Professional Learning Engineer, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“I go into every new experience and opportunity with a dedicated resolve to observe and absorb as much as I can from whatever I can. I don’t think there’s such a thing as useless knowledge and I think everyone and everything has knowledge to impart.”
Kali Alford joins the Digital Promise team after serving as a Digital Learning Coordinator for Cobb County Schools in Marietta, Georgia. Prior to that, he worked with Kennesaw State University’s iTeach Team, where he served as a Project Lead supervising Instructional Technology Coaches supporting several school districts. Kali also brings with him the experience of a classroom teacher, having taught both middle and high school Humanities courses. Kali received his Bachelor’s of Arts in History from Columbus State University as well as his Master’s and Specialist of Education in Instructional Technology from Kennesaw State University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Operations and Finance Manager
“I retain details in a variety of ways and my learning style varies, depending on the type of information I am receiving. One thing I am currently learning more about is early childhood education and the impact it has on development in those critical years.”
Andronica comes to Digital Promise from Working America in Washington, D.C., where she worked on audit readiness, vendor contracts, and insurance policies. She earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, where she also coordinated two summer college readiness programs. She is continuing her education through an early childhood development endorsement program with the Virginia Department of Social Services. You can reach Andronica at: email@example.com.
Maker Learning Coach
“I find videos on YouTube, follow experts on Twitter, and dig for code samples on GitHub. You can tell how excited I am about an idea by checking how many browser tabs I have open.”
Colin supports Digital Promise’s maker learning initiatives as a Maker Learning Coach. Before Digital Promise, Colin was the Director of STEAM Education at Friends’ Central School, where he taught Computer Science and Latin, and ran the school’s makerspace. Colin has also run language education programs online, in print, and in person as co-owner of Animat, LLC. As an undergraduate, he studied Classics, and he is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Learning Sciences and Technologies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Education.
Technical Project Manager, Educator Micro-credentials
“I learn by tinkering. When I was 11, I wanted to play computer games but my family couldn’t afford a computer. I got a computer assembly book from the library and collected recycled computer parts in my neighborhood until I could build my own.”
Before joining Digital Promise, Robert worked as a high school science teacher in New Jersey. Robert came to teaching from a background in science, working in microbiological research and cancer diagnostics. He graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in biological sciences. Robert can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project Director, Next Generation Science
“I’ve spent a lot of my life in academic pursuits, but I realize now that much of my growth and learning recently has been in the social-emotional realm. I learn about kindness, patience and teamwork everyday from my own children, and when I was in the classroom my students taught about me about empathy and the importance of building meaningful relationships.”
Anthony joins Digital Promise from the Center for Education Initiatives at Illinois State University and the Illinois State Board of Education. As the Science Content Specialist for the State of Illinois, he partnered with school districts to facilitate science standards implementation, provided professional learning, and developed pilot programs around innovation in science instruction, among other duties. Anthony has contributed to multiple projects involving the Next Generation Science Standards, including serving as curriculum editor with NextGenStorylines and as an Anchor Educator with EdReports, where he developed a tool for evaluating the quality of NGSS-aligned science programs. Prior to his work at the State level he taught science in high school and had a previous career as an archaeologist. Anthony currently resides in Illinois and holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Southern Illinois University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Lead Research Scientist, The Dynamic Learning Project
“Learning for me is like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that I can gather and all the innovation that I can make to find a way out.”
Mahsa has more than eight years of research experience in the field of education, working with academia, government, and non-profit organizations across US and Canada. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Foundations from University of Montreal with “Excellence” honor. Her main research area includes factors and dynamics influencing social and educational development of immigrant-origin children and youth. She has authored several books, journal articles, and book chapters on this topic. Before joining Digital Promise, she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with joint affiliation with UCLA School of Education and McGill University. Her fellowship was prestigiously awarded by the Government of Quebec (Quebec Research Funds – Society & Culture) for outstanding quality and significant research potential. You can reach Mahsa at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program and Events Associate, League of Innovative Schools
“In the past year, I have learned how to maximize my organization skills and adult budgeting! Money management and event planning/travel has to be one of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn how to do. I have since started teaching my friends and family the Art of Ballin’ on a Budget!”
Jessica Bates is a Program and Events Associate at Digital Promise who works with the League of Innovative Schools to coordinate and manage the team’s yearly events. Notably, Jessica works with host districts to plan the League’s biannual meetings as well as Digital Promise’s annual EdClusters convenings.
Before joining Digital Promise, Jessica worked for scientific nonprofits in public engagement, international activities, and public relations. Jessica knows what it takes to execute a multi-day meeting or event in a variety of locations and venues; she firmly believes the perfect program includes a space where guests can feel motivated to interact and contribute to the purpose of the convening. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in Administration of Justice from the illustrious Howard University. (HU! You Know!)
“I enjoy observing things. From an early age, I was always fascinated in how things work and interact. I found that I have a knack for explaining things from observation, which is how I best learn.”
Derrick is an experienced accounting, finance, and higher education professional who enjoys helping organizations make decisions using financial information. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Derrick spent the last decade in a variety of financial roles in higher education nonprofits after beginning his career as an accountant and analyst in large healthcare organizations. Additionally, Derrick has taught both undergraduate and graduate accounting and business courses at the university level for the past decade. Derrick holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, a master’s degree in business administration, and a doctorate in community college policy and management. You can reach Derrick at
Senior Research Scientist, Learning Sciences Research
“I learn – or try to – by spreading things out, mentally and physically, and then seeing how they connect. Then I try to arrange and rearrange the things and make an outline of how they touch and inform each other.”
Quinn Burke is a Senior Research Scientist in the Learning Sciences at Digital Promise. Quinn’s research examines the effectiveness of different coding activities by which to introduce computer science and computational thinking (CT) to students. Quinn’s research has been supported by a number of state and federal grants. He has written a number of articles and co-authored two books through MIT Press around integrating computing and CT into the school day. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Quinn taught at the college and high school levels. He hails from Chicago originally and has a beautiful wife, daughter, and the worst behaved dog in the Bay Area. He can be reached at email@example.com.
President and Chief Executive Officer
“I am a social learner (just ask my 8th grade teachers!); I prefer to learn with and from people. I believe many minds create better ideas and that social interactions incent action. I am increasingly interested in how online interactions can be designed to improve learning opportunity, regardless of location.”
Karen Cator is President and CEO of Digital Promise and a leading voice for transforming American education through technology, innovation and research. From 2009-2013, Karen was Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, where she led the development of the 2010 National Education Technology Plan and focused the Office’s efforts on teacher and leader support. Prior to joining the department, Cator directed Apple’s leadership and advocacy efforts in education. In this role, she focused on the intersection of education policy and research, emerging technologies, and the reality faced by teachers, students and administrators. She began her education career in Alaska as a teacher, ultimately leading technology planning and implementation. She also served as Special Assistant for Telecommunications for the Governor of Alaska. Cator holds a master’s in school administration from the University of Oregon and recently received the 2014 College of Education Distinguished Alumni award. The American Association of Publishers has awarded Cator with the 2014 Visionary Award. She received her bachelor’s in early childhood education from Springfield College, and she is a member of the Aspen Pahara Fellows. She is a past chair for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, has served on boards including the Software & Information Industry Association-Education, and currently serves on the boards for ACT and Enlearn. You can reach Karen at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Multimedia Content Producer, Research
“When you ask people about memorable learning experiences, you hear many stories about informal environments. I know times spent in museums, libraries, and parks are the ones that stand out for me.”
