For the last six years, the greatest minds in education technology have congregated in Boston for the LearnLaunch Across Boundaries Conference. Our sixth 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!
Beth Anderson, CEO and Founder, Phoenix Charter Academy Network
Beth Anderson, the CEO and founder of the Phoenix Charter Academy Network, began her career in education teaching bilingual kindergartners in Los Angeles in 1991 through Teach for America. Working with the mostly under-educated young parents of her students in South Central LA sparked a deep commitment to serving adolescents disconnected from traditional public education avenues, which eventually crystallized in the form of the Phoenix Charter Academy Network. Since Phoenix Chelsea was founded in 2006, Phoenix has grown into a network of three schools in Chelsea, Lawrence and Springfield, with more than 100 game-changing educators serving over 500 students. Over the past 10 years, more than 150 young people who were never expected to graduate have earned high school diplomas from Phoenix and gone on to college success. Building the Phoenix Charter Academy Network has transformed Anderson into a social entrepreneur focused on tackling poverty-generated social and economic issues that create barriers between older youth and the economic freedom that comes from educational achievement. Anderson is an alumna of Brandeis University, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Teach For America. Previously the Co-Chair of Governor Charlie Baker’s Education Transition Committee, Anderson was recently elected as Board President of the Massachusetts Public Charter School Association in addition to serving on multiple other education advisory boards.
Umar Arshad, Co-Founder and CEO, Way Point Labs
Suha Ballout, Professor, UMass Boston College of Nursing and Health Science
Dr. Suha Ballout is an Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts Boston. Suha is interested in integrating innovative technologies in teaching large classes. She adopts an active learning approach in her classes and works with other faculty to integrate technology in courses.
Mike Baur, Program Manager, Michael and 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.
Sheldon Berman, Superintendent, Andover Public Schools
Sujata Bhatt, Managing Partner, Innovation, Boston Public Schools
Kathy Bodie, Superintendent, Arlington Public Schools
Lisa Bonacci, Engagement Manager of Sandbox ColLABorative, Southern New Hampshire University
Steve Brown, Deputy Director of Sandbox ColLABorative, Southern New Hampshire University
Steve Brown designs and facilitates experiences that support personal and organizational learning. Before joining the Sandbox Collaborative, Steve worked with SNHU’s College for America division on a hybrid delivery model that leveraged the expertise and resources of community-based organizations to support student success. Previously, Steve taught and coached in high schools for seventeen years. He left the classroom in 2009 to study design and resilience in complex adaptive systems. Steve has a BA from Harvard University and a MA in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University, Seattle.
Christian Catalini, Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, MIT
Christian’s main areas of interest are the economics of digitization, entrepreneurship, and science. His research focuses on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, the economics of equity crowdfunding and startup growth, and the economics of scientific collaboration. Christian is one of the principal investigators of the MIT Digital Currencies Research Study, which gave access to all MIT undergraduate students to Bitcoin in the Fall of 2014. He is also part of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and the recently launched Digital Currency Initiative. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management), and MSc (summa cum laude) in Economics and Management of New Technologies from Bocconi University, Milan. In 2009-10 he was a visiting student at Harvard University. His work has been featured in Nature, Science, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, WIRED, NPR, Forbes, Bloomberg, TechCrunch, the Chicago Tribute, the Boston Globe, and VICE news among others. He has presented his research at a variety of institutions including Harvard University, MIT, Yale University, London Business School, New York University, UC Berkeley, the Federal Reserve Bank, the US Treasury, the World Bank, and the White House OSTP.
Tonika Cheek Clayton, Managing Partner, New Schools Venture Fund
Tonika leads NewSchools’ Tools & Services team who invests in promising for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs developing digital tools and services that support teaching and learning in PreK-12 schools. Prior to joining NewSchools, Tonika spent eight years at Amplify and Wireless Generation where she led teams to develop, sell and deliver digital products and services to the K-12 education market. Before Amplify, Tonika worked as a researcher on Harvard University’s Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) where she consulted the first cohort of urban public school district leaders and co-authored several case studies seeking to identify more effective ways to drive student achievement by strengthening school district management and leadership. Tonika started her career in marketing and public relations at the National Basketball Association (NBA) before later transitioning to the team who launched the NBA’s D-League in eight cities for its inaugural season. Tonika graduated from Harvard College and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Paul Crockett, CEO, Authess
Michael Croft, CEO, Volute
Michael Croft is founder and CEO of Volute, a company turning ideas and teaching methods of thought leaders into tools for digital learning. Tools are shared among a global community of university members and assemble like LEGO® bricks to solve niche and widespread educational challenges.
