Speakers at Technology & Learning's Tech Forum are innovators in the field of educational technology. With years of experience as conference presenters, educators, school leaders and Technology & Learning authors, they offer a unique perspective on technology challenges and solutions.

Keynote Speaker

Hall Davidson

Discovery Educator Network

Hall Davidson is director of the Discovery Educator Network, a new division of Discovery Communications focused on moving into the world of channel-less video-on-demand. Before joining Discovery, he served for 15 years as director of educational services at KOCE-TV, a PBS station in Orange County, California. He is festival director for the California Student Media and Multimedia Festival, the nation's oldest media festival for students, and on the faculty of Golden West College, where he teaches a course on Technology in Education for teacher candidates. In addition, he serves on the board for California's Computer-Using Educators, the academic advisory committee for California State University at Fullerton, and the Blue Ribbon Technology Awards Committee of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. A former classroom teacher and a frequent speaker and author, Davidson has taught mathematics on television (on a program that earned an Emmy) and produced educational PBS series on such topics as information literacy and the Internet. He was recently elected chair of the School Site Council at Franklin Elementary in the Los Angeles Unified School District where his two children attend school.

James Ashby

Director of Assessment and Accountability
Plano Independent School District, TX

James Ashby is the Director of Assessment and Accountability for Plano Independent School District, a Texas school system that has faced the challenges of educating an increasingly diverse population of students who are challenged in meeting state-mandated expectations. He leads a team of research scientists focused on developing school leaders into relevant data-driven decision-makers. Since 1997, Ashby has worked closely with public school administrative teams assisting them in identifying systemic practices and policies that act as barriers to student achievement and equitable educational opportunities. Using statistical modeling that integrates national, state, and local assessment data with demographic and efficacy variables, he has empowered Texas administrators to make effective decisions that close significant gaps in student achievement and educational equity among diverse populations.

Dr. Frank V. Auriemma

Superintendent of Schools
Pearl River School District, NY

Dr. Frank Auriemma joined the Pearl River School District in 1987 as middle school principal when the district began the initial steps toward school improvement and quality. In 1997, he was appointed assistant superintendent, where he oversaw human resources, instruction and assessment, and the data management process, including the district's data warehouse. As superintendent, he is committed to continuous improvement and the use of Baldrige principles in the classroom. He has published a book and two articles on school management and regularly presents workshops on the use and management of data to improve instruction and student performance.

Marvin E. Bailey


Marvin Bailey is president of two education not-for-profits, the Center for Interactive Learning & Collaboration (CILC) and the Corporation for Education Technology (CET), both of which he helped launch while serving as Vice President of Educational Initiatives for Ameritech (now SBC). CILC (www.cilc.org)serves as a national resource for K12 schools, providing videoconferencing content and collaborative opportunities; professional development and workshops; and problem-based learning projects. CET, a not-for-profit established originally to manage the highly-acclaimed Buddy System Project, has developed two award-winning websites (www.buddyproject.org and www.mytarget.iassessment.org) and operates a program targeted at improving student writing and technology skills. During his 30-year career at Ameritech, Bailey worked with members from the telecommunications industry, the education community and the FCC to shape the Telecommunications Act's provisions for education discounts, commonly known as the "e-rate." He has been recognized with a number of honors over the years including the Indiana Telecommunications Association's highest award for leading efforts to establish legislation to support education technology.

no longer speaking at TX, only NY

Jeffrey Branzburg

Educational Technology Consulting

Branzburg Associates, Inc.

Jeffrey Branzburg, a technology consultant and president of Branzburg Associates, Inc., is a former supervisor of instructional technology for school districts in New York State, as well as for the New York City school system. He is a contributing editor and regular columnist for Technology & Learning Magazine.


