Speakers: Tech Forum Atlanta 2010

Speakers: Tech Forum Atlanta 2010

Keynote Speaker
DAVID JAKES, Coordinator of Instructional Technology, Glenbrook South, IL

David Jakes, a T&L contributing editor and techlearning.com blogger, has spent 24 years in education as a teacher, staff developer, and technology coordinator. From his first Macintosh Classic to his current tablet PC, he has witnessed firsthand the changes in education that educational technology has empowered. Jakes shares this knowledge as a frequent speaker at technology conferences across the United States, as well as in Canada, Europe, and most recently, China and Singapore. His interests in educational technology include digital storytelling, developing online curriculum, learning management systems, and developing online communities of learning through blogging, wiki and RSS technologies. He currently maintains a web site (JakesOnline.org), a blog (The Strength of Weak Ties) and a variety of other resources dedicated to improving the use of technology in education.


Tech Forum is well known for its great speakers, attendees and networking opportunities. The following team members will be presenting:

Kathy Adkins, Instructional Technology Mentor, Forsyth County SchoolsKathy Adkins is a retired Forsyth County educator who has rewired and continues to support the district’s Instructional Technology Department. Using 23 years experience in the K-5 classroom as a special education teacher and 13 years as an instructional technology specialist (ITS), she supports the Instructional Technology Department as lead ITS mentor for new hires and provides continued support for district initiatives and special projects. Adkins has previously presented, Excel in the Classroom is Elementary, at Atlanta's NECC 2000 (now ISTE) and Michigan's MACAL 2003. At Atlanta NECC 2007, she conducted a half day workshop on Playing with Fire, showcasing student projects using Adobe Dreamweaver and Fireworks.

Alan Arena, Media Specialist, Forsyth County SchoolsAlan Arena is the media specialist at Shiloh Point Elementary in Forsyth County. He has been an instructional technology specialist as well as media specialist and has experience in elementary and secondary schools. He has a passion for teaching communication and research through video and computer applications. He has a Master’s degree in Library Science as well as Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in business. Before becoming an educator, Arena worked in Finance, Real Estate and Construction.

Sandy Beck, Instructional Technology Specialist, Forsyth County SchoolsSandy Beck has been an instructional technology specialist with Forsyth County Schools for 13 years and a media specialist the previous 8 years. She is responsible for assisting teachers in the utilization of 21st century tools in their teaching and learning, as well as helping to empower students in their use of technology. Beck was most recently involved in the implementation of the STARS program (Stepping up Thinking and Academic Rigor for Students) at Shiloh Elementary, where every student in grades 3-5 created a standards-based project based on higher level thinking. She was also instrumental in Forsyth's decision to adopt interactive whiteboards for every classroom. She has presented at many conferences, including NECC (now ISTE), NSBA, ASCD and GAETC.

Phillip Brown, Principal, Whitfield County Schools, GAPhillip Brown is focused on transforming public high schools to personalize each student's educational experiences. In the schools where he works, the use of technology is pivotal in the redesign effort. Imagine a school where the student has a voice in the learning experience and chooses the time, place, and pedagogical methodologies to meet the indented learning outcomes. The role for technology in this design is to digitize the student products/artifacts, manage the work flow, house and transmit the work to a worldwide audience, and help students establish an appropriate digital shadow. Brown has been CEO/principal of the 21st Century Learning Academy (a small learning community at the Whitfield County Career Academy) and is currently working on the design of Coahulla Creek, a new high school to open in the fall of 2011.

Dr. Vallerie Cave, Educational ConsultantVallerie Coath Cave has served as an elementary and middle school principal, assistant principal, curriculum specialist, program supervisor and curriculum director for a total of 23 years in education. She designed and opened the premiere Risley Early College Academy in Glynn County, Georgia. She has been a national trainer for Ruby Payne and the Framework for Understanding Poverty. Cave is currently an education cnsultant with Information Transportation Solutions in Wetumpka, Alabama. Her greatest joy comes from spending time with her two college age sons and watching them play college football and golf.

Laura W. Deisley, Director of 21st Century Learning, The Lovett School, Atlanta, GAAt the Lovett School, a K-12 independent school in Atlanta, Laura Deisley works across divisional and academic/technology lines to help lead educational visioning, strategic partnerships, innovative learning practices, networked learning, and teacher professional development. She has also spearheaded key research partnerships with the University of Virginia and Georgia Institute of Technology to integrate digital fabrication to support elementary and middle school STEM understandings and to build an effective parent/school network. Deisley is an alumna of Richardson and Beach's Powerful Learning Practice for which she organized pilot and national cohorts; a lead facilitator for the Dobbs 21st Century Learning Fellowship at Westminster's Center for Teaching; a North America regional chair for the Global Education Conference; an advisor to TEDxBloomington; live events chair for the K12 Online Conference 2008-09; and co-founder of Learn: UnLearn: ReLearn. She has worked at the intersection of business, education and technology for over 20 years, with experience ranging from large corporate business to educational media, professional development to parenting. She blogs at Architecture of Ideas (http://thenetwork.typepad.com) and tweets at @deacs84.