Michael is dad to a beautiful five-year-old girl and loves Sea Rays and Harleys. He’s also a serial entrepreneur and software architect with a degree in computer science, a 40 Under Forty recipient, and has been published and cited in industry journals on education and technology topics.
Before launching Volute, Michael bootstrapped an enterprise software company developing custom solutions used by organizations including Fifth Third Bank, Merck, Columbia Business School and NASA. He discovered a gap in the market for packaging and delivering digital content and knowledge services and introduced Volute to the education industry.
Kristen DiCerbo, Vice President of Education Research, Pearson
Dr. Kristen DiCerbo is the Vice-President of Education Research at Pearson. She leads a team of researchers conducting and translating research about learners and learning to influence the design of curricula and digital tools.
Dr. DiCerbo’s personal research program centers on interactive technologies, particularly the use of games and simulations to understand what learners know and can do. She is interested in how technology, teachers, and students interact to engage in practices that personalize learning. Prior to joining Pearson, Kristen was a researcher with the Networking Academies at Cisco and was a school psychologist in a local school district in Arizona. Kristen received her Bachelor’s Degree from Hamilton College and Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Arizona State University.
Pia Durkin, Superintendent New Bedford Public Schools
Liya Escalera, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Bunker Hill Community College
Aaron Feuer, CEO and Co-Founder, Panorama Education
Aaron Feuer is CEO and Co-Founder of Panorama Education, a Boston-based education and technology company. Panorama Education partners with schools and districts to collect and analyze data about social-emotional learning, school climate, family engagement, and more. With research-backed surveys and a leading technology platform, Panorama helps educators act on data and improve student outcomes. Panorama has supported more than 5 million students in 6,500 schools across 40 states, including those in the New York City Department of Education, Dallas Independent School District, Seattle Public Schools, and San Francisco Unified School District. As a high school student, Aaron was President of the California Association of Student Councils (CASC), the state-chartered student leadership and advocacy organization. In that role, Aaron led a campaign to pass legislation around student feedback in the classroom — and an initiative to seat a student on the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education. Following high school, Aaron came East and graduated from Yale University with a degree in Political Science.
Brian Fitzgerald, Founder and CEO, Tinkergarten
Brian has been developing high growth consumer digital product businesses since 1995 that have reached hundreds of millions of people worldwide. His passion and focus in on building services that help people learn. Before starting Tinkergarten, he was VP of Product Development at Knewton, a global leader in adaptive learning, and prior to that was the VP/Intrapreneur of Audible Education (acquired by Amazon.com) where he developed products and services for Higher Education, K-12, and Early Learning. Brian was on the start up team that developed Rocketmail (acquired by Yahoo), and he later launched 50+ Yahoo consumer apps in leadership roles at the Silicon Valley HQ and London. He earned a BA in Entrepreneurship at Babson College and an MA at Columbia Teacher’s College.
Brian Fleming, Interim Executive Director, SandBox Collaborative at SNHU
Brian oversees the direction and research agenda of the Sandbox ColLABorative, the strategy and innovation lab of Southern New Hampshire University. His work covers strategic initiatives for the university as a whole as well as education technology, market trends, and organizational change.
Maria Flynn, President and CEO, Jobs for the Future
As President and CEO of Jobs for the Future, Maria Flynn leads JFF’s overall growth strategy, including funding diversification, strategic planning, partnership building, system deployment, change management, and talent development. She is responsible for all of JFF’s programs and operations in a highly collaborative environment across its education and workforce development sectors. Ms. Flynn is a member of JFF’s Board of Directors.
Previously, as Jobs for the Future’s Senior Vice President, Ms. Flynn led JFF’s Building Economic
Opportunity Group, working to help entry-level workers advance to family-supporting careers while enabling employers to build and sustain a productive workforce. She also led JFF’s federal policy and advocacy strategies, which are focused on advancing the educational needs of underserved Americans and developing a skilled workforce. Ms. Flynn is a leading national expert on issues such as career pathways, employer engagement, sector strategies, and place-based initiatives. This team provides technical assistance, coaching, documentation, labor market analysis, and evaluation support to a wide range of projects around the country, supported by public and private funders. In the nine years that she led the Building Economic Opportunity Group at JFF, Ms. Flynn significantly increased the size and impact of the cluster, growing it from a budget of $5 million in FY08 to over $10 million in FY17, and 12
employees to almost 40 employees over that same time period.