Joe Brennan

Visual Literacy Facilitator

Niles Township HS District 219

Before becoming Visual Literacy Facilitator for the Niles Township High Schools, Joe Brennan served for 11 years as the AV/Media Coordinator at Niles West H.S. A former Spanish teacher who coached soccer and basketball for many years, Brennan first became interested in educational video and multimedia because of his visual approach to teaching and coaching. That interest led to collaborating on an interactive Spanish laser disc program for Encyclopaedia Britannica and then to leaving the classroom for the media position at Niles West. During his years in that job, the audio-visual department changed from a lending/consumption center to a creating/production area. Joe is an Apple Distinguished Educator and in 2003 was the Illinois Computing Educators' Technology Educator of the Year as well as a semifinalist in Technology & Learning magazine's Ed Tech Leader of the Year program.

Dr. Cliff Blackerby

Director, Educational Technology
Region 4, ESC, Houston, TX
Houston, TX

As director of Educational Technology Services Department for Region 4 Education Service Center, Dr. Cliff Blackerby oversees a wide range of administrative, technical, and professional development activities. He currently serves as the K-12 Representative to the Texas Distance Learning Association’ Board and is a member of the Senior Advisory Board to the North American Counsel for Online Learning (NACOL). Previous affiliations include: Member, VTel’s Product Advisory Board; Chair, Gulf Coast Consortium on Distance Learning, Executive Member, Texas Consortium for Educational Telecommunications, and charter member, NACOL Board. He currently is a member of the Texas e-Learning Task Force and an advisor for North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), a national research project examining the effectiveness of online learning for K-12. His office serves as the fiscal and administrative agency for the Texas Virtual School Initiative and the Texas Education Agency’s Investigating Quality (IQ) Pilot Project to evaluate online courses.

Bruce Friend

Chief Operations Officer/Vice-President
Florida Virtual School

In his role as COO/VP of Florida Virtual School (FLVS), Bruce Friend is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school, instructional services and support, student and parent services, and in-state outreach programs. As a member of the President's Leadership Team, he participates in the school's overall planning, development and evaluation. A strong believer that online learning has great potential to reach underserved populations, Friend has spent much time on forging relationship with students, parents, and schools in rural communities throughout Florida and beyond. As part of a partnership between Florida Virtual School, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the College Board, he has served as an administrative mentor to rural district principals in Florida with the goal of bringing rigorous curriculum to students in rural settings. He has become a regular speaker about online teaching and learning issues at many national and state conferences and forums as well as giving presentations to various school and government officials throughout North America. He was the recipient of the 2003 United States Distance Learning Association's Outstanding Achievement by an Individual award and also is a board member of the Florida Distance Learning Association. Prior to joining the FLVS administrative team, Bruce was the course designer and instructor of the online American Government and Economics courses currently being offered by FLVS.

Dr. Cathy Galloway

Executive Director of Student Services
Plano Independent School District, TX

Dr. Cathy Galloway has worked in public education for over 20 years. During this time she has held the position of teacher, crisis counselor, building principal and central office administrator. She has been involved in the development of several programs serving students in nontraditional settings and outside of the school day. Most recently she took the lead in the development of an online course delivery program; Plano ISD eSchool. Plano ISD eSchool began student enrollment in February 2001. In the four years of the program’s operation, over 4,000 students from 10 states and 4 countries have been served, with a completion rate of 87 percent in the most current year where data is available and an overall passing rate of 98 percent.

Miguel Guhlin

Director, Instructional Technology Services
San Antonio ISD, TX

Miguel Guhlin serves as Director of Instructional Technology Services for the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD),which was featured in the National Education Technology Plan for its successful implementation of programs involving handhelds, technology assessment and technology competency certification. An outstanding leader and instructional technologist, Guhlin has worked over the years with both K-12 administrators and teachers on appropriate technology use in teaching, learning and leadership situations. In addition to having high-level technology expertise, he holds a master's degree in Bicultural/Bilingual Studies and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Additional jobs he has held include technology coordinator, education technology consultant, district parenting coordinator, district Webmaster and staff development coordinator. His web site, replete with collected wisdom, is available at: http://www.mguhlin.net

David Jakes

Instructional Technology Coordinator

Community High School District 99, Downers Grove, IL

David Jakes serves as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for Community High School District 99 in Downers Grove, IL. His interest in technology developed from his 15 years as a classroom science teacher. In addition to speaking at many technology conferences, Jakes conducts technology staff development projects in his school district and throughout the United States. He currently manages two technology-related Web sites, Biopoint.com and myprojectpages.com that seek to help teachers use technology, and particularly the World Wide Web, to increase student achievement and performance. His other interests include digital storytelling, information literacy, effective professional development, and the creation of online learning communities.

