Television, Film, also from the University of Texas at Austin, and a dual bachelor’s degree in journalism and Spanish from New Mexico State University.
Eric Conti, Superintendent, Burlington Public Schools
Eric Conti is the Superintendent of Burlington Public Schools. After graduating from Brown University, Eric worked for AT&T for five years. From the corporate world Eric went back to Brown for his Masters in teaching science. As a seventh grade science teacher in East Greenwich, RI, Eric was nominated for the Sallie Mae first year teacher’s award. Eric attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison and worked for the Consortium for Policy Research in Education while earning his doctorate. Wisconsin led to an Assistant Superintendent’s position for the Manchester Essex Regional School District in Massachusetts. From Massachusetts, Eric took a job as Assistant Superintendent in Culpeper County, Virginia. Eric’s current position as Superintendent of the Burlington Public School in Burlington, MA is where all that he has learned along his many stops is being put to good use.
Paul Crockett, CEO, Authess
Paul is the CEO of Authess, an education-technology company applying machine learning and big data to higher levels of assessment. With more than twenty years’ experience in the educational publishing and technology industry, improving peoples’ lives through learning has been the common thread and of his career. Paul has held executive-level positions leading innovation, strategy, and product management. Most recently, he spent 10+ years at Pearson Education conceptualizing, developing, and launching Internet and mobile applications. Paul is a socially-minded technologist focused on meaningful change in education. His current passion is working with the Authess team and partners in developing new learning and assessment experiences to expose and measure the in-demand skills (what someone can do, not just what they know) to thrive in today’s economy.
Susan Cusack, Assistant Professor, Lesley University
Sue Cusack is an Assistant Professor in the STEM Division in the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University. Her area of expertise is the inclusive use of instructional and assistive technologies in support of student-centered learning. Sue is also the director of the Lesley University Makerspace, a new space designed to provide Lesley students and our community partners with new ways to engage in learning and inquiry-based exploration.
Jillian Darwish, President, Mayerson Academy
Prior to her current role as president of Mayerson Academy, Jillian held leadership positions across the education sector, including work in philanthropy, public television, service agencies, higher education and the K—12 system. In her work at KnowledgeWorks Foundation, where she served as Vice President of Organizational Learning and Innovation, she led the development of a highly regarded and internationally distributed future trends publication, consulted and advised hundreds of organizations to construct future-oriented organizational visions and strategies, developed state collaborations to transform education, and created a vibrant teacher-to-teacher learning community. In her former roles, Jillian led teams to create widely distributed multimedia educational products and services, received national recognition for the design and implementation of an organizational learning system and has taught student from primary through graduate school.e Information TBA
Sarah Davila, Director of English Language Learner Programs and Family and Community Outreach, Somerville Public Schools
Holding perhaps the longest title in the district as District Administrator of Programs, English Learner Education, and Family and Community Partnerships, Dr. Sarah Davila is in her 25th year with the Somerville Public Schools. http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/ Her work spans across multiple realms to support a highly diverse student population. Deeply committed to educational equity, Dr. Davila has helped lead the district’s charge toward creating systems that will ensure synergy between schools, families, and community. Her commitment to collaborative, systemic, sustainable solutions is evident in her current work with teachers of English Learners that aims to connect student data to best instructional practices. @SvilleSchools
Gerardo De Los Santos, Senior Fellow, Civitas
Gerardo E. de los Santos is a Senior Fellow for Civitas Learning. Partnering across education ecosystems, Civitas Learning leverages insight analytics and data science strategies that combine data mining and predictive modeling to guide initiatives in teaching, learning, student support, and institutional management. Prior to joining Civitas, de los Santos served The League for Innovation in the Community College for nearly 17 years, presiding for over a decade as President and CEO. The League is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. De los Santos is a sought-after speaker in higher education and has authored and co-authored over 50 publications, most recently including The Key Trends in Community Colleges Report. He has represented community colleges and Civitas Learning at White House Summits and Symposia focusing on innovation, leadership, and student success on multiple occasions. He is the recipient numerous awards including the prestigious 2015 ETS O’Banion Prize in Education for his significant contributions to teaching and learning, the 2015 American Association of Community Colleges Recognition Award for Visionary Leadership, and the 2009 International Leadership Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development. De los Santos earned an AA degree from Mesa Community College in Arizona, a BA from the University of California at Berkeley, a Masters in English from Arizona State University and a PhD in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
Michelle Dervan, Principal, Rethink Education
Michelle Dervan is a Principal at Rethink Education. She previously worked as Director of Strategic Partnerships at Pearson Education, where she focused on sourcing and structuring partnership deals with edtech companies. Prior to that she spent six years working for Enterprise Ireland, the economic development agency responsible for funding and supporting the growth of Irish startup companies. She is actively interested in entrepreneurship, education and workforce development initiatives. She volunteers as Organizer of the NY Edtech Meetup, as a Mentor for YearUp and as a NextGen Board Member of non-profit, NY Collaborates for Autism. Michelle has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a B.A. from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Brian Dixon, Partner, Kapor Capital
Brian Dixon focuses on identifying and evaluating early-stage investments along with helping portfolio companies grow effectively. Brian joined Kapor Capital in 2011 after spending two summers as an MBA intern, and was promoted to partner in November 2015. He leads ed-tech investments at Kapor Capital and currently works with over 25+ ed-tech portfolio companies. He is committed to making sure entrepreneurs of all backgrounds have access to advice and capital in order to make their business succeed.
David Dockterman, Chief Architect of Learning Sciences, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Dr. David Dockterman operates at the intersection of research and practice. In 1982 he helped found Tom Snyder Productions, an early pioneer in educational technology, while getting his doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Over the last 30 plus years, he has continued to balance lives in the academic and publishing worlds, serving now as Chief Architect, Learning Sciences for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
In both roles Dr. Dockterman supports the development of research-driven innovative practices to tackle challenging educational problems. At Tom Snyder, and later at Scholastic and HMH, David designed dozens of award-winning computer programs including: Decisions, Decisions; Science Court (which was also a highly-acclaimed TV show on ABC Saturday morning); and The Great Ocean Rescue. Most recently, Dr. Dockterman served as a key advisor for the development of MATH180 and READ 180 Universal. His long-time Harvard course, Innovation by Design, fosters an iterative, agile approach to innovation across a range of educational issues and attracts students from around the world. His new course on Adaptive Learning delves into new ways that technology can support personalized learning in different contexts and for individuals and groups.
Productive failure and a growth mindset fuel innovation and learning, and Dr. Dockterman has become adept at infusing the underlying research from behavioral psychology and cognitive science to foster those dispositions among students, teachers, and institutional leaders. He is a Fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education, an Editorial Board Member for the journal Science of Learning, and a Senior Fellow for the International Center for Leadership in Education.
Mary Driscoll, Instructional Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
Mary Driscoll is an Instructional Superintendent in the Boston Public Schools responsible for supporting 18 school leaders and the 5,000 students they serve. Previously she was the Principal of the Thomas Edison K8 School in Brighton. The Edison K8 is a large urban elementary school serving students from over 50 different countries speaking more than 30 languages. During the 2014-2015 school year a cohort of Edison teachers launched a blended learning pilot intended to strengthen guided reading practices. The experience led to a complete transformation of their classrooms. In the Fall of 2015 the school extended the blended learning implementation to include math instruction at the middle grades.
Mary started her education career as a middle school math and science teacher in New York City, she also worked in the Chelsea public schools before joining BPS in July 1997. She was a Director of Instruction at Mildred Avenue Middle School before becoming a principal. She is the proud parent of 2 BPS graduates.
Louise Dubé, Executive Director, iCivics
Louise Dubé serves as the Executive Director of iCivics. Louise has successfully led growth organizations that make and deliver engaging educational technology. Most recently, she was the Managing Director of Digital Learning at WGBH. At WGBH, Louise helped launch PBS LearningMedia, a platform reaching over 1.5 million educators. Previously, Louise served as President of Pangea Tools, an educational software start-up successfully acquired by Houghton Mifflin. As President of Soliloquy Learning, Louise structured the sale of the company to Scientific Learning where she served as Vice President and General Manager of Speech Products.
Louise began her career as an attorney in Montreal, Canada, and holds a law degree from McGill University, as well as an MBA from Yale University. Louise has been recognized as a Draper, Richards, Kaplan Social Entrepreneur. During her tenure, iCivics won the MacArthur Foundation’s Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
John Duong, Director, Strategic Social Investments, Lumina
John Duong is the Lumina Foundation’s director of strategic impact investments and social innovation. John sources, structures, underwrites and negotiates impact investments to support Lumina’s strategic priorities towards Goal 2025.
John most recently served as program and portfolio officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, managing a $100+ million mission-driven and program-related investments portfolio and making grants to further the field of impact investing in alignment with the Foundation’s mission objectives. He previously held positions at J.P. Morgan and Co., Citigroup Global Markets and Merrill Lynch as an investment banker in various roles including mergers and acquisitions advisory, credit risk analysis, equity research, capital structure optimization and corporate finance in both debt and equity products.
John earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and East Asian studies from Yale University. He also earned an Executive MBA, with a concentration in management and entrepreneurship, from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He serves on the boards of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), BridgeEdU, Credly and Viridis Learning.
Dai Ellis, Co-Founder, Nova and Spire (Kepler)
Dai Ellis is an education entrepreneur building ventures that prepare youth in Africa for success in 21st century careers. Most recently, Dai co-founded the Nova Pioneer Group to build the first pan-African network of primary and secondary schools that provide a world-class education at a cost that is affordable to working families.
Dai is also a co-founder of Spire and Kepler. Spire is a corporate training venture that helps some of the fastest-growing companies in Africa expand and thrive by turbocharging the growth of their junior staff. Meanwhile, Kepler is reimagining higher education with a disruptive bachelor’s degree offering that produces vastly superior employment outcomes at low cost. Both Kepler and Spire use a delivery model that combines world-class online content, high-quality in-person coaching, and extensive on-the-job practice.
Dai previously served as CEO of Excel Academy Charter Schools, where he was responsible for building a network of high-performing urban schools in Boston. Dai has also worked at McKinsey and later spent five years leading the Clinton Foundation’s work on improving the marketplace for drugs, vaccines, and other essential health products in the developing world. Dai is a graduate of Yale Law School.
Kristine Erwin, Teacher, St. John's Prep
Ms. Kristine Erwin holds a BS in Biology with a minor in geography from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She worked in the biotech field as a research scientist for several companies before becoming a teacher. In the past she taught Biology for 7 years at Everett High School and was a Massachusetts Highly Qualified teacher there. She currently teaches biology at St John’s Prep, a 1:1 school in Danvers MA.
Al Essa, VP Research and Data Science, McGraw Hill Education
Alfred is VP of Research and Data Science at McGraw-Hill Education (MHE). He leads learning science research and data science at MHE with the goal of generating of next-generation products and solutions in education. He has held leadership roles in academia and industry, including serving as Dir. of Innovation and Analytics Strategy at Desire2Learn and CIO at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. At MIT he was the recipient of an MIT Excellence Award for innovative solutions.
Rita Ferrandino, Founding Partner, Arc Capital Development and CEO, Education Design Studio Inc. (EDSI)
Rita Ferrandino has built a reputation as one of the most effective strategist and coalition-builders in the education community. She is a nationally recognized STEM education expert and authority on education policy and politics.
Rita is the founding partner at Arc Capital Development, a global private equity and advisory firm. Arc invests in and operates companies in the K-20 education and special needs markets and has served over 80 clients in the US, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, Turkey, Israel & India. Arc clients and portfolio companies provide products generating over a billion dollars a years to schools worldwide.
Rita currently also serves as the CEO of Education Design Studio Inc. (EDSi), a private seed fund/incubator. EDSi helps education entrepreneurs jump start new ventures and was created in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.
Jonathan Finkelstein, Founder and CEO, Credly
Jonathan Finkelstein is founder and CEO of Credly, a leading digital credential service provider. Previously, he was founder of LearningTimes, and was co-founder of HorizonLive (acquired by Blackboard), helping mission-driven organizations serve millions of learners through online programs and platforms. Jonathan is author of Learning in Real Time (Wiley), co-author of a report for the US DOE on the potential for digital badges, and is a frequent speaker on digital credentials and the future of learning and workforce development.
Renee Foster, President, iReady
Renee joined Curriculum Associates in 2008 and serves as President. With an innovative focus on infusing technology into product development, she has led the company’s transition from traditional publisher to edtech industry leader. Previous to Curriculum Associates, Renee was Senior Director of Business Development at The American Museum of Natural History, where she built new business operations that increased funding for one of the top natural history museums in the world. Renee also served as Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company and began her career as the youngest-ever Plant Manager for Shell Oil.
A 2016 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, Renee serves on the boards of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School and Uncommon Schools and has worked in consulting and volunteer roles across several education-related nonprofits. Renee has been recognized among the Top 100 Influential EdTech leaders and was named a 2016 Woman of Influence by the Boston Business Journal and Female Executive of the Year by the Stevie Awards. Renee is passionate about creating tools to drive performance gains for all learners, particularly those with learning challenges and in under-resourced communities.
Renee graduated from Rice University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and earned an MBA from Stanford University.
Aubrey Francisco, Research Director, Digital Promise
Aubrey Francisco is Director of Research at Digital Promise, where she led the development of the Digital Promise bibliometric map of education research, which uses an innovative technology tool to visualize the education research landscape. She also oversaw the implementation of fourteen education technology pilots in school districts across the U.S., and the research component of the Digital Promise Schools project in 46 middle schools. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Aubrey worked in research and development in academic, industry, and government settings. Aubrey earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and her B.S. from Syracuse University.