Ms. Flynn has 25 years of experience in the workforce development and education fields. Prior to joining JFF in 2007, she was a member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service and served as the administrator of the Office of Policy Development and Research in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. In that role, she oversaw development of policies for all of the agency’s programs serving both young people and adults, and managed the agency’s research and evaluation strategy, as well as the agency’s annual budget and appropriations activities, totaling $12 billion and 1,200 employees. Ms. Flynn also coordinated the ETA’s extensive legislative, regulatory, and international affairs agendas and outreach to other federal agencies and philanthropic organizations.
Within the Employment and Training Administration, Ms. Flynn previously led the Division of One-Stop Operations, where she developed the policy and technical assistance framework necessary to enable states and local communities to establish comprehensive one-stop delivery systems designed to provide quality services to jobseekers, workers, and employers. She also served as the team leader of the interagency group charged with implementing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. In the 1990s, she played key leadership roles in the National School-to-Work initiative and in the launch of the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills initiative.
Ms. Flynn earned her bachelor of arts in international relations and economics at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a master’s in government administration at the University of Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Mike, reside in Weymouth, Massachusetts. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Amelia and Caroline.
Renee Foster, President, Curriculum Associates
Aubrey Francisco, Chief Research Officer, Digital Promise
Aubrey Francisco is Chief Research Officer at Digital Promise, where she led the development of the Digital Promise Research Map, a visualization of learning science findings from over 180 journals. She also leads several projects focused on increasing research use in the design, implementation, and selection of educational programs and products. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Aubrey worked in research and development in academic, industry, and government settings. She earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University, and holds a B.A. in Bioengineering from Syracuse University.
Deborah Froggatt, Library Director, Fenway High School and Boston Arts Academy
Chris Gabrieli, Chairman, Massachusetts Board of Higher Education
Chris Gabrieli is the Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (MA BHE), the CEO of Empower Schools and a lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. He has served as Chair of the MA BHE since being appointed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2015. The BHE is responsible for setting policy and strategic direction for the public higher education system in the state which includes 29 community college, state university and UMass campuses and serves over 200,000 full-time students. As Chair, he has spearheaded the Early College High School initiative leading to the creation of a new category of public entity in Massachusetts with designation by a Joint Committee of the Boards of Higher and Elementary & Secondary Education. He lives in Boston, MA.
Kerry Gallagher, Digital Learning Specialist, St. Johns Prep
Kerry Gallagher is a Digital Learning Specialist at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts. She’s also the Director of K-12 Education for ConnectSafely.org, an EdSurge Columnist, and an active blogger. Her multi-award winning blog can be found at www.KerryHawk02.com. Kerry’s passions and the focus of her work include empowering teachers, students and parents to learn with digital tools and resources; educating school communities about both the positive power and privacy concerns that come with social media use; and diving headfirst into learning more about new and effective practices in education. 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. In 2017, Kerry was selected as a Future Ready Instructional Coaches Thought Leader. Kerry is a TEDx and keynote speaker and also shares her expertise by designing professional learning for school districts around the country. She presents often at conference locations that have included Harvard Law School, Yale School of Management, and Stanford University. Kerry holds a B.A. in Politics from Saint Anselm College and a J.D. from Massachusetts School of Law. She is on social media at @KerryHawk02.
Laura Gardner, Teacher Librarian, Dartmouth Public Schools
Laura Gardner, a National Board Certified Teacher in Library Media, is Teacher Librarian at Dartmouth Middle School in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Laura was awarded the School Library Journal (SLJ) School Librarian of the Year Co-Finalist Award in 2016 and is a 2017 Star Touchcast Ambassador. She is on Twitter, Instagram and Musical.ly as @LibrarianMsG and Snapchat as @DMSLibrary366
Bob Giannino, CEO, uAspire
Since 2005, Bob Giannino has served as the Chief Executive Officer of uAspire. uAspire is a national leader in providing college affordability services to young people, families and college access and success practitioners. Through local operations in Massachusetts (Boston, Lawrence, Fall River, Somerville, Malden and Cambridge) and the San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland and Hayward), training partnerships reaching 25+ states, and a national virtual advising effort, this year, uAspire will impact the lives of more than 350,000 young people. Since 2010, uAspire has received the Organization of Excellence Award by the National College Access Network, was named a Social Innovator by the Social Innovation Forum, was recognized by Opportunity Knocks as one of nation’s “Best Non-Profits to Work For” and the Boston Foundation for “exceptional non-profit leadership”, and was recipient of Year Up’s Urban Empowerment Award.
