Speaker Bios

Monica M. Beglau will be speaking in Philadelphia

Executive Director, eMINTS National Center

Monica M. Beglau is the executive director of the eMINTS National Center at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, where she leads a staff engaged in delivering professional-development support to educators across Missouri, the United States, and Australia. The acronym eMINTS stands for “enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies.” The program was recently awarded a highly competitive Investing in Innovation (i3) federal grant. Beglau also oversees the e-Learning for Educators online professional-development program. Her experience in education includes positions as executive director of the Partnerships for Educational Renewal at the University of Missouri and at the University of Wyoming, and as an elementary principal in Cheyenne, Wyo. She was recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) as the 2011 Outstanding Leader.

Jean-Claude Brizard will be speaking in Chicago

Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools

Jean-Claude Brizard is chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third-largest school district, serving 409,000 students in more than 670 schools. Prior to his appointment in Chicago, he was superintendent of schools for the Rochester City School District, a position he held for three years. Under Brizard’s leadership, more students met standards in English/language arts and math, and the district saw an increase in its four-year high school graduation rate. Brizard’s experience also includes a 21-year career as an educator and administrator with the New York City Department of Education, where he served as a regional superintendent, executive director for secondary schools, Region 8 instructional superintendent, and high school principal. He began his career in education as a high school physics teacher and junior high science teacher. He feels strongly that not all professional-development approaches work equally and that defining their scope is critical to achieving strong student outcomes. And he has been a major proponent of using ed tech to implement core curriculum as well as “deeper learning” skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration.

Preeti Burns will be speaking in Chicago

Director, Technology Customer Services, Katy Independent School District, Texas

Preeti Burns has worked for 14 years as the director of technology customer services for the Katy Independent School District, a Houston-area district recognized nationally for technology innovation. In recent years, the Katy ISD has implemented a mobile-learning initiative at the elementary level as well as public Wi-Fi districtwide allowing students and teachers to “bring their own devices” to school. Before moving to the education sector, Burns had 14 years of experience with IT service management in the oil and gas industry. For 10 years, she was the president of HDI Houston, a global membership, training, and certification association for technical-support professionals, and she continues to serve on the boards for HDI Houston and ITT Technical Institute.

Alberto M. Carvalho will be speaking in Chicago

Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Alberto M. Carvalho is superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the nation’s fourth-largest school system, serving a diverse student body of over 400,000. Under his leadership, the district’s financial operations were transformed with the implementation of a strict adherence to “Values Based Budgeting,” aligning resources to classroom priorities. This paradigm shift resulted in a dramatic increase in reserves, a stable bond rating, employee protection, and a remarkable improvement in student achievement despite the national economic downturn plaguing many other school systems across the country. In 2010, M-DCPS posted its highest-ever graduation rate, spurred by a data-driven approach to school improvement. A leader in innovation, Carvalho is an advocate for the migration from textbooks to digital content and is developing cutting-edge educational environments to meet the demands of today’s learners. In 2011, he was named one of the nation’s Top 10 Tech-Savvy Superintendents by eSchool News. Miami-Dade County is one of four finalists for the prestigious Broad Prize for Urban Education. A hands-on instructional leader, Carvalho also serves as principal of two award-winning schools—the Primary Learning Center and the iPrep Academy—and regularly teaches physics in selected high schools. Carvalho is the president-elect of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

John Danner will be speaking in Chicago

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rocketship Education

John Danner is a co-founder and the chief executive officer of Rocketship Education, a national network of five high-performing K-5 charter schools whose mission is to eliminate achievement gaps. Rocketship’s first two schools have already catapulted into the No. 5 and No. 15 spots out of more than 2,000 California public schools with similar low-income populations. Rocketship has pioneered the transformative Hybrid School Model, designed to serve the needs of every child. The model combines outstanding classroom teaching to enhance and extend students’ critical-thinking skills with individualized instruction using tutors and technology to strengthen basic skills. Danner’s experience includes serving as chairman of the Charter School Resource Center of Tennessee, working as founding director of KIPP Academy Nashville, co-founding the Sacred Heart Nativity School in San Jose, Calif., and serving as co-founder and CEO of NetGravity, an Internet advertising software company. He is an Ashoka Fellow, a recognition for social entrepreneurs who have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society; a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute; and the 2010 winner of the McNulty Prize, a celebration of young leaders who are making creative, effective, and lasting contributions to their communities.

