Our Team - Digital Promise

Our Team

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Kali Alford

Kali Alford

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.”

Bio
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 kalford@digitalpromise.org.

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Colin Angevine

Colin Angevine

Project Director, Challenge Collaboratives

“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.”

Bio
Colin Angevine is Project Director for Challenge Collaboratives at Digital Promise. In this work he supports school districts from the League of Innovative Schools in one- to three-year R&D projects in collaboration with researchers and developers. In a previous role at Digital Promise, Colin served as Project Manager for Maker Learning and Computational Thinking. Prior to Digital Promise, Colin taught in middle school and high school (teaching computer science and Latin, and running the school’s makerspace) and worked in early-stage startups (in edtech and legaltech). Colin holds a Master’s in Learning Sciences and Technologies from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

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Robert Bajor

Robert Bajor

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.”

Bio
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: robert@digitalpromise.org.

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Anthony Baker

Anthony Baker

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.”

Bio
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 a curriculum editor to develop 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 abaker@digitalpromise.org

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Kacey Baker

Kacey Baker

Director of People

“To learn something new, I go to the people! Learning through people and story helps to give a concept depth, it makes it real, and I can better understand the technical pieces of a concept when I have story and context to partner with it.”

Bio
Kacey comes to Digital Promise with a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management from Catholic University of America. She has held various roles in human resources, most recently as Senior Manager of Human Resources at NeighborWorks America, a community development organization where she led their race, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiative. As a leader in HR, Kacey is committed to cultivating equitable work cultures, building community, and creating space for all to thrive. Prior to starting her career in HR, she was a middle school English teacher. She can be reached at kbaker@digitalpromise.org

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Mahsa Bakhshaei

Mahsa Bakhshaei

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.”

Bio
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: mahsa@digitalpromise.org.

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Jessica Bates

Jessica Bates

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!”

Bio
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!)

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Melissa Booth

Melissa Booth

Accounting Associate

“I have to learn by doing. I like to break things down into more manageable baby steps, and try to relate the little parts to what I already know.”

Bio
Melissa Booth has performed accounting tasks for non-profit organizations since 2002. She earned her CPA License in late 2007 and earned a graduate certificate in Financial Management of Organizations in 2013. She previously had a career as a chemist, where she was also able to apply her analytical skills and number-crunching abilities to support worthwhile missions. She can be reached at mbooth@digitalpromise.org.

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Kristal Brister

Kristal Brister

Program Manager, Learning Experience and Design

Many years ago someone offered me the advice to observe what others do well, replicate it, and make it my own. So far it works, but when it does not, I learn from it and reflect on ways to improve.”

Bio
Kristal grew a passion for education while serving as an AmeriCorps member with an early literacy nonprofit. The impact she was able to make in children’s lives motivated her to pursue a career in youth development and education. Kristal obtained both her undergraduate degree in Child and Adolescent Development, and graduate degree in Equity and Social Justice in Education, from San Francisco State University. She has been serving Bay Area students and families for over 10 years in agencies such as Jumpstart, Plan of Action for Challenging Times, Catholic Charities, and the Tenderloin After School Program. Recently, Kristal worked for the Hayward Unified School District implementing federal and local grants and programs. Kristal looks forward to the opportunity to support equitable access to technology and digital learning and hopes to stretch her abilities in new ways to continue learning and serving others. Through it all, Kristal strives to lead with love, as it keeps her grounded in her purpose of serving others. She can be reached at kbrister@digitalpromise.org

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Derrick Browning

Derrick Browning

Comptroller

“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.”

Bio
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
dbrowning@digitalpromise.org.

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Lauren Bryant

Lauren Bryant

Director, National Charter Collaborative (NCC)

“I am really interested in learning more about where my family comes from, both maternally and paternally. I have gone back four generations paternally and want to reach back even further and begin uncovering more history on my mother’s side. In order to truly grow into who you are, you’ve got to know where you come from.”

Bio
Lauren Bryant is an operations professional with in-depth project and program management experience specializing in working with charter schools and charter school support organizations. Across the last several years, Lauren has worked with several charter schools in Washington, D.C., exposing her to the ins and outs of opening and operating a charter school in a highly competitive public school market. With her infectious energy and orientation towards details and processes, Lauren prides herself on building catalytic connections with people, designing detailed project plans, and facilitating impactful learning experiences.