Corinne documented the work of artists and filmmakers as a video producer at BRIC TV, a community television station in Brooklyn. She’s also edited content for MoMA and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Corinne left her heart in New York City when she moved to the Bay Area to pursue her master’s in Learning, Design and Technology at Stanford. Her area of focus is reimagining the field trip experience through storytelling. She holds a B.S. in Television-Radio from Ithaca College. Corinne can be reached at: email@example.com
Project Administrator, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“It’s great that we live in the world we do, where you can research virtually any topic and find all of the information, reviews, personal accounts, videos, diagrams, etc., you could possibly need and then some. We live in an age where ignorance can no longer be an excuse. A desire to learn paired with the tools to learn it breeds unlimited possibilities.”
Jennifer comes to Digital Promise with over 10 years of experience working in nonprofits. Previously, she organized scientific and educational programs and conferences in the U.S. and abroad for the International Council of Ophthalmology. She coordinated subscriptions and group sales for the San Francisco Ballet while serving as their assistant treasurer. She also has organized youth events for schools and community groups. Jennifer studied at CSU, Dominguez Hills where she attained her Master’s degree in Humanities. As a “lifelong learner,” she continues to take courses and enjoys learning new concepts and approaches in this ever-changing world. You can reach Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sara Martinez Crawford
Professional Learning Engineer, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“I have always been a social learner. I watch how other people delve into problems and love to see how they problem solve. Most recently, I have learned so much from my own children. Their curiosity and the way they address concerns offers me a new perspective and helps me appreciate things in a new way.”
Sara comes to Digital Promise from The Arizona K12 Center where she was the Technology Project Director, overseeing technology professional learning opportunities, technology conferences, and other leadership and learning events for educators across Arizona. Previously, Sara was a Standards Coordinator and Professional Development Coordinator for Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA). She was also a 1st and 5th grade teacher as well as an Instructional Technology Specialist for kindergarten through 8th grade teachers in the Cartwright School District. Sara received her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Arizona State University, her Master of Education in elementary education and reading specialist endorsement from Northern Arizona University, and an Educational Doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Arizona State University. You can reach Sara at email@example.com.
“The public elementary school that I attended was able to purchase a computer cart full of laptops that would travel between classrooms. Being able to have a computer of my own, even for just a few hours a couple of times a week, was monumental for my growth as a learner and a student. And, as a bonus, I’m pretty good at fixing my own computer now!”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Emily worked in the accounting department of an international NGO, supervising accounts payable functions and assisting in general day-to-day accounting activities. In her volunteer life, Emily is the board treasurer of a DC non-profit, where she is responsible for its financial stewardship. At Digital Promise, Emily is part of the finance and operations team and supports the accounting work of the organization. You can reach Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Early STEM Research
“I’ve learned the most from my youngest collaborators—preschoolers. Young children are naturally curious and interested in understanding the world around them; often posing questions and not afraid of failure (which I try to model).”
Ximena Domínguez, PhD, is Director of Early STEM Research at Digital Promise. Her research examines child-level factors and classroom-level processes that influence young children’s learning and STEM readiness, with the goal of informing early childhood education practices at home and school. Her work involves partnerships with educators and families from disadvantaged backgrounds and in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. To conduct her work, she draws on her expertise in early childhood education, STEM readiness, design- based research, assessment development, and mixed method research design. Her portfolio of work includes research and development projects, evaluation efforts, and assessment development initiatives – all focused on early STEM and exploring the unique affordances of developmentally appropriate technology for early teaching and learning. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), and foundations such as Heising-Simons. Ximena earned an M.S.Ed. in education from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami. She can be reached at email@example.com.
“I have always been a very tactile learner. When I was young I built an entire make-believe city out of playdough and popsicle sticks on a rainy afternoon, and, now in adulthood, I love to build things. New concepts come clear when I have the opportunity to experience it hands-on.”
Michelle supports the Communications and Development efforts across the organization as the Manager of Development and Salesforce Administrator for Digital Promise. Previously at Digital Promise, Michelle supported President and CEO, Karen Cator, as the Executive Projects Manager and her Executive Assistant. Michelle brings experience in volunteer management, event planning, and arts administration to Digital Promise. In her last position at the San Francisco Symphony, Michelle supported all large-scale fundraising events and managed major donors and sponsors lists. Michelle received her M.A in arts administration from Indiana University and her B.M in vocal performance at San Jose State University. Michelle is an advocate for creative learning and supporting the expression of art in her local community. You can reach Michelle at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project Manager, Educator Micro-credentials
“There is something satisfying about receiving immediate feedback on a skill or topic you have just learned. This is a benefit technology has provided my learning process, and helped me to realize the meaningful impact it can provide in driving education innovation.”
Jeffrey has been involved in public education, technology-enhanced assessment products, and the development of innovative education tools for the classroom. Teaching high school math for 13 years allowed him to develop a sense of the public education space, and to experience first-hand the impact educational technology can have once integrated into the classroom. Acting on a passion for educational technology, he became the Math Curriculum and Assessment Lead for an edtech startup specializing in assessment, and later as a member of the content team for Amazon Education’s product. He earned his B.S. in Secondary Education Mathematics from Kansas State University and Masters of Teaching degrees from St. Xavier University and Arkansas State University. Jeffrey can be reached at email@example.com.
Executive Assistant, Learning Sciences Research
“When faced with learning something new, I research everything about the topic or product to be learned. Whether it’s an extensive Google search, networking with experts on the subject, or analyzing media, I use all resources to learn.”
Jessica Fischer is the Executive Assistant for the Learning Sciences Research team at Digital Promise Global. Jessie has five years of operations experience within the hospitality, nonprofit and technology industries. She places a high value on attention to detail and organization. With her upbeat attitude and ability to multi-task she helps keep the operation smooth within the LSR team. Jessie is thrilled to work in the education technology industry at DPG. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with emphasis in Marketing and minor in Communications from Saint Mary’s College of California. You can reach Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manager of Professional Learning, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“I am a huge advocate for reading and listening to audiobooks, and it has allowed me to double my consumption for literature. I was also able to remodel a bathroom through watching YouTube videos and trying it out myself. There were a lot of failures but I just try and try again and eventually I will get it right.”
Dan Foreman is the Manager of Professional Learning for the Verizon Innovative Learning schools initiative at Digital Promise. Dan has worked in education for ten years, starting his career as a Teach For America Corps Member in D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and working for the Teach For America Summer Institute in Philadelphia as the Director of Technology. After leaving DCPS, Dan moved over the river to Alexandria City Public Schools (VA) to teach English before becoming a Technology Integration Specialist, where he helped manage and develop the 3,700 student 1:1 initiative at TC Williams High School and provide instructional technology leadership and pedagogical support to teachers and administration. Dan was then promoted to the District Instructional Technology Coordinator in charge of a team of 16 Technology Integration Specialists spread across the school district and broadened the 1:1 initiative to encompass the entire district’s 15,000 devices. Dan then moved to the private industry as an Education Consultant, helping manage and develop large-scale hardware and software technology implementations across the country for many K-12 school districts. Before his career in education, Dan was enlisted in the Marine Corps and was in charge of managing and coordinating the maintenance and fidelity of communications for 1st Marine Division during the Battle of Fallujah. Dan received his BA from Wittenberg University in Literature and Creative Writing, his Masters of Arts in Teaching from American University, his Masters of Education in Instructional Design and Development from George Mason University, and Administrative Leadership and Policy Certification from George Washington University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Chief Research Officer
“For me, learning something new requires making it bigger before making it smaller. I gather a lot of information in a somewhat chaotic manner and then distill it into a clear and coherent “big picture” framework that I use to develop expertise.”
Aubrey has more than six years of research and development experience spanning academic, industry, and government settings. Aubrey comes to this role from the biomedical research field, where she developed and evaluated novel materials for treating lower back pain. Aubrey has taught at the undergraduate and graduate level, and has served as a mentor for 8th-grade girls interested in math and science. She is also engaged in science outreach as a curator for +ScienceSunday, a STEM-focused social media outreach group that promotes and curates science content on Google+. Aubrey earned her Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and her B.S. from Syracuse University. You can reach Aubrey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project Director, Education Innovation Clusters
“I learn best by doing — and by finding a way to love what I’m learning. That was never truer for me than when I was learning to be a teacher — one lesson plan, one student conversation, one sleep-deprived morning at a time. The only way to learn to swim is to jump into the pool (or the deep end) and start paddling.”