Andrew Frishman, Co-Executive Director, Big Picture
In the spring of 2002 Andrew heard a student describe his unique transformational learning experiences at The Met High School in Providence, RI, the “mother ship” of the Big Picture Learning Network. That fall, Andrew joined the Met as an Advisor (Teacher), working with a 9th grade advisory group through to their graduation in 2006. He then moved to CA to support the development of the Met Sacramento High School, worked with its first graduating class, and became the school’s first “Learning Through Internship Coordinator.” Andrew has assisted with the expansion of the Big Picture Network in a variety of capacities, including supporting the launch of innovative schools across the US and internationally. Along the way he has melded experiences from an MAT, an administrative credential focused on urban schools, and a Health Leadership Program, into a belief that student-centered education is a crucial determinant of both individual life outcomes as well as community well-being. He completed the Education Leadership Program (EdLD) at Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School and joined the leadership team of Big Picture Learning in 2013.
Chris Gabrieli, Chair, The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education
Chris Gabrieli is the CEO of Empower Schools, Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and a lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. He has been at the forefront of several movements to expand educational opportunity and improve schooling including his long-time leadership of the Massachusetts and national movement to expand learning time for disadvantaged students.
Empower Schools partners with communities to help them get the schools they want with the results their students need. Empower partnered with the Mayor and School Committee of Salem, MA to address their lowest performing school – in just two years, that school, now a highly-autonomous school within the district, has soared from Level 4 to Level 1 and from the 3rd percentile in the state to the 24th. In Springfield, MA, Empower partnered with the Springfield Public Schools, the Springfield Education Association and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) to form the groundbreaking Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP) which is responsible for rapidly improving educational outcomes for over 4,000 middle grade students (80% of Springfield students at those grades) in New England’s second-largest district. More recently, Springfield turned to the SEZP to also take on the turnaround for 1,400 high school students at another Springfield school. Chris is Chairman of the SEZP Board. Empower has also launched a Zone in partnership with the Denver, CO Public Schools and is participating with New Bedford Schools and the New Bedford Mayor in the publicly announced exploration of a Zone for the middle schools there. Early on in its existence, Empower founders helped organize, design and launch the nationally heralded turnaround of the Lawrence Public Schools.
Chris is a Partner Emeritus at Bessemer Venture Partners where he helped entrepreneurs build biotechnology and healthcare companies and began his business career as the founder and CEO of GMIS, a medical software company that became the leader in its field and a publicly traded company. Chris has been active in civic and political life in Massachusetts including winning the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor in 2002 and coming in second in the Democratic primary for Governor in 2006. Chris and his wife live in Boston where they have raised five children, the oldest of whom is now an elementary school teacher in the Hartford, CT public schools.
John Gabrieli, Investigator, McGovern Institute and Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT
John Gabrieli is Grover Hermann Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT. His goal is to understand the organization of memory, thought, and emotion in the human brain. By combining brain imaging with behavioral tests, he studies the neural basis of these abilities in human subjects. A central theme of Gabrieli’s research is memory in its different forms: the short-term recall that allows us to dial a phone number, our long-term memory of events and places, and the emotional associations that often color our factual memories. Gabrieli studies how memory emerges during childhood. As brain imaging technology improves, it becomes possible to scan children at ever younger ages. This will open the door to many new questions about normal human development as well as developmental disorders such as dyslexia or autism. In fact, Gabrieli will head an ambitious new project to study the origins of dyslexia.
Nick Gaehde, President, Lexia Learning
Nick Gaehde is the President of Lexia Learning. He has been with Lexia since 2005, and became a member of the Rosetta Stone leadership team in 2013.
Nick brings to Rosetta Stone deep industry experience in literacy, software development and K–12 educational publishing. Having guided Lexia through several transformations, he has maintained a keen focus on the company’s mission to help improve student literacy in schools and districts throughout the United States.
Prior to joining Lexia, Nick served as President of Educators Publishing Service, Inc. (EPS), a publisher of literacy solutions for the K–8 market. Before that, he held product management and marketing positions at Vertigo Development Group, Lotus Development Corporation, and New England Business Service. Nick has served on the boards of Massachusetts Branch of the International Dyslexia Society and ELLevation Education, a company focused on the needs of English language learners. In 2011, industry peers voted Nick as one of the five “EdNET Leaders to Watch,” recognizing him for his significant contributions to the education industry. Nick attended Pitzer College, where he earned a B.A. in psychology with a focus on early childhood development, and earned his Master’s at Boston University’s School of Management. He speaks English and German.
Kerry Gallagher, Digital Learning Specialist, St. John’s Prep
Kerry Gallagher is a Digital Learning Specialist at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts. She is also the Director of K-12 Education for ConnectSafely.org. Prior to taking on a full-time instructional technology role, Kerry taught middle and high school history in Bring Your Own Device public schools for 13 years. She was best known for her paperless collaborative classroom model, and has helped schools create student-driven technology integration programs. Kerry received the 2014 Yale-Lynn Hall Teacher Action Research Prize for her submission on the use of mobile devices for a paperless public school classroom. In 2015, she was a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, the Family Online Safety Institute recognized her with the Outstanding Achievement Award and she was a MassCUE Featured Educator. In 2016 she was an ASCD Emerging Leader and received the MassCUE Pathfinder Award. Kerry speaks and presents often about the effective use of technology in the classroom at conference locations that have included Harvard Law School, Yale School of Management, and Stanford University. Kerry writes for EdSurge, Corwin-Connect, Smarter Schools Project and ConnectSafely. She holds a B.A. in Politics from Saint Anselm College and J.D. from Massachusetts School of Law. Her blog is Start with a Question and she is on Twitter @KerryHawk02.
Jess Gartner, Founder and CEO, Allovue
Jess is the founder and CEO of Allovue, where edtech meets fintech – edfintech! Before founding Allovue, Jess studied education policy at the University of Pennsylvania and taught in schools around the world, including Thailand, South Africa, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. As a Teach for America corps member, she taught middle school humanities in Baltimore City and received her M.A. in teaching from Johns Hopkins University. She has been featured as one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Education (2015, 2016 All-Star), The Baltimore Sun’s Women to Watch (2013), and Baltimore Magazine’s 40 Under 40 (2013). She was recognized as the 2014 Maryland SmartCEO Innovator of the Year in the Emerging Business category.
Elizabeth Garzarelli, Partner, Ligature Partners
Elizabeth Garzarelli joined the firm in 2005. A former psychotherapist, Elizabeth has fourteen years of experience in executive recruiting. She focuses on mid-level management to C-suite positions across the U.S. Elizabeth specializes in educational technology, educational assessment, and educational publishing for preK-12, higher education, teacher professional development, and adult continuing education. She partners with clients and candidates to guide successful placements aligning business strategies, cultural fit and long-term business requirements. She builds deep, “trusted advisor” relationships with a keen appreciation for the unique requirements of each individual search.
Martin Geoghegan, Principal, John T. Nichols, Jr. Middle School
Martin R. Geoghegan is the principal of the John T. Nichols, Jr. Middle School in Middleborough, Massachusetts. Since Marty has come to the Nichols, it has gone from a BYOD school to a 1-to-1 environment, where Google G-Suite is utilized to help his school see greater success. He was a high school and middle school English teacher for nine years before he made his way into administration. He is currently the President of the Massachusetts ASCD Board of Directors and the Middle Level Chair on the MSSAA Board. He founded and moderates the #MSSAAchat on the second Tuesday of each month for all educators. Marty has a BA in English and an MA in Education from the University of Connecticut, as well as a Master’s of Education in Administration from Endicott College. He was a MassCUE Pathfinder Award winner for 2016. He lives in Scituate with his wife and two young sons where he tries to carve out some time to coach little league when he’s not Tweeting.
Matt Greenfield, Managing Partner, Rethink Education
Matt Greenfield is Managing Partner of Rethink Education, a venture capital firm focused on educational technology. He is on the boards of Ace Learning, BrightBytes, and Hapara and serves as an advisor to University Ventures and Laureate Education. His non-profit affiliations include the leadership council of NewSchools Venture Fund and the board of Mouse.org.
Matt received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in English from Yale University, where he won five academic prizes and fellowships from the Mellon and Whiting Foundations and served on the editorial board of the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities. He taught at Bowdoin College, where he served on the committee overseeing admissions, and the City University of New York, where he served on a college curriculum committee, helped launch an interdisciplinary learning community program for first-year students, taught in the teacher preparation program, and taught graduate classes in literature to teachers from the New York City public schools.
Karen Greenleaf, Head of Content, Google for Education
At Google for Education, Karen manages the content business for Chromebooks — the #1 selling device in US K-12 education used by more than 20 million students. She works with educators, channel partners, and the app developer ecosystem to bring innovative Chromebook tools to schools globally. Previously, Karen worked at startups in various roles including growing e-commerce sales for a wine company, publishing a 1MM circulation magazine, and developing multi-million dollar education partnerships. Karen began her career at Bain & Company where she advised Fortune 500 companies. Karen volunteers for Cambridge schools, where she’s a member of the Superintendent advisory board and the Graham & Parks School steering committee, and fundraising chair for neighborhood preschools. Karen also mentors companies in the LearnLaunch and Hult Prize accelerator programs.
Alex Grodd, Founder, Better Lesson
Alex Grodd is the co-founder and CEO of BetterLesson, an edtech company that empowers teachers to learn what works best for their students as quickly as possible. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in political philosophy, Grodd taught 6th Grade social studies in the Atlanta Public School system, where he founded the Middle School Debate team and the Outward Bound Club. He then moved to Boston and taught 6th Grade English at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. He created BetterLesson to address the instructional challenges that he faced during his time in the classroom.
Raul A. Gutierrez, CEO, TinyBop
Tinybop champions curiosity, tinkering, and good plain fun. Inspired by vintage children’s books, games, and films, the company designs digital toys that dive into the wonders of our everyday world.
Raul was born in Monterrey, Mexico. He grew up in rural East Texas where he was a teenage programmer. After graduating from Princeton with a degree in Art History he has led an eclectic career at the intersection of technology and the arts including forays into film and web startups. He now lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two young boys.
Holly Haddad, Teacher, Whitman Hanson Schools
Holly Haddad is a STEAM teacher at Whitman Middle School in Whitman, Massachusetts. She has earned a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology, with a minor in Technical Mathematics, and a masters degree in Instructional Technology. Holly’s original dream was to be a forecast meteorologist/storm chaser. When that didn’t pan out she proceeded to take the MTEL’s and start her teaching career by teaching a multi-subject class at WMS. As the inaugural MCAS Prep teacher, she started out using a rolling projector and PowerPoint in the fall of 2005. Under the forward moving principal George Ferro, it became apparent that a computer lab might be a better fit. Holly began shifting from less test prep to more academic subject integration before moving into the area of STEM in 2009, and most recently STEAM in 2015. Holly uses a variety of programs and websites to introduce the students to areas like general computer knowledge, graphic design, video game creation. In STEAM at WMS websites like www.prodigygame.com and sumdog.com are frequently used for math based game learning, while programs like Scratch and Kodu are used to introduce students to creating their own games in class.
Michael Hansen, CEO, Cengage Learning
Michael E. Hansen became CEO of Cengage, a global education and technology company, in September of 2012. Under Michael’s leadership, Cengage has transformed from a print publisher to a company which today is creating some of the most highly rated digital learning products and platforms. In FY 2016, digital unit sales outpaced print textbook sales, a significant milestone for Cengage.
Michael has built a strong reputation for transforming businesses across many media and information sectors. Prior to joining Cengage, he served as CEO of Elsevier Health Sciences; President and CEO of Harcourt Assessment; Executive Vice President of Operational Excellence at Bertelsmann and Partner and Co-Chairman of the e-Business and Media Practice at Boston Consulting Group.
Throughout his career, Michael has built a strong reputation for achieving results through a rapid strategic assessment, relentless focus on measurable execution, and a keen emphasis on cultural change which drives sustainability.
Mr. Hansen holds a Master of Law degree from the University of Bonn in Germany and an MBA from Columbia University in New York.
Kristin Harmeling, Partner, YouGov
Since joining YouGov in 2010, she has led over 20 education-related projects that included over 75,000 educators, 15,000 parents and 10,000 students.
Kristen began her career with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), where she researched congressional requests, producing written reports and briefing congressional staffers.
Michael Harris, Assistant Professor, Bunker Hill Community College
Michael is a professor at Bunker Hill Community College, and he is currently developing data science and analytics curriculum for BHCC. He created the Data Management Fast Track Certificate which is aimed towards training people in data literacy, and introduce them to data science. He is currently creating a data analytics follow up certificate which will start to explore different statistical machine learning techniques for data analysis. The curriculum being developed focuses on R, Python and SQL with other tools such as Tableau integrated into the courses. The coursework focuses on PBL methodologies, and has resilience content designed into the curriculum.
Michael Horn, Co-founder and Distinguished Fellow, Christensen Institute
Michael Horn speaks and writes about the future of education and works with a portfolio of education organizations to improve the life of each and every student. He is the co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a non-profit think tank, and he serves as a principal consultant for Entangled Solutions, which offers innovation services to higher education institutions.
Horn is the author and coauthor of multiple books, white papers, and articles on education, including the award-winning book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns and the Amazon-bestseller Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools.
An expert on disruptive innovation, online learning, blended learning, competency-based learning, and how to transform the education system into a student-centered one, Horn serves on the board and advisory boards of a range of education organizations. He is on the board of Fidelis Education, Education Elements, Global Personalized Academics, the Silicon Schools Fund, the National Association of Independent Schools, and the Minerva Institute. He serves as an advisor to Intellus Learning, Pedago, Knod, Everest Education, AltSchool, Degreed, the Education Innovation Advisory Board at Arizona State University, and the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College, Columbia University, and he is an executive editor at Education Next.