Most recently, Lauren served as the Director of Operations and Finance at Sustainable Futures Public Charter School, a small first year competency- and project-based high school for D.C.’s at-promise youth. Prior to that, Lauren was an operations leader at Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School, where she refined day-to-day operations and lead the internal DEI work. Lauren began her career at
CityBridge Foundation (now CityBridge Education), where she managed funder engagement experiences and designed and managed various elements of the Education Innovation Portfolio. She can be reached at lbryant@digitalpromise.org.

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Quinn Burke

Quinn Burke

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.”

Bio
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 qburke@digitalpromise.org.

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Sarah Cacicio

Sarah Cacicio

Senior Project Director, Adult Learning

“The first time I took an online course, I thought the asynchronous nature of communications would make it difficult to connect with my instructor or classmates, but quickly realized that online tools often facilitated more meaningful and inclusive discussions. Individually, we had more time to reflect on ideas and craft more thoughtful responses, which in turn, promoted more opportunities for collective learning.”

Bio
Sarah is dedicated to creating equitable structures, systems, and supports that allow adult learners to thrive. Before joining Digital Promise, Sarah worked to expand access to career and technical education, college preparation, and wraparound services for under-credited young adults in District 79, New York City’s Alternative Schools and Programs, including immigrant-origin students. Sarah’s previous research examined equity in instructional and assessment practices for multilingual learners at the secondary level. From 2012-2017, she also taught graduate courses in foundations of bilingual education for K-12 teachers at Hunter College, City University of New York. Sarah earned her M.A. in Bilingual & Bicultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in Hispanic Studies and Literature from the University of Massachusetts Boston as a first-generation college student.

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Karen Cator

Karen Cator

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.”

Bio
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: karen@digitalpromise.org.

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Corinne Colgan

Corinne Colgan

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.”

Bio
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: corinne@digitalpromise.org

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Jennifer Cooley

Jennifer Cooley

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.”

Bio
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 jcooley@digitalpromise.org.

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Sara Martinez Crawford

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.”

Bio
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 s.crawford@digitalpromise.org.

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Emily Crofoot

Emily Crofoot

Staff Accountant

“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!”

Bio
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 e.crofoot@digitalpromise.org.

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Ximena Dominguez

Ximena Dominguez

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).”

Bio
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 xdominguez@digitalpromise.org.

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Michelle Dreyband

Michelle Dreyband

Development Manager

“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.”

Bio
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: michelle@digitalpromise.org.

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Jeffrey Fett

Jeffrey Fett

Program Operations Manager

“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.”

Bio
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 jeffrey@digitalpromise.org.

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Jessica Fischer

Jessica Fischer

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.”

Bio
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 jfischer@digitalpromise.org.

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Dan Foreman

Dan Foreman

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.”

Bio
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 dforeman@digitalpromise.org.

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Kristen Franklin

Kristen Franklin

Micro-credential Development Manager

“I like to adopt a beginner’s and growth mindset, and value productive struggle in my own learning process. I try to bite off a small piece and digest that first. That may mean I read, talk to others about their experiences, or even find an explainer video.”

 

Bio
Kristen Franklin has more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit program management in the education and arts fields. Before her work as Managing Editor at Edutopia.org, she led capacity building, fundraising, and digital redesign efforts at various Bay Area museums, and was an informal learning specialist, digital initiative manager, and art educator at Stanford University’s art museum. She’s always loved teaching and learning, and empowering others to do the same. Kristen has an MA from John F. Kennedy University, and a BA from UC Davis. You can reach Kristen at kfranklin@digitalpromise.org.

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Cricket Fuller

Cricket Fuller

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.”

Bio
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: cricket@digitalpromise.org.

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Judi Fusco

Judi Fusco

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.”

Bio
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 jfusco@digitalpromise.org.

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Elyse Gainor

Elyse Gainor

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.”

Bio
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 elyse@digitalpromise.org.

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Anshul Gang

Anshul Gang

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.”

 

Bio

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 anshul@digitalpromise.org.

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Angela Hardy

Angela Hardy

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.”

Bio
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 ahardy@digitalpromise.org.

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Nathan Heidt

Nathan Heidt

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.”

Bio
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 nathan@digitalpromise.org.

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Malliron Hodge

Malliron Hodge

Education Fellow

I learn best through an unique combination of observing, visualizing, and doing. 