Gerri Maglia

Distance Learning Specialist

ESC Region XI, Fort Worth, TX

Gerri Maglia has served as a Distance Learning Specialist at Education Service Center Region XI (ESC Region XI) in Fort Worth for seven years. Her previous experience includes two years as an Instructional Technology Specialist and eight years as a secondary mathematics teacher. During her time at ESC Region XI, she has written and implemented several collaborative grants whose focus was not only acquiring the appropriate technology to conduct interactive videoconferencing, but more importantly, creating the programming and support needed to make those grants successful.. She has helped to coordinate and support a wide variety of videoconferencing events (content programs, courses, staff development, etc.) for most of the 78 districts in ESC Region XI's territory. She will share some specific examples of projects and content delivered with two-way videoconferencing.

Amy Poftak

Associate Publisher/Executive Editor

Technology & Learning Magazine

Amy Poftak joined Technology & Learning in 1997. In addition to specializing in emerging technologies for the magazine and launching the School CIO newsletter for senior-level technology leaders, Amy manages new business development across T&L's print, online, and event platforms. Amy holds a B.A. in American Studies from Stanford University, a master's degree in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is the recipient of the UCLA-CASE Media Fellowship, "Surveying the Digital Future: The Social, Political, and Economic Impact of the Internet."

Susan McLester

Editor in Chief

Technology & Learning Magazine

Susan McLester is editor in chief of Technology & Learning magazine. She has been an editor at T&L for 12 years, concurrently writing a weekly column for the L.A. Times' Tech Times section, articles on technology for Newsweek, Parenting, Entertainment@Home, and other publications, and presenting at a range of education technology conferences, including T&L's Tech Forum. She has acted as a juror for the Bologna Book Fair's New Media division and has spoken about educational technology on Bloomberg Radio, Microsoft NBC and other television shows. She is also an experienced middle and high school teacher, book editor and writer.


Peter Reilly


Lower Hudson Regional Information Center, NY

Pete Reilly is the Director of the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center, a non-profit technology consortium of 62 school districts located in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, just north of NYC. Pete is presently focused on shifting the technology discourse from "cables and chips" to the human issues involved in creating effective educational technology environments. His latest essay, "When the Classroom Door Swings Inward", is part of the anthology, "Being Human at Work"; edited by Dr. Richard Strozzi-Heckler and published by North Atlantic Press. He has presented to diverse audiences throughout the United States and Canada. Mr. Reilly has worked on a consulting basis with the Edison Project, numerous school districts around the country and has been featured in articles in Electronic Learning, Curriculum Product News, Media and Methods, and the Heller Report. In September 1995, he visited China on behalf of UNICEF and developed a report on the state of educational technology in China today.

Joel Rush

Director of Research and Evaluation

Hot Springs School District, AR

In addition to serving as Director of Research & Evaluation for the Hot Springs School District, Joel C. Rush is Associate Director of The Learning Institute, a consortium of 17 Arkansas school districts that are implementing a school reform model built on strict curriculum alignment, formative assessment, and just-in-time data reporting and analysis to improve student learning. Hot Springs School District has received national recognition from the U.S. Department of Education for being a leader in the use of data for school improvement and as a model for public school choice. Rush attended Bard College as an undergraduate and the University of Arkansas for his graduate work. While at the University of Arkansas he worked at the National Office for Research, Measurement, and Evaluation Systems researching comprehensive school reform initiatives and on wide array of projects with the state educational data warehouse.