Cricket first joined Digital Promise as an Education Pioneers Fellow, working on Leadership Coaching and Education Innovation Cluster initiatives. She is excited to now support EdClusters around the country full-time. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Cricket ran the OpEd department at The Christian Science Monitor, where she featured solution-oriented education commentary. Before her stint in journalism, Cricket was a K-12 classroom teacher and educator with Teach for America, the New York City Department of Education, the Harlem Children’s Zone, and the Horace Mann School, focusing on curriculum design and technology integration. She has a Master of Science in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University (with honors), a Master of Science in teaching from Pace University, and a B.A. in English and sociology from Bates College (with honors). You can reach Cricket at: email@example.com.
Senior Research Scientist, STEM Teaching and Learning
“I love to think about learning. Because there are so many different ways to learn, I don’t think there is ever one best place or way to learn.”
Judi Fusco has spent much of her career using technology to support learning and collaboration and to help close the gap between teachers and researchers. After receiving her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, she joined SRI International to help co-found and direct the community development of Tapped In, one of the first online communities for education professionals; the community ran from 1997-2013. Since 2008, she has also taught learning theories courses for educators and supervised dissertation students at Pepperdine University in the Education Doctorate for Learning Technologies program. In the last few years, she has been thinking with practitioners about professional communities, such as ones for maker educators; how to create activities for learning with new technologies like virtual reality; and how computational thinking might play a role in classrooms. As one of the team members for the Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL), she works to broaden the impacts of NSF-funded projects that are building future learning technologies by bringing teachers into the community and writing about the projects for a broader audience. At Digital Promise, she continues to try to help bring researchers and practitioners together in ways to support learning. You can reach Judi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program Manager, Global Engagement
“I want to learn how to cut and polish stones so I can design jewelry and décor. I already have a small collection of stones that I have saved for this purpose. I want to learn this because I enjoy working with my hands and it gives me to joy to create something with aesthetic value.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Elyse worked at Vital Voices Global Partnership, where she supported the VVLead Fellowship Program, a capacity-building fellowship for women leaders across the globe. Her work on the VVLead Fellowship Program included managing and producing online courses, building the fellowship’s virtual mentoring framework, producing audio stories, and organizing the fellowship’s in-person exchanges. Elyse received her Bachelor of Arts in international affairs with a concentration in international development from The George Washington University. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Project Director of Data & Analytics, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“Curiosity and action always satiate my learning. I live by doing things than reading or listening to them. Be it riding a bike at 4, making my first line follower robot at 14, or learning how to code at 23, I have always learned the most by my failures and figuring out my way of doing things.”
Anshul first joined Digital Promise as an Education Pioneers Fellow, working on the Verizon Innovative Learning schools initiative. He is excited to join the VILS team full-time to support the research and reporting as Project Director of Data & Analytics. Before joining Digital Promise, Anshul had three years of experience in education management. He ran the biggest test preparation division in Northwest India, as a senior manager and led a cross-functional team of 30 people. He has also taught competitive mathematics for two years. He has a Master of Business Administration and Master of Information Systems Technology from George Washington University, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Delhi. You can reach Anshul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program and Communications Manager, League of Innovative Schools
“I’m taking improv classes right now and it’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s all about learning how to identify and develop patterns and characters, and how to build upon what’s been handed to you by others.”
Before working at Digital Promise, Melissa worked with the Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York City Department of Education, Discovery Communications, and the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program. At George Washington University, where she graduated from the honors program with a B.A. in political science, she conducted two years of research on crowdsourcing and public behavior. You can reach Melissa at: email@example.com.
Research Analyst, The Dynamic Learning Project
“I’ve always been inspired to learn when my innate curiosity is sparked by new experiences and concepts. When I was three, I came face-to-face with an Egyptian mummy at the local art museum. From that moment, bedtime stories became nonfiction read-alouds of embalming techniques and my Barbies endured preparation for the afterlife before being entombed beneath couch cushions.”
Before joining Digital Promise, Angela spent eight years as a humanities teacher, engaging students from the ages of ten to twenty-one across four continents. Intent on addressing disparities of access by creating opportunities for global connections, Angela founded a youth organization promoting engagement in human rights issues, coordinated a Korean exchange program, and brought her students together with dignitaries and professionals from across the globe. Traveling to the Emirates as an education delegate and conducting fieldwork in Morocco as part of a fellowship through the U.S. Department of State inspired her to pursue an MA in International Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University. Angela can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Marketing Officer
“I love working in a team environment, but I am most comfortable learning on my own with great source material and the time and freedom to fail. Some of my greatest breakthroughs and successes have come from taking creative risks, falling on my face, getting back up and repeating.”
Nathan comes to Digital Promise from the creative firm Positive Six, which he founded in 2006. Serving primarily non-profit and corporate social responsibility programs, he’s traveled to more than 20 countries to document and promote tech-based programs that benefit the underserved in areas of education, healthcare, social equality, and poverty alleviation. His clients have included Qualcomm, The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, BSR, USAID, and wireless carriers on nearly every continent. With over 20 years in marketing and advertising, he’s created and contributed to dozens of award-winning national and international campaigns. His photography and documentary film work has been featured at countless international exhibitions and in publications including the New York Times and National Geographic. In his free time, he enjoys cycling, archery, backpacking, and spending time with his family. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Learning Sciences Researcher
To learn something new, I sometimes try to get some orientation from experts that I like and trust, especially on why they think the topic matters, and why they decided to pursue it. It’s neat and gratifying to get to learn something new AND connect more deeply with someone that I already like and trust.
Emi Iwatani is a Learning Sciences Researcher who studies and evaluates scalable, technology-supported educational initiatives that might benefit cultural minorities, domestically and abroad. She is particularly interested in why and how students and teachers use technology to refine their craft, invent new things, forge meaningful connections, and cultivate ownership of their knowledge and work. She is also interested in improving approaches to data collection and analysis, so that great teaching and learning can be identified clearly and well. Prior to joining Digital Promise Global, Emi conducted research and evaluation at SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning, and University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center. She has consulted with a number of educational organizations, including the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Persistence Plus, Boston Arts Academy Center for Arts in Education, and Shadow Student Athletes, on topics such as teacher professional development, student empowerment, and program efficacy. In addition, Emi has taught biology and physics at Boston Arts Academy, helped run a youth advocacy organization in Pittsburgh’s Hilltop area, and taught core academic subjects in a tutoring center in Tokyo. Emi holds a Ph.D. in Educational Research Methodology and an M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science, both from the University of Pittsburgh; an M.A.Ed. in Science Education from Wake Forest University; and an Sc.B. in Biology with honors from Brown University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project Director, 360º Story Lab
“I love learning from and with people from all over world, and helping to connect people from different networks and disciplines in the process. For the past few years, I’ve been learning to surf and grow food.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise Global, Lisa held numerous roles at iEARN-USA from 1997-2016, including Executive Director and Chief Program Officer. In addition to overseeing program and technology strategy, implementation, and new initiatives, she helped to launch and manage iEARN’s Adobe Youth Voices partnership, a program of the Adobe Foundation. Lisa grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and has taught high school in Providence, Rhode Island and Mmabatho, South Africa. She holds a BA from Brown University, and an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a focus in International Policy Studies.
Director of Educator Micro-credentials
“When I was 10, I took a computer course on something called ‘PowerPoint’ where I got to explore topics on this thing called the ‘World Wide Web.’ Suddenly I could access information far beyond the encyclopedias at home and display what I learned on slides with pretty pictures I downloaded. It sounds simple now but I was overwhelmed by the new tools available to me.”