Bio
Malliron energetically joins the Digital Promise team as an Education Fellow who supports the Remake Learning Days Across America work with our Education Innovation Clusters network. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Malliron served as the New Orleans Community Manager at 4.0 Schools, where she worked to support New Orleans community members who were interested in taking their education idea to the next level. Malliron is passionate about community engagement and has spent countless hours supporting, coaching, and cheering on Startup Weekend Education organizers, community members, and attendees. Prior to falling in love with education innovation Malliron dabbled in higher education at Tulane University Newcomb College Institute, career preparedness at Cafe Reconcile, and community engagement at ARISE Academy. She holds a Master’s in Nonprofit Management with a certificate in Social Entrepreneurship from Indiana University, and a B.S. in Business Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management from Winston Salem State University (Let’s Go RAMS!). Malliron can be reached at: mhodge@digitalpromise.org.

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Emi Iwatani

Emi Iwatani

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.

Bio
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 eiwatani@digitalpromise.org.

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Lisa Jobson

Lisa Jobson

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.”

Bio
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.

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Danae Kamdar

Danae Kamdar

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.”

Bio
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 dkamdar@digitalpromise.org.

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Zareen Kasad

Zareen Kasad

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.”

Bio
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 zkasad@digitalpromise.org.

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Andrew Krumm

Andrew Krumm

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.”

Bio
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 akrumm@digitalpromise.org

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Erica Lawton Weinschenk

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.”

Bio
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: erica@digitalpromise.org.

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Tiffany Leones

Tiffany Leones

Early STEM Education Researcher

“Tuning into podcasts can be a great entry point into learning more about topics of interest. Some of my favorite podcasts invite people to share their expertise or personal experiences providing me with an opportunity to hear from others I would not have access to otherwise.”

Bio
Tiffany Leones joins Digital Promise as an Early STEM Education Researcher after completing her M.Ed. in Educational Psychology – Applied Developmental Science from the University of Virginia. While pursuing her graduate studies, she served as the Spatial Learning as Play Coordinator at a local children’s museum investigating children’s interactions with spatial play materials, and worked as an America Reads tutor. Prior to this, she worked for several years as a research analyst contributing to a wide array of education research studies, ranging from pre-K to adult learners. In her role at Digital Promise, Tiffany looks forward to engaging in research aimed at promoting equity through high-quality early STEM teaching and learning innovations while also bridging and strengthening research to practice connections. She can be reached at tleones@digitalpromise.org.

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Babe Liberman

Babe Liberman

Project Director, Research Communications

“I learn by making connections – between new content and what I already know, and between academic disciplines. My college transcript (which includes courses in Contemporary Art, Buddhism, Astrophysics, and Children’s Literature) may seem “random,” 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.”

Bio
Babe leads Research Communications projects at Digital Promise including Research@Work, an initiative that helps education leaders and researchers collaborate toward improved learning outcomes by building a shared understanding of priority education challenges and addressing them in partnership. Previously, Babe worked at the Center for Childhood Creativity 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. She has also 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. You can reach Babe at: babe@digitalpromise.org.

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Sam Lindauer

Sam Lindauer

Communications Manager

“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.”

Bio
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: sam@digitalpromise.org.

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Lydia Logan

Lydia Logan

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. ”

Bio
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 lydia@digitalpromise.org.

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Christina Luke

Christina Luke

Director, Digital Certifications and Credentialing

“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.”

Bio
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: christina@digitalpromise.org.

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Michael Mades

Michael Mades

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.”

Bio
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: mike@digitalpromise.org.

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Tabatha Mason

Tabatha Mason

Executive Assistant

“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.”

Bio
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 tmason@digitalpromise.org.

 

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Barbara Means

Barbara Means

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.

Bio
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: bmeans@digitalpromise.org.

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Julie Neisler

Julie Neisler

Quantitative Researcher and Data Scientist

“With the internet just a few taps away on a variety of devices, my learning isn’t limited to formal settings like classrooms or conferences. Moments to learn are all around us, and with access, drive, and opportunity, I strive to be a life-long learner.”

