Desiree Alexander, Ed.S., is an award-winning, multi-degreed educator who has worked in the education field since 2002. She’s currently the regional director of north Louisiana for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, and is the founder and CEO of Educator Alexander Consulting, LLC. As a consultant, Alexander works with school districts and companies to help teachers and employees with integrating technology, education leadership and branding themselves and their schools. She’s a lifetime certified in Louisiana in secondary English education and as a reading specialist, school librarian, edtech facilitator, edtech leader and education leadership 1. She’s certified in Texas as a principal and in English language arts and reading (grades 4-8 and 8-12), reading specialist (grades EC-12) and school librarian. She also holds several technology certifications. Alexander earned bachelor’s master’s and education specialist degrees from Louisiana State University, and a master’s in library science from Texas Woman’s University. She also holds a master’s in educational technology leadership from Nicholls State University, and is pursuing a doctorate in education from Lamar University. Her many awards include 2017 Young Professional Initiative 40 Under 40 Awards Honoree; 2017 Center for Digital Education Top 30 Technologists, Transformers & Trailblazers; 2017 PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator for Louisiana; and 2016 A+PEL Member of the Year.
Kwaku Aning describes himself as a storyteller and says it took two decades in education to home in on this role. After having a variety of roles in the education world -- teacher, consultant, administrator -- in public, private and charter schools, he realized the common thread was storytelling. Whether it’s helping students share their stories through performing music or working with teachers to help students to share their perspectives through technology, Kwaku believes storytelling is the best way to learn and share content. As the director at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking (CIET) at San Diego Jewish Academy, Kwaku takes pride in finding cool new ways for teachers and students to share their stories through digital, analog and unconventional methods.
Sean Arnold is a special educator and STEM coach who has taught in New York City’s District 75 citywide special needs program since 2005. He works with students with moderate to severe disabilities and, as an adult with autism spectrum disorder, has insight into how to empathize and educate his students meaningfully. Arnold is committed to reaching all students through innovative technologies and practices. He shares his experience and expertise at making learning accessible, intrinsically motivating and meaningful at conferences like the ISTE Annual Conference & Expo and TED-Ed to empower educational change agents. You can also find evidence of his spirit for systemic change at BraveInThe Attempt.com. Arnold has received the ISTE Outstanding Teacher (honorable mention), ISTE Inclusive Learning Network Outstanding Educator Award, New York State Educator of the Year (honorable mention), New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) Excellence in School Technology Award and the EDxEDNYC Excellence in Technology Award. He’s also certified in many educational technologies (Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Innovator, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, BrainPOP Educator, Flipgrid Level 3, SMART and Promethean).
A belief in student empowerment guides Margret Atkinson’s pedagogical focus. It’s a belief she formed by seeing the achievement and success empowered students experience during the 14 years she’s taught middle grades literature. Atkinson understands that collaboration builds the whole child and works to offer her students a local and global perspective on the difference they can make in the world. She’s the president-elect of ISTE’s Global Collaboration Professional Learning Network and works with the team to ensure that global collaboration connects as many classrooms around the world as possible. She’s also a connected educator and values the model she creates by participating in forward-thinking educator communities like Pass The Scope Edu. Two programs are at the heart of her curriculum: National History Day (NHD) and Real World Scholar’s Education Corporations. Twice named NHD’s Louisiana Teacher of the Year, she knows that allowing student voice and choice to permeate classroom boundaries furthers the learning of our future citizens. Along with visionary educator Grant Knowles, Atkinson is co-authoring an upcoming book about the power that comes from allowing students to be active participants in building their future.