Jhone Ebert will be speaking in Philadelphia and Chicago

Chief Technology Officer, Clark County School District, Nevada

Jhone Ebert has served students and staff members of the Clark County School District, the nation’s fifth-largest district, for over 20 years. As an award-winning mathematics teacher, the district’s first secondary technology coordinator, its first virtual high school principal, and the founder and current chair of the Nevada Commission on Educational Technology, Ebert has developed a vision that continues to drive education reform in Clark County and the state of Nevada. Having also served as director of mathematics, executive director of curriculum and instruction, and assistant superintendent for curriculum and professional development, she draws on her experience in curriculum and educational technology as the district embarks on major reforms in technology integration and blended learning. All county schools will be supported in providing choice and innovation in instruction through the implementation of a districtwide vision that continues to transform learning environments. Clark County’s approach includes offering six models of blended learning, using a modular approach to program development and implementation, and leveraging technologies such as electronic textbooks and curriculum resources to alter instructional processes and improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Mark Edwards will be speaking in Philadelphia

Superintendent, Mooresville Graded School District

Mark Edwards serves as the superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District in Mooresville, N.C.  Previously, he was the superintendent of Virginia’s Danville and Henrico County districts. He was Virginia Superintendent of the Year in 2001 and was named a recipient of the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education in 2003. For more than 30 years, he has served students in Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, and North Carolina, as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, dean, and superintendent. Edwards is considered a pioneer of 1-to-1 computing in public schools. He is currently leading his second district 1-to-1 laptop initiative, equipping more than 5,400 students in the Mooresville district with 21st-century tools via laptops, interactive boards, and iPads.

Greg Gunn will be speaking in Philadelphia

Entrepreneur-in-Residence, City Light Capital, and Co-founder, Wireless Generation

Greg Gunn is an entrepreneur-in-residence at City Light Capital, a venture capital firm investing in U.S.-based, high-growth companies dedicated to tackling some of society’s toughest challenges. In 2000, he co-founded Wireless Generation, a leading educational software company now serving more than 3 million students with assessment and instructional products. As president of the company, Gunn created and led the product-development team, shipping the mCLASS® hand-held formative-assessment platform. He took over and revamped the company’s sales division, landing key state and district sales and tripling the company’s revenue in 18 months. As chief scientist, he designed highly effective professional-development techniques and created the company’s analytics and data-mining division, which turned raw data into new insights about student learning progressions. The company was sold to News Corp. in December 2010. Gunn has experience teaching mathematics, physics, and computer science to students from 4th grade through the postgraduate level. He worked for the Champion International Middle School Partnership, where he developed technology-assisted teaching methods for 6th grade mathematics. He recently wrote for Education Week‘s Futures of School Reform blog, in which he dealt with such topics as how teachers can leverage technology to enhance student engagement. He believes technology can inspire teachers to make the core curriculum more meaningful and change students’ educational lives for the better.

Cindy Hamblin will be speaking in Philadelphia

Director, Illinois Virtual School

Cindy Hamblin is the director of the Illinois Virtual School (IVS) which currently serves 195 public and private schools in the state. Hamblin and her team oversee online courses offered to students (grades 5-12) from partnering schools. In addition, IVS has launched an online professional-development delivery system for educators throughout the state. Before her work at IVS, Hamblin assisted school districts with technology plans, 1-to-1 state initiatives, professional development, and other programs to support educational technology in K-12 schools. She was the co-chair of the Illinois Education and Technology Conference from 2000 to 2009, a member of the Illinois Computing Education Governing Board, and a 2007 recipient of the “Making It Happen” Award from the International Society for Technology in Education.