Horn was selected as a 2014 Eisenhower Fellow to study innovation in education in Vietnam and Korea, and Tech&Learning magazine named him to its list of the 100 most important people in the creation and advancement of the use of technology in education. He holds a BA in history from Yale University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
– See more at: http://www.christenseninstitute.org/our-team/michael-b-horn/#sthash.t6WoYi8z.dpuf
Tim Hudson, VP of Learning, Dreambox
Dr. Tim Hudson is a learning innovator and education leader who frequently writes and speaks about the intersection of learning, schooling, and technology. In recent years, he has spoken on these topics at national conferences such as ASCD, iNACOL, and SXSWedu. At DreamBox Learning, he oversees the research and development of innovative learning experiences that engage students in mathematical thinking while providing teachers in all fifty states and throughout Canada with useful information to support differentiation and personalization in their classrooms. . Tim holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University and co-authored a chapter entitled “Classrooms Where Children Learn” in a book about Math Intervention published by NCTM. Prior to joining DreamBox, Tim spent more than 10 years working in public education, first as a High School Mathematics Teacher and then as a K–12 Mathematics Coordinator and Strategic Planning Facilitator in suburban St. Louis, MO. Twitter: @DocHudsonMath
Nina Huntemann, Director Academics and Research, edX
Dr. Nina Huntemann in the Director of Academics and Research and the voice of the educator for edX. A member of the edX leadership team and an experienced faculty member, Nina provides vision and interpretive skills to aid edX in fulfilling its mission, enabling its university partners, and championing the future of higher education. Key initiatives Nina has lead in the past year include launching the first ever edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning; collaborating with Kiron Open Education to enable access to free college-level education for refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries; and updating policies and processes to support the academic rigor and integrity of MOOCs on the edX platform.
Nina has over 15 years of college-level teaching, program administration, and faculty development experience. Prior to joining edX, she was an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Suffolk University in Boston where she taught courses and published research in digital media studies. Nina received her Ph.D. in communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also co-director of Women in Games Boston, a professional network for women working in the digital games industry. Outside of work, Nina enjoys cycling, baking, and hiking with her Welsh terrier, Penny. You can follow Nina on twitter at @ninabeth.
Jeff Jacobson, Immersive Visualization Consultant, Construction VR
Jeffrey Jacobson’s doctorate in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh focuses on human perception, action, and learning in three-dimensional space, which serves as the foundation of user experience in VR. He has strong technical skills in computer science, with 20 years of experience building VR systems. His published research centers on the use of VR to immerse the learner in the coherent virtual learning environment, which parallels real life but has special advantages. Examples include a virtual forest seen in a digital dome, where the instructor can change the season or age of the forest with the touch of a button. He has also (thematically) extended physical museum collections into virtual space, such as adding a tour of a virtual Egyptian Temple to a physical Egyptian collection. He also produced a virtual tour of a Roman City to be part of a (physical) ancient Roman art collection. The virtual space is Much of his work centered on cultural history and heritage, such as a powerful mixed-reality experience of a recreated Egyptian public ceremony, the subject of a recently published book.
Jeff has mastered every generation of VR technology building training and educational solutions, with experts in a variety of industries. This includes visuals aids for instruction in operating heavy equipment, VR designs for teamwork training in a virtual operating room, using VR for design communication and instruction for architects (with each other and when instructing non-architects), and virtual environments for the diagnosis and treatment of balance disorders. Today, he the lead organizer of the BostonVR meetup (a club of thousands of VR professionals and hobbyists), and a leader in research and development of the use of VR for architectural design and construction processes.
Karen Janowski, Assistive and Educational Technology Consultant, EdTech Solutions, Inc.
Karen is an assistive and educational technology consultant who maintains EdTech Solutions, Inc., a private practice consulting to schools in the Greater Boston area. She presents both locally and nationally and is an adjunct professor at Simmons College, Graduate School of Education. She is passionate about using technology to help all student achieve success and independence.
Jinal Jhaveri, CEO, School Mint
Jinal is currently the CEO of SchoolMint – an online enrollment and school choice platform for K12 schools used by thousands of schools in 35+ US states and four countries. Millions of families worldwide use SchoolMint to choose best schools for their kids and easily finish the whole enrollment process on their mobile phone or online. Before SchoolMint he held various leadership roles at LogN (founder and CEO of product design and development firm), The climate corporation, MySpace and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He is also an angel investor in several venture funds and late stage companies impacting millions of lives.
Brian Jordan, Software Engineer, Code.org
Brian Jordan is a software engineer at Code.org building Code Studio, Code.org’s K-12 Computer Science curriculum. Brian worked with the Minecraft Education team to build the Minecraft Hour of Code, which has since been used by over 30 million students, and is now working on the Maker Toolkit, a web-based physical computing IDE for an Internet of Things curriculum. Passionate about education, game and web development, Brian previously built video games for PopCap/EA and worked with OLPC facilitators in Rwanda to train teachers and deploy laptops with educational software in primary schools.
Andrew Joseph, CEO, School by Design
As the CEO of School by Design, Andrew Joseph brings years of experience helping education leaders conceive of and apply smart technology solutions to thorny challenges. In 2008, Andrew co-founded TenMarks Education, an online personalized learning math curriculum that provides immediate feedback for teachers and students to take action. When TenMarks was acquired by Amazon in 2013, Andrew joined Amazon Education to lead strategy and strategic relations for K-12. Prior to these roles, Andrew was responsible for business development, marketing, and analytics for a number of software companies. Andrew serves on the board of the LearnLaunch Institute, the STEM Garden Institute, and DreamFar.
Julius Juerging, Investment Manager, Holtzbrink
Julius is Investment Manager at Holtzbrinck Digital and focuses on investments in educational technology. He globally sources opportunities and actively supports portfolio companies on their road to success.
Prior to Holtzbrinck Digital, Julius gained experience at Zalora, a Rocket Internet Company in Southeast Asia and at the VC fund BDMI. Julius completed his bachelor studies in Business Administration at Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich and graduated with a Master degree in Digital Business from IE Business School Madrid.
Richard Keaveny, Vice President, Technical Partnerships and Developer Community, McGraw-Hill Education
Mr. Keaveny joined McGraw-Hill Education in May, 2013 as the Vice President of Technology Product Management for McGraw-Hill Higher Education. In this role Mr. Keaveny worked closely with the MHHE President, Chief Products Officer and the extended Products and Marketing teams on digital strategy. To execute on the MHHE digital strategy, Mr. Keaveny lead a team of Technology Product Managers who managed key platforms and services including Connect, the LearnSmart Suite, Create, Tegrity, and MHCampus.
In his current role as Vice President of Technical Partnerships, Mr. Keaveny is responsible for all partnerships between companies wishing to integrate their technologies with those from McGraw-Hill Education.
Twice in his career Mr. Keaveny has worked at education start-ups that were acquired by large information companies; Bedford Books, acquired by The Thomson Corporation, and Course Technology, acquired by Pearson PLC. In both cases after the acquisitions Mr. Keaveny held senior management roles in Digital Development and Strategy and for more than twenty years Mr. Keaveny has imagined new products and lead teams to develop transformational teaching and learning experiences. In the process Mr. Keaveny has contributed to the evolution of how people teach and learn.
Throughout his career Mr. Keaveny has focused on improving teaching and learning through the creation of customer centered digital solutions, and in 2008, Mr. Keaveny’s team was the first digital team to win the Pearson Product of the Year award.
Most recently before joining McGraw-Hill, Mr. Keaveny founded an internally funded start-up at Pearson called Open Sesame/Blue Sky – a digital authoring and delivery platform.
In addition to running digital teams to create market-leading products, Mr. Keaveny was an award winning sales representative and sales manager and has also held positions in business development.
Mr. Keaveny holds a Bachelor’s of Arts with Honors and a Masters degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada
Martin Keck, Principal, Needham & Company
Martin Keck rejoined Needham & Company in 2014 focusing on the internet and digital media space. Mr. Keck joined Needham from Expedia, Inc., the leading e-commerce travel site, where he was a Director of Corporate Development. Prior to Expedia, Mr. Keck worked in Boston for Bain & Company focusing on private equity and technology engagements, and as well as at Permal Capital, a private equity secondaries firm. Earlier in his career Mr. Keck worked for Silver Lake Partners and began his career at Needham as an investment banking analyst. Mr. Keck received his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a BA from Amherst College.
Eric Klopfer, Professor and Director of the Education Arcade, MIT
Eric Klopfer (@eklopfer) is Professor and Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade at MIT. Klopfer’s research focuses on the development and use of computer games and simulations for building understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He is the co-author of the books, “Adventures in Modeling”, “The More We Know”, and the upcoming “Resonant Games”, as well as author of “Augmented Learning.” His lab has produced software that includes the UbiqBio line of mobile biology games, the Massively Multiplayer game, and The Radix Endeavor, as well as platforms to help kids make games. His work also includes a series of Massive Open Online Courses known as edTechX, which cover educational technology and games. Klopfer is also the co-founder and past President of the non-profit Learning Games Network.
Anthony Kim, CEO, Education Elements
Anthony is the author of Personalized Learning Playbook, Why the Time is Now. He has contributed to many publications on new school models including Lessons Learned from Blended Programs: Experiences and Recommendations from the Field. Anthony is a nationally recognized speaker on personalized learning and his work has been referenced by the Christensen Institute, iNACOL, EdSurge, CompetencyWorks, EdWeek, District Administrator, and numerous other research reports. He is the founder and CEO of Education Elements, a provider of technology and professional services to school districts across the country. Prior to Education Elements, Anthony founded Provost Systems, which provided online learning solutions to school districts. In 2008, he sold Provost Systems to Edison Learning and served as Executive Vice President of Online. Beyond implementing personalized learning models, Anthony focuses his research on organizational design and culture of innovation at school districts. Through this research, he is currently working on a new book, which bring self-organization strategies to school districts to better prepare students for the future of work. Anthony is a graduate of Cornell University and lives in San Francisco.
John J-H Kim, Senior Lecturer of General Management, Harvard Business School
John J-H Kim is a Senior Lecturer in the General Management unit of the Harvard Business School. Mr. Kim created and teaches the second-year course Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education, which explores ways in which entrepreneurs are pursuing the use of technology to transform education and achieve higher performance. He also co-teaches the Social Innovation Lab, a project-based course providing student teams an opportunity to build a social enterprise with the discipline of business tools and entrepreneurial techniques.
Ryan Knight, Director of Strategy and Evaluation, UP Education Network
Ryan is passionate about data-driven decision making in the social sector. He unites data with strategy at UP Education Network, using custom-built analytics tools and a rigorous strategic planning process to help UP scale from one school and 500 students in 2012 to six schools and 3200 students in 2016. Ryan leverages his background in research to run randomized evaluations of new programs at UP and his training from the Yale School of Management to seed innovations at the teacher level.
Stefan Kohler, CEO, Kickboard for Schools
Stefan Kohler has nearly 20 years experience in the education technology market, Kohler has held a range of senior management positions throughout his career. Prior to being CEO of Kickboard, he served as executive vice president of Solution Tree, where he was responsible for the company’s marketing, sales, technology and business development divisions. Kohler’s previous senior leadership positions include president of Pearson Services Division, general manager of Scholastic Reading Intervention Division and CEO of Virtual Ink. Kohler has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has earned a MA Superintendent’s License.
Stephanie Krauss, Senior Policy Fellow, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
Stephanie leads CSW’s Connecting Credentials campaign, which focuses on building a well-functioning and sustainable credentialing ecosystem that is in sync with the needs of 21stcentury learners, educators, employers and the economy. Stephanie also supports CSW’s youth-focused projects, particularly those focused on opportunity youth. Stephanie has extensive knowledge of education and youth development policy and practice, as well as over a decade of experience in educational and nonprofit leadership, locally and nationally, primarily focused on underserved and underrepresented populations and learner-centered approaches like competency-based education.
Previously, Stephanie served as a senior fellow with Students at the Center, a Jobs for the Future initiative, and the Forum for Youth Investment. Stephanie’s work at JFF and the Forum focused on synthesizing and adapting for practice current research on key components of youth development, child well-being and learner-centered approaches. As a senior fellow, Stephanie provided thought leadership and strategic support, liaised with key stakeholders, drove new communications, products, and convenings, and designed opportunities for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to connect. At the Forum, Stephanie served as co-director and research lead of The Readiness Project.
Prior to her work with JFF and the Forum, Stephanie served as founder, president, and CEO of Shearwater Education Foundation.
Stephanie holds a master’s of education in curriculum and instruction from Arizona State University as well as a master’s of social work in social and economic development of youth from Washington University in St. Louis.
Vijay Kumar, Associate Dean and Senior Strategic Advisor for Digital Learning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Vijay Kumar provides leadership for sustainable, technology-enabled educational innovation at MIT. He is a member of the MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) advisory committee, an executive officer for MIT’s Council on Educational Technology, and a member of the steering committee for I-Campus, the MIT-Microsoft alliance.
In prior roles at MIT and other institutions, Vijay has been responsible for strategy development and the integration of information technology and media services into education. His research and advising work has included engagements with the Smithsonian, the India National Knowledge Commission, UNESCO, Open University of Catalonia, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Qatar Foundation International, and the Massachusetts STEM Council’s Network Operations Board.
Vijay has authored numerous articles in the area of educational innovations and technology strategy, and is a co-editor of a Carnegie Foundation book “Opening Up Education” (MIT Press, August 2008). In 2013, he was awarded an honorary professorship by Tianjin Open University. He was also named the Exxon Mobil Chair for Technology Enabled Learning at the University of Qatar, 2014. Vijay earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, and an EdD from the University of Massachusetts.
Schuyler Lance, Managing Principal, SustainVC & Patient Capital Collaborative
Mr. Lance is Founder and Managing Principal of SustainVC, the general partner of a series of impact investment funds called The Patient Capital Collaborative that make investments in a wide range of early-stage companies providing meaningful social and/or environmental benefit to the world. To date the PCC has invested in over 30 companies, including several EdTech companies. The PCC is affiliated with Investors’ Circle, the oldest and largest angel association dedicated to Impact Investing.