Sessions:Entrepreneurship in the Classroom
Lacy Behl is a U.S. Army Interrogator turned elementary teacher. While deployed to Iraq, she taught our allies to speak English. When they were able to understand an abstract idea instead of just a concrete noun, she knew teaching was her calling. Her purpose was never clearer: To teach students of all ages to become responsible and productive citizens, effective decision-makers and lifelong learners. She leads by example in providing and promoting a safe STEM classroom environment where students can take risks and not be afraid to fail. Behl is a Google Certified Educator, a Smithsonian Teacher Ambassador, a National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Maitland P. Simmons Science Award winner, NSTA/Shell Science Lab Challenge winner, LaCUE Regional Elementary Teacher of the Year, Stand For Children LEAD Fellow and the current West Baton Rouge Parish Teacher of the Year. Behl continues her STEM advocacy by teaching United Arab Emirates teachers how to implement design thinking into their classrooms.
Nikole Blanchard is the director of innovation and technology at The Dunham School, an independent school in Baton Rouge, an education consultant for a number of schools in Louisiana and a former teacher. Her greatest passion is helping schools around the world create technology programs. She’s traveled as an Apple Distinguished Educator, sharing philosophies and personal stories. Blanchard is also a National Board Certified Teacher, Apple Teacher, Swift Playground Teacher, Google Certified Trainer, PBS Learning Media Innovator and Microsoft Innovating Educator. Blanchard’s passion for networking and learning from other educators led her to start a technology leaders network in Baton Rouge. In 2016, she became a leader of ISTE’s Innovation Teaching Professional Learning Network (PLN). She’s also a member of the ISTE Global Collaboration PLN and has been the playground chair for the ISTE Annual Conference & Expo. In 2019, Blanchard was elected to the ISTE Board of Directors.
After 15 years of having a blast exploring ways to integrate technology in relevant and meaningful ways in her own middle and high school science and English classrooms, Meredith Boullion became a district technology facilitator for Calcasieu Parish in southwest Louisiana. For five years, she has developed and facilitated professional development for educators through face-to-face classes, webinars and online courses. She’s an Apple Teach, a Microsoft Innovative Educator trainer, and a certified Makey Makey Trainer who has presented sessions at the ISTE Conference & Expo, the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Convention & Exposition, the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE) conference and other regional conferences. Boullion is a lifelong learner who holds a bachelor’s degree from McNeese State University and a master’s in education from Wilkes University.
Patricia J. Brown, known as “MsEdtechie,” is a technology specialist for Ladue School District in St. Louis. An educator since 2001, Brown breaks down traditional classroom walls by creating a culture that fosters the four Cs and authentic learning. She’s an award-winning educator, blogger, keynote presenter and was named one of the National School Board Association's 20 to Watch in Educational Technology. She’s also an Apple Distinguished Educator, an ISTE Certified Educator, PBS Lead LearningMedia Digital Innovator, Google Certified Trainer & Innovator and ISTE Conference & Expo presenter. Her work has been featured in several edtech publications, including Tech & Learning, Scholastic Administrator, Edtech Magazine and entrsekt, the former name of ISTE’s member magazine. Brown also served as a monthly columnist for Edsurge and Tech & Learning. She was a featured TED Masterclass speaker at the ISTE18 in Chicago. As an ISTE Digital Equity PLN leader and Code.org facilitator, she advocates for access and opportunity, and has delivered several keynotes and presentations on equity through STEM. She’s passionate about being a connected educator and empowering teachers and students. Brown believes preparing teachers will ultimately prepare students to compete in our global society through digital age teaching and learning. On the personal side, she’s a proud wife to her college sweetheart, Brian, and mom-in-chief to their five sons.
Currently the president of Skokie/Morton Grove District 69 Board of Education, Steve Dembo is a pioneer in the field of educational social networking and was among the first to realize the power of blogging, podcasting, Twitter and other Web 2.0 technologies in connecting educators and creating professional learning communities. For 10 years, Dembo served as Discovery Education’s director of learning communities and led their innovation and strategy team. He’s the co-author of the book Untangling the Web: 20 Tools to Power Up Your Teaching and a course designer and adjunct professor for Wilkes University.
Samantha Duchscherer is the instructional technology coordinator for Jacksonville North Pulaski School District in Jacksonville, Arkansas. A former language arts and social studies teacher, she began her teaching career in California. Duchscherer earned her master’s in education in 2015 and is currently working toward an Ed.D. in educational technology leadership. She’s an ISTE Certified Educator and Google Certified Innovator. She specializes in all things Google, makerspace and digital design.