Prior to joining uAspire, Bob served in numerous roles at Jumpstart for Young Children, including serving on the National Management Team, most recently in the role as Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations. During Bob’s tenure, uAspire has been featured in numerous media outlets for their expertise on issues of college affordability, including NPR, Time Magazine, the New York Times, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education and National Journal. Bob is on the Faculty of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice and serves on numerous Boards including Idealist.org, the world’s largest non-profit internet job site, Root Cause and Harvard’s Phillips Brooks House Association, as well as the Advisory Boards of Excel Academy Charter Schools and Noonan Scholars. In 2015, Bob was awarded the prestigious Barr Fellowship for his “outstanding contribution to the Boston community and potential to drive positive change for years to come.” Over the years, Bob has also been recognized by New Profit, Freedom House, Social Capital Inc, the Boston Business Journal, the Harvard Club of Boston, and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. The first in his family to attend college, a product of the Somerville (MA) Public Schools, and a graduate of Harvard College, Bob knows the vital role that strong financial guidance and minimizing debt plays in ensuring a strong economic future. Bob resides in Dorchester, Massachusetts and his son, Connor, is a Second Year City Year Corps Member.
Sue Germer, Co-Founder, PlayPosit
Sue graduated from the University of Chicago (BA) and Stanford Law School (JD). She practiced at Quinn Emanuel and Dentons, as a public defender and civil rights attorney before joining the Teach For America corps in 2010. She then taught math in SFUSD and Dorchester, Massachusetts for several years before concentrating her energies solely on PlayPosit. As cofounder, she oversees all partnerships with PlayPosit.
Sue and Ben Levy created PlayPosit in their classrooms with their students. Consequently, every aspect of this platform was built to cultivate student agenc
y, engage learners and make instruction more effective, data-driven and easier. Based on the strength of its mission, PlayPosit garnered several socially oriented awards and entrance to prestigious socially oriented accelerator programs in DC (1776), Boston (LearnLaunch) and the Bay Area (Startx, AT&T’s Aspire Innovation Award). It now boasts over 1.5Million users and strong partnerships with several schools, districts, universities and colleges including the Teaching Channel, University of California, DC Public Schools and many more.
Amanda Gould, Chief Administrative Officer, Baypath University
Amanda Gould, Chief Administrative Officer for The American Women’s College at Bay Path University, oversees the division delivering accelerated undergraduate degree programs for adult women online and across campus sites in Massachusetts. Amanda serves as the Project Director for a $3.5M FITW FIPSE grant that was awarded by the US Department of Education to The American Women’s College in 2014. The grant makes possible the implementation of SOUL (Social Online Universal Learning), a data-driven approach to personalization and support, which includes a research study on the impact of adaptive learning and data-driven outreach on degree completion. In this capacity she was invited in April 2016 to present at the White House Complex to advocate for new models in higher education, especially for under-represented populations, and to publish a case study in the US Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan – Reimagining the Role of Technology in Higher Education. Under her leadership, The American Women’s College received a Digital Learning Innovation Award from the Online Learning Consortium in November 2016 and the Lumina Foundation’s LIFTed Prize in May 2017.
Having received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Boston College, Amanda has worked in higher education administration throughout her career holding positions at Boston College and Mount Holyoke College before joining the Bay Path community in 2011 as Director of Institutional Research and then as Director of Data & Analytics. Amanda has a passion for implementing technology and data-driven approaches in both the operational and learning arenas of higher education to help impact student success.
Nancy Gustafson, Superintendent, Millis Public Schools
Virgel Hammonds, Chief Learning Officer, Knowledgeworks Foundation
Bradley Hesser, Associate Professor of Graphic Design and Digital Media, Monroe County Community College
Steven Hiersche, Superintendent, Beverly Public Schools
Michael Horn, Chief Strategy Officer, Entangled Ventures
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 serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Entangled Ventures, an education technology studio, and as a principal consultant for Entangled Solutions, which offers innovation services to higher education institutions. He is also the co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a non-profit think tank. 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, he serves on the board and advisory boards of a range of education organizations, including the Clayton Christensen Institute, the Robin Hood Learning+Tech Fund, and the LearnLaunch Institute. He also serves as an executive editor at Education Next and is a venture partner at NextGen Venture Partners. 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. Horn holds a BA in history from Yale University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Judy Houle, Executive Director, Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual Schools
Ross Jensen, Director Education Technology Portfolio, Emerson Collective
Ross Jensen is Director of the Education Technology Portfolio for Emerson Collective. Established and led by Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective uses a wide range of tools and strategies — partnering with entrepreneurs and experts, parents and policymakers, advocates and administrators — to develop and execute innovative solutions that will spur change and promote equality. Prior to joining Emerson Collective, Ross helped to grow Teach For America, leading the national rollout of its digital teacher support tools and serving on the start-up team for the organization’s expansion to Indianapolis, IN. He began his time with Teach For America as a fifth grade teacher in Newark, NJ, for which he was a national finalist for the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching award. He received his BA from the University of Michigan, his MA from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Frances & Arjay Miller Fellowship in Social Innovation and the Miller Social Change Leadership Award.