Bio
Julie Neisler, Ph.D., is a Quantitative Researcher for the Learning Sciences Research team. After several years as a practitioner in student affairs in higher education, Julie sought to pursue her passion for research by earning her doctorate in Measurement, Quantitative Methods, & Learning Sciences from the University of Houston. She is excited to apply her knowledge of rigorous data collection methodologies, analytic techniques for institutional data, and collaborative relationship building to support the efforts of institutions, educators, and students. Additionally, she has authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles that focus on areas of homelessness, health disparities, and social justice, intersectional topics that influence education and society nationwide. Julie earned her Masters in Higher Education from Florida State University and double-majored at UNC Chapel Hill for a BA in Psychology and Management & Society.

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Victor Ngo

Victor Ngo

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.

 

Bio

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 vngo@digitalpromise.org.

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Sierra Noakes

Sierra Noakes

Senior 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.”

Bio
At Digital Promise, Sierra leads collaborative, research-based projects driven by authentic needs. By co-designing systemic improvements to the edtech marketplace with key stakeholders, such as education leaders and educators, Sierra hopes to infuse research into edtech product design and help educators make edtech decisions based on classroom needs. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Sierra was an educator and the curriculum coordinator for the Brooklyn Autism Center and received her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. You can reach Sierra at sierra@digitalpromise.org.

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Barbara Pape

Barbara Pape

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!”

Bio
Barbara Pape is the Director of Communications for LVP. 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.

As a strategic communications consultant, Barbara has worked with Linda Darling-Hammond, Harvard University, WETA’s Reading, PreKNow, the National Association for Elementary School Principals, and other education organizations. Barbara has also worked on the staff of the Senate Education & Labor Committee and as government affairs director of the City Colleges of Chicago, focusing on community college issues. She has also served on Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee, as a Board member at the Kennedy Center’s The Intersection of the Arts and Special Education initiative, and as a judge for the Miliken-Penn Education Business Plan competition. She launched her career as a middle school language arts teacher. Barbara has an EdM from Harvard University and coursework toward a PhD at the University of Virginia. She can be reached at bpape@digitalpromise.org.

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Megan Pattenhouse

Megan Pattenhouse

Project Manager, Learning Experience Design

“I like to learn about what topics people are passionate or nerdy about—it helps to build relationships and I get to learn all the while! From personal finance and investing, to how to service and maintain bikes, I’ve gained lots of skills from simply finding out what people are interested in, giving them space to talk about it, and always asking a ton of questions.”

Bio
Prior to joining Digital Promise, Megan was a Senior Professional Learning Manager at Newsela, where she supported teachers and students in leveraging technology to effectively differentiate for learners. Her work on the community team included developing professional development experiences for educators, especially incorporating social emotional learning and culturally responsive pedagogy into effective reading instruction. Prior to becoming an instructional designer, Megan was an elementary educator in Memphis, TN, where she experienced first-hand the power of inquiry-based learning and student-centered instruction. Megan received her MS in Digital Age Learning and Educational Technology from Johns Hopkins University, and her BSW in Social Work from the University of Portland. She can be reached at mpattenhouse@digitalpromise.org.

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Stefani Pautz

Stefani Pautz

Project Director, Learning Experience Design

“I truly believe that we are all teachers and learners, and I approach every interaction with that mindset. We each have unique experiences and perspectives. When we both share and listen, we can all learn from one another.”

Bio
Dr. Pautz comes to Digital Promise with 15 years of experience in education, including both K-12 public schools and higher education. She brings expertise in change leadership, blended learning, literacy development, and Universal Design for Learning. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Dr. Pautz was Coordinator of Blended Learning and Innovation with Baltimore County Schools, where she helped lead the district in student-centered instructional design and 1:1 computing implementation. Dr. Pautz was previously the Director of the Eastern Shore Writing Project at Salisbury University, a professional development coach, and a high school English teacher. Dr. Pautz holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from Salisbury University and an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology from Towson University. She can be reached at spautz@digitalpromise.org

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Vanessa Peters Hinton

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.”

Bio
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 vpeters@digitalpromise.org.

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Kathryn Petrillo-Smith

Kathryn Petrillo-Smith

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.”

Bio
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: kathryn@digitalpromise.org.

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Jason Ravitz

Jason Ravitz

Senior Research Scientist, Dynamic Learning Project

I try to learn from everyone, but I particularly value connections with colleagues through professional associations which have accountability to professional standards for practice and peer review.”