Mr. Lance began his career with the Bank of Boston, financing early-stage tech companies in the Boston area and Silicon Valley. In 1989 he became an Investment officer with Pacific Life Insurance Company, making private investments in companies and investment funds. Then in 1990 he co-founded the private equity firm known today as Windjammer Capital Investors, with $2 billion under management. Mr. Lance began SustainVC in 2007.
Stephen Laster, Chief Digital Officer, McGraw Hill
Stephen J. Laster was appointed chief digital officer of McGraw-Hill Education in August 2012. He is responsible for creating compelling student experiences, and developing breakthrough teaching and learning solutions. Prior to joining McGraw-Hill Education, he led Intelligent Solutions, LLC, a firm that engages with universities and businesses to leverage their digital technology and collaborative tools. At the same time, he served as the chief information and technology officer of the Harvard Business School and as a member of the HBS administrative leadership team, overseeing the school’s academic, research and administrative computing teams.
Mr. Laster taught courses at the undergraduate, graduate level and executive/ professional level in technology leadership, problem solving, software design, and eLearning product development. Prior to joining Harvard, Mr. Laster held several leadership positions at Babson College including chief technology officer for Babson’s for-profit eLearning company and director of Curriculum Innovation and Technology. Earlier, Mr. Laster held leadership positions at a number of companies where he was responsible for information technology, technology product development, and major re-engineering and implementation efforts. He is a former trustee of Babson College and is on the board of the Sloan Consortium for Online Learning. Mr. Laster holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and a MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.
Brigette Lau, Board Partner, Social Capital
Brigette Lau is a board partner at Social Capital, whose mission is to advance humanity by solving the world’s hardest problems. Social Capital invests in and starts breakthrough companies in areas including healthcare, education, financial services and enterprise. Brigette focuses on education investing and currently serves on the board of Descomplica, Brilliant, CodeNow and Treehouse. She has been in Silicon Valley since 1999, having held numerous roles at startups as well as large corporations, including IBM.In addition to investing in tech entrepreneurs, Brigette also invests in her community. She has started Tin Pot Creamery and Bird Dog – both highly rated, award winning concepts that use food to create memorable experiences. Brigette graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in Computer Engineering and has an MBA from Georgetown.
Amber Laxton, Team Leader, Entangled Solutions
Amber Laxton is a Consulting Team Leader at Entangled Solutions. She has over eight years of experience in continuing education. Prior to joining Entangled Solutions, Amber was the Senior Analyst of Continuing Education at Eduventures, the Director of Academic Services at the University of California Santa Cruz, Silicon Valley Extension, and the Enrollment Services Manager at DePaul University’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education.
She has experience developing and managing non-credit and non-degree education programs and optimizing technology to improve operational efficiency and student services.
She has a B.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Public Service Management from DePaul University in Chicago.
Paul LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University
Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc is President of Southern New Hampshire University. Under his direction, SNHU has become one of the largest providers of online higher education in the country, and the first to have a full competency-based degree program, untethered to the credit hour or classes, approved by a regional accreditor and the U.S. Department of Education.
Paul was listed by Forbes Magazine as one of its 15 “Classroom Revolutionaries” and one of the “most influential people in higher education” for 2016. Washington Monthly named him one of America’s ten most innovative university presidents.
Ryan Lefton, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Amazon Education
Ryan Lefton has been in the Educational Publishing and Technology industry for the last 20 years. He is currently Head of Strategic Partnerships at Amazon Education. Prior to joining Amazon in 2015, Ryan spent ten years at Gale|Cengage Learning in various roles, most recently Vice President for the School Division. Over the course of his career, Ryan has worked with numerous states and hundreds of school districts across the country strategizing and assisting them in their transition to digital content and online learning. He has presented at regional and national conferences on 21st Century Learning, Effective Professional Development, and Transforming Education through Technology.
Shirley Leung, Columnist, The Boston Globe
Shirley Leung is a columnist at The Boston Globe, writing on everything from the cost of the Olympics, to gender issues in the workplace. She was a 2015 finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award for commentary and a speaker at TedxAmherst. Leung also appears every Friday on Boston Public Radio at WGBH 89.7 FM. She is a regular contributor to New England Cable News, WGBHTV’s “Greater Boston,” and “Beat the Press.” Previously, Leung was the Globe’s business editor overseeing daily coverage and helped launch Top Places to Work magazine. On her watch, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers named the Globe’s business section one of the best in the country. Prior to the Globe, she was a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal and her hometown paper, The Baltimore Sun. A graduate of Princeton University, Leung is a working mom with two young sons.
Arthur Levine, President, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Arthur Levine is the sixth president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Before his appointment at Woodrow Wilson, he was president and professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He also previously served as chair of the higher education program, chair of the Institute for Educational Management, and senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Dr. Levine is the author of dozens of articles and reviews, including a series of reports for the Education Schools Project on the preparation of school leaders, teachers, and education researchers. Dr. Levine’s numerous commentaries appear in such publications as The New York Times; The Los Angeles Times; The Wall Street Journal; The Washington Post; Education Week; and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
His most recent book is Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student (with Diane Dean, 2012). Among his other volumes are Unequal Fortunes: Snapshots from the South Bronx; When Hope and Fear Collide: A Portrait of Today’s College Student (with Jeanette S. Cureton); Beating the Odds: How the Poor Get to College (with Jana Nidiffer); Higher Learning in America; Shaping Higher Education’s Future; When Dreams and Heroes Died: A Portrait of Today’s College Students; Handbook on Undergraduate Curriculum; Quest for Common Learning (with Ernest Boyer); Opportunity in Adversity(with Janice Green); and Why Innovation Fails.
Dr. Levine has received numerous honors, including Carnegie, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller Fellowships as well as the American Council on Education’s Book of the Year award (for Reform of Undergraduate Education), the Educational Press Association’s Annual Award for writing (three times), and 25 honorary degrees. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently sits on the boards of Say Yes to Education and Motivis Learning.
Dr. Levine was also previously President of Bradford College (1982-1989) and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation and Carnegie Council for Policy Studies in Higher Education (1975-1982). He received his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Phyllis Lockett, CEO, Leap Innovations
Phyllis is CEO of LEAP Innovations, a Chicago-based education technology hub that advances personalized learning to prepare Americans for 21st century skills. The nonprofit organization helps to identify, pilot, research and expand the use of innovative teaching and learning technology tools from pre-K to early college.
Before starting LEAP, Phyllis was founding president and CEO of New Schools for Chicago, she helped raise more than $70 million to support opening 80 new public schools, primarily charters. For nearly a decade, she focused on bringing quality public schools to communities of high need and advocating for school choice.
She served as executive director of the Civic Consulting Alliance (CCA), a pro bono consulting firm for government agencies, and held marketing, sales and business development roles with Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, Kraft Foods and General Mills.
Born and raised on Chicago’s south side, Phyllis is a graduate of the Chicago Public School system, and both of her parents were Chicago Public Schools teachers. She earned a Master of Management degree from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University.
Grace Magley, Director of Digital Learning, Natick Public Schools
Grace Magley is a Blended Learning Specialist and the Director of Digital Learning for the Natick Public Schools. Natick is a 1:1 Laptop Learning district in grades 8-12 and has implemented blended learning models district-wide to personalize learning for student success. Grace is an enthusiastic, educational leader who for over ten years has helped hundreds of educators in the New England area design and build blended learning environments for their classrooms using research-based instructional practices. Grace sits on the board of directors for MassCUE and the TEC Connections Academy Virtual School (TECCA). As an adjunct professor at Framingham State College, Grace facilitates blended and online graduate courses. Recently Grace was appointed the program manager for MassCUE’s 2016 Leadership in Blended and Digital Learning graduate program and she leads a Blended Learning SIG group for MassCUE (blendinmass.org)
Alan Maguire, Founding Partner, Versari
Alan is a Founding Partner of Versari – a Dublin-based investor & provider of scaling solutions to early stage learning technology businesses. Before founding Versari, he was an Executive Director of listed e-learning business ThirdForce plc where he ran its International business unit. His entire career has been spent in the Information Technology & Digital Media industries out of London, New York & Dublin including positions at Reuters, The Street.com & The London Stock Exchange.
Alan is also a Partner at LEAF Investments, and a director of several international businesses including; InfoMentor, My Online School and CustomerMinds.
Chris Mallett, VP, Online Experiential Learning, Northeastern University
Chris leads Northeastern University’s online and hybrid learning initiatives and drives the university’s strategic vision in this space. Through its Professional Advancement Network, Northeastern leverages its physical presence in key global cities and features a large and growing portfolio of professional programs. Differentiated by its global learning, employer, and alumni networks, Northeastern offers personalized career development solutions and helps learners achieve their dreams for career success via Northeastern’s signature (and renowned) experiential learning strategies.
Before assuming his responsibilities at Northeastern, Chris held key faculty and product development leadership positions and was instrumental to the establishment, growth, and success of Western Governors University, a pioneer in the delivery of online, competency-based education.
Andy Marcinek, Chief Information Officer, Worcester Academy
Andrew Marcinek is currently the Chief Information Officer at Worcester Academy in Worcester, MA. Most recently, Andrew was the first Chief Open Education Advisor for the US Department of Education. In that role, Andrew focused on accelerating the adoption of open education policies within the Department and across the federal government. As part of this campaign, Andrew organized a White House event that launched a national movement called #GoOpen and brought together EdTech companies, district and state leaders, and nonprofits. His ultimate goal is to increase the curation and sharing of open educational materials by educators throughout the country. Prior to that, he served as Director of Technology, Instructional Technology Specialist, and secondary English teacher in schools in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
David Martz, Vice President, Authess
David Martz is Vice President of Authess and is responsible for the company’s sales, marketing, and distribution strategies. David takes an active role in product development to ensure the company’s core technologies are aligned with emerging market requirements. Prior to Authess David was Vice President at Muzzy Lane Software, an industry leading developer of games and simulations for Education, Training, and Healthcare.
David is a co-author of Design and Development of Training Games, Practical Guidelines from a Multidisciplinary Perspective – Ch.24, Cambridge University Press, Edited by Talib S. Hussain and Susan L. Coleman. David entered the world of educational software publishing, as a founding member of Cambridge Digital Media, publishers of Drivin’ Route 66 and Making History Interactive. David subsequently founded Endeavour Software, a creator of multimedia training programs for the New York Jets Football Club.
As part of his commitment to post-secondary education, David teaches Strategic Marketing and Entrepreneurship in the MBA Program at Southern New Hampshire University. David earned his MBA from Boston University and Undergraduate Business Degree from the University of New Hampshire.
Amit Mathew, President , Cram Fighter
Amit Mathew is the founder of Cram Fighter, an ed-tech startup that helps students create personalized study plans for coursework and high-stakes exams. Previously, he co-founded and served as CTO of Centrana Health, a startup focused on improving patient education.
Robert McCabe, Vice President, Education and Outreach, Lexia
Bob has been with Lexia since 2001, and has served in a number of key capacities including Director of Research and Chief Education Officer. Bob established the Lexia Research Department and initiated and executed outcome studies to measure the efficacy of Lexia’s reading programs. He has extensive experience working in schools with teachers, technical staff, reading specialists, administrators, and students. His work led to the collection of large data sets using scientific methods which form the foundation for Lexia’s library of studies published in independent peer reviewed reading journals. Bob’s work informs the efforts of company departments involved in product design, development, and testing, and has led to new and enhanced training methods, product features and the substantial growth of the research and data teams at Lexia.
Bob has served as a key liaison working with independent program review organizations, administrators of state-wide Lexia adoptions, foundation partners, and key customer groups including large district adoptions, strategic charter partnerships, and emerging organizations focused on personalized and blended learning. Bob has an expert grasp of Lexia’s design principles, data based research and design process, and implementation models that drive student gains.
Bob has a B.A. from Harvard University and a M.Ed. from the University of Kansas.
Dave McCool, Founder, Chairman, and CTO of Muzzy Lane
Dave McCool (@boogsarah) is the Founder, Chairman, and CTO of Muzzy Lane, a leader in the growing field of game based learning. Prior to Muzzy Lane he co-founded successful technology startups Shiva Corporation and Aptis Communications. Shiva Corp. went public in 1993, and Aptis was acquired by Nortel Networks in 1998. Dave started Muzzy Lane in 2002 to revolutionize educational content, bringing the benefits of “learn by doing” to the curriculum. Drawing on his technology background Dave has built Muzzy Lane to deliver this innovative learning in a scalable and cost effective way. Muzzy Lane is now a global leader in the development and delivery of engaging, interactive curriculum in the K-20 market, working with partners including McGraw-Hill Education, National Geographic, Pearson, Cengage Learning, and other innovate learning companies. Dave graduated from MIT in 1987 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
Scott McCue, Dean, Sposato Graduate School of Education
Mr. McCue is the Dean of the Sposato Graduate School of Education. He worked as founding Head at Boston Preparatory Charter Public School, from 2002-2012. Before founding BPCPS, he taught History at the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School and in the New York City Public Schools. He has a Master of Arts in Teaching from Teachers College at Columbia University and A.B. from Harvard University.
Meghan McGinley Crowe, Executive Director, Little Sprouts
Meghan is a professional educator and nerd, in that order. At Little Sprouts, a private child care organization with 24 locations in MA and NH, she is a senior manager and oversees all training and professional development of the 600-ish staff. She has brought technology to the classrooms and trained teachers in how to use it for good. She has consulted several times with WGBH on technology in preschool, at home, and on the development of several of their apps. She is a professor of early childhood at Cambridge College and leads instructional design projects at Early Childhood Associates for the MA Department of Education and Care. She is also an (analog) game designer, running several successful kickstarters and publishing card and board games that focus on fun and social justice.