Jennifer comes to Digital Promise from KIPP LA Schools, a high-performing charter management organization in Los Angeles, where she managed corporate and foundation relationships and led external engagement efforts to ensure the schools and students have the tools they need to succeed. Previously, she worked at two Washington, D.C. think tanks, the New America Foundation and Urban Institute, researching and writing about federal education funding, policy, and reform. Jennifer received her master’s degree in policy, organizations, and leadership studies from the Stanford Graduate School of Education and graduated with honors from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in public policy with a focus in education. You can reach Jennifer at: email@example.com.
Early STEM Education Researcher
“I try to remain open and not make too many assumptions about what I know or need to know, as these things change and transform all the time.”
Danae Kamdar is an Early STEM Education Researcher at Digital Promise. She is engaged in multiple research and development projects that aim to better understand how to promote STEM teaching and learning in public early childhood settings. Danae’s work focuses on the design of technology-integrated curricular systems; delivering professional development workshops; and the development of child assessments that are intended to examine what young children are capable of learning and what resources and instruction may lead to increased learning – with an ultimate goal of translating research findings about early STEM education into innovative resources that impact children’s learning and teachers’ practices. She holds an M.S. in Early Childhood Education from New York University. Prior to becoming a researcher, she was a teacher and classroom coach in diverse early learning classrooms, and this experience informs her work each and every day. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project Director, United2Read
“When I learn something new, I find myself relating or connecting the new concept or task to things that are familiar to me. From there, I build my knowledge and skills by reading, listening, watching, trying, asking open-ended or clarifying questions, and talking to people who might be able to share insights.”
Zareen comes to Digital Promise with more than 12 years of experience in the education and youth development fields. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Zareen was the Director of K-8 Programs and Training at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, where she managed the design, implementation, and evaluation of extended learning time programs for youth in grades K-8 in some of the most under-resourced communities and schools in Northern California. She is passionate about closing the academic achievement gap and providing disadvantaged communities with equal access to quality educational programs and opportunities. Zareen received her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Middlebury College and her master’s degree in education entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania. At Digital Promise, she is currently working on the United2Read project, which aims to increase literacy achievement for students across the nation in grades K-3. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Director, Learning Analytics Research
“Many technologies offer new ways of measuring and understanding learning like never before—at scale and with high resolution. Partnerships between researchers and practitioners are key to taking advantage of these new sources of data in order to improve learning environments for more and more students.”
Andrew Krumm, Ph.D., is Director of Learning Analytics Research at Digital Promise, where he specializes in developing data-intensive research-practice partnerships with educational organizations of all types. Andrew has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Lucas Education Research, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and SRI International. As a learning scientist working at the intersection of school improvement and data intensive research, Andrew develops tools and strategies that partnerships can use to engage in collaborative data-intensive improvement work. Many of these tools and strategies are detailed in a forthcoming book, Learning Analytics Goes to School: A Collaborative Approach to Improving Education, written with Barbara Means and Marie Bienkowski. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erica Lawton Weinschenk
Project Director, Communications
“I like to think there’s an opportunity to learn from anyone and everyone — we all have our own stories to tell and information to share, and it’s exciting to view any interaction as having the capability to change the way you think.”
As Project Director of Communications for Digital Promise, Erica Lawton Weinschenk oversees the organization’s public relations and social media outreach, and supports strategic communications efforts across all initiatives. Previously, Erica provided media relations and social media consulting to a range of for- and non-profit clients, including Williams-Sonoma and The Salvation Army’s National Headquarters, while working at Xenophon Strategies, a boutique public relations firm in Washington, D.C. Erica received her master’s degree in strategic communications from American University, and she earned an Honors B.A. in communication from Bryant University. You can reach Erica at: email@example.com.
Research Project Manager
“I learn by making connections – between new content and what I already know, and between academic disciplines. My college transcript (which includes courses in Global Contemporary Art, Buddhism, Astrophysics, and Children’s Literature) may seem random to the casual observer, but the variety of topics and approaches I was introduced to helped me to discover unexpected connections and to make my own meaning as a learner.”
Before joining Digital Promise, Babe worked at the Center for Childhood Creativity, the research and advisory division of the Bay Area Discovery Museum, where she managed projects to help schools, libraries, media outlets and toy companies use the latest education and child development research findings to improve their work. Previously, she facilitated educational programs for children and families at several museums and cultural institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Brooklyn Historical Society. She holds a B.A. from Yale College and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“I learn the most from my friends. I consider myself lucky to have a group of friends that work in such diverse fields as politics, academia, design, law and media. Every time we hang out, I learn a little bit more about their corner of the world.”
Before joining Digital Promise, Sam served as an editorial producer for MLB.com in New York. There, he produced content for all 30 MLB club websites. He earned a degree in Journalism at American University in Washington D.C. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Director, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“I try to learn from everyone. One of the things that I find exciting about meeting new people is figuring out what makes them tick. I usually learn a lot in the process of getting to know someone. ”
Lydia Logan is the Executive Director of the Verizon Innovative Learning schools initiative at Digital Promise. She is founder and principal of Educology Advisors, education and philanthropy consultants. Previously, she served as managing director of Chiefs for Change at the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Before joining Chiefs for Change, Lydia served as the senior director of policy at the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, where she focused on national policy, K-12 school improvement in Michigan, and investments improving management, human capital, quality, and transparency across district and charter public schools in Washington, D.C. Prior to The Broad Foundation, she held the position of vice president and executive director of the Institute for a Competitive Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she worked with the business community on national and state policies and programs to improve early childhood, pre-K through post-secondary public education, and workforce training. Lydia also served as the vice president of programs for the Kimsey Foundation, where her grant portfolio focused on strategic support for district leadership, charter school expansion, closing the digital divide for low-income families, and wrap-around services for students in D.C. Public Schools. Lydia holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and serves on the boards of the American Youth Policy Forum and the Edvance Foundation. You can reach Lydia at email@example.com.
Director, Program and Product Evaluation
“I learn best by example. If I have a chance to observe or experience a new learning, it is easier for me to replicate and adapt it. With a good model, I am able to adapt new knowledge and skills more easily.”
Before joining Digital Promise, Christina led program evaluations for federal and state initiatives and delivered professional development and technical assistance to school districts at Measurement Incorporated. Formerly a high school English teacher, Christina left the classroom to study education policy with a desire to improve student outcomes by offering a practitioner’s perspective to education research. For instance, in 2014, she researched the effect of state induction policies on novice teacher attrition. Christina earned a Ph.D. in education administration and policy from the State University of New York at Albany and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and English from Boston College. You can reach Christina at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical Project Director, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“I consider myself to be an experiential learner. I start by gaining foundational knowledge from a publication or video, pick the brains of people knowledgeable on the subject, and create a process to accomplish what I want to learn or do. Along the way, and at the end, I continue to reflect on my progress and make adjustments as needed. I’ve learned to do many things, from building furniture to enterprise networks, and have come to appreciate that learning is the journey to accomplishment.”
Mike comes to Digital Promise from a fast-growing school district near Madison, Wisconsin. Working for 10 years as the Director of Technology, Mike guided the implementation of enterprise network systems and numerous innovations in digital media and learning, including interactive technology, mobile devices, and instructional gaming through a partnership with Filament Games. Major accomplishments include founding WISEdash Local, a data warehouse and dashboard system consortium of 20 school districts, and implementing 1:1 laptops to 5,000 students and teachers. Mike started his career in education as an English teacher, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a Master of Science degree in Educational Media from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. He also earned his Doctor of Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an emphasis in technology staff development. A strong believer in the use of data and continuous improvement, Mike recently completed training in Lean/Six Sigma Greenbelt. Contact Mike at: email@example.com.
