Superintendents Summit

Superintendents Summit, July 2018

Collaborating to create meaningful action is what a DALI Summit is all about. At the historic Drake hotel in Chicago this July, that’s what a group of Superintendents from across the U.S. discovered together.

Participants made the most of the chance to interact with top solution providers and collaborate with fellow leaders, mapping out strategies to address persistent challenges and recognize hidden opportunities in their home districts. That’s the DALI Difference.

Group widgets for padding


Speaker(s): Peter Gorman
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 08:30
Speaker(s): Nigel Nisbet
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 09:20
Speaker(s): Elliott Levine
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 09:50
Speaker(s): Dave MacLeod, J.A. Gonzalez, Jeff Wilson, Steve Kennedy
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 11:15
Speaker(s): Mark Rothschild
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 11:45
Speaker(s): Berj Akian, Jan Mills
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 13:25
Speaker(s): Thom Jones
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 13:55


Speaker(s): Lisa Goodnow, Todd Brekhus
Friday, July 27, 2018 - 08:45
Speaker(s): Abram Jimenez
Friday, July 27, 2018 - 09:15
Speaker(s): Alex Grodd
Friday, July 27, 2018 - 09:45
Speaker(s): Advait Shinde
Friday, July 27, 2018 - 10:30


Abram Jimenez, Ed.D. works with district leadership teams to develop Improvement Communities. He engages district leaders in comprehensive data-informed inquiry cycles to develop systems for strategic improvement, differentiated academic instruction, SEL & behavioral support, and MTSS. 

Before joining Illuminate Education. Dr. Jimenez was the Chief of Schools in the San Francisco Unified School District.

Advait Shinde is the co-founder and CEO of GoGuardian. He is deeply passionate about helping schools unlock student potential by understanding students’ individual mental health, social-emotional, and academic needs. Advait is a former Google software engineer, and was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Education in 2016, and is deeply passionate about needs to unlock their potential. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from UCLA.

Alex Grodd is the co-founder and CEO of BetterLesson, an edtech company that empowers teachers to shift instructional practice to create learner-centered classrooms. After graduating from Harvard, Grodd spent several years in the classroom, teaching in Atlanta Public Schools and Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Massachusetts. BetterLesson was created to address the instructional challenges that he faced during his time in the classroom.

Berj Akian founded ClassLink in 1998. What started as an effort to help one local school with their technology plan to improve student learning became ClassLink. Today, ClassLink serves students and teachers around the world. Berj has been a panelist, presenter, and moderator at hundreds of conferences and has hosted hundreds of webinars with industry experts on various aspects of education technology.

As President and Co-Founder of Thoughtexchange, Dave MacLeod leads a team responsible for changing the face of online consultation. Leveraging the power of group intelligence and the principles of collaborative negotiation, Dave draws on his previous experience as a town hall facilitator and community development consultant, to help leaders - primarily in K-12 education - engage with stakeholders in a way that redefines what's possible in the public consultation space.

Under Dave’s leadership, a team of facilitation experts and software engineers continue to challenge the status quo and overcome the inherent gaps of traditional listening tools, finding solutions for many of today's critical education and health challenges. Using Thoughtexchange, hundreds of North American leaders have successfully engaged with their stakeholders to inform bond measure development, education assurance models, teacher efficacy and evaluation, and most recently, a public health consultation focused on human rights.

With three boys at home all under the age of five, practicing complex negotiation and mediation is also a big part of Dave's daily personal life.

Elliott Levine is Director of Education for the Americas Region of HP, Inc. and the company’s first Distinguished Technologist focused solely on edtech. He drives strategy and go-to market tactics for HP’s $1B+ education sales in the U.S. and Canada. He is a sought-after global speaker to discuss the future of, and innovation to, the learning paradigm. He has, and is developing products focused on personalized learning and virtual instruction, some of which are patent-pending. 

A former K-12 district administrator and professor, Elliott is a past columnist for Electronic School and American School Boards Journal, and has been interviewed for many educational publications over his career. Prior to joining HP in 2008, Elliott held leadership positions in a number of successful startups and turn-around education companies in senior management, product development, marketing and strategic planning roles. He currently serves on startup boards as well as an advisory board member for WNET, the largest public television station in the U.S., and an advisor for 3D Africa, a nonprofit supporting educational opportunities for young women in Africa.

Dr. Jose A. (J.A.) Gonzalez has a wealth of experience and a passion for teaching. Prior to his appointment as superintendent of the McAllen Independent School District in Texas, he served as the district’s associate superintendent for instructional leadership, where his primary role included coaching, supervising and evaluating all principals in the district. He currently oversees the nationally ranked district of more than 24,000 students.

As an innovative leader, Dr. Jeff Wilson empowers teachers and principals to initiate and lead instructional reforms and inspiring projects. His district in Arcadia, California, has partnered with Thoughtexchange to promote and facilitate community engagement where stakeholders provide data-driven feedback, allowing site and district leaders to make informed decisions about innovative programs, policies and practices that will help students, staff and the community imagine, inquire and inspire.

A proven innovative educational leader with a strong passion for national school improvement and change initiatives. Expertise and experience in leading change, increasing student performance, cultivating cultures of excellence, developing and sustaining partnerships, grant management, fostering college and career readiness, and managing large operational systems.

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!

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.

Peter Gorman brings more than 30 years of experience in education as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Peter Gorman Leadership Associates. He was a teacher, principal and district administrator in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties in Florida before becoming superintendent of schools in Tustin, California. In 2006, he became superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. The district won the 2011 Broad Prize in Urban Education and 17 members of the team have gone on to be superintendents.

A 29-year educator, Dr. D Steve Kennedy has worked in inner city, suburban and rural school districts in California. A strong teacher, vice principal, principal, assistant superintendent and currently superintendent for Menifee USD, Kennedy understands that by nurturing the human side of the educational paradigm, stronger relationships will promote greater academic and life success for both students and staff.

Thom Jones is a former administrator and teacher with more than 19 years of experience in public education. While principal of Dublin Willard Grizell, the school was the only Ohio middle school designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School in 2009. At NaviGate Prepared since 2013, Thom leads his team as they strive to help move school districts to the forefront of emergency preparedness.

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).

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