Bio
Jason Ravitz is Senior Research Scientist on the Dynamic Learning Project. His pioneering educational technology research has influenced district, state, national and international initiatives. At Google from 2014-2018, Jason developed evaluation capacity and led research for university relations, K-12 computer science (CS) outreach, and social impact. He founded programs with non-profits like the National Girls Collaborative Project and co-founded the CS Impact Network to bridge three National Science Foundation initiatives, large private/public partnerships, and the American Evaluation Association (AEA) STEM education community. Jason led studies at the Buck Institute for Education on project- and problem-based learning for 12 years and chaired the American Educational Research Association (AERA) group on this topic. He has taught graduate courses, advised students, lectured, consulted and published widely, and his measures have frequently been re-used internationally. Jason began his career as a social studies and computer teacher before joining the National School Network Testbed project at BBN Educational Technologies. He earned a Ph.D. (1999) in Instructional Design, Development & Evaluation at Syracuse University and completed postdoctoral positions on national teaching reform surveys at UC, Irvine, and technology-supported assessments for learning at UC, Berkeley/SRI International. Jason studied sociology and teaching at Harvard, graduated from Detroit’s Cass Technical HS, and was raised by activist civil rights lawyers. He plays several musical instruments and has an artist wife and two accomplished daughters. You can reach Jason at jravitz@digitalpromise.org.

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Tyler Richendollar

Tyler Richendollar

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.”

Bio
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: tyler@digitalpromise.org.

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Livia Rojas

Livia Rojas

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).”

Bio
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. She can be reached at lrojas@digitalpromise.org.

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Maria Romero

Maria Romero

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.”

Bio
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.

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Jeremy Roschelle

Jeremy Roschelle

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.”

Bio
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: jroschelle@digitalpromise.org.

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Sara Rosenthal

Sara Rosenthal

Operations Manager, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools

“As a naturally curious person, I like to gather as much information as possible on a subject. I love learning and always feel accomplished and excited when I learn something new!”

Bio
Sara manages operations for the Verizon Innovative Learning schools program. Prior to Digital Promise, Sara worked at the Urban Institute, where she developed project budgets and grant proposals in addition to managing the communications team’s pipeline, operations, and project management. Sara has experience in the nonprofit and consulting sectors and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.

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Emily Roth

Emily Roth

Program Manager for Recruitment & Education Training, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools

“After working closely with hundreds of school leaders, coaches, and teachers in school improvement initiatives over the last few years, I’ve learned something groundbreaking, yet so simple: Relationships are the nucleus for everything. Invest in people.”

Bio
Emily joins Digital Promise on the Verizon Innovative Learning schools team. As an activist for innovative teaching and learning, she spent the last four years pushing thinking and being inspired by educators all over North America. Emily served as a mentor to 34 instructional coaches and their principals in the Dynamic Learning Project (another Digital Promise initiative). Prior to that, she partnered with K-12 school district leadership teams all over southern California while working at The Jacobs’ Institute for Innovation in Education at The University of San Diego. Originally from and currently residing in St. Louis, she has taught and coached for 12 years in the U.S., Trinidad, Guatemala, the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia. Emily is passionate about globalizing the classroom, making learning meaningful, and giving students opportunities to make real differences in this world. She believes in strengths-based leadership and is energized when working with others. Emily received her Bachelor of Arts from The University of San Diego in Elementary Education, her Master of Science from Buffalo State University in International Education, and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership & Administration from The George Washington University. She can be reached at eroth@digitalpromise.org.

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Patricia Schank

Patricia Schank

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.”

Bio
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 pschank@digitalpromise.org.

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Nick Schiner

Nick Schiner

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 Fortnite, there are opportunities to analyze and teach verbal and non-verbal communication; math concepts like distance, speed, velocity, and statistics; physics; and narrative structure.”

Bio
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. You can reach Nick at nschiner@digitalpromise.org.

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Jessica Schuler

Jessica Schuler

Senior Communications Manager

“I’ve been doing a lot of traveling over the last couple of years, and in each new part of the world I’ve learned something fascinating about the culture—for example, it’s hard to find a knife on the dinner table in Southeast Asia! It has also been incredible to see some of the places I learned about in school, from ancient ruins to medieval castles to magnificent palaces. It’s truly inspiring to see what humanity is capable of creating.”

