Speakers: Tech Forum Boston 2014

Speakers: Tech Forum Boston 2014

Keynote Speaker

Diana Laufenberg, Lead Teacher, Inquiry Schools, Philadelphia, PA

Follow on