Patrick Johnson, Principal, Walsh Middle School (Framingham, MA)
Andrew Joseph, CEO, School By Design
Ryan Knight, Director of Strategy and Evaluation, Unlocking Potential Schools
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 rigorous planning processes to help UP scale from one school and 500 students in 2012 to seven schools and 3200 students in 2017. Ryan leverages his background in research and management to run randomized evaluations of new programs at UP and to seed innovations at the teacher level. Ryan is the host of The Education Conversation (@edconvo), a podcast about how individuals and organizations create change in education. Connect with Ryan on Twitter @rgknight
Stefan Kohler, CEO, Kickboard
David Kozhuk, CEO, UConnect
Matt Kramer, CEO, Wildflower Schools
JD LaRock, CEO, Commonwealth Capital
Mike Larsson, President, Match Beyond
Mike Larsson is President of Match Beyond. He and his colleague Bob Hill co-founded and launched Match Beyond in 2015. Match Beyond is a non-profit located in Boston that provides professional coaching, support, and career services to students enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University’s unique College for America program. College for America is a non-profit, accredited program that was designed to specifically give working adults access to Associates and Bachelor’s degrees. Before co-founding Match Beyond, Mike held a number of positions in the non-profit sector. He holds a BA from Boston College.
Stephen Laster, Chief Digital Officer, McGraw Hill Education
Stephen J. Laster is a leader in harnessing technology and product innovation for business transformation. He is the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of McGraw-Hill Education (MHE) and has served as CIO for the Harvard Business School (HBS), and as a board member for IMS Global, Microsoft Higher Education Advisory Board, The Online Learning Consortium, Preserve, Inc., and Babson College. During his tenure at McGraw-Hill Education, Mr. Laster has led the transformation of MHE from old-line publisher to a technology driven, learning science company. Mr. Laster created, grew and continues to lead the MHE Digital Platform Group, a global team of 1,000 staff and contract technologists. He is the architect of the product and technology roadmap that has enhanced MHE’s digital revenue growth, which now accounts for approximately half of the company’s nearly $2 Billion of revenue. Mr. Laster is also responsible for an internal start-up (LSP) that is leading MHE’s drive to offer its adaptive technology to other content providers, corporate learning organizations and universities, further establishing MHE as an educational technology platform provider. Mr. Laster has led the acquisition and integration of four companies since 2013. He has driven the rationalization of the technology portfolio into a set of shared technology services in order to accelerate product development. Mr. Laster is a leader in the utilization of open interoperability standards that accelerate an educational technology ecosystem and is a frequent speaker and writer within this community. Prior to joining MHE, he served as the Chief Information and Technology Officer of the Harvard Business School and as a member of the HBS administrative leadership team. He oversaw the school’s academic, research and administrative computing teams. During his time at HBS, he replatformed key technologies and drove the use of technology in teaching and learning. During this same time period, Mr. Laster also founded and lead Intelligent Solutions, LLC a boutique consulting firm focused on technology transformation within education. Prior to HBS, Mr. Laster was responsible for curriculum and technology innovation at Babson College. During this time Mr. Laster lead the creation of Babson’s blended MBA program opening new markets for the College via technology enhanced learning. Mr. Laster also served on the faculty of Babson College teaching courses at the undergraduate, graduate and executive level and has served as a Trustee of the College. Earlier in his career Mr. Laster held critical positions at a number of companies including Art Technology Group, CrossCom Corporation, Advanced Business Technologies, Inc., and The Stride Rite Corporation. 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.
Paul LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University
Duncan Lennox, CEO, QStream
Adrianne Level, Math Educator and Instructional Leader, Boston Day and Evening Academy
Cheryl Lewis, Director of Technology, Duxbury Public Schools
Phil Long, Chief Innovation Officer, University of Texas at Austin
Rob Lytle, Managing Director and Co- Head of Education, Parthenon EY
Grace Magley, Director of Digital Learning, Natick Public Schools
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 programs for their classrooms using research-based instructional practices to help personalize student learning. Grace sits on the board of directors for MassCUE, the Massachusetts ISTE affiliate, and 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 Leadership in Blended and Digital Learning graduate program for principals and school leaders and she leads a Blended Learning PLN for MassCUE (blendinmass.org)
Andrew Magliozzi, Co-Founder, AdmitHub
Diana Marcus, Mobile Learning Coach, Burlington Public Schools
Silver McDonald, General Manager, LEGO Education
Silver is responsible for LEGO Education’s North America business to deliver STEM learning and to empower teachers and students with LEGO Education solutions. She has been in the technology industry for more than 20 years with the large majority of those focused on education and sustainability.