She is fascinated by the effect of technology on young children and more than once has used her own children, now 4 and 7, as study subjects. She loves to travel, catch pokemon, and high-five strangers. She can be found tweeting, badly, at @bg_meg
Travis McCready, President and CEO, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
Travis McCready is the President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, a $1 billion public–private partnership with the mission of advancing the life sciences sector in Massachusetts. He directs and oversees the center’s investment strategy, along with the agency’s operations, programs, and partnerships. Previously, Mr. McCready served as the Vice President for Programs at The Boston Foundation, directing the Foundation’s grants and community investment strategy to benefit the people of Greater Boston. Prior to that, he was the first Executive Director of the Kendall Square Association, responsible for growing the innovation economy of Kendall Square, one of the Commonwealth’s most economically robust districts. He has also held the Chief Operating Officer and CFO positions at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, overseeing the operations and finances for the three convention centers in Massachusetts.
Mr. McCready serves on the Boards of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Conservation Law Foundation, Life Science Cares, and WBUR. He has served on the Economic Development Planning Council under two governors, including co-chairing the subcommittee on innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2009, he was named one of Boston’s top “40 under 40” young business leaders by the Boston Business Journal. Mr. McCready is a frequent speaker on economic development strategy as it relates to the convergence of private, public, and not-for-profit interests, and his blog, Life Sciences Discourses, has been recognized
by The Boston Globe.
Mr. McCready received his B.A. from Yale University and J.D. from the University of Iowa, and began his law career as a corporate attorney in Minneapolis, MN.
Christopher Mirabile, Managing Director, Launchpad Venture Group
Christopher Mirabile is the Chair of the Angel Capital Association and the co-founder of portfolio management tool www.seraf-investor.com. He is also co-Managing Director of Launchpad Venture Group, a venture investment group focused on seed and early-stage investments in technology-oriented companies. Launchpad is the largest angel group in New England and top-three ranked group in the U.S. As a full-time angel investor and an active member of the Boston-area angel investing community, Christopher has personally made more than 60 investments in start-up companies. He was named one of the “Top Angel Investors in New England” by Xconomy. Christopher is a columnist for Inc.com, an adjunct lecturer in the MBA program at Babson’s Olin School of Business, a regular advisor and mentor to start-ups, and a frequent panelist and speaker. He is a member of the Board of Directors or Board of Advisors of numerous start-up companies and non-profits. Christopher has served as a public company CFO and General Counsel with IONA Technologies PLC, a corporate and securities lawyer with Testa Hurwitz & Thibeault and as a management consultant with Price Waterhouse’s Strategic Consulting Group.
George Moore, Chief Content Officer, Cengage
George Moore is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Cengage Learning. In this role, he is responsible for shaping Cengage Learning’s long-term technology vision and driving innovation across the company during a transformative time.
As a member of Cengage Learning’s Executive Team, Mr. Moore reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer. In addition to his role as CTO, Mr. Moore serves as the Head of House in Cengage Learning’s corporate headquarters. In this capacity, he leads all local employee engagement efforts.
With a passion for revolutionizing the education and publishing industries through the use of technology, Mr. Moore spearheads strategic partnerships and collaborations with faculty and students to drive a student-centric model of digital innovation. Driven by this focus on student success, Mr. Moore leads integrated teams of technology and education experts to work side-by-side to deliver cutting-edge digital innovations through technology platforms and tools.
Under Mr. Moore’s leadership, Cengage Learning’s MindTap learning platform has emerged as the company’s flagship technology. Cengage Learning now offers MindTap products for over 450 courses spanning the vast majority of disciplines. Cengage Learning continues to add critical features to the MindTap platform in a disciplined, prioritized way allowing for significant course-level features and user personalization.
Prior to joining Cengage Learning, Mr. Moore served as CTO of Elsevier Health Science, where he was recruited to transform the world’s leading medical publishing company into a medical information company. During his tenure, he was instrumental in developing ClinicalKey, one of the most innovative and successful product introductions in the health-care information industry.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Moore served as the SVP of Product Development for Thomson Reuter’s Healthcare organization, where he led the consolidation effort of the company’s disparate acquisitions into a consolidated product development organization. Mr. Moore has also held various roles with a number of commercial software companies. Most prominently, he was VP of Product Development at Liquent, the industry leader in Pharmaceutical Publishing and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. At Liquent, he led the company’s efforts in defining how pharmaceutical companies would develop their information management systems that support drug discovery and approval, and also played a leading role in the sale and integration of Liquent into Thomson Reuters.
Erin Mote, Executive Director, InnovateEDU
Erin Mote, is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of InnovateEDU, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit focused on closing the achievement gap through the development of innovative models and tools that serve, inform, and enhance teaching and learning. In this role, Erin leads the organization and its major projects including technology development, an urban-education Fellowship for new educators, support for the growth of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools, and an afterschool program in downtown Brooklyn. She leads the development of Cortex, a next generation learning platform, student information system, and formative assessment engine that supports personalized learning. Erin is also the co-founder of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School.
She is a recognized leader in technology, mobile, and broadband and has spent much of her career focused on expanding access to technology in the US and abroad. She has led ground-breaking initiatives, including scaling wireless communications to the developing world, developing strategic technology plans, and work with Intel, Cisco, Google and HP. Erin has served in an advisory capacity to the White House, the State Department, and the Obama Administration’s intra-agency process for Rio 2.0 and Rio+20. Erin served as the founding Chief of Party for the USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Alliance – a $19.5 million global technology expansion project. Erin has served in senior positions with CHF International and Coulter Companies after starting her career in as the Director of External and Strategic Relations for Arizona State University. A recognized leader in alliance building, Erin has facilitated working groups and has served in an advisory capacity for several leading international organizations, including the Clinton Foundation, GSMA, and the Business Center for Civic Leadership at the US Chamber of Commerce. She has an MPA from Arizona State and is a proud alumnus of the University of Michigan. Erin lives in Brooklyn with her husband Eric and son Robert.
Jake Murray, Faculty Director for Professional Education, Boston University
As Faculty Director for Professional Education, Jake Murray is charged with developing innovative higher education programs and professional pathways for a wide range of learners. He currently oversees projects to design online/hybrid programs, competency-based education models, alternative pathways into teaching, and new training and apprenticeships for various professions and industries.
Prior to joining the BU School of Education, Jake Murray served as the Executive Director of the Aspire Institute (“Aspire”) – Wheelock College’s innovation hub – for eight years. Under Mr. Murray’s leadership, Aspire established 30 college-community initiatives, raised over $20 million in funding, and expanded from two to 18 staff. Aspire also emerged as a leading policy adviser and convener, strategic planning partner, and statewide professional development provider, serving over 7,000 educators and human service professionals, and spurring policy changes and program development at the state, city, and school district levels. Within Wheelock, Aspire spearheaded the College’s development of online and hybrid learning, competency-based learning, and alternative teacher education models.
Brian Napack, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners
Brian Napack is a senior advisor of Providence. His focus is on the identification and management of investments in education and media. Mr. Napack currently serves on the board of Ascend Learning, Blackboard, Education Management Corp. and Zero To Three, a national advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of infants and toddlers. Prior to joining Providence in 2012, Mr. Napack served as president of Macmillan, the global publisher, overseeing publishing businesses in education, consumer books, digital media and magazines. Macmillan’s imprints include St. Martin’s Press, Farrar Strauss & Giroux, Henry Holt, Picador, Bedford, Freeman, & Worth, i>clicker and Hayden McNeil. During his tenure, Mr. Napack led Macmillan’s successful transition from print to digital and from
Furqan Nazeeri, Partner, ExtensionEngine LLC
Furqan Nazeeri is a Partner at ExtensionEngine, a consulting services firm that specializes in online education platform and course content development. With a team of over 200, Furqan has worked with universities, corporations and other learning organizations including Harvard, MIT, Smithsonian, Johnson & Johnson and edX. Prior to ExtensionEngine, Furqan was a founder / CEO of VC-backed Pivot Inc. (acquired by NASDAQ:CME) and EIR at Softbank Capital. Furqan has a BSE in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Harvard University
Nicole Neal, CEO and Co-Founder, Noodle Markets
Nicole is a visionary leader and pioneer at building transformative educational products. As the CEO of Noodle Markets, she leads the company in its mission to enhance efficiency and transparency within the education landscape by revolutionizing K-12 purchasing. Prior to joining the company, Nicole was the President of the Education Solutions Group at CORE Education Consulting and Solutions, LLC., where she oversaw a staff of 300 employees and managed a portfolio of formative assessment, intervention and content solutions for districts and states serving the Pre-K, K-12, Employability, Special Education and Higher Education sectors. Nicole also served as the Senior Vice President of Major Accounts and State Services for Pearson Education Inc., one of the world’s largest education publishing and technology companies. Prior to Pearson, she served as Senior Vice President of Client Services for Schoolnet, Inc. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Binghamton University’s Watson School of Engineering and MBA from the University of Maryland University College. When she’s not working, Nicole finds great joy in mentoring young girls and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Angela Nelson, President, Stages Learning
Angela Nelson founded Stages Learning Materials in 1997 as a vehicle to publish and distribute her line of photo–based teaching tools for children with autism and special needs. Currently Angela is President and CEO of Stages Learning Materials.
As an undergraduate, Angela studied behavioral psychology at UCLA under Dr. Ivar Lovaas, head of the premier program in the treatment and education of children with autism. Following her graduation, she worked four years as a senior therapist for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, supervising educational programs, performing assessments, and conducting workshops for parents and professionals across the country and in Europe. Angela developed Stages’ top–selling line of autism education products with a user–centered approach, to specifically meet the needs of parents, educators and therapists in the autism education community.
Angela received her B.A. in Psychology and a J.D. from UCLA, and her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Technology, Innovation and Education program. Angela holds an Executive Committee seat on the Board of Directors for the Education Market Association and serves on multiple association committees, including the EdMarket Legislative Committee advocating for important issues which effect education as a whole, and specifically the educational manufacturing and publishing industry. As a consultant, Angela develops curriculum, supplemental products and technology for numerous companies in the school supply and educational publishing industry.
Adam Newman, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Tyton Partners
Adam is a founding partner of Tyton Partners, a strategy consulting and investment banking platform serving the global knowledge sector. Adam guides companies, non-profits, institutions, and investors through critical organizational inflection points to enable them to achieve their objectives. He has extensive experience working across all segments of the PreK-12, postsecondary, and enterprise and professional education markets.
Prior to founding Tyton Partners, Adam was a director at Berkery Noyes, a mergers and acquisitions firm serving the information industry. Adam originated the firm’s strategic advisory practice for education companies and investors. Previously, Adam served as managing vice president at Eduventures, a market research and consulting firm supporting the education industry.
Prior to Eduventures, Adam served as a senior manager at the Corporate Executive Board in the company’s corporate strategy board practice, working closely with senior strategy executives at Global 2000 companies.
Adam began his professional career as a K–12 educator and athletic coach at schools in Boston, MA, and New Orleans, LA. He holds an AB in English from Duke University.
Steve Newton, Research Director, LearnLaunch
Steve Newton oversees the research component of LearnLaunch MassNET, a project in the Boston area that brings together teachers and schools to become smarter about how to deploy digital instructional tools in ways that reinforce and enrich student learning and move teacher’s instruction towards personalized learning. Prior to working at LearnLaunch, Steve conducted educational research and evaluation studies in Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco for over 15 years. He has a PhD in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis and a BA in Psychology from Stanford University, among other degrees
Anna Nolin, Assistant Superintendent, Natick Public Schools
Dr. Anna Nolin is the Assistant Superintendent in the Natick Public Schools, just west of Boston, MA, where she has worked in various leadership capacities for the last 13 years. She has worked as a middle-level educator in Metrowest area of MA for the past 18 years serving as a teacher, drama director, grant writer, and curriculum developer/consultant with a technology focus. She has served as an Adjunct Instructor at Framingham State in Designing Blended Learning Classes/Use of Moodle, is a district Google and Apple product trainer. She is an Instructor at Educational Leadership Institute (ELI) at Endicott College serving as a principal trainer in 21st Century Instructional Leadership. She presented for the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s leadership conferences in 2012 and 2013 in the areas of school implementation of effective and engaging 1:1 laptop programming. She is an instructor for the Friday Institute’s Leadership in Blended Learning certificate program. She holds a BA in English and Secondary Education from Middlebury College, a Master’s from Harvard University’s Risk and Prevention Program in Human Development and Psychology, and her doctorate from Boston College where she conducted research on effective leadership around school-based 1:1 computing programs in the state of Massachusetts. You can follow her on Twitter @annapnolin.
Brita Nordin, VP Content Development, Pearson
Brita’s passion is creating content for digital, social, and mobile learners. At Pearson, she leads a team focused on harnessing learning science, content, and technology to transform the learning and teaching experience of today’s college students and educators. Brita is a committed advocate for people and education at the center of great product innovation.
James O'Hare, Partner, Nelson Mullins
Jim O’Hare represents technology-based companies, their boards of directors, and investors in the areas of general corporate matters, mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, and public and private financings. Mr. O’Hare has been involved in a variety of Ed-Tech sector transactions, including M&A, strategic partnerships, acquisitions of distressed assets and technology licensing. Mr. O’Hare has served clients as a lawyer, a public company general counsel and senior executive, and an investment banker.
Amit Patel, Partner, Owl Ventures
Amit Patel is a Partner at Owl Ventures. He has experience scaling several education startups and is deeply committed to building new organizations that will create sustainable and higher quality education solutions. Amit has worked closely with several education companies, including PresenceLearning, Revolution Foods, TenMarks (acquired by Amazon), Raise.me, MasteryConnect, LearnZillion, Accelerate Learning, DreamBox Learning and EdSurge. Amit serves on the board of directors of Securly and is a board observer for Panorama Education.
