Summit Session Archives

April 2016, Colorado Springs

Mark Rothschild

Mark Rothschild, Ph.D. is founder and CEO of Right At School, an innovative educational services company focused on educational enrichment programs before, during and after school. Right At School serves more than 25,000 students every day, right in their own schools.

Mark’s career has spanned numerous for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Mark has lead several JCCs, was President of Knowledge Advisors, Sr. Vice President at FastWeb, and a Communication Specialist at both McKinsey & Company and Arthur Andersen. Mark is an ordained rabbi from Hebrew Union College, earned a Ph.D. in education leadership from Indiana University, an MA from Northwestern, and a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mark likes school!

In this talk, Dr. Rothschild will highlight new research on the impact of effective after-school and recess programs for elementary school students and offer ideas on how to successfully enhance your own programs.

Nigel Nisbet is the Director of Content Creation at the MIND Research Institute, designing new instructional software that uses a highly visual game-based approach to teach mathematics to students, regardless of their language proficiency. A former High School Mathematics teacher and Mathematics Coordinator with the Los Angeles Unified School District, he is an expert in classroom technology and experiential learning. In addition to a degree in Pure mathematics from the University of London, he has a MA in Educational Administration.

Sometimes we visit a classroom where we see students engaged in authentic learning experiences, but what they are doing differs from what we expect the learning process to look like. Nigel will share the neuroscientific perspective on learning that provides an energizing look at why, in fact, deep learning is not linear.

James Stoffer

James Stoffer is Vice President of Sales at MasteryConnect, an edtech company headquartered in Salt Lake City. The son of two long-time educators, James has dedicated his career to solutions that actually make an impact on student outcomes. He and his team travel the country working with teachers and administrators to help implement mastery learning and to advocate for those who are doing important work in classrooms everyday.

The MasteryConnect platform helps teachers identify levels of student understanding to remediate and personalize learning. Teachers can create curriculum maps, share standards-aligned resources and track student mastery of state standards.

Mike Belcher

As the HP Americas Education Strategist, Mike is completely focused on how to best support schools in maximizing their most important student outcomes. Mike had been providing guidance and recommendations to School Districts, Legislative bodies and Offices of Education for more than 15 years. Doing so through planning support as well as facilitating the building and delivering the most effective and sustainable Ed Tech programs. He currently resides in Houston, TX and is a Board Member of several education and workforce development organizations.

When you visit most schools, you see kids typing in word processors, making presentation slides and doing drill and skill for standardized tests. No creativity, no innovation, little STEMx learning. Mike Belcher, HP’s Education Chief Innovation Officer, will share how some schools have embraced Blended Reality and how it can transform digital learning as we know it.

Kevin Skelcher

Kevin has an extensive background in youth development and adult leadership. He has worked in both the non-profit and business sectors and has a love of group processes and is inspired by outcomes that far exceed the go-it-alone approach. He is a father of two, an avid whitewater kayaker and loves to write songs for the guitar.

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Lea Scherck

Lea is a seasoned leader with a background in collaboration, research and technology. She obtained her Master’s in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability in Sweden, where collaboration was an integral part to all learning outcomes. Joining Thoughtexchange as the first facilitator, Lea went on to grow and lead the team as VP Service before taking on her current role. She is fascinated by group dynamics and communication and the application of technology to improve them.

Kevin Skelcher is here from Thoughtexchange the Group Conversation Platform now used by school districts across North America to engage us with a group conversation activity you can take back to your district and to show us some patent pending data visualizations.

Jeff Liberty

After more than two decades as classroom teacher, instructional coach, new school and program developer, and founding charter school headmaster, Jeff joined BetterLesson in 2014 to lead the Blended Master Teacher Project. Jeff heads up BetterLesson's thought leadership and partnerships in blended and personalized learning. Born in Boston and a proud product of its public schools, Jeff continues to look for ways to harness educational innovation to increase opportunities for all students to enjoy learning and realize their potential.