“When I need to learn something new, I try to find something about the subject written by someone who has dedicated their life to the field because they tend to be not only knowledgeable, but passionate about it in a way that deepens my own curiosity and depth of learning.”
Tabatha supports Digital Promise as an Executive Assistant. She has worked in administrative and finance roles in non-profits and small businesses for over 15 years. She is the mother of two teenage girls and volunteers weekly with high school students. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Director, Learning Sciences Research
I love to learn by being part of a team of people with different kinds of expertise, all working together to tackle an important problem in education. Other people’s insights not only add to my understanding of the problem, but also energize me to think of potential solutions I’d never come up with on my own.
Dr. Means founded the Center for Technology in Learning research group and served as its co-director for many years. Her research examines the effectiveness of innovative education approaches supported by digital technology. Her recent work includes evaluating the implementation and impacts of newly developed adaptive learning software. She is also studying the long-term effects that attending an inclusive STEM-focused high school has for students from underrepresented minorities. A fellow of the American Educational Research Association, Dr. Means has served on many study committees of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, including the one currently producing a companion volume to the classic How People Learn. She has advised the U.S. Department of Education on national education technology plans and authored or edited more than a half dozen books related to learning and technology. Barbara earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. You can reach Barbara at: email@example.com.
Finance and Operations Associate
“When faced with learning something new, I try to imagine that the goal I am trying to accomplish is a door that I need to enter. I try to figure out what I need to do in order to make it through that door.”
Zewditu Mered previously worked at First Service Residential in accounts receivable and accounts payable. She has experience working with various board members in the eastern region in relations to tax audit documents, property management bookkeeping, and ensuring homeowners accounts were up to date. She is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in accounting at George Mason University.
Director of STEM Equity Research
“I learn by doing. When I am faced with something new, I like to dive in, mess around, and work my way into making the strange familiar. Failure is a necessary part of my learning process, as the road blocks are key to helping me stop, reflect, ask questions, and look for help.”
Savitha Moorthy is the Director of STEM Equity Research at Digital Promise. Her work focuses on science and mathematics education, particularly on the design of tools that promote science and math talk. Equity is a central concern in Savitha’s research, and her projects emphasize the experiences of educationally disenfranchised populations, including low-income families, English Language Learners, and students and teachers in diverse, urban school districts. Signature projects in Savitha’s portfolio include a research-practice partnership with Clark County School District in Las Vegas, NV aimed at improving elementary English Learners’ science learning experiences and a collaboration with the Jim Henson Company aimed at developing an app to promote science talk and science learning among families. She holds a PhD in Education from Stanford University; she was an English and English as a Second Language teacher before becoming a researcher. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Communications Manager, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“The thing I want to learn next is the art of photography. I love taking photos and, next, I really want to explore the entire process in depth – from framing good shots, using equipment, editing, and everything else.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Emily worked on the research and policy team at the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), where she tracked and analyzed arts education policies in all 50 states and helped coordinate a research review panel. Emily has also worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In that role, she monitored education policy, regularly meeting with students and educators. Emily graduated from American University, where she earned a B.A. in political science and completed a certificate program focusing on women in politics. Emily can be reached at: email@example.com.
Software Developer, Learner Variability Project
When faced with something new, I like to visualize what’s going on. If it’s too hard to visualize, I try my best to draw a manifestation of the thing. If given the opportunity, I try to teach someone else what I’ve learned.
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Victor was studying Philosophy at City College of San Francisco. During that time, Victor gained exposure to the wondrous field of Software Development. To enter a career in Software Engineering more rapidly, he left and embarked on the curriculum of San Francisco-based coding boot camp: Hack Reactor. You can reach Victor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digital Promise Fellow, Challenge Based Learning
“I love to learn. And I learn by jumping in the deep end, splashing around, making waves, and learning from the experience. My most profound insights have emerged from challenges, risk, adventure and discomfort.”
Mark has over 30 years of experience in the field of education, including positions as a middle and secondary teacher and coach, outdoor educator, wilderness guide/instructor, district technology and curriculum director, professional development provider, multimedia/web/graphic designer, consultant and faculty/program director at the university level, and entrepreneur. During his 10 years at Arizona State University, Mark moved from director of educational technology at KAET/PBS, to a faculty member in the COE, to a director within the University Technology Office.
Intertwined with his experience in public and private education is over a decade working with and for Apple in a variety of roles including Apple Distinguished Educator, contractor, a Development Executive, and Manager of Online Content. Mark was an integral part of the original Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow – Today (ACOT2) team that developed the concept of Challenge Based Learning (CBL), co-authored the CBL white paper, and managed the pilot and implementation projects for Apple. Mark has degrees in political science and economics (Colorado College), theology and education (Princeton Theological Seminary), and public policy (Claremont Graduate University), and is currently pursuing a degree in graphic information technology. He is also a proud owner of a lifelong ABD/PhD in Education. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Research Project Manager
“While teaching at the Brooklyn Autism Center, one of my students was musically gifted, especially on GarageBand. He was stoked when I asked him to teach me how to use it, and after weeks of his diligence and hard work, I now know how to make my own songs! We loved using the tool as a way to communicate and express our feelings and thoughts together; technology offered him and all of my students opportunities to have their own voice and explore their passions and interests.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Sierra was an applied behavior analysis instructor and curriculum coordinator for the Brooklyn Autism Center. While working on her Masters in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education, she also served as project manager and policy analyst for NoticeAbility, an organization creating hybrid academic and SEL courses for students with Dyslexia. Sierra received her B.A. in Government with a minor in Human Rights and Genocide from Claremont McKenna College. You can reach Sierra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partnerships Director, Learner Variability Project
“Powerful reflection happens in digital spaces. In my case study research of high school seniors, individual reflection grew naturally from participating in digital communities of practice. These learners looked back on all they had done in the digital space and saw their personal learning processes and best practices laid out. That is powerful learning.”
Prior to coming to Digital Promise, Susanne was a teacher and administrator, leading and advising 1:1 programs at middle, secondary, and collegiate levels, as well as teaching English and advising yearbook staffs. She earned her Ph.D. in Composition and New Media from Old Dominion University, focusing her research on creating effective digital communities of practice. She earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Commonwealth University and her A.B. in English with Teacher Certification from Duke University. You can reach Susanne at: email@example.com.
Kerri Ann O’Donnell
Senior Program Manager, Computational Thinking
Learning is messy, and I tend learn best by actively engaging with a topic or a concept through hands-on experimentation and activity.
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Kerri-Ann worked as a K-12 educator and administrator. She began her education career as a high school Humanities teacher, designing and implementing project-based learning curricula. Since leaving the classroom, she has served as a high school assistant principal and district humanities curriculum coordinator. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English at New York University and her Master’s degree in secondary education at the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently, she returned to school to complete additional degrees in information technology at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Outside of work, she is an avid reader, hiker, and gamer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Communications Director, Learner Variability Project
“I learn about new ways of thinking and factual information from discussions with friends and colleagues. I learn so many things from conversations with my children and husband, especially during hour-long walks on the beach. I also learn from biographers who put into words what someone else learned, or failed to learn. If I want to learn how to do something more physical, like surfing, I learn from the pros of YouTube!”
Barbara Pape is the Director of Communications for LPS. She is also Co-founder and Board President of Grow a Teacher. Barbara has 20 years’ experience in communications, education policy, and politics. Previously, she served as Executive Producer of the Teaching & Learning conference, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She worked the press for the American Federation of Teachers, at that time headed up by Albert Shanker. Barbara also served as editor and publisher of the first electronically delivered education newsletter, the Daily Report Card. Later she worked at the National Education Goals Panel, publishing a weekly report on innovations in education and in-depth monthly publications on the Goals for the U.S. Department of Education.