Bio
As Senior Communications Manager for Digital Promise, Jessica oversees communications efforts for Verizon Innovative Learning schools, the Dynamic Learning Project, and Educator Micro-credentials. Prior to Digital Promise, she supported the corporate communications team at K12 Inc., where she managed public relations efforts for more than half of the company’s 70 partner schools across the country. Previously, she spent 11 years working in athletics communications at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and George Washington University, supporting each school’s athletics department and serving as primary media contact for several teams, including women’s basketball. Jessica graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. You can reach her at jschuler@digitalpromise.org.

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John Seylar

John Seylar

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.”

Bio
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 jseylar@digitalpromise.org.

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Alex Sharpe

Alex Sharpe

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.”

Bio
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.

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Alison Shell

Alison Shell

Research Scientist

“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.”

Bio
Alison came to Digital Promise from the University of Maryland, where she recently completed her Ph.D in Cognitive Psychology, 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. She is deeply interested in how cognitive processes can shape behavior, and she hopes her work at Digital Promise will help to bring research to the fingertips of those who can use it. You can reach Alison at: alison@digitalpromise.org

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Kimberly Smith

Kimberly Smith

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.”

Bio
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.

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Medha Tare

Medha Tare

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.”

Bio
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 mtare@digitalpromise.org.

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Courtney Teague

Courtney Teague

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.”

Bio
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 cteague@digitalpromise.org.

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Marco Antonio Torres

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.”

Bio
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: marco@digitalpromise.org.

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Kristin Townsend

Kristin Townsend

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).”

Bio
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: kristin@digitalpromise.org.

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Kasey Van Ostrand

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!”

Bio
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 kasey@digitalpromise.org.

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Mai Chou Vang

Mai Chou Vang

Education Researcher

“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.”

 

Bio

Before joining Digital Promise, Mai Chou worked on evaluation, research, and technical assistance projects related to youth financial capability; state standards, assessments, and accountability systems; and college and career readiness for five years. She also has experience working directly with teachers and students in schools. 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 mcvang@digitalpromise.org.

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Vina Vo

Vina Vo

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.”

Bio
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.

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Vic Vuchic

Vic Vuchic

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.”

Bio
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: vic@digitalpromise.org.

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Donnaraé Wade

Donnaraé Wade

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!”

 

Bio

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 dwade@digitalpromise.org.

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Josh Weisgrau

Josh Weisgrau

Director, Learning Experience Design

“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.”

Bio
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 josh@digitalpromise.org.

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Shaun Wilson

Shaun Wilson

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.”

Bio
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 shaun@digitalpromise.org.

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Betty Wottreng

Betty Wottreng

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.

Bio
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: bwottreng@digitalpromise.org.

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Brian Wrightson

Brian Wrightson

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!”

Bio
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 LVP initiative. You can reach Brian at bwrightson@digitalpromise.org.

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Wendy Xiao

Wendy Xiao

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.”

Bio
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 wendy@digitalpromise.org.

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Viki Young

Viki Young

Senior Research Director

“I love learning alongside others who are passionate and knowledgeable, whose enthusiasm for what we are learning is contagious, and who believe as I do that learning is fundamentally a fun struggle.”

Bio
Viki Young, Senior Research Director, brings over 20 years of experience studying the implementation and impact of K–12 policy and reforms, including high school reform, inclusive STEM school models, instructional coaching and educator development, and school choice initiatives. Across national, state, and local contexts, she conducts research using mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, and has led projects with multi-site case studies, large-scale surveys, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and quasi-experimental methods.

Viki’s research and evaluation work embeds questions of equity—whom do the intended reforms serve well, do differences arise in who benefits, and whom do unintended consequences affect? Her perspectives are grounded in educators’ work, opportunities for their learning, and an understanding of the importance of organizational, political, and resource contexts for reform, sustainability, and scale. She has worked in diverse settings such as Chicago Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District in California, and no-excuses charter schools in South Texas, among many others.

Prior to joining Digital Promise, Viki was the director of the Center for Education Policy at SRI Education. She holds a Ph.D. in education administration and policy analysis from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from Queen’s University, Canada. You can reach Viki at vyoung@digitalpromise.org.

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Odelia Younge

Odelia Younge

Senior Project 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.”

Bio
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: odelia@digitalpromise.org

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Vanessa Zurita

Vanessa Zurita

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.”

Bio
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 vzurita@digitalpromise.org.

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Powerful Learning Research in Action Learning Sciences Research Networks Operations & Communications Leadership

Through a legal sharing agreement, Digital Promise Global and Digital Promise staff work together closely. This is a combined list of employees from both organizations.

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