Before joining Owl, he founded Personal Academic Trainers, an after-school tutoring company, and created the quality assurance program and institutionalized sales training for Mathnasium Learning Centers, an after-school math learning center franchise with over 450 locations on four continents. Amit also served as the Director of Technology for Success Academy Charter Schools, a premiere charter school network in New York City with over 30 schools.
Amit was an Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellow, and he earned an MBA/MA in Education from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Graduate School of Education. He also received a BA in Mathematical Economic Analysis from Rice University and studied theatre/film at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and New York University.
Willa Perlman, Managing Partner and Founder, Ligature Partners
CEO and Managing Partner of Ligature Partners, Inc., has been a search executive for fourteen years. Prior to recruitment, Willa garnered more than 20 years of senior level experience in book publishing, intellectual property development, and general management roles.
Her executive credentials include: President of Hasbro Properties Group at Hasbro, Inc.; President of Golden Books Publishing Group; President & Publisher of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Books Division; Vice President, Editorial Director of “Willa Perlman Books,” an imprint of the HarperCollins Children’s Division. Willa began her career at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich where she held positions in marketing, publicity, and advertising and launched the children’s imprint, “Gulliver Books.” She was ultimately named Director of Harcourt’s Children’s Trade Division and worked collaboratively with Harcourt Education on the development of the highly acclaimed “Treasury of Reading” textbook program.
Willa is also the author of two children’s books, Pocket Kisses and Goodnight, World which were published, respectively, in 2011 by LB Kids/Little Brown and Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Barnard College in Psychology/Child Development. She serves on the board of directors of Crossroads RI, Key Program Inc., Little Kids Rock, and Women’s Center of RI.
Shauntel Poulson, Co-Founder and General Partner, Reach Capital
Shauntel Poulson is a Co-Founder and General Partner at Reach Capital where she provides startup capital and support to education technology companies focused on issues of access and opportunity in education. Shauntel is an active writer and thought leader in the K-12 education technology space and most recently published “New Approaches to Edtech Funding” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Prior to Reach, Shauntel was a Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund and invested in over 40 early stage K-12 edtech companies through the NewSchools Seed Fund. Shauntel has also worked at edtech companies globally and was an Education Pioneers Fellow at Wireless Generation. Shauntel was previously a Senior Engineer at Procter and Gamble for the global laundry business. She received her BS in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University.
Daniel Pianko, Managing Director, University Ventures
Daniel is a co-founder and Managing Director of University Ventures, a leading higher education focused investment fund with approximately $300M under management. Daniel started his career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, but quickly realized that he wanted to combine private capital with the creation of a next generation of socially beneficial education companies. Since leaving Goldman, he has invested in, founded, advised, or led in a number of education related businesses that led to the creation of University Ventures. Daniel currently sits on the boards of Ponce School of Medicine, Synergis Education, Galvanize, Qubed and EDEX. Daniel is also involved in his community, serving on the Board of Trustees of Harlem Village Academies and the Alumni Council of Horace Mann. Daniel graduated from Columbia University and holds an MBA and Masters of Education from Stanford University.
Liam Pisano, Managing Director, LearnLaunch
Liam Pisano joined LearnLaunch as Managing Director in 2014. Liam oversees all of LearnLaunch’s activities and drives strategy for the organization. Prior to joining LearnLaunch, Pisano focused on growth equity, leveraged buyout and distressed debt investments in the education services, technology, and health care sectors. He is an investment professional with over 15 years of experience, holding investment positions at Spectrum Equity Investors, Hercules Technology Growth Capital and Patriot Capital, as well as co-founding EdTech startup Academic Earth. He is a proud 14-year member of the Big Brothers Association of Massachusetts and a two-time Big Brother. He is also co-founder of the William Gaines Foundation (Biggie’s Kids), a non-profit organization serving underprivileged inner city high school students. Liam received his B.A in Political Science from Williams College, and his M.B.A from Yale University where he was a founding member of the Yale Economic Review.
Shay Pokress, Visiting Scholar, Wyss Institute, Harvard University
Shaileen Crawford Pokress is a Visiting Scholar at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Bioinspired Engineering where she develops hands-on computer science (CS) curricula around the unique capabilities of Root, a robot for learning CS at any age. Earlier, Pokress served as Director of Instruction at Project Lead The Way where she was lead writer for PLTW Launch, a widely adopted elementary CS curriculum. At the MIT Media Lab, Pokress directed the education program for MIT App Inventor, a platform for building mobile apps that aims to democratize mobile computing. Before choosing to focus on CS, Pokress was a research associate at TERC where she facilitated online communities of practice for teachers and researchers. Pokress earned her B.S. in Computer Science from Cornell University and her Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She believes that all students having access to quality computer science education is a social justice issue.
Sara Potler LaHayne, CEO, Move This World
A life-long dancer and previous professional performer, Sara was a Fulbright Scholar in Bogotá, Colombia when she authored, implemented, and evaluated the original Move This World curriculum. Today she is the Founder & CEO of Move This World, an organization that has equipped over 150,000 individuals across school districts, organizations and companies with the tools to strengthen their mental and emotional wellbeing in order to foster safe and supportive learning environments.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Sara is a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum; an American Express Ashoka Emerging Innovator; Beyond Sport’s Top 50, The Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36, and a Stevie Award Winner. She has presented at conferences across 5 continents and been featured in Forbes, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and many more.
Nasir Qadree, Economic Opportunity Lead, Village Capital
Nasir serves as Village Capital’s Economic Opportunity Lead, enabling investors, foundations, and corporations alike to engage with high growth businesses around the world solving pressing challenges in Education, Health, and Financial Services. Most recently, Nasir served as Head of Village Capital’s Education practice, responsible for helping cohorts scale their businesses, connect with mentors and advisers, and gain exposure to investors. Nasir began his career as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs, and later worked as an Associate to State Street Corporation. Subsequently, Nasir served as an Education Pioneer Fellow and Special Assistant at the Connecticut State Department of Education, focusing on improving digital learning and infrastructure to empower teachers and school leaders to improve persistently low-performing schools. Nasir remains personally engaged in the education space, serving on the board of Center City Public Charter School in Washington, DC and committed to running 51 full marathons in each US state, including DC, to raise scholarship funding for first-generation college students. Nasir holds a Bachelors of Science from Hampton University.
Beth Rabbitt, CEO, The Learning Accelerator
Beth Rabbitt is CEO of The Learning Accelerator. An expert in blended and personalized learning, Beth brings deep experience in education entrepreneurship, talent development, consulting, and finance. Her previous work as a Partner at TLA focused on leading the organization’s strategy for developing human capital supports and for researching blended learning models nationally.
Prior to joining TLA, Beth was a Doctoral Resident and the Director of Human Capital at Touchstone Education (now part of Matchbook Learning), an Associate Partner at the NewSchools Venture Fund, a consultant to Education Resource Strategies, and the founding Doctoral Fellow at the Harvard Innovation Lab. Beth is a board member for the Highlander Institute and UNOW, an early childhood education center. She earned a BA from Dartmouth College and a Doctorate in Education Leadership (EdLD) from Harvard. @bethrabbitt
Mark Racine, CIO, Boston Public Schools
Mark Racine has been the CIO for the Boston Public Schools since 2013 and has worked in the Boston school system for almost 10 year. Mark started out as a classroom teacher and teacher leader before moving to the central office in 2011. Mark is also a member of the Council of Great City Schools and chair of the Large District Forum with CoSN
Alex Rappaport, Co-founder and CEO, Flocabulary
Since co-founding Flocabulary in 2004, Alex has been responsible for defining the company’s strategic vision and building the business from the ground up. With a focus on sales, marketing, and strategic partnerships, Alex has bootstrapped Flocabulary into a rapidly-growing, sustainable edtech company with a mission of making learning engaging, relevant and accessible for students of all backgrounds.
A regular author and speaker on education and entrepreneurship, Alex has written for Entrepreneur, EdSurge and Language Magazine, and has spoken at TEDx, Creative Mornings and many education conferences. Alex is a member of the Nationswell Council and recently became an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with 4.0 Schools. He is also the creator of Big Idea Week, a community-driven entrepreneurship program for elementary and middle schools. Alex has a degree in music from Tufts University and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.
Jennifer Reed, Teacher Librarian, Newton Public Schools
Alec Resnick, Director, Powderhouse Studios
Alec is the co-founder and current executive director of sprout & co, a science education non-profit which has been working in Somerville and greater Boston since 2009 and is expecting to open a new high school under Massachusetts’ Innovation School legislation next year (Powderhouse Studios). At sprout he’s been responsible for program, curriculum, and business development—as well as direct service—in a variety of formal and informal learning environments, working with partners ranging from Google & Tufts to the O’Bryant School and Cloud Foundation. Before sprout, he studied math & physics at MIT and co-founded nublabs, an electromechanical design firm where he built learning tools & toys.
Claudia Reuter, Senior Vice President, Labs, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
Claudia is currently Senior the Vice President of HMH Labs at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). In this role she is working to facilitate the development of new solutions that will meet emerging market demands and improve operational efficiencies. A seasoned entrepreneur with experience in cultivating relationships with non-profit and for-profit organizations, Claudia was formerly the CEO and co-founder of SchoolChapters, Inc. an education technology company that HMH acquired in July of 2014. She began her career in the ecommerce division of UBS. She holds a BA from the University of Vermont.
Seth Reynolds, Managing Director, Parthenon-EY
Seth Reynolds is a Managing Director in the Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young. Seth is a leader in The Parthenon Group’s Education Practice, with extensive experience in the for-profit and public sectors across K-12, post-secondary, and corporate training. Clients include a wide range of organizations, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, school districts, universities, government agencies, and some of the world’s largest foundations. In addition, Mr. Reynolds has worked extensively with clients in the information publishing and financial services industries.
Teddy Rice, President and Co-Founder, Ellevation Education
Teddy is the President and Co-Founder of Ellevation, a mission-driven software company focused exclusively on English Language Learners and the educators that serve them. In his role at the Company, Teddy supervises the Sales, Marketing, and Finance functions of the business, and helps guide overall corporate strategy with his partners. Prior to Ellevation, Teddy spent 6 years as a venture capital investor with a focus on education and has also held roles at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and The Parthenon Group. He has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Most importantly, he is a husband to Sarah and father to Charlotte, Henry, and Finley.
John Richards, Founder and President of Consulting Services, CS4Ed
John Richards, Ph.D., is Founder and President of Consulting Services for Education, Inc. (CS4Ed). He is Adjunct Faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education teaching Entrepreneurship in the Education Marketplace. He is a senior Advisor to Closely Held Strategies providing premier mergers and acquisitions services, on the Board of Girls Thinking Global, and on the Advisory Board of iCivics.
John was President of the JASON Foundation, GM of Turner Learning–the educational arm of Turner Broadcasting–and Manager of the Educational Technologies Division of Bolt Beranek and Newman that launched the award winning Co–NECT school design. Over the years, John has served on boards for a variety of education groups including NECC; Cable in the Classroom; Software Information Industry Association (SIIA), Education Market section; and the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP). John’s projects have won him numerous awards including two Golden Lamps and several CODIEs, as well as several EMMY nominations. He is a respected keynote speaker and is the author/editor of four books, over 90 articles, and has been responsible for the publication of over 1,000 educational products. He is the senior author of the annual U.S. Educational Technology Market: PreK–12 report for the Software and Information Industry Association, and with Chris Dede (Eds.) published Digital Teaching Platforms, Teachers College Press.
Rob Rubin, Director, Microsoft Professional Degree
In 2012 Rob shifted his professional focus to online education. As the founding VP of Engineering at edX, Rob partnered with Google, McKinsey and Stanford to open-source the platform, ran the educational services team to assist faculty in building curriculum, and reached 3M learners in over 150 courses. Rob is the co-author of the first big data study to examine the impact of video techniques on the learning experience. Rob co-founded Outlearn in 2014, which subsequently merged with Qwiklabs. Rob joined Microsoft in 2015, where he founded and led the team that built the Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science. Rob currently building the Learning Science team at Microsoft. Rob is also an active mentor at Techstars and Project11 Companies in Boston.
Conall Ryan, President and CEO, Muzzy Lane
Conall is the CEO of Muzzy Lane, a SaaS business powering game-based learning and assessment. The company’s core product, Muzzy Lane Author, offers cloud-based tools for building and deploying integrated micro-learning activities in courses across K-20 and corporate learning.
Conall has held executive positions with major publishing companies and venture-backed software startups. For the past twenty years he has focused on developing digital products that help people learn. His specialty is connecting people, technologies, and companies to form mutually beneficial business alliances. He has consulted for McGraw-Hill Education, Cengage Learning, Reader’s Digest, and ETS. He is a mentor for LearnLaunch in Boston and a trustee for a public Montessori-based charter school in Newburyport, MA.
Conall previously served as executive vice president of Houghton Mifflin Company, where he was president & publisher of the Sunburst division. Prior to that he was the president & CEO of ON Technology. He also has held executive positions at Knowledge Adventure, NeXT Computer, and Lotus Development.
Peter Sanchioni, Superintendent, Natick Public Schools
Dr. Sanchioni has been the superintendent in Natick, for the past eight years. Prior to that he served in the same capacity in Millis. During his time in Natick he initiated a 1:1 program for grades 8-12 and an iPad rotational /instructional program for K-4. The use of technology combined with a strong commitment to teacher development has propelled the public schools to higher levels of student achievement. In 2014, MassCue recognized Dr. Sanchioni as their administrator of the year. In addition, Dr. Sanchioni is co-chair of the Digital Learning Advisory Council for DESE and Chair of the Board for TECCA, Massachusetts’ premier virtual school. Dr. Sanchioni serves as an adjunct professor at Boston University and Rhode Island College. He holds his undergrad and Ph.D. degrees from Boston College.