Silver began her career as a Managing Producer with Razorfish, working with McKinsey and Company, Sega of America and many other clients as they embraced the digital space. She was an early employee with Schoolnet, an Instructional Improvement System company, and remained with Schoolnet for 10 years, first building its enterprise client consulting team and then leading Sales and Marketing, working with hundreds of districts across the United States. Pearson later acquired Schoolnet, where Silver served as Senior Vice President of K12 Solution Sales, focused on the largest school district and state engagements in the United States. Silver was also Chief Commercial Officer at BrightBytes, an educational research analytics organization focused on improving how the world learns.
She has an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, a BA from San Francisco State University in Technical and Professional Writing and a certification from Presidio Graduate School in Sustainable Management.
Silver is passionate about student achievement, sustainability issues and having a global impact. Having led both Client Service and Sales teams, she believes in strong teams, delighted customers, and impactful educational solutions. You can find Silver outside of work enjoying cooking, documentaries, travelling, and volunteering
Jordan Meranus, CEO and Co-Founder, Ellevation Ed
Lara Metcalf, Managing Directo, Social Finance
Karen Miller, CEO, DoInk
Andrea Milligan, Director of Instructional Technology and Design, North Shore Community College
Eleni Miltsakaki, CEO, Choosito
Dr. Eleni Miltsakaki is the President and CEO of Choosito. Choosito’s technology is developed by a team lead by Dr. Eleni Miltsakaki, a PhD in Machine Learning & Computational Linguistics and a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. She has over 100 publications in the area of Machine Learning & Natural Language Processing Models of text analysis and readability. Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elenimiltsakaki/
Erin Mote, Executive Director, InnovateEDU
Erin Mote is the Executive Director of InnovateEDU and co-founder of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School (LAB). She leads InnovateEDU and its major projects including the development of Cortex, work on data interoperability, an urban education Fellowship to diversify the teacher pipeline, and supports for LAB’s growth. She has spent much of her career focused on public service and expanding access to technology in both the US and abroad. Her work spans private sector collaborations and groundbreaking initiatives with Intel, Cisco, Google, and Mozilla, as well as work with leading US government technology partnerships. Erin served as the founding Chief of Party for the USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Alliance and has worked on numerous projects with the US Department of State and the White House. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Eric and her son Robert and bleeds maize and blue as a graduate of the University of Michigan.
John Myers, CEO, Edsby
Adam Newman, Co-Founder and Partner, Tyton Partners
Greg O'Brien, COO, Noodle
Philip Oreopoulos, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, JPAL
Christine Ortiz, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
Craig Palli, CEO, Testive
Craig Palli is a seasoned inventor and entrepreneur with a particular knack for creating client focused marketing and business development strategies for technology companies of all sizes, in all stages of growth – from inception to IPO or acquisition. During his career, Craig’s teams have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in digital marketing programs resulting in billions of dollars of revenue.
Emily Paulsen, Executive Director, The College Board
Matthew Pittinsky, CEO, Parchment
Matthew Pittinsky, Ph.D. is the CEO of Parchment and co-founder and former CEO of Blackboard Inc. Matthew is on the faculty of Arizona State University and also serves on the Board of Trustees of The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
In 2012 the Teachers College at Columbia University awarded Matthew with The President’s Medal of Excellence to recognize his impact and innovation in the field of education technology and entrepreneurship. He is a frequent speaker, and has recently been invited to present at NewSchools Summit, Association of American Universities meeting, National Association for College Admission Counseling National Conference and SXSWedu.