Kimberly Eckert, M.Ed., Louisiana’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, teaches high school English and Educators Rising, also serving as a reading specialist and instructional coach. Previously, she was a special education teacher, a reading interventionist and a Teacher Assistance Program (TAP) mentor and master teacher. Eckert creates powerful classroom cultures and meaningful learning experiences that help students of all abilities and backgrounds progress while developing their own voice and agency. Her classes are structured around genius hours to embolden students to take on ambitious personal passion projects to enhance their own lives, schools, communities and the world. Eckert established Louisiana’s statewide grow-your-own teacher initiative in partnership with Educators Rising, and is currently serving as a teacher and innovative instructional coordinator, developing tailored induction, coaching and professional development for new teachers and paraprofessionals. She was recently named a national finalist for NEA’s Social Justice Activist of the Year and received Louisiana’s inaugural Public Interest Fellowship for her work with Educators Rising. Eckert assists with the Diverse and Learner Ready Teacher initiative through the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and is a National Education Association (NEA) Global Learning Fellow for South Africa, a Stand for Children’s LEAD Fellow facilitator and an expert teacher through the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
Ever since her family bought their first VHS camcorder when she was 5, Kat Enriquez has been passionate about technology and sharing what she learned with others. After graduating with a master's degree from the University of Missouri, Enriquez began her education career teaching English in South Korea. She spent the next 11 years teaching students across the globe, combining two of her biggest joys -- teaching and traveling. During her travels, she presented at various education conferences in Lebanon, Chile and the U.S. She currently teaches the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program in a first grade classroom at Hickory Day School in North Carolina. She continues to nurture her technological skills through professional development opportunities and personal research. Enriquez enjoys finding ways to integrate technology into curriculum and across disciplines in ways that challenge her students to think outside the box. She likes to push the boundaries of what’s expected and surprise those who think that young children are not capable of using technology in creative, meaningful ways! When she’s not teaching or presenting at conferences, Enriquez enjoys collaborating with colleagues to help them feel more comfortable with the edtech tools available to them, their students and their school community.
Camilla Gagliolo is the senior director of event content at ISTE, planning the program for the ISTE Annual Conference & Expo as well as ISTE’s regional events. She’s worked as the instructional technology coordinator for Arlington Public Schools in Virginia, facilitating and leading technology integration to enhance teaching and learning for students. Her passion for innovation in education has made her an international leader in implementing new technologies in all curriculum areas. She’s presented at numerous national and international conferences on technology integration, foreign and immersion language learning, digital portfolio creation, multimedia integration and the use of emergent and mobile technologies in instructional environments. She’s also presented and led workshops on technology integration at international conferences, including the ISTE Conference & Expo, the Virginia Society for Technology in Education annual conference, the Educational Collaborative for International Schools Conference and the Future of Education Technology Conference.
Susan Gauthier is the director of library services for East Baton Rouge Parish Schools in Louisiana. She was previously the library media specialist at Sherwood Middle Academic Magnet School. Gauthier has also worked as an educational technology consultant, developing and supporting several professional development programs at the Louisiana Department of Education. She has 27 years of experience in education, including 18 years in Louisiana schools and nine years coordinating educational technology programs for the Louisiana Department of Education. She was honored with the 2014 School Library Media Specialist Award that recognizes the outstanding contributions of a school library media specialist in Louisiana. Gauthier is a Google Teacher Academy Cohort #1 Attendee, STAR Discovery Educator, 2014 Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator and a 2017-18 Lilead Project Fellow.
Sessions:It’s All about the Cardboard!
After a decade in Italy as a design consultant and creative director, Rebecca Louise Hare returned to the U.S. to study education and built on her BFA in Industrial Design from The European Design Institute in Milan, Italy with a M.A.T. in Art from Fontbonne University, St. Louis. Rebecca is an art and design teacher with Clayton Public Schools in St. Louis and a learning space designer and co-author of the book: The Space: A Guide for Educators.