Vanessa Peters Hinton
Senior Learning Sciences Researcher
“I love losing myself in a problem or challenge that I’m trying to overcome — that feeling when you’re so absorbed in an activity that you lose track of time. I’m excited about the opportunities technology can provide for designing learning experiences that can optimize our sense of flow.”
Vanessa Peters, Ph.D. is a Senior Learning Sciences Researcher at Digital Promise Global. Her research focuses on how emergent uses of technology can create opportunities for teaching and learning, especially in science. Vanessa applies an interdisciplinary lens to her work and has extensive experience with design-based, qualitative, and mixed methods research designs. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Vanessa was an education researcher at SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning, where she worked on research and evaluation projects in K-12 and postsecondary education. She was also a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she led an interdisciplinary climate change education research team. Vanessa has an M.A. in Educational Technology and a Ph.D. in Education and Knowledge Media Design from the University of Toronto. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Chief Operating Officer
“When I need to learn something new, I break it down into small discrete bits of knowledge or information I can learn along the way. This helps me figure out where to start and makes the process much less overwhelming for me.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Kathryn worked at the Association of Small Foundations, an organization dedicated to strengthening and inspiring small-staff philanthropy. During her nine year tenure at ASF she held a variety of positions, most recently Managing Director. Kathryn also worked in environmental policy at the Environmental Protection Agency, implementing innovative market-based mechanisms to reduce air pollution and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria. Kathryn holds an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University. You can reach Kathryn at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
External Director, XQ Vista High
“I learn from everyone and everything around me. I’m like a sponge absorbing new ideas and perspectives that shape who I am and how I relate to the world.”
Kim is the External Project Director for Vista High School’s XQ Super School grant, a collaborative project with Digital Promise. She has spent more than a decade as a public relations strategist in corporate and nonprofit sectors, designing and executing strategy for community engagement, media campaigns and events. Kim is also a writer with a knack for translating complex concepts into clear and compelling copy. She is passionate about connecting communities in support of education innovation and strengthening partnerships, and since 2012 has been a leader in the STEAM movement in K-16 education. Prior to that, Kim managed corporate communications for life science companies in Southern California. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Santa Clara University. You can reach Kim at: email@example.com.
Project Manager, Learner Variability Project
“When I was about 12 years old, my dad bought my older brother an early CD-based video game system that included an interactive encyclopedia. I remember spending hours searching the encyclopedia for videos of great 20th century speeches and content about astrophysics. It was clear then that technology would democratize and transform learning at a massive scale.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Tyler was the Professional Development Manager for the City of Philadelphia’s Out-of-School Time (OST) programs for grades K-12. There, he and his team of Program Analysts developed and implemented a learning program that covered topics such as project-based learning, supporting diverse learners, and creating positive program culture. Prior to that, Tyler served as a Special Education teacher and OST Program Analyst in Philadelphia, PA, and as Education Director for a Boys and Girls Club in Camden, NJ. He earned his M.Ed. in Elementary and Special Education from Chestnut Hill College, and his BA from Rutgers University in sociology/anthropology. You can reach Tyler at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partnership Manager, Adult Learning Initiatives
“As a curious person, I tend to look for expertise on the matter (books, activities, lectures, videos) and also ask others (including family, friends, colleagues).”
Livia supports Digital Promise’s adult learning initiatives as a Partnership Manager. Prior to Digital Promise, Livia served as the Senior Education Manager at the Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco, where she oversaw youth media arts programs and worked with teaching artists in adult learner classes. Previously, Livia provided communications support at a public health non-profit and technical assistance to college campuses funded by the U.S. Department of Justice to reduce gender-based and intimate partner violence. Livia has a Master of Science in social work from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology from UC Berkeley.
Maker Learning Associate
“I’m surrounded by a lot of people who are truly passionate about their work and interests. Their enthusiasm motivates me to listen and learn as much as I can.”
Before joining Digital Promise, Maria was the Climate Fellow at the Institute at the Golden Gate, where she supported a group of informal educators dedicated to increasing climate literacy and action in the Bay Area. Her fellowship projects included designing a survey to assess environmental educator needs and identifying best practices of databases related to climate change. Maria received her B.S. at Simmons College where she double majored in environmental science and computer science, with a minor in biostatistics.
Executive Director, Learning Sciences Research
“By connecting learning sciences research, innovative technology, and the wisdom of educators, we can democratize access to important concepts in mathematics, science, computing and beyond.”
Dr. Roschelle applies learning science theories and methods to understand how, when and why technology can enable improved teaching and learning. He is nationally and internationally recognized for groundbreaking research in computer-supported collaborative learning; learning with connected, mobile devices; and technology in mathematics learning. He has conducted rigorous efficacy research on personalized, adaptive learning, on online homework tools, and on dynamic visualizations for mathematics learning. His 25 years of research experience have led to over 125 publications and 9 patents, resulting in 15,000 citations to his contributions. Roschelle has a long-standing role as Associate Editor for the Journal of the Learning Sciences and leads a large community of National Science Foundation-funded projects in the area of cyberlearning. From his previous role as co-director of the Center for Technology in Learning with Dr. Means, he brings extensive experience in growing productive research organizations and leading complex, multi-institutional research and development teams funded by the National Science Foundation, Institute for Education Sciences, philanthropies and leading educational technology companies. You can reach Jeremy at: email@example.com.
Director of Learner-Centered Design
“I like to learn by questioning assumptions and intuitions. Would I prefer something to be true? Am I mostly looking for evidence to confirm it? It helps to brainstorm alternatives, invite other perspectives, and make predictions and test them. If I’m lucky, I’ll learn something surprising. Surprise makes information memorable, and leads to more lasting revision of beliefs and preferences.”
Dr. Schank specializes in the development of learning environments using best practices and findings from user-centered design, software development, and learning sciences research. In her previous role as a computer and cognitive scientist at SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning, she led the design and development of online communities for educators and researchers, workspaces to support collaborative learning, software and curriculum to help students visualize nanoscale phenomena, online tools to support evidence-based assessment design, and interactive assessments to measure science learning. Patti has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and co-authored more than 40 publications on the design, evaluation, and implementation of learning technology. She has an M.S. in computer science and a Ph.D. in education from the University of California at Berkeley, where her dissertation work focused on modeling and promoting scientific reasoning through an integration of theory-based cognitive simulations, experimental studies, and instructional curricula. You can reach Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning Experience Manager
“I have grown up obsessed with video games, from Super Mario Bros. through the current generation of games. I am particularly interested in the relationship between gaming and education. Within a game like Fornite, there are opportunities to analyze and teach verbal and non-verbal communication; math concepts like distance, speed, velocity, and statistics; physics; and narrative structure.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Nick began his journey in education as a Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) fourth and fifth grade teacher, before moving into a technology integration specialist role. Most recently, Nick served as Team Leader for the BCPS Innovative Teaching & Learning team, working to establish a maker learning presence in each of the system’s 170+ schools. In this role, he spearheaded the creation of the BCPS Mobile Innovation Lab – a mobile makerspace providing innovative learning experiences throughout the community – and the BCPS Makes Lending Library, a free centralized repository of maker tools and professional development materials available to staff and students. As a contributor to the Maryland Governor’s Workforce Development Board’s Computer Science Education and Professional Development Findings Report, Nick worked to advocate for increased computer science instruction and professional development throughout the state. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Towson University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Johns Hopkins University.
Project Associate, The Dynamic Learning Project
“When I’m speaking with somebody and we come across a topic that makes their face light up, I know I’m about to learn something from them. I believe the world is shaped by passionate people, and I love learning from people who are speaking about a topic they truly care about.”