Sue Dowling, Forensic Computer Specialist, Georgia Bureau of InvestigationSue Dowling is a forensic computer specialist for the High Technology Investigations Unit at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force in Georgia. She has worked for the GBI for seven years. During that time, she has worked with several statewide agencies to develop a cybersafety program, GaCSI, that educates students and communities about online safety. As a forensic computer specialist, Dowling collects, preserves and analyzes digital evidence. Her professional background includes experience as an instructor at the university and K-12 levels and over 20 years as a parent educator for Georgia early intervention programs.

Mike Evans, Instructional Technology Specialist, Forsyth County Schools, GAMike Evans serves as an instructional technology specialist (ITS) on special assignment for Forsyth County Schools. His primary responsibilities include supporting district instructional technology initiatives and working with district departments to implement best practices in instructional technology. Previously, Evans served as a school-based ITS and taught grades two through five in both Forsyth County and Orlando, Florida.

Lucas Gillispie, Instructional Technology Coordinator, Pender County Schools, NC Lucas Gillispie worked as a high school science teacher for nearly ten years before taking the position as a district-level instructional technology coordinator for Pender County Schools in southeastern North Carolina. He holds an MS in Instructional Technology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he completed thesis work researching the effects of a 3D video game on middle school student’s achievement and attitude in mathematics. His interests include gaming in education particularly the use of MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Games), mobile game-based learning, virtual training and simulations. His current projects include the WoWinSchool Project, a collaborative effort to explore the impact of using World of Warcraft in both an after-school program and as part of the regular instructional program and iPod Games for Learning, a program that explores the use of game-based learning using the iPod Touch. His presentations have been well received at Games, Learning, and Society, Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education, Games in Education, NCTIES, and NCDLA among others.

Dr. Michael Hall, VP Educational Services, Information Transport Solutions, ALMike Hall is one of America’s most sought-after speakers on the subjects of technology integration and freshman transition initiatives. He is the former deputy superintendent of information technology for the Georgia Department of Education, where he was responsible for reconfiguring the IT division to accommodate all reporting, department infrastructure, and statewide instructional technology issues; overseeing the creation of the Georgia Virtual School to offer AP classes in all Georgia high schools; and representing the DOE on numerous state and national committees. He also served as a principal technology advisor for the Tiger Woods Learning Center. Before joining the Department of Education he was principal of Houston County High School in Warner Robins, GA. During this time, he was recognized by the Blue Ribbon Schools Foundation as one of the top 10 high school principals in the nation and Houston County High was named an Intel Model School (one of only three in the nation). Hall has presented more than 300 sessions at technology conferences and is the co-author of High School 101, an innovative project-based curriculum now used in over 950 schools nationwide. In his current role at ITS he is involved in transition projects in ten states.

Jill Hobson, Director of Instructional Technology, Forsyth County Schools, GAJill Hobson’s duties as director of instructional technology for Forsyth County Schools include: managing the very successful implementation of the online learning management system, supporting the implementation of Forsyth’s virtual school (called iAchieve), and working with the instructional technology specialists and media specialists throughout the system. She works closely with the Academics and Accountability division to promote instructional technology uses that accelerate student learning through higher order thinking. Working with media specialists and instructional technology specialists, Hobson facilitates the development and implementation of professional learning related to instructional technology. She served as the president and founding member of the Georgia Society for Instructional Technology (G-STE) and was named one of the National School Board Association's "Twenty to Watch" – a list of 20 emerging leaders in technology. She has presented at a number of state and national conferences.

Claudia Huff, Principal Research Associate and Fellow, Georgia Tech Research InstituteClaudia Huff, a fellow at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, co-directs the Foundations for the Future program (F3), whose purpose is to support technology-enabled learning in K-12 classrooms through technical assistance, professional development, and building collaborative projects. F3 was established in 1996 as an outcome of the Learning Technologies Initiative (an internal capability-building effort at Georgia Tech which was led by Ms. Huff), and has been sustainable since an initial grant of $2 million from the AT&T Foundation. The F3 core team consists of 8-10 researchers from multiple disciplines who have most recently been involved in establishing Direct-to-Discovery (D2D), a new learning model that uses high-definition videoconferencing to bring university researchers in their laboratories directly into K-12 classrooms. Huff’s list of publications includes contributions to domestic and international associations addressing the role of technology in learning.