Matthew holds a B.S. in Political Science from American University, Ed.M. in Education Policy from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Shay Pokress, Curriculum Designer, Wyss Institute
Shaileen Pokress is a computer scientist specializing in K-12 education. She directed the year-long school pilot that launched Root Robotics out of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. Prior to that, Shay developed K-5 computer science curricula for Project Lead The Way, a national non-profit serving over two million students. She also served as Director of Education for MIT App Inventor, a platform for building mobile apps that aims to democratize mobile computing. Shay earned her bachelor of science degree in computer science from Cornell University and her master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Beth Rabbitt, CEO, Learning Accelerator
Jennifer Rafferty, Director of the Institute, Online Learning Consortium
Jennifer (Paloma) Rafferty is currently Director of the Institute for Professional Development at The Online Learning Consortium (OLC). She provides leadership in researching, managing, and evaluating a full range of professional development solutions for multiple audiences within the OLC Institute. Previously Jennifer was Associate Director of Instructional Design at Quinnipiac University Online where she provided faculty development for fully online degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels in the Schools of Nursing and Health Sciences. During her time at Quinnipiac University, Jennifer was responsible for spearheading the development of the first online medical Spanish course at the University. She has presented both nationally and internationally on the topic of online foreign language instruction and self-regulated learning. Jennifer’s education includes a Masters of Education in Instructional Design from UMASS Boston, a Masters of Arts in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an undergraduate degree in Romance Languages from Mount Holyoke College.
Karl Rectanus, CEO, Lear(R)n
Karl Rectanus is an educator, entrepreneur and adviser. As cofounder and CEO of Lea(R)n, an education innovation Benefit Corporation that empowers educators and their institutions to organize, streamline and analyze education technology through its research-backed LearnPlatform, Karl leads schools and districts, states and networks, and colleges and universities in their efforts to simplify edtech selection, procurement, implementation and measurement. Karl works with learning organizations and networks across the country to establish and elevate standards of practice that drive personalized learning at scale, student achievement and equity in access. Originally an educator and administrator in the US and abroad, Karl has started and led multiple education innovation organizations, and currently advises districts, states and foundations. Karl has lived, worked and studied in over 12 countries, and was an NC Teaching Fellow and James M Johnston Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, and graduate courses at UCLA’s Anderson Business School and CalTech Executive Extension. Karl, his wife and three daughters now live in Raleigh, NC.
Emily Relkin, Research Assistant, Tufts University
Emily Relkin is member of the DevTech Research Group in the Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. She is also a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Early Childhood Technology program at Tufts. Emily’s research involves the KIBO Robot, a technology designed and developed by the DevTech Research Group and KinderLab Robotics to promote the acquisition of programming skills in children 4-7 years of age. She is a co-investigator in a recently completed pilot study of the applicability of KIBO to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and is currently developing an instrument to assess coding proficiency with the KIBO Robot in young children.
Alexandra Resch, Associate Director and Senior Researcher, Mathematica
Alec Resnick, Director, Sprout & Co.
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 Powderhouse Studios, a new high school under Massachusetts’ Innovation School legislation next year. 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.
Thomas L. Rooney, Superintendent, Lindsay Unified School District
Jessica Rothenberg - Aalami, CEO, Cell Ed
Jerry Rubin, President and CEO, Jewish Vocational Services
Sanjay Sarma, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Vice President for Open Learning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Adam Saven, CEO and Co-Founder, PeopleGrove
Adam is the co-founder of PeopleGrove and has served as its Chief Executive Officer since inception. He previously worked at Google as a Business Analyst from 2013 to 2014, performing data analysis as well as informing strategic decisions for the Online Partnerships Group (OPG). Prior to Google, he served as an Investment Banking Analyst in the Global Technology Group of Credit Suisse. He holds a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The impetus for starting PeopleGrove came from a realization of how powerful mentors and the Penn alumni network had been in helping Adam to explore various career paths and access great opportunities. While at Google, Adam embarked on an after-work side project that would eventually become PeopleGrove. PeopleGrove has grown to re-imagine mentoring for today’s college students and professionals at over 80 college campuses across the country.
Karene Sean-Hines, Educator, James P. Timilty Middle School
Elad Shoushan, CEO and Founder, Ready4
Elad is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Ready4, the world’s fastest growing test preparation mobile-only company. Ready4 operates 12 test prep apps that are ranked in the top positions in both Android and iOS stores. Elad expanded the operations, products, and services of Ready4 through its rapid growth to over 2+ million learners across 195+ countries and 100+ university clients that partnered with Ready4 to connect with students worldwide. The company clients included top 20 universities (MIT, Harvard, UNC, and more) and public education companies (2U, The Princeton Review, and more) worldwide. Prior to Ready4, Elad held various software development and product management positions at Goldman Sachs, GE Healthcare, and Intel. Prior to those, Elad was a former professional basketball player, playing also for the young men national team of Israel. Elad received an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and B.sc in Information Systems Engineering Cum Laude from The Technion.