John spent his first year at Digital Promise dividing his time between interning for the Dynamic Learning Project and serving as a college entrance exam tutor for his community in Minnesota. Now a Project Associate, John is a member of both the research and project teams for the Dynamic Learning Project. A Midwesterner at heart, John spends his time exploring San Francisco and reading, or better yet, doing either of those things in service to his love of history. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Finance and Accounting Analyst
“When I learn something new I like to try to look at it from all the perspectives I can. Being open-minded while learning helps me understand concepts and feel more confident in what I am learning. I like the gather as much information about something as I can.”
Alex graduated from Western Washington University with a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in finance. A week after graduating, she moved across the country to join the team at Digital Promise. She was actively involved in her university as the president of the Financial Management Association, manager of the Student Scholarship Fund and lead finance tutor. She helps with the operations and book keeping at Digital Promise. You can reach Alex at Alex@digitalpromise.org.
“I learn from everyone around me! I am surrounded by smart friends, family, and colleagues who each have their own unique skill set. It’s incredible what you can learn just by asking questions and listening.”
Alison is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Maryland with a focus in language and cognition. Prior to moving to D.C., she was involved in a few research projects in the Boston area, including investigating the biological underpinnings of autism at the Shriver Center and working to develop more linguistically-sound reading assessments for young-adult readers at Boston University. Alison received her M.S. in psychology from the University of Maryland and her B.A. in cognitive science from Vassar College. You can reach Alison at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director, League of Innovative Schools
“I like to surround myself with people who continually teach me new things or introduce me to new experiences. I tend to learn by observing others and then trying my hand at it. I figure if I get started, I will quickly know what questions to ask and what information I need to move forward.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Ms. Smith served as Chief Learning and Innovation Officer with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), leading the innovation strategy for the global leader in youth entrepreneurship education. Ms. Smith oversaw the development of a portfolio of college- and career-ready programs to empower disadvantaged youth to lead economically sustainable lives and research on the Entrepreneurial Mindset Index (EMI) – a pioneering tool for measuring the impact of non-cognitive skills on student success.
Previously, Ms. Smith was Vice President of Education at PBS, where she directed the education strategy, including the launch of PreK-12 digital curriculum and teacher support services in partnership with school districts and states. Ms. Smith also served as Vice President of Product Development for Discovery Education, where she oversaw thecreation of a portfolio of broadband services and learning tools for K-12 schools, including Discovery Streaming and curriculum digital products. Prior to Discovery, Ms. Smith was at the Annenberg/Corporation for Public Broadcasting Project, where she developed digital tools to support students taking college courses for credit at a distance.
Ms. Smith is an Aspen-Pahara Institute fellow, member of the Maryland State Department of Education Business Management and Finance board, former board member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and former board chair of the Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School. She received her Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University and her Bachelors of Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Senior Research Scientist, Learner Variability Project
“I love how easy it has become to access video tutorials or step-by-step instructions online for learning new skills. It’s great how so many people want to help others learn and are generous with sharing their knowledge.”
Medha has more than ten years of experience conducting applied research in the learning sciences. What unites her research is an interest in examining the factors that affect how children and adults acquire new skills and knowledge, including individual differences, the environment, and the medium through which they learn. She enjoys translating research to non-academic audiences so it can be used by practitioners in the classroom and by the learners themselves. Medha comes to Digital Promise from the University of Maryland, where she worked with government language learners to improve their training. She holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan. You can reach Medha at email@example.com.
Professional Learning Engineer, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“I look for lessons in everything and everyone. There is a purpose for every experience and I look for the meaning behind it all! Everyone has different experiences and I always welcome different perspectives; that is the only way one can grow.”
Dr. Courtney L. Teague is a Professional Learning Engineer with the Verizon Innovative Learning schools initiative at Digital Promise. She is also an adjunct graduate professor for Thomas University. Dr. Teague, a Microsoft Innovative Education Expert, was recently named one of the Top 250 education tech people to follow on social media. Previously, she served as a technology trainer for Cobb County School District. She supported and informed the delivery of instruction in schools to create a rigorous, relevant, and engaging instructional program through targeted support and implementation of innovative technological solutions focused on high levels of student achievement. Prior to being a technology trainer, she was a middle school educator where she led a stem grant initiative and developed stem curriculum. She received her Bachelor of Science in Collaborative Teaching from Alabama State University; Master of Public Administration from Troy University; Educational Specialist in Brain Based Teaching from Nova Southeastern University; Educational Doctorate in Instructional Technology and Distance Education from Nova Southeastern University; and a social media marketing certification from Emory University. She currently lives in Atlanta with her Pomeranian, GoHan. You can reach Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marco Antonio Torres
Director of Story
“I learn by asking a lot of questions. Once I identify a challenge, I love to figure it out by looking to my personal network, connecting the dots, and then telling the story of my experiences along the way.”
Marco Antonio Torres taught middle school and high school for ten years. He also was a media coach, an education technology director, and one of the professional learning leaders for one of the nation’s largest urban schools in Los Angeles. In addition to his work in the classroom, Marco Torres is also a professional filmmaker and photographer who uses digital storytelling skills to add value to his curriculum and showcasing evidence. He has been recognized locally and internationally for his accomplishments in the classroom, focusing on teacher learning and storytelling. Marco is also a keynote speaker who focuses his talks on the why, what, and how of creativity. As the Senior Specialist/Learning Engineer at Apple, he was in charge of designing and implementing a professional learning plan for teachers, leaders and students of the Los Angeles Unified School District. You can reach Marco at: email@example.com.
Director of Operations, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“I learn best by drawing, diagramming and taking hand-written notes about the subject I want to learn about. In my world there is little better than a well-sharpened #2 pencil (and a smartphone to take a photo of my drawings and diagrams to share with others).”
Kristin comes to Digital Promise from Verizon, where she was a Senior Manager for Education Programs within Corporate Social Responsibility and the Verizon Foundation. Kristin’s career in corporate philanthropy focused on establishing content and state partnerships to support educational programs, as well as national professional development models to scale professional learning. Prior to Verizon, Kristin taught visual art to middle school students, primarily in Loudoun County, VA. Kristin earned a B.F.A. in Visual Arts from Cornell University and an M.Ed. in Art Education from Pennsylvania State University. You can reach Kristin at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kasey Van Ostrand
Project Director, The Dynamic Learning Project
“I learn by being a sponge for new information. I love learning by talking to people, reading, and observing the world around me. When I was younger (and even today!) my family would give me a hard time for holding us up in museums or at historic sites by trying to take in everything around me!”
Kasey is the Project Director for the Dynamic Learning Project. She has experience working in education project management, development, communications, and policy. She previously worked on the League of Innovative Schools team at Digital Promise for three years, supporting the launch and growth of Digital Promise’s first initiative. She also worked at Summit Public Schools, helping schools across the country adopt personalized learning. Prior to that she worked at the U.S. Department of Education on communications for the 2010 National Education Technology Plan and in other government agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Outside of work, Kasey loves to spend time outdoors and is an avid hiker, runner, and skier. Kasey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. You can reach Kasey at email@example.com.
Mai Chou Vang
“I learn from the people around me, particularly those with whom I interact on a consistent basis. They have introduced me to new ideas and ways of doing things, supported me, and challenged me with the intention of helping me grow as a colleague and person. I hope that I have done the same for them.”