Mike Kemp, Director of Consulting Services, Information Transport Solutions, ALMike Kemp has devoted more than 20 years to the field of education and has developed a regional reputation for turning around low and under-performing schools and districts. Incorporating a culture of high expectations with results-oriented strategies, he has been able to replicate success converting high-poverty, majority-minority schools into Title I Distinguished Schools. Kemp has been a requested presenter at a number of conferences and other venues where he talks on the topics of: district culture, standards-based belief systems, school accountability, student achievement, and school-based performance incentives. He has consulted more than 45 districts in the area of standards-based credit recovery processes and programs. Kemp began his career in the classroom as an exceptional education teacher where his passion for creating high expectations and closing the “opportunity gap” was initiated. He has served at every level of school-based administration—assistant principal, vice-principal, and more than 14 years as a principal at the middle and high school level. While serving as principal at Gainesville High School, a Title I, majority/minority school, Kemp received numerous awards and recognitions including a nomination for Georgia Principal of the Year for successfully closing subgroup achievement gaps and leading his school from 90th to 6th in the state in first-time performance on Georgia’s high-stakes graduation assessment. He also served as the assistant superintendent for student achievement for Glynn County Schools in Brunswick, GA, where he led their system to double-digit accountability gains.

Dr. Lissa Pijanowski, Associate Superintendent, Forsyth County Schools, GALissa Pijanowski has served as a public school educator for over 19 years. As associate superintendent of academics and accountability for Forsyth County Schools she works with educators who are committed to designing personalized learning experiences that reflect high expectations, promote student engagement, and produce results. Forsyth County Schools is considered a lighthouse district in Georgia for fostering innovative practice, exemplary use of technology, and achieving high levels of student performance. The district was recently recognized as having one of the 49 highest rated Investing in Innovation (i3) grants for which Pijanowski serves as project director. Prior to working in Forsyth County Schools, she was the director of school improvement at the Georgia Department of Education. At the GDOE, she led regional school improvement teams to reduce the number of Needs Improvement Schools in Georgia through intense training on data analysis, performance standards, and focused improvement planning. Pijanowski has been a school administrator and classroom teacher and served on the Governor's Race to the Top committee for Teacher Effectiveness. She was recently recognized by the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders with the 2010 Dr. Jim Puckett Outstanding Educator Award.

Kathy Politis, Director of Instructional Technology, Fulton County Schools, GAKathy Politis is currently the director of instructional technology for Fulton County Schools. Previously, she managed the Georgia Standards.Org website, a repository of curriculum and instructional resources for the Georgia Department of Education, coordinated technology training for Fulton County Schools, and served as a middle school technology specialist. With more than 20 years of experience in educational technology, Politis is active in the Georgia Educational Technology Consortium and serves on the steering committee for the Georgia Technology Fair.

Mike Porter, Director of Technology, Ware County SchoolsA classroom teacher and math department chair for his first 14 years in education, Mike Porter has been the director of technology for the Ware County School District (WCSD) in Waycross, GA, for the last 15 years. The WCSD has approximately 6000 students in 10 school buildings. Porter has programmed and worked with personal computers since 1981, beginning with the Apple II and then IBM XT. Over the next few years, he began networking computers and installing and using servers. He did graduate studies in applied math and computer science and holds several technology certifications including CCNA and CNE. His department manages over 2000 computers, 11 networks, 25 servers, 15 high definition codecs for video conferencing, and the Student Information System (SIS) for Ware County. He and his wife Nancy have two children, Lindsay, a University of Georgia (UGa) graduate and a senior account manager with a public elations firm in New York City and Mitch, a junior at the UGa.

David Warlick, Director, The Landmark ProjectDavid Warlick is a 34-year educator who has been a classroom teacher, district administrator, and staff consultant with the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction. For the past fifteen years, he has operated the Landmark Project, a consulting, and innovations firm. His attribution web site, Citation Machine, serves nearly a million page views a day and his classroom blogging tool has served more than a quarter of a million teachers and students. Warlick is the author of four books on instructional technology and 21st century literacy, and has spoken to audiences throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, The Middle East, and South America. What makes Warlick a highly effective and sought-after speaker is that, at heart, he is a teacher with a contagious passion and enthusiasm for helping people discover a brand new world of teaching and learning.

Connie White, Director of Technology & Media, Lakeview Academy, Gainesville, GAConnie White has served as the director of technology and media at Lakeview Academy for the past 10 years and is the visionary of the academy's highly respected 1 to 1 program. A former high school physics, chemistry & math teacher, she has specialized in start-up technology initiatives, project planning, laptop integration, staff development, and Internet safety since 1995. White is a frequent conference speaker and was selected as a semi-finalist for Tech & Learning's national "Leader of the Year" award for 2006. She is also a Google certified teacher and has published numerous articles, lesson plans, integration guides and software training manuals.

Hoke Wilcox, Information Technology Specialist, Kennesaw State University, ETCHoke Wilcox has had a truly unique experience in education beginning with his first teaching assignment as generalist for Yupiit School District in Alaska on the Kuskokwim River. His career has taken him from rural Alaska to metro Atlanta where he currently works with some the largest school districts in the U.S. Wilcox has served as an administrator, teacher and trainer during his 17 years of experience helping educators to use technology effectively in the classroom.