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Melissa Saunders

Dr. Melissa Saunders passionately leads and creates the vision for the instructional programs in Manassas City Public Schools. She began her career teaching 7th grade English and was recognized by The Washington Post for Distinguished Educational Leadership in 2010. Dr. Saunders obtained her masters at Carnegie Mellon and her Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She is known for her driving commitment to excellence and her quest for quality educational opportunities for young people.

Realizing the full potential of a 1-to-1 rollout requires more than technology investment and initial training. Providing the right ongoing professional development support for teachers is essential for success.

Karen Beerer

Dr. Karen Beerer is the Vice President of Learning and Development for Discovery Education. Dr. Beerer has more than 30 years of experience in education. Dr. Beerer served as a reading specialist and an elementary principal as well as a Supervisor of Curriculum and Professional Development. Most notably, her experiences in two public schools in Pennsylvania in the areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment have resulted in higher achievement gains for students.

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Jane Westerhold

Dr. Jane L. Westerhold has served as superintendent of Community Consolidated School District in Des Plaines, Illinois for the past 11 years. Currently she serves as president of the IL Association of School Superintendents, on the AASA Governing Board, the board of NCERT, and the executive committee of the DALI. Dr. Westerhold was named the Illinois Superintendent of the Year in 2013 and was awarded the Illinois "Those Who Excel" Award of Excellence in 2013.

The digital transformation can only occur successfully with high quality professional development. Dr. Karen Beerer and Dr. Jane Westerhold will share how they infused some TLC into professional development. TLC? Probably not what you are thinking… Karen and Jane will explain how Teacher Leadership Corps (TLC) in Des Plaines School District 62 has transformed teaching and learning.

Todd Brekhus is an educational leader devoted to introducing innovative technologies to educators and administrators. As President of Digital Solutions of Capstone Publishers, Brekhus leads the digital product vision and strategy as the organization continues to expand its digital solutions in the education market. His prior experiences launching products and services into the education market as well as his thorough understanding on technology provides the foundation to Capstone Digital future growth.

Prior to coming to Capstone Digital, Mr. Brekhus was the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at PLATO Learning, where he was responsible for the entire product library, integration of acquired product lines, and bringing new product ideas to market. In this role he built the vision for the PLATO Learning Environment– a scalable platform for states, districts, and schools to leverage technology for overall student achievement used by more than one million students since inception. During his time at PLATO, Todd authored a book chapter and article on Software as a Service (SaaS) in Education. Prior to his roles at PLATO Learning, he held senior level positions at various companies including President and COO of Learning Elements and MCI WorldCom, where he helped build and implement the MarcoPolo Program (now called Verizon Thinkfinity).

Learn how District 49 has created a culture of reading through collaboration and a strong vision to provide students a personalize approach to learning.

Bryan Richardson

Bryan brings 15 years of management experience to the work of public sector change. He leads performance management and data system projects, and his recent engagements include serving as an adviser to both the US Department of Education and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to joining UPD, Bryan was the Director of SchoolStat for Baltimore City Public Schools, the first school district in the nation to establish an organization-wide performance management routine.

We know that success comes from leveraging strong management and leadership, but where should Superintendents focus to make school districts fundamentally better organizations? This is the question UPD Consulting has been helping district leaders answer for nearly 10 years.

John Cronin

Dr. John Cronin is the Senior Director of Education Research for Northwest Evaluation Association. He is an expert on the impact of policy initiatives such as teacher evaluation and Common Core on schools and students, and explains the technical issues surrounding assessment in language that educator audiences find understandable and compelling. In addition to leading research at NWEA, John presents to a wide range of professional organizations and has published numerous journal articles.

While academic preparation is instrumental to any student’s success in college or career, a strong academic background alone is not enough to assure the success of low income students in college and career. Some of the triggers for college success are not widely known.