Bror Saxberg, Chief Learning Officer, Kaplan
As Chief Learning Officer at Kaplan, Bror Saxberg is responsible for the research and application of innovative evidence-based learning strategies, technologies, and products across Kaplan’s full range of educational services offerings. He also works to maintain consistent learning standards for Kaplan’s products and services. Saxberg most recently served as senior vice president and chief learning officer at K12, Inc., where he was responsible for designing both online and offline learning environments and developing new student products and services. Saxberg has also held positions at Knowledge Universe, Dorling Kindersley, and McKinsey. Saxberg received an Honors BA in Mathematics and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, an MA in mathematics from Oxford University, a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, and an MD from Harvard Medical School.
Josh Schachter, Founder and Director, CommunityShares
Josh Schachter is a visual storyteller, social ecologist, teaching artist, and cultural organizer. His photography has been published internationally in books, magazines and films in venues ranging from the New York Times to the Navajo Times. Josh earned a master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where he explored the role of youth photography in building community and youth agency. Over the past 18 years he has collaborated on community-based media projects with youth, teachers, neighborhood groups, and nonprofit organizations in places ranging from New Delhi to Nigeria. He co-founded VOICES Inc., a Tucson nonprofit that hired and trained low-income youth to document and share untold community stories. In 2006, Josh co-founded Finding Voice, a program supporting the literacy development, civic engagement and creative expression of refugee and immigrant students. Josh is also the founding director of CommunityShare, a new education initiative focused on re-imagining the relationship between schools and communities. His work as an educator and artist has been widely recognized: 2014 Tucson-Pima Arts Council’s Arts Educator Lumies Award; 2013 Buffalo Exchange’s Emerging Visual Artist Award Nomination; 2010 PhotoPhilanthropy’s International Grand Prize Community-Based Activist Award; 2009 Arizona Commission on the Art’s Arizona Teaching Artist Award for Innovation; and 2007 The Center’s Patron Saint of Photography Teaching Award Nomination. You can learn more about Josh’s work at www.joshphotos.com and www.findingvoiceproject.org.
Eric Schwarz, Co-Founder and CEO, College for Social Innovation
Eric Schwarz is the Co-Founder and CEO of College for Social Innovation, a non-profit with a mission of educating and inspiring the next generation of problem solvers to tackle humanity’s tough challenges. CfSI partners with universities and social sector organizations to create fully credited hands-on learning experiences that are meaningful, accessible, and life-changing. Eric is also Co-Founder and former CEO of Citizen Schools and author of The Opportunity Equation, co-editor of The Case For 21st Century Learning, and author of numerous articles and book chapters, including “Calling All Citizens” in The New York Times best-selling Waiting For Superman.
Prior to starting Citizen Schools, Schwarz served as vice president of City Year and as a journalist at The Oakland Tribune and The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA) where he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He is a member of the board of Beyond12 and of Citizen Schools, and chair of the board of US2020, a national STEM mentoring initiative launched at the White House. He graduated from the University of Vermont (B.A.) in 1983 and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (M. Ed) in 1997. Schwarz lives in Brookline, MA with his wife and two children.
Peter Scott, Strategic Partnerships, Amazon Education
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Adam Seldow, Head of Education Partnerships, Facebook
Adam Seldow is the Head of Education Partnerships at Facebook, where he works with educators and partners to bring personalized learning, computer programming, and educational virtual reality content to classrooms worldwide. Adam taught high school mathematics and led technology in US public school systems. He earned his undergraduate degree from West Point, and his masters and doctoral degrees in education policy from Harvard University.
Ami Shah, CEO and Co-Founder, Peekapak
Ami Shah is a Co-Founder & CEO of Peekapak, an edtech startup that teaches social-emotional learning skills like self-regulation, empathy and team work in the class and home. Peekapak is backed by; Silicon Valley based accelerator, Imagine K12, the Edtech vertical of Y Combinator and; the Unreasonable Institute.
Ami has earned a MBA from INSEAD. She has gained extensive marketing experience through roles at Procter & Gamble, and most recently, as Director of Retail Marketing at a consumer products start-up. Ami is passionate about improving youth education, and has previously taught in K-4 classrooms and advised & volunteered at education-related non-profit organizations.
Steve Shapiro, CEO, Academic Merit
Serial Entrepreneur! Education,Training and Consulting Executive with over 25 years of experience. Currently CEO at Academic Merit Founded and scaled three different start-ups in K-12 education, adult vocational rehabilitation and international student exchange. Forever committed to creating and growing organizations that help students of all ages sharpen their skills, boost their career and broaden their world. Fully immersed in the world of Education Technology. Venture Partner at Learn Launch. Angel Investor and Adviser to multiple EdTech start-ups. Member of Launchpad Venture Group and Cornell Red Bear Angel Group.
Tony Siddall, Program Officer, Next Generation Learning Challenges
Tony Siddall is a Program Officer at Next Generation Learning Challenges. He is responsible for the selection and support of grantees through the Assessment for Learning Project, a national initiative dedicated to fundamentally rethinking the roles of assessment in advancing student learning. Tony has spent his career with one foot in education policy and the other in practice. As a school administrator in New York City and a coach in the Boston Public schools, he built community partnerships to expand learning time and provide wraparound services for students. As a charter school authorizer at the Massachusetts Department of Education and Senior Director of Growth Strategy for the charter management organization Achievement First, he worked closely with Boards of Trustees and helped guide schools through performance-based accountability systems in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Tony is the founder of Boston Leaders for the Future of Education, a grassroots network of innovative educators and advocates, and served from 2012-2014 as an elective County Committee representative for Election District 21 in Brooklyn, NY. He lives with his wife, son, daughter and several bicycles in Arlington, Massachusetts.
Matt Sigelman, CEO, Burning Glass
Matthew Sigelman is CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market analytics firm. For more than a decade, he has led Burning Glass in harnessing the power of data to deliver artificial intelligence technologies that have helped fill millions of jobs. Burning Glass data drives initiatives for more than a dozen state and national governments, as well as educational institutions and major employers. Matt is consulted frequently by national media, by researchers, and the White House. He served previously with McKinsey & Company and Capital One. He holds an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard.
Liz Simon, General Counsel and VP of External Affairs, General Assembly
Liz Simon is the General Counsel and Vice President of External Affairs at General Assembly (GA), a global company reimagining how organizations and individuals identify and cultivate in-demand skills, where she leads GA’s legal and public affairs, government relations, and social impact efforts. In this role, Liz oversees all aspects of GA’s legal functions, including regulatory and compliance matters, and works directly with policy makers to help develop policies and education models that put students first, expand access and address the dynamic requirements of employers. She also served as a member of the California state-appointed BPPE Task Force, where she helped California’s Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education craft policy recommendations to promote transparency and accountability for accelerated tech training programs. Liz joined GA from the Obama Administration, where she served as Counselor to the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and worked on policy issues at the nexus of immigration and entrepreneurship. Prior to that, Liz was an attorney at Hogan Lovells, a Washington D.C.-based law firm. Liz holds a bachelor’s degree in Government from Cornell University and earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Mary Skipper, Superintendent, Somerville Public Schools
Mary Skipper joined the Somerville Public Schools as Superintendent in July of 2015 following an outstanding career at Boston Public Schools (BPS). Most recently, she was Network Superintendent of High Schools for BPS, where she oversaw BPS’ 34 high schools serving approximately 19,500 students. Under her leadership as Network Superintendent, Boston High Schools achieved the lowest drop-out and the highest graduation rates in BPS history. Among her most notable accomplishments while at BPS, Superintendent Skipper helped launch TechBoston Academy (TBA) as the founding Headmaster in 2002. During her tenure as TBA Headmaster, the Academy grew from a 9-12 high school serving 75 students, to a 6-12 school with a staff of more than 100 serving a diverse student population of more than 1,000, 30% of which were English Language Learners and 25% of which were Special Education students. President Obama visited TBA in March 2011 to recognize TBA’s achievement. Additional roles Superintendent Skipper held at BPS included Assistant Academic Superintendent for Pilot Schools, and Director of Technology within the Office of Instructional Technology.
Superintendent Skipper holds a Bachelor’s in English and Latin from Tufts University. She earned a Master’s in Education Policy from Harvard and a Master’s in Urban Education Leadership from Columbia Teachers College. She is currently working toward her Doctorate in Urban Education Leadership from Columbia Teachers College.
Superintendent Skipper and her husband Peter, a teacher at BC High School, have three children: Kassie, a teacher in Denver; Lani, who works in agricultural policy at the Vermont School of Law; and Peter, who works as a consultant at Deloitte in Washington, D.C.
Chris Smith, Executive Director, Boston After School and Beyond
Over the past two decades, Chris has created, scaled, and led cross-sector partnerships in education and workforce development. Under his leadership, Boston After School & Beyond has developed a nationally recognized model of summer learning that improves student outcomes, built a citywide program performance measurement system, and cultivated a network of 150 programs serving more than 15,000 students. Previously Chris worked at the Boston Private Industry Council, where he collaborated with business leaders to integrate work and learning in order to help thousands of students graduate, with universities on Boston’s first-ever study of college graduation rates of Boston Public Schools students, and with legislative leaders to address the dropout rate in Massachusetts.
Chris began his career at the US Department of Education in Washington, DC, where he coordinated partnerships for the Secretary of Education. A native of Worcester, MA, Chris earned a BA in American Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, CT and an MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, MA.
Eileen Smith, VP of Global Sales, Jenzabar
Eileen oversees Jenzabar’s global marketing organization, with responsibility for building the brand and creating customer demand for our broad solution portfolio. She brings over 30 years of higher education industry experience from both the institution and technology side. Eileen began her career at the University of Richmond, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the University of Florida. She then held various senior business development and product marketing management roles at: Workday, Pearson International, Datatel, and Peoplesoft. Eileen holds a Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Virginia Tech and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Richmond.
Ira Sockowitz, Co-Founder and CEO, Learning Games Studios
Ira Sockowitz is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Games Studios. In that capacity, Ira manages all day-to-day operations of the company and directs efforts on developing markets, partnerships and licensing opportunities for LGS. For the last decade, Ira has been the Project Director and/or liaison to the U.S. Department of Education on three different awards with a combined total of $135 million of funding. He was also a consultant to the New York City Department of Education, where he worked on the School of One program and was the principal draftsman for the Department’s Race To The Top District grant application. Before entering the private sector, Ira served in a number of senior-level government posts in local, state and federal government. A native New Yorker, Mr. Sockowitz received his JurisDoctorate from Union University’s Albany Law School and his Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He was studying for a Masters of Public Administration when he left academic pursuits to accept a Presidential appointment in 1993.
Felipe Sommer, CEO, Nearpod
Felipe is a philanthropist at heart, improving the quality of life for others, be it through education, entrepreneurship or any way possible. Family is his number one priority. He takes pride in being an Argentinian, a father of three boys, and a husband to his beautiful wife, Paula. Felipe’s hobbies include world traveling, sports and mentoring.
He obtained a BA in economics from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and received an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business. For ten years, he worked in management consulting for financial services and start-ups at Accenture. In 2004, as an entrepreneur, he founded Livin’ Interactive which focuses on custom experiential marketing solutions
He is passionate for technology and education, which fueled his desire to empower teachers and engage students through technology. In 2012, he founded Nearpod, Inc., a mobile platform that empowers educators to create learning experiences that engage and inspire millions of students around the world. As President and co-founder, he oversees Nearpod’s everyday operations.
Dana Stephenson, Co-Founder, Riipen
Dana is a lifelong learner and radical doer with an ability to inspire confidence and trust in everyone he meets. As an undergraduate, he learned firsthand how difficult it is for students who lack real-world experience today to transition from education into a relevant, meaningful career upon graduation. He looked back at his education and at all of the projects students completed and realized that while most of them ended up in a recycling bin, many had industry merit that could benefit local companies while helping students build their experience and skills.
He combined his interests in social entrepreneurship, education technology, and HR to set himself on a path to improve the education and recruitment systems so that future generations could more easily transition to successful career paths while companies easily find the talent they need to fuel the future growth and success. Combining talents with a few of his peers at graduation, he launched Riipen, an online educational platform that enables schools to provide meaningful project-based experiential learning at scale.
Katrina Stevens, Deputy Director of the Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education
Katrina Stevens, Deputy Director of the Office of Educational Technology (OET), has extensive experience in multiple roles in the ed tech ecosystem: teacher, administrator, startup cofounder, consultant, professional development facilitator, grant writer, advisor, angel investor, journalist and community organizer. Throughout these roles, including 20 years as a teacher and administrator in K-12 schools, her focus has been on bringing together stakeholders from across the ed tech ecosystem for meaningful dialogue and action.
Katrina leads the work for rapid cycle tech evaluations, Future Ready, ed tech developer outreach, and education innovation clusters. Previous to working at the U.S. Department of Education, Stevens served as the EdSurge Summit Director and Founding Executive Director of EdTech Maryland. In both roles, Stevens fostered collaboration among educators, edtech startups, researchers, and community leaders. In her role at EdSurge, Stevens oversaw the development of the Tech for Schools Summits around the country, which bring together 30+ companies with 500+ educators to create better tools for schools. She also wrote extensively about ed tech issues internationally.
Through her consulting work, Katrina advised edtech companies at all stages of development, and provided support for educational organizations including foundations, K-12 schools and higher education. Katrina cofounded and moderates #edtechchat, a weekly Twitter conversation, served as an international Startup Weekend Education Facilitator, and launched an active monthly ed tech happy hour.
Before working in central office in Baltimore County Public Schools, Katrina spent three years working with the Ministry of Education in Bermuda for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth to launch a lab school and gifted program for students from across the island.
Katrina holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature and Composition and a Women Studies Certificate from Temple University, as well as Maryland administration and teaching certifications.