Michael Hernandez is an award-winning cinema and journalism teacher in Los Angeles whose work focuses on digital storytelling, media literacy and social justice. As an author, keynote speaker and consultant, he helps educators empower students to find passion and purpose in their learning so they can make a positive impact in their communities. Hernandez believes in the transformative potential of technology in the classroom, and his presentations at conferences in the U.S. and abroad for CUE, ISTE, SXSW EDU and Apple Education focus on tech integration and innovative teaching and learning strategies. He also leads students and teachers on documentary trips to Vietnam, Cuba and Cambodia as part of an experiential learning program. Hernandez is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Google for Education Certified Innovator and PBS Digital Innovator. Follow him on Twitter @cinehead, on Instagram @changing.the.narrative and at www.michael-hernandez.net
Manuel S. Herrera is an educator, international speaker and doodler. He’s the innovation coordinator for the Affton Schools, a public school district in the suburbs of St. Louis, and an adjunct professor at Webster University, teaching courses on digital video for educators and designing edtech facilities. In addition to those roles, he’s the communications and design lead for Connected Learning, an educational nonprofit in St. Louis. Herrera has presented internationally at events like SXSWEdu, the ISTE Conference & Expo, .EDU and the Future of Education Technology Conference. In 2016, he was named the Midwest Education Technology Conference Spotlight Educator.
Katie Hicks is an assistant academic director at the University of Cincinnati (UC) where she supports faculty with instructional technology and data management systems. Hicks loves working with data and using data to inform instruction and impact learning. Her earliest teaching experiences were in international schools in Europe where she developed a deep love of travel, early literacy and connecting with little learners using engaging and culturally relevant methods. She’s particularly interested in the intersection of learning theory, instructional design and technology. For over five years, Hicks has worked to infuse that interest into her educational technology, early literacy and foundations courses at UC. As a former instructional designer, Hicks supported the U.S. Department of Education in a redesign of its field coordinator training for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Hicks is a military brat who grew up around the world, married an Army transportation captain and longed for a hometown her whole life. She recently made Loveland, Ohio, the hometown she always wanted and is raising four beautiful, active children with her husband, Nate.
Carla Jefferson is an instructional technology coordinator for the Darlington County School District in South Carolina. A 21-year veteran educator, Jefferson has been a classroom teacher, curriculum facilitator and school-level administrator. She’s an Apple Distinguished Educator, Certified Apple Learning Specialist, Google Certified Educator/Trainer/Innovator, Code.org facilitator, Google CS First facilitator, Remind Connected Educator and a member of the Remind Advisory Board. Jefferson says she’s a bonafide techie geek who loves to support educators and share innovative ways to integrate technology into curriculum. She currently serves as a member of the South Carolina ASCD Board, is the chair of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) Instructional Technology Roundtable and is a chair of the ISTE Digital Equity PLN.
Sessions:Powerful Storytelling Through Podcasting
Anthony Johnson Jr. describes himself as a terrible student and "teacher’s nightmare' who dropped out of school at age 16 after having failed fourth, seventh, eighth and ninth grades. After earning his General Education Diploma (GED), he spent a decade moving from job to job. In 1998, Johnson lost both of his parents just six months apart, leading him to reflect on his life and career. A year later, he enrolled in college, graduating in four years with a degree in elementary education. Today, Johnson is a passionate teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator who travels the world and strives to help young people succeed.
Karla Kiper is a nationally Certified Educational Technology Leader (CETL) and director of technology integration for East Baton Rouge Parish Schools. She also has experience as a district-level technology facilitator and a classroom teacher. Kiper is a Certified Google for Education Trainer, Certified G-Suite Administrator, Certified Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainee, Adobe Educator Trainer and a Flipped Learning Global Initiative Certified Trainer. Her work currently focuses on 1:1 Chromebook initiatives, models of technology integration and personalized professional development, and her specialties include digital literacy, e-learning design and development, mobile app development, technology grant writing, strategic technology planning and flipped and blended learning implementation. Kiper is currently a doctoral student in educational leadership at Southeastern Louisiana University where she’s researching blended and personalized learning.
