The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) Board of Directors has named Richard Culatta as its CEO. Culatta is the former director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education and currently serves as chief innovation officer for the state of Rhode Island. He has devoted his entire professional life to education, is a longtime ISTE member and is a past recipient of the ISTE “Making IT Happen” award.
“Richard believes the appropriate use of technology in learning is an impactful solution for many of the critical issues facing education today. His experience in, deep knowledge of and passion for education and technology make him a perfect fit to lead ISTE,” says Mila Thomas Fuller, Ed.D., ISTE board president and assistant director of online learning at the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We also thank Cheryl Scott Williams for her wonderful job leading the organization during this transition period.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead ISTE. I’m particularly excited about bringing a renewed focus to the impact of the ISTE community, increasing the value of ISTE membership and highlighting the importance of the ISTE voice on key education topics,” Culatta says. “I want to prioritize ISTE’s ability to demonstrate how technology can close opportunity gaps and provide solutions to some of the most critical issues in education.”
Culatta has led learning innovations in K-12, higher education, and workplace learning environments. Most recently, his role in Rhode Island has focused on demonstrating new approaches for government to address key issues, including bringing computer science to all students, reducing college costs through open-licensed textbooks and creating a state vision for personalized learning.
Leading the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, he was at the helm of numerous efforts to expand connectivity to schools across the country, promote personalized learning and develop the National Education Technology Plan. He also pioneered new ways for the department to engage with educators and tech developers.
Prior to joining the Department of Education, he served as an education policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. Before his work with the federal government, Culatta was the learning technologies adviser for the David O. McKay School of Education at Brigham Young University, where he redesigned the technology component of the teacher prep program. He also served as the director of operations for the Rose Education Foundation, which brought the first internet connections to schools in rural Guatemala.
Culatta earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish teaching and a master’s in educational psychology and technology, both from Brigham Young University. He is the father of four children and is married to renowned violinist Shaundra Culatta.