Before joining Digital Promise, Mai Chou was an evaluation manager at a non-profit organization focused on building financial capability in working youth. There, she developed processes for gathering and reporting data to internal and external audiences. Mai Chou previously spent four years at WestEd, working on research and evaluation projects related to standards, assessment, accountability, and college and career readiness. Mai Chou earned an MA in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BA from UC Berkeley. You can reach Mai Chou at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program Manager, League of Innovative Schools
“By the time I was 8 years old, I travelled to India, England, Viet Nam, China, Egypt and about 30 other countries all through a CD-ROM that came with the purchase of my family’s Packard Bell computer. As someone who didn’t start traveling until I went to college, I learned about a world beyond my own through a shiny disc that every now and then skipped, but nonetheless provided a wealth of knowledge.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Vina worked at Ernst & Young as a consultant advising financial services organizations in process improvement, change management, regulatory compliance, and systems integration. In the past, Vina completed a fellowship with Education Pioneers where she worked with Pacific Charter School Development to build charter schools in Los Angeles, designed a student ambassador program for the Indonesian International Education Foundation, and authored a manual to guide local investments in indigenous communities with CARE Ecuador. Vina received her master’s in Urban Planning with an emphasis on social and community planning and a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus on International Business, both from the University of Southern California.
Chief Innovation Officer
“I learn a lot from my kids, my parents and my mentors. My kids give me perspective, my parents give me wisdom, and my mentors help me make sense of everything.”
Vic is a seasoned thought leader in education technology and philanthropy. He is an expert in learning science, innovation, and scaling what works and has launched game-changing initiatives that have increased access to education and improved learning for tens of millions of learners in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. Prior to Digital Promise Global, Vic consulted with a number of foundations and organizations on education technology, innovation and philanthropy. Prior to consulting, Vic developed strategies and managed over $100 million in technology-focused grants at the Hewlett Foundation to launch and grow the Open Educational Resources movement and create and advance the Deeper Learning strategy. Vic completed a master’s degree in education and technology at Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Vic also received a scholarship and attended Berklee College of Music for a year. Previous experience includes working at startups in Silicon Valley for eight years with expertise in human-centric system design and innovation methodologies. You can reach Vic at: email@example.com.
Education Networks Implementation Manager
“I love learning languages. I love traveling and meeting new people, and think there is so much that can be learned from having a great conversation with someone. Having new ways to communicate allows me to connect with more people!”
Donnaraé joins the Digital Promise team with more than ten years of experience in education. Her interest in education grew while serving as an education lead for the Digital Literacy Project in Cambridge, MA. Her career in education began in Washington, DC when she joined Teach for America and became a classroom teacher at a bilingual charter school. She earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction while focusing on dual language programs. After teaching at charter and independent schools, Donnaraé served as the Coordinator of Elementary Schools for DC Public Schools, overseeing program implementation, organizing teacher professional development, and expanding literacy programs. Most recently, she served as a Program Manager for a non-profit focused on providing reading intervention to Pre-K through 3rd grade students. Donnaraé earned her B.A. in Psychology, concentrating in Social and Cognitive Neuroscience from Harvard University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Learning Experience
“I learn by reading, talking, and trying things out. When I think I’ve got something figured out, I’ll usually try to write about it. That’s when I discover that I don’t know it as well as I thought and I start the cycle again.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Josh helped develop the makerspace and maker learning program at Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood, PA, and has taught Photography, Information and Digital Literacy, Computer Science, Shop, and STEAM. He is a co-founder of Rough Cut Schools, consulting and advocating for media literacy and production in schools around the world. Before that, he worked in theaters and schools teaching kids about technical theater and design. Josh has a B.A. in theater from Wesleyan University and a Masters of Liberal Arts with a focus in media and cultural studies from Temple University. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Professional Learning Engineer, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“I would like to learn a foreign language. Learning a new language opens up international opportunities to be able to collaborate with other cultures.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Shaun was an independent contractor for Discovery Education as an instructional coach. Shaun worked with school districts throughout the United States to build capacity of teachers/facilitators in technology-pedagogy integration to improve teaching and learning. Shaun has also served as a global professional development specialist in Cape Town, South Africa increasing the literacy rate amongst adult learners. She was also an elementary/middle school teacher. Shaun received her B.S. in elementary education from Morgan State University and her M.S. in educational leadership from Towson State University. Shaun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical Project Director, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
I want to learn a foreign language. I have traveled around Europe and marvel at how many people there can speak multiple languages. I also want to take a class in watercolor painting.
Betty comes to Digital Promise with 35 years of experience in K-12 education. She developed a passion for educational technology, and earned a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin with an emphasis on teaching and learning with technology. Betty most recently served as the Director of Technology for a mid-sized school district near Madison, Wisconsin for 12 years. In this role she served as a leader in the transformation of teaching and learning with technology, and led all aspects of the deployment of 5,000 mobile devices for all K-12 learners. As Director of Technology, Betty also was a leader in the planning, management and implementation of professional development that centered on personalized learning, continuous improvement and effective utilization of technology resources. Betty can be reached at: email@example.com.
Director of Product, Learner Variability Project
“I love learning from people who are better critical thinkers than I am. Some of the biggest leaps I have made in learning have come from work colleagues who had the inclination to engage with me on complex topics – and sometimes had the patience to wait for me to catch up!”
Before joining Digital Promise, Brian worked in the wilderness of AdTech, which is quite different from EdTech. He began his software career at a New York City-based startup called TargetSpot, where he led both the company’s product and QA efforts. Later Brian joined Facebook and served a pivotal role in scaling out FBX, one of Facebook’s fastest-growing revenue products of all time. Finally, Brian led the development of the core software for the San Francisco-based startup Clariture as VP of Technology.
Brian recently decided he wanted his career to align more closely with his personal values, and so he joined Digital Promise and now utilizes his software expertise to build software for the LPS initiative. You can reach Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program Manager, Learner Variability Project
“It is important for me to surround myself with passionate, empathetic individuals who are willing to share their knowledge. In my educational journey I have been fortunate to encounter peers, mentors, and students who have challenged my thinking. Children are especially wonderful to learn from and are a humbling reminder of what powerful learning can look like.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Wendy was pursuing her master’s and concurrently working with a number of edtech products, including one on social-emotional learning. She previously taught in the elementary division at The Lab School of Washington, focusing on reading and dance instruction. While teaching at a school for children with learning differences, she grew in her dedication to create meaningful learning experiences and meet the needs of diverse learners. She earned her M.A. in Learning, Design & Technology from Stanford Graduate School of Education and her B.S. in Neuroscience from Duke University. You can reach Wendy at email@example.com.
Partnership Director, Educator Micro-Credentials
“My greatest teachers in life have been my parents. Their spirit and passion for life, and especially for education, is what has propelled me to be the woman I am today. I also learn from the communities I work in, listening to their needs and allowing that to create the foundations of my knowledge of them and my work.”
Before joining Digital Promise, Odelia was the VP of Strategy and Talent at a media tech start-up based in Indiana she helped found. Odelia spent several years as a classroom teacher, primarily as a Reading and Language Arts teacher in Miami. Her first class was an Intro to Jazz History course she taught to middle school students as a senior in high school, which solidified her love of education. Odelia left the classroom to pursue research in the sociology of education, focused on the experiences of black male youth. Odelia also has a background in peace education and children’s rights, developing programs for local NGOs in the Greater Accra region of Ghana. Odelia earned an MPhil in politics, development and democratic education from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. in history and literature from Harvard University. You can reach Odelia at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professional Learning Engineer, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools
“As a social learner, I’ve always craved ways to connect to resources that fuel my interests. I’m naturally a curious person, so having the ability to connect to anyone on any topic via technology truly revolutionized my career.”
Prior to joining Digital Promise,Vanessa worked as a Verizon Innovative Learning schools (VILs) Coach in a K-8 school in the Cartwright School District for two years. During her time in that role, she had the opportunity to coach and develop sustainable systems that allowed for meaningful leveraging of technology, as well as mentor other VILs Coaches across the network of schools. Vanessa was recently awarded the Champion for Educational Technology by the Arizona Technology in Education Association, AZTEA, for her leadership and coaching expertise. She was also a 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade teacher as well as an English Language Development Technology Specialist for kindergarten through 8th grade teachers. Vanessa received her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Arizona State University and her Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at email@example.com.