Parul Singh, Principal, Founder Collective
Parul Singh is the recovering founder of Gradeable, a K-12 assessment startup focused on providing an alternative to standardized testing. These days, she is an investor at Founder Collective, a seed venture capital fund based in Cambridge, which has invested in MissionU, Mighteor, Skillshare, Codeacademy and 200+ other early stage technology companies. You can reach her on twitter @parulia
Burck Smith, CEO, StraighterLine
Esteban Sosnik, General Partner, Reach Capital
John Stuart, Division Vice President, PTC
Karen Stout, President & CEO, Achieving the Dream
Elisabeth Stucklen, Instructional Designer, Online Learning Consortium
Elisabeth Stucklen is an instructional designer in OLC’s Institute for Professional Development, where she provides course design/production and facilitation support for the Mastery Series and Instructional Designer Certificate Program. She has worked in online higher education and instructional design for over 13 years. Prior to joining OLC, she worked as the senior instructional designer at Mount Washington College in Manchester, NH, where she was responsible for creating new online courses, providing training and support for faculty, and assisting the director in monitoring the course development process. Before MWC, she worked at Lesley University providing professional development and course design assistance to faculty. In addition to her role with the OLC, Elisabeth also teaches online for Brandeis University in their Masters in Online Instructional Design program, is a member of the advisory board for the M.S. in Learning Design and Educational Technology at the Katz School at Yeshiva University, and is serving as a mentor in the Educause ID2ID cross-institutional peer mentoring program for instructional designer. Elisabeth holds a Masters of Science in Instructional Design and Technology from Emporia State University, and a Bachelors of Science in Visual Communication Technology from Lesley University.
Chris Twyman, Founder and CEO, BoomWriter
BoomWriter is Chris’s second venture. After a career working for two of the largest software companies, Chris formed Zapoint, an HR technology company based in Cambridge, MA. Then, after a cold, long walk under an umbrella with Ken Haynes, his daughter’s teacher, he started BoomWriter. Chris has an MBA and a Masters in International Marketing along with a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering and Quantity Surveying.
Trace Urdan, Managing Director, Tyton Partners
Trace Urdan is a Managing Director at Tyton Partners where he has responsibility for both consulting and investment banking assignments. Prior to joining Tyton, Trace followed the Knowledge Services market as an equity research analyst for more than 18 years, during which time he held senior research positions at a number of firms including ThinkEquity, Robert W. Baird, Signal Hill Capital Group, Wells Fargo Securities, and most recently as a Managing Director at Credit Suisse. After holding senior management positions within Time Inc. and KPMG Media Marwick, Trace began his career as a research analyst in 1998 with Alex. Brown & Sons, covering publishing and education. During his career he has followed a wide range of companies serving the education market including early childhood, K-12, higher education and employment training. He is widely-cited as an expert on the topics of for-profit education, education technology and education policy. In 2011 he authored a white paper for the Kauffman Foundation on the topic of higher education regulation. In 2008 he was cited by Career College Central magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in the career college sector. And in 2005, he testifIed before the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education. Trace received a BA degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Devin Vodicka, Chief Impact Officer, AltSchool
Dara Warn, Chief Outcomes Officer, Penn Foster
Michelle Weise, Senior Vice President of Workforce Strategy and Chief Innovation Officer, Strata Education
Charles Willis, History Teacher and School Redesign and Innovation Team Member, Revere High School
For the past eight years, Charles Willis has taught students about United States History, the history of Revere and the history of Boston at Revere High School (RHS). Using a competency-based approach in which students advance based on mastery of content rather than credit hours, Charles has completely redesigned his classroom to put students at the center of their learning as they grapple with essential historical questions through performance-based assessments in practice for life beyond high school. Charles was also a member of the School Redesign and Innovation team at RHS for 5 years that is working to further student-centered learning on a systematic level. He has presented at the New England Secondary School Consortium Conference, the National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference and both the New England Regional and National College Board Forums. Charles has a Master’s of Education in Social Studies Education and a B.S. in Social Studies Education from Boston University.
Holly Zanville, Senior Advisor for Credentialing and workforce Development, Lumina Foundation
Zanville’s work experience spans the educational pipeline with service in K-12, community colleges, universities, higher education governance system, regional compact, and philanthropy. Prior to joining Lumina in 2006, she served as Senior Administrator/Chief Academic Officer, Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board; Coordinator, Oregon Joint Boards K-20 Redesign Initiative; Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Oregon University System; and Director, Economic Development and Regional Internship Programs, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
Zanville received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Minnesota; MA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and BA in English and Biology from Lindenwood University.