Frederick M. (Rick) Hess will be speaking in Philadelphia

Co-editor, Customizing Schooling: Beyond Whole School Reform and Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

Rick Hess is a resident scholar and the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, in Washington. A prolific author and influential thinker, his books include Customized Schooling: Beyond Whole School Reform, Education Unbound, and The Same Thing Over and Over: How School Reformers Get Stuck in Yesterday’s Ideas. A former high school social studies teacher, he writes the edweek.org blog Rick Hess Straight Up.  He also teaches or has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University, and Harvard University. Hess knows what it takes to create an educational culture that embraces creative problem-solving.  And he’s passionate about districtwide innovation and scalability of innovative approaches that work.

William R. Hite Jr. will be speaking in Chicago

Superintendent, Prince George’s County Public Schools

William R. Hite Jr. is superintendent of the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) serving over 127,000 students in Maryland. Among his many leadership responsibilities, Hite has led major efforts resulting in increased student achievement, significant improvements in teaching and learning, and school improvement status. These efforts included work on the Intensive Support and Intervention Schools that provided significant support to schools most in need based on student and school performance indicators, as well as work in partnership with the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, which focused on improving the capacity of teachers and administrators to strengthen the teaching and learning process. Most recently, he oversaw a major reorganization of the district’s regions into zones to reduce cost and provide greater support to schools. He developed systems that measure central leadership effectiveness against student and school performance.  Student performance is one of the key driving factors he considers when implementing his e-learning strategies and how to evaluate them based on the latest research.  PGCPS believes that online courses provide new opportunities in the delivery of instruction for students. Courses are designed to expand student access to challenging curricula aligned to the Maryland Content Standards and the Maryland Voluntary Curriculum through the delivery of high-quality online courses for high school credit.

Rob Mancabelli will be speaking in Philadelphia and Chicago

Co-author of Personal Learning Networks:
Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education

With nearly 20 years of experience in leadership, technology, and planning, Rob Mancabelli helps education leaders build 21st-century schools. His focus is on the change process: how to generate successful adoption of new practices, particularly around social media and learning. A dynamic speaker, Mancabelli has inspired audiences around the world with his insights into methods for transforming organizations. He is a former chief information officer with a background in planning and leadership that includes certification as a project manager and M.B.A. work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. He blogs at mancabelli.com and for SchoolCIO magazine. He serves on educational advisory boards for Dell Computer and Acer Corp. He co-authored with Will Richardson, Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education, released in May 2011.

Jay McPhail will be speaking in Philadelphia

Director, K-12 Instructional Technology and Career Technical Education, Riverside Unified School District

Jay McPhail is the director of K-12 instructional technology and career technical education for the Riverside Unified School District in California. He began teaching as a second career in 1998 at Perris High School, in the Perris Union High School District. His understanding of technology and its power to transform the educational environment led to his being appointed director of technology from 2000 to 2003, when he was selected as teacher of the year for Perris High School. In 2004, he was hired as an instructional services specialist in instructional technology for Riverside Unified, where he led successful efforts to win two highly competitive Enhancing Education Through Technology grants for the district. McPhail has been a presenter at numerous national ed-tech conferences, and he currently serves on the Hewlett Packard National Educational Council, the Promethean National Advisory Council, and the Intelligent Papers International Advisory Board. Most recently, he has been asked to participate on a national panel to define the idea and philosophy of “open access.” McPhail is known nationally as an instructional leader who is passionate about the appropriate use of technology within the curriculum and the empowerment of teachers and students using technology.

Rick Miller will be speaking in Chicago

Superintendent, Riverside Unified School District

In 2010, the Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) under the direction of Superintendent Rick Miller, adopted a new curriculum called HMH Fuse that utilizes digital textbooks, including iPads, instead of traditional textbooks.  His district’s methods for deploying e-textbooks and cost-effective ways to engage students in more interactive, multimedia-rich learning have already shown results.  Miller became the superintendent of California’s RUSD, which enrolls more than 44,000 students, in January 2009.  An educator for over 40 years, he has served as a district superintendent for the past 22 years in two different states, and as an adjunct instructor at the university level in both states.  Miller has taught at the elementary and secondary levels and has been an elementary and high school principal.