Judy Salpeter

Program Chair

Technology & Learning Events

Judy Salpeter, an experienced educator and education technology specialist, is program chair for Technology & Learning Events. On the editorial staff of Technology & Learning magazine since 1985, Salpeter served as editor-in-chief from 1994 to 2000. In addition to overseeing content for Technology & Learning Events, she is now consulting editor to the magazine and works as a freelance writer, consultant and conference planner. Over the years, she has written for publications including Business Week and Newsweek, authored a software program (Mystery Sentences, Scholastic, 1984) and a book (Kids & Computers: A Parents' Handbook, SAMS, 1991), and edited a number of publications for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).

Gwen Solomon



Gwen Solomon is Director of techLEARNING.com, the web site of Technology & Learning magazine. Ms. Solomon has served as senior analyst in the U.S. Department of Education, coordinator of instructional technology planning for New York City Public Schools, and founding director of New York City's School of the Future. Her latest books are Connect Online: Web Learning Adventures and Toward Digital Equity: Bridging the Educational Digital Divide (edited book).

Daniel Updegrove

Vice President for Information Technology

University of Texas at Austin

Daniel A. Updegrove is VP for Information Technology at The University of Texas and senior lecturer in the UT School of Information. He also serves as the University's Chief Information Officer and directs a staff of 350, providing communications infrastructure, data center, enterprise information, collaboration, academic, and user support services for one of the largest U.S. university campuses. Prior to arriving at UT in January, 2001, Updegrove served as CIO at Yale University; Associate Vice Provost for Information Systems and Computing at the University of Pennsylvania; Vice President of Educom (predecessor to Educause); Research Associate at Yale and the National Bureau of Economic Research; and Teaching Associate at Cornell University, where he studied industrial engineering and urban planning. He has lectured and consulted widely in the U.S. and abroad on IT strategic planning, networking, computer-based planning models, and computer gaming simulation. Updegrove is board chair of LEARN, the Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN), and LEARN's representative on the Board of National LambdaRail (NLR). He also serves on the Network Policy and Planning Advisory Committee of Internet2, the IT Steering Group of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, the Board of Directors of the Seminars on Academic Computing, advisory committees for Apple Computer, Dell, and Microsoft, and the board of directors of the World Congress on Information Technology, to be held in Austin, May 1-5, 2006.

David Warlick


Landmark Project, NC

David Warlick is the Director of the Landmark Project based in Raleigh North Carolina. A former history teacher, district level administrator, and IT specialist with the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction, he is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in innovative applications of technology, especially the Internet. He has spoken at conferences, seminars and workshops in most states and many other countries; writes for a number of magazines and journals; and has developed numerous curriculum projects over the global network, including the second oldest continuing online project, the Global Grocery List. Warlick is the author of Raw Materials for the Mind: 4th Edition, Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century, and Classroom Blogging: A Teacher's Guide to the Blogoshpere.

Carol Willis


Texas Education Telecommunications Network

In her role with the Texas Education Telecommunications Network (TETN), a distance learning network connecting the state’s 20 education service centers and their school districts, Carol Willis is responsible for managing daily operations and coordinating with the regional centers to serve the needs of over 850 Texas school districts. She actively participates in initiatives to enhance the state’s education infrastructure and to highlight the effectiveness of interactive video in the classroom. Willis currently serves on the Texas Education Agency Long-Range Plan for Technology 2006 - 2020 and is the Texas representative on the National K-20 Initiative of Internet2. She initiated the “Texas Connects” program, which is a statewide event designed to give Texas students an opportunity to collaborate and contribute to the understanding of a curriculum-based topic in real time, using advanced multi-point videoconferencing technology. Over 150 districts and 3,500 students participated in two day-long events sponsored last year by the education service centers. Prior to joining TETN in August 2000, Willis served in state government for 23 years and taught Texas history in public school. She has extensive experience in managing technical services, strategic planning and project implementation.