Adam Strom, Director of Scholarship and Innovation, Facing History and Ourselves
Adam Strom is the Director of Scholarship and Innovation at Facing History and Ourselves. Strom has an over 20-year record of using the latest scholarship to encourage learning about identity, bias, belonging, history, and the challenges and opportunities of civic engagement in our globalized world. He is the author, editor and producer of numerous Facing History digital, print and video resources and publications including Washington’s Rebuke to Bigotry: Reflections On Our First President’s 1790 Letter to the Hebrew Congregation In Newport, Rhode Island, Stories of Identity: Religion, Migration and Belonging in a Changing World, Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement 1954-1986, and Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians. Mr. Strom oversees Facing History and Ourselves international board of scholars and facilitates professional development for educators online and face to face for educators from around the world. He lives in Brookline, MA with his wife Sandy and his two children, Max and Sam.
William Thomas, Principal, Charlestown High School
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Bill Triant, VP Stratgic Partnerships and Investment, Pearson
Bill Triant is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Pearson, focused on strategic partnerships and investments for our North America businesses. Before joining Pearson, he was a teacher in the Boston Public School system and worked at two private equity firms focused on the education industry, Leeds Equity and Hart Capital. Bill is interested in businesses and technologies that identify and remediate specific learning obstacle, that develop non-cognitive skills, that provide learners with usable skills for employment, and that effectively signal peoples knowledge and talents to employers– all with a goal of promote upward mobility and ensuring that people make progress in their lives.
Eric Tucker, Co-Founder, Brooklyn Lab Charter
Dr. Eric Tucker is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School, where he leads the organization and its growth from a single middle school that opened in 2014, to a second middle school in Fall 2016 and two high schools opening in Fall 2017. Eric is a MacArthur Foundation/ETS Gordon Fellow at Arizona State University and has conducted research for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, and served as a mentor for Working Examples, a project funded by the MacArthur and Gates Foundations at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to his work with Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School, he built, consulted with, and evaluated social sector organizations and urban school systems in over 32 states and on four continents. Eric served as Director in the Communications Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he supported the development of Common Core-aligned digital learning resources and established partnerships with firms who reached over 10 million students. Before that, he served as president and managing director of Catalyst Strategy, a consultancy that supports not-for-profits, technology companies, and school systems reach their strategic goals. Representative clients include: Ascend Learning, Building Excellent Schools, Democracy Prep Public Schools, Excel Academy, and Harlem Prep Charter School. As co-founder, Chief Academic Officer, and interim Executive Director of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, Eric helped build and grow a network of Urban Debate Leagues serving over 20 metropolitan areas and 450 schools. Eric founded and led the Rhode Island Urban Debate League and held positions in the Office of the Superintendent in the Providence School Department, the Institute of Education at the University of London, and the Institute for Elementary and Secondary Education. He has taught in the Providence Public Schools and the Chicago Public Schools, as well as at Rhode Island Training School, Emory University and the University of Vermont. Eric has a DPhil and an MSc from Oxford and degrees in Public Policy and Africana Studies from Brown. Eric edited The Sage Handbook of Measurement.
Dan Tu-Hoa, SVP North America, Mathspace
Daniel Tu-Hoa heads up Mathspace’s team in the United States, building it from a team of one to an organization now spanning the entire US. He is also responsible for pursuing international partnership opportunities to enable Mathspace to achieve global impact. A former teacher, lawyer, management consultant, corporate strategist and climate change activist, he is passionate about STEM education and enabling greater access to opportunity for all students.
Tom VanderArk, Author and CEO, GettingSmart
Tom Vander Ark is author of Getting Smart, Smart Cities, and Smart Parents. He is CEO of Getting Smart, a learning design firm and a partner at Learn Capital an education venture fund. Tom advocates for innovations that customize and motivate learning and extend access. Previously he served as the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive private sector experience. Tom is Board Chair of Charter Board Partners, Director for 4.0 Schools, Bloomboard, Digital Learning Institute, eduInnovation and Imagination Foundation, and serves on several other non-profit boards.
Jonathan Vander Els, Executive Director, New Hampshire Learning Initiative
Jonathan G. Vander Els is the executive director of the New Hampshire Learning Initiative, a foundation dedicated to supporting innovation in New Hampshire’s schools. Formerly, Jonathan served as the principal of Memorial Elementary School in the Sanborn Regional School District in New Hampshire. Under his leadership, Memorial Elementary School became a nationally recognized model professional learning community and competency-based elementary school.
Jonathan has consulted, coached and presented throughout the country on building highly effective Professional Learning Communities, competency-based learning, and the development of rigorous performance assessments. He is actively involved in the New Hampshire Performance Assessment of Competency Education, a first-of-its-kind accountability and assessment waiver granted by the US Department of Education. Jonathan has also led the State of New Hampshire’s efforts around integrating skills and dispositions within classroom curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
Jonathan has an Ed. S. from the University of New Hampshire in Educational Administration and Supervision, a M. Ed. in Elementary Education, a BA in History, and is certified, as a Superintendent, Principal, and Teacher. Jonathan lives with his wife and three children on the New Hampshire Seacoast.
Victoria Van Voorhis, CEO, Second Avenue Learning
Victoria’s first game controller was a punch card, and she’s never looked back. Prior to founding Second Avenue, Victoria was a teacher at the middle, high school, and college levels. Her career has criss-crossed both education and technology in start-ups and Fortune 100 companies. Today, she applies her experience toward her thought leadership in the field of serious games for education, speaking nationwide about how games can transform how we teach and learn. Victoria has overseen multiple Phase I and II federal research grants and has been involved in multi-million dollar educational software development for major publishers. Her goal with Second Avenue is to creatively blend pedagogy with digital technology to create innovative and effective learning environments that empower teachers and engage students.
Nat Vaughn, Principal, T.A. Blake Middle School, Medfield
Nat Vaughn has been an educator for 19 years and is the principal at Blake Middle School in Medfield, MA. His strong advocacy of fostering an environment of collaboration and creativity with students, teachers and parents has played a significant role in the 1:1 iPad Initiative at Blake. Nat believes communication and transparency are key elements in transforming a school towards a student-centered, learning-driven 1:1 mobile learning classroom environment. Aligning this work with Blake’s culture has provided an avenue for the community, both students and adults, to live the mantra of ‘a willingness to adapt to a continually evolving world.’
David Verrill, Managing Director, Hub Angels
David’s professional career began as a research scientist at the Center for Blood Research in Boston focusing on the MHC of genetically engineered mice. After receiving his master’s degree from Sloan in 1987, he spent a decade at MIT raising capital from industry and facilitating technology transfer. David still holds a partial appointment at the MIT Sloan Center for Digital Business. In 1996 he joined Xerox as Manager of International Sales and Business Development for the Adaptive Products Division before it was sold. In 1998 David joined third party marketing firm Winchester International Group as Managing Director. In 2000 Winchester helped found the Hub Angels, and early stage investment group in Boston. David sits on the Boards of Intelligent Bio-Systems, Incentive Targeting and is Chair-elect of the Angel Capital Association. David was educated at Bowdoin College and the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Bi Vuong, Director, Proving Ground at Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University
Bi Vuong is the director of Proving Ground, an initiative of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University that focuses on making evidence-gathering and evidence-use an intuitive part of how education agencies conduct their work. Proving Ground works with education agencies across the country to enhance their ability to use evidence to improve program implementation, assess program impact, and inform decision-making. Bi is primarily responsible for setting Proving Ground’s strategic direction and for managing and developing Proving Ground’s network and services.
Prior to joining CEPR, Bi served as the deputy chief financial officer for The School District of Philadelphia. Bi’s professional background also includes positions with the Data Quality Campaign, EducationCounsel LLC, and the state of Illinois.
She is a graduate of Kenyon College, Ohio and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
Norihisa Wada, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Edulab
Norihisa Wada is the Executive Vice President & CMO of Tokyo-based Edulab, Inc., the leading innovator of education with a strong basis in assessment and learning science. Norihisa drives the business innovation and investment in the field of EdTech. He is also a Business-Academia Advisor for Kyoto University with a passion for the instructional and behavior design. He has attended many international conferences as a presenter representing Japan in “Digital Learning”, “Mobile Learning” and “Gamification”. He has numerous proven track record at the cross-section of assessment and learning in both public and private education market.
Claire Wadlington, Managing Directon, LLV Capital
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Willis Wang, Vice President and Associate Provost for Global Programs and Deputy General Counsel, Boston University
As Vice President and Associate Provost, Willis Wang was appointed in 2009 to create and oversee BU’s first Office of Global Programs. As the senior global officer, he manages 4 divisions within Global Programs: (1) Global Support: provides financial and operational support for BU’s international teaching and research activities; (2) Study Abroad: sends over 2400 to study/intern in 26 countries annually; (3) International Students and Scholars Office: supports over 10,000 international students and scholars; and (4) Center for English Language and Orientation Programs: enrolls 1200 students yearly in intensive ESL programs. He also oversees a London-based academic internship non-profit operating in 6 different countries. Global Programs comprises 350 people working for BU in 15 countries year-round.
In addition, Willis serves as Deputy General Counsel. Since joining BU in 1998, Willis’ legal practice focused on international ventures, corporate transactions, tech transfer, endowment investments, research, and environmental matters. In this role, he advised on international projects, investments in over 70 funds and 60 start-ups, and led the formation of a venture capital fund and incubator at BU through which it made direct investments.
Prior to joining BU, Willis was the Assistant General Counsel at Molten Metal Technology, Inc., a MIT spin-off technology company that raised over $300 million in private and public offerings, reaching a market capitalization of $1 billion in the mid-1990s. He also was a lawyer for the U.S. EPA. Willis has a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.
Alan Wolf, Managing Director of Academic Technology in Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT), Harvard University
Alan is the Managing Director of Academic Technology in Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) at Harvard University. His role is to collaborate with campus leaders to set vision and strategic initiatives academic technologies across the institution, which encompasses both teaching & learning and research technology support. This includes direct support for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Digital Video Services, Harvard Web Publishing, and Arts & Humanities Research Computing Support.
Previous to this role, Alan was the Assistant CIO for Advanced Computing Infrastructure at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and directed the UW Digital Media Center. His roles included coordinating campus research cyberinfrastructure strategy and developing research services for computing networking and research data storage and management, including electronic laboratory notebooks. He was the lead instructor in a graduate course on effective teaching with technology. He was the PI for NSF awards focusing on faculty and student use of technology in higher education.
Alan received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Michigan.
Susan Wolford, Managing Director and Head of Technology and Business Services Group, BMO Capital Markets
Susan Wolford is Managing Director and Group Head of the BMO Capital Markets’ Technology & Business Services. She has been an investment banker for over 25 years, leading a wide variety of financing and merger-and-acquisition transactions across many industry groups. For the past 17 years, she has focused on the educational services industry, working with prek-12, post-secondary and lifelong learning companies. Prior to joining BMO, Ms. Wolford worked at First Union, where she co-headed the Educational Services Group; she previously spent 11 years in the Investment Banking Department of Kidder, Peabody, where she was a partner and senior vice president in the Media and Entertainment Group. She has served on a number of nonprofit and publicly listed Board of Directors and currently is on the Dean’s Advisory Council of Villanova School of Business and the Board of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Ms. Wolford graduated with honors from Villanova University and a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, where she was named an International Fellow.
Oliver Wreford, VP Strategy and Marketing, Powerschool
As Vice President of Strategy and Marketing at PowerSchool, Oliver is responsible for cultivating market expertise in order to formulate a compelling brand identity, develop effective business strategies, and deliver messaging that resonates with PowerSchool’s constituents in the K-12 market. Oliver previously created the PowerSchool ISV partner program and has over 20 years of experience in the delivery of enterprise software solutions, including expertise in M&A, marketing and communications, strategic planning, business development, technology and software delivery, and strategic alliances. Prior to joining PowerSchool, Oliver worked for a dotcom and one of the big five consulting firms.
Ken Yanhs, Director of Marketing, LEGO Education
As the Director of Marketing for LEGO® Education, Ken leads a team that helps to engage and inspire the builders of tomorrow through playful learning experiences. In recent years, Ken has focused on the convergence of education and technology. Prior to joining LEGO® Education, Ken worked in Norway and the United States for ITSLEARNING, a global LMS company. He also spent two years in Switzerland where he headed up Global Digital Development and Design for EF (Education First). With degrees from the University of Oregon and The Columbia Publishing Course, Ken has held senior technology, product and marketing roles at companies such as WGBH, Digitas and Bain & Company. He currently volunteers his time among a number of nonprofits including The Life is Good Kids Foundation, where he serves on the Advisory Committee.
Lydia Young, Interim Associate Dean, Northeastern Masters Programs in Education
Lydia R. L. Young is the Interim Associate Dean of the Northeastern Univeristy Graduate School of Education. Before her current role, she served as director of the Master of Education program and is an Associate Teaching Professor. She creates innovative programs and opportunities that support educator development; designs, revises, and oversees curriculum development in education; and develops resources for graduate students, teacher candidates, faculty members, and various stakeholders. In her pedagogical practice and curriculum development, Dr. Young explores critical literacy, fostering teacher candidates as change agents, and constructivism. She teaches Education as an Advanced Field of Study, Language, Culture, and Literacy in the Middle and High Schools, and Teaching in the Disciplines: English Methods, as well as several other courses. From 2008 to 2011, she served as the Director of Field Placement for the Master of Arts in Teaching program. Dr. Young is a member of the American Educational Research Association and the National Council of Teachers of English and has presented on ePortfolios in a Master of Education program, positionality theory, and using technology with teacher candidates. She was nominated for a Northeastern University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2011.
Previously, Dr. Young worked with the Boston Public Schools Office of College and Career Connections, the College Bound Program at Boston College, and served as a literacy consultant to small and technical high schools. Prior to working in higher education, she taught secondary English.