Bailey Mitchell will be speaking in Philadelphia and Chicago

Chair, Consortium for School Networking Board of Directors ♦
Chief Technology and Information Officer, Forsyth County School District

Bailey Mitchell brings 25 years of experience as an educator and has worked for the past 13 years as the chief technology and information officer for the Forsyth County schools in the growing community outside Atlanta. He is responsible for the educational and administrative technology enterprise, with a focus on personalized learning, collaborative classrooms, mobile computing, parent communication, and teacher support. The district is nationally recognized as a leader in educational technology. Prior to working for the Forsyth County schools, Mitchell served as the director of instructional technology at the Georgia Department of Education. He recently become the chair of the Consortium for School Networking, the premier professional association for school district technology leaders, committed to providing the leadership, community, and advocacy tools essential for the success of these leaders.

Leroy D. Nunery II will be speaking in Philadelphia

Acting Superintendent/Chief Executive, School District of Philadelphia

Leroy David Nunery II, the acting superintendent/chief executive for the School District of Philadelphia, is responsible for the effective and efficient leadership and management of the district’s operations, including information technology; procurement; facilities; human resources; charter, new, and partnership schools; and a wide range of other districtwide initiatives and activities. He has had experience in developing and acquiring IT solutions in higher education, while working at the University of Pennsylvania, and with educational technology, in the Philadelphia district, at Edison Schools Inc., and as an independent consultant. Nunery was principal/founder of PlūsUltré LLC, an advisory and consulting company started in 2007 that specializes in enhancing the strategic, managerial, and operational capacities of educational, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial enterprises. Before forming PlūsUltré, from June 2005 to August 2007, he was president of school management for Edison Schools, the leading for-profit provider of education management services, where he was responsible for a nationwide team of executives and educators that delivered services to more than 250,000 public school students in more than 20 states and in the United Kingdom. From March 1999 to June 2005, Nunery was vice president, business services, for the University of Pennsylvania, responsible for oversight of the institution’s major auxiliary enterprises, with revenues of $160 million and over 800 employees. He was heavily engaged in the strategic planning and implementation of Penn’s renowned West Philadelphia Initiatives, specifically the inclusion of local minority- and women-owned businesses; a robust employee-assisted housing program; retail development; arts and culture programs; and workforce development. His professional experience includes 16 years in various roles in corporate banking and the capital markets and four years with the National Basketball Association as vice president, human and information resources, and vice president, business development.

Darlene Rankin will be speaking in Philadelphia

Director of Instructional Technology, Katy Independent School District

Starting her 21st year in public education, Darlene Rankin is the director of instructional technology for the Katy Independent School District, a Houston-area district recognized nationally for technology innovation. Katy ISD is a fast-growth district, with a current enrollment of 62,000 students. In recent years, the district has implemented a mobile-learning initiative at the elementary level as well as a filtered public Wi-Fi capability that allows students in grades 2-12 and their teachers to “bring their own devices” to school. After being an instructional technology coordinator in two districts and a classroom teacher in two others, Rankin has become most passionate about engaging students in content in the meaningful ways needed for them to become successful lifelong learners. She also believes strongly that making that engagement a reality looks different for each student. Rankin, who is in her tenth year at Katy ISD, knows how critical student, parent, teacher, and community involvement can be to ensuring support for the evolving ed-tech landscape as the district embraces change.

Kecia Ray will be speaking in Chicago

Executive Director, Learning Technologies, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools

Kecia Ray began her career as a middle school science teacher in the Atlanta area before moving to Nashville, Tenn., in 1994 to teach in one of the state’s first 21st Century classrooms, a statewide Title IID program. Ray also participated in the state’s first distance-learning network and served on the iNACOL research committee. Ray later became an assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University, where her research in assessing technology literacy led to a basic computer-literacy exam. She subsequently designed technology-rich learning spaces for the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and in 2000 she became the director of technology research in the Office of Science Outreach at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Ray joined the Metropolitan Nashville school district in 2004 as district policy manager. In 2007, she was named assistant superintendent of federal programs and grants and remained in this position until 2010, when she became the district’s first executive director for learning technology. Ray also teaches graduate courses for University of Maryland University College and Bethel University and was recently named to the board of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

Kim A. Rice will be speaking in Philadelphia

Deputy Superintendent and Assistant Chief Operating Officer, Boston Public Schools

Kim A. Rice was the chief information officer for the 57,000-student Boston school system from 2004 until early 2011, when she became the district’s deputy superintendent and assistant chief operating officer. She was formerly the director of strategic planning for information services at the Massachusetts Department of Education, where she was the data architect on the design team for the Massachusetts Virtual Education space, an online portal of education resources that is now called MassONE. Rice worked to modernize the Boston Public School’s pool of 20,000 instructional computers as well as other technologies used in the district. An engaging speaker who is highly respected in the educational technology community, she helped build the district’s student-information system and worked toward establishing more 1-to-1 computing environments in city schools.

Will Richardson will be speaking in Philadelphia and Chicago

Co-author of Personal Learning Networks:
Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education

Will Richardson has been writing about the intersection of social online learning networks and education for the past 10 years at Weblogg-ed.com and in numerous journals and magazines. Recently, he shifted his blogging emphasis to willrichardson.com. He was a public school educator for 22 years and is a co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice, a unique professional-development program that has mentored over 3,000 teachers worldwide in the past three years. His first book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms has sold more than 80,000 copies and has influenced classroom practice around the world. His second book, Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education, was released in May 2011, and was  co-authored with Rob Mancabelli. His articles have appeared in Educational Leadership, Education Week, English Journal, Edutopia, and Principal Leadership, among others, and over the past six years, he has spoken to tens of thousands of educators in more than a dozen countries about the merits of online learning networks for personal and professional growth. He is a member of the national advisory board of the George Lucas Educational Foundation and a columnist for District Administration magazine.

Aylon Samouha will be speaking in Chicago

Chief Schools Officer, Rocketship Education

Aylon Samouha oversees the design of the Hybrid School Model and the expansion strategy for Rocketship Education. His team works to build Rocketship’s academic model, teacher professional development, and school leader fellowship program. Before joining Rocketship, Samouha was senior vice president for teacher preparation, support, and development for Teach For America. In that role, he managed the budget and staff needed to provide training and support operations for more than 7,000 teachers across 34 regions. He previously held several senior executive positions and regional directorships at Kaplan Inc.

Lenny Schad will be speaking in Philadelphia

Chief Information Officer, Katy Independent School District

Lenny Schad has worked for the past eight years as chief information officer for the Katy Independent School District (ISD), Texas, a Houston-area district recognized nationally for technology innovation. Prior to joining Katy ISD, he spent 17 years in the oil and gas sector. Through Schad’s leadership, Katy ISD is in year three of a mobile-learning initiative at the elementary level, and public Wi-Fi will be available at every campus, K-12, beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, allowing students and teachers to “bring their own device” to school. Schad has been instrumental in developing both the technology plan and the budget for this initiative with his colleagues in Katy ISD. Schad was selected as one of the National School Boards Association’s “20 to Watch” educators for 2008. The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) named Schad to its prestigious list of 2010 CoSN Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees.

Scott Smith will be speaking in Chicago

Chief Technology Officer, Mooresville Graded School District

Scott Smith has over 15 years’ experience in educational technology. As a teacher, technology facilitator, systems engineer, director, and chief technology officer, he understands all aspects of technology, both instructionally and technically. As past president of NCTIES, North Carolina’s affiliate of the International Society for Technology in Education, Smith led efforts for the state’s technology educators. He also serves as an ISTE affiliate representative for NCTIES. In addition, he sits on the board of directors of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators.
In 2008, Smith assumed the role of chief technology officer for the Mooresville Graded School District, one of the only public school systems in the nation to issue laptops to every student in grades 4-12. That “digital conversion” initiative has seen outstanding results in the form of decreased dropouts and suspensions, increased attendance, and increased scores on end-of-course and end-of-grade tests, while moving the district into a digital teaching and learning environment.

Themistocles Sparangis will be speaking in Chicago

Chief Technology Director, Los Angeles Unified School District

Themy Sparangis, as chief technology director, is responsible for Educational Technology Services and Customer Support for the Los Angeles Unified School District. His group integrates the use of technology in schools and classrooms to support and achieve the district’s instructional goals, help meet the superintendent’s goals, provide an engaging learning environment to raise student achievement, decrease the number of dropouts, and provide equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. Sparangis is a member of Phi Delta Kappa, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Computer Using Educators (CUE), and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).