Kurt Klynen started his career in education nearly two decades ago. Today, he develops learning experiences and teacher support materials that are both simple and elegant using Apple technology, tools and apps to improve student engagement and outcomes. He’s passionate about building and delivering technology-based instructional materials, curriculum or professional learning programs for educators and education institutions.
Nathan Kraai is the makerspace coordinator at Oak Hill School, an independent PK-6 school in Nashville. Stanford-trained in design thinking, Kraai brings an emphasis on empathy-driven learning and making to even the youngest students. He cultivates empathy in his students and guides them to see that the world is much better off through the lens of “we first” rather than “me first.” Kraai is a firm believer that there is no minimum age requirement for students to make a positive impact in their schools, communities and the world around them. He’s been an elementary educator for the past 13 years, first in public schools in Denver, internationally in Amman, Jordan, and now in Nashville. He’s written for Edutopia and spoken at international conferences, including the ISTE Annual Conference & Expo.
Sherri Kushner has taught visual and media arts for the past 18 years. She currently teaches media arts at Chute Middle School in Evanston, Illinois. She’s most passionate about empowering student voices and creating meaningful dialogue through issue-based photography. Kushner believes her greatest role in the classroom is teaching students to effectively communicate about issues in their schools and communities that affect them, and to become advocates for social justice and equity. In addition to photography, Kushner also specializes in narrative media, digital fabrication and STEAM/maker education. She loves running hands-on workshops and speaking live and online for webinars, art, education and tech conferences. She’s an Adobe Education Leader and an Education Amplifier with amplifier.org.
James McCrary is the director of technology and innovation at the St. James Episcopal Day School in Baton Rouge. He has a background as a social studies educator and technology specialist. An Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Educator and Common Sense Media Certified Educator, McCrary is passionate about integrating technology skills into the classroom and positively impacting students globally. McCrary presents at local, state and international conferences on innovation in education, with a focus on 3D development, especially for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). He also hosts "The VR Podcast" with several educational leaders throughout the U.S., discussing how immersion technology is impacting education and business. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Louisiana State University and an M.Ed. in educational leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Stefanie Nguyen is the STEAM and makerspace director at St. Gabriel’s Catholic School in Austin, Texas. She collaborates with PK through eighth grade teachers to integrate STEAM into the curriculum to create meaningful learning opportunities. She has 13 years of classroom experience in public and private schools. Nguyen is a maker mentor for UTeach Maker and St. Edward’s University, a senior fellow of Thinkery EdExchange and guest host for the Austin Maker Ed Meet-Up. She has presented at the Nation of Makers Conference (NOMCON), Maker Faire Austin, the Texas Computer Educator Association (TCEA) Convention & Exposition, and contributed to the PBL Works blog and e-NABLE In Education blog. Her hobbies include climbing aerial silks and spending time outdoors with her husband and two dogs.
Pam Nicholson has 30 years of experience in education and currently serves as the Calcasieu Parish School Board technology training center coordinator in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In this role, she provides professional development to teachers and supports various district initiatives, including the Implementing a Technology-Enriched Curriculum (I-TEC) program and the Integrating Meaningful Practices Aligned with Curriculum and Technology (IMPACT) program. Nicholson also serves as the tech contact and facilitator for a Tech Showcase School. Previously, she served as the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) facilitator for a districtwide implementation of Promethean ActivBoard and Activdevices. She serves on the Louisiana Association for Computer Using Educators (LACUE) board as the Region 5 area director. Nicholson has also served as a poster chair for the National Educational Computer Conference (NECC). She’s been a presenter at local, regional and national conferences on topics including integrating technology into curriculum, using handheld devices in curriculum and using Promethean ActivBoards in the classroom.
Sarah Schroeder is an instructional designer, educator and coach who focuses on the creation of engaging, meaningful and relevant e-learning solutions. Passionate about understanding learner diversity, designing for the way our brains work and keeping learners engaged, she cares about the success of all learners and challenging and empowering them to do more vs. simply learn more. As a faculty member, instructional designer and cheerleader for all things e-learning in the School of Education at the University of Cincinnati, Schroeder coordinates undergraduate educational technology courses for preservice teachers and the Digital Learning Design Certificate. She’s also a certified Quality Matters facilitator and master reviewer, a Google Certified Educator (levels 1 and 2), a graduate of the Educause Educational Technology Leadership Institute and has supported development of solutions for K-12 teachers. She’s currently completing ISTE Certification for Educators. Before joining the University of Cincinnati, Schroeder was a high school English and theater teacher, faculty in the Department of Communication at Northern Kentucky University and an instructional designer in Northern Kentucky University's Center for Innovation and Technology in Education.
Ken currently holds an M.A. in Education with a specialization in Educational Technology as well as New Media Design and Production. He has worked as an Educator for over 14 years and most recently taught technology at the Middle School level. Ken is an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Innovator. Ken regularly gives keynotes and leads workshops, covering a wide variety of Educational Technology, Technology Integration, Equity and Inclusion, Multimedia Literacy, and Instructional Design topics. Ken is the ISTE Digital Equity PLN 2018 Excellence Award winner. Ken is currently a Global Keynote Specialist and Educational Technology Strategist.
Joseph South, chief learning officer, is a strategic national educational technology leader focused on evidence-based learning transformation. He formerly served as the director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. In his role at the department, he was an adviser to the Secretary of Education and developed national educational technology policy, formed public-private partnerships to assist state and local education leaders in transitioning to digital learning, helped school districts expand the use of openly licensed educational resources (OERs), and collaborated with stakeholders to nurture a robust ecosystem of edtech entrepreneurs and innovators. He also worked on a cross-governmental team to bring high-speed broadband, interactive devices, professional development for educators and leaders, and high-quality affordable digital content to U.S. classrooms. He is a strong proponent of the active use of technology by learners. South has led learning product development teams at startups, museums, nonprofits, corporations and higher education institutions. He has also directed a host of learning programs and consulted on projects in China, Korea, Mexico, South America and the Middle East. He holds a doctorate in instructional psychology and technology from Brigham Young University.
Wanda Terral, Ed.D., is the director of technology for the Lakeland School System in Tennessee and a freelance educational consultant. She has 24 years of experience in education. A former band director, Terral is constantly seeking information on techniques and practices related to the use of technology to empower students and educators. A Google Certified Innovator & Trainer, she shares resources online and at conferences nationwide, including the ISTE Conference & Expo, the Georgia Educational Technology Conference, the Future of Education Technology Conference and the Texas Computer Education Association Convention & Exposition. Her doctoral research focused on self-directed professional learning for educators. Terral is an advocate for the use of sketchnoting in the classroom, and is a co-founder of the #Sketch50 movement. She’s also a spotlight speaker for EdTechTeam and a learning guide for friEdTechnology.
Claudio Zavala Jr.’s experience in education spans 21 years, during which he’s been a teacher, mentor teacher, technology master teacher, instructional technology trainer and coordinator. Zavala is passionate about fostering creativity and using creation tools to enrich learning and experiences in the classroom. He’s an Adobe Education Leader, Alpha Squirrels certified educator, Participate Community Advisor, Google Certified Educator and Flipgrid Ambassador. Zavala is also an experienced photographer, avid cinematographer, vlogger YouTuber, musician and graphic designer.
"Ms. Z.," as her students affectionately call her, is a creative digital powerhouse. After 20 years of leadership in media production and graphic design, she followed her true calling into the classroom. Her innovative technology techniques energize and engage the toughest students, inviting them to express themselves digitally in their chosen learning styles. Zientek is an Adobe Certified Expert, a Google Certified Educator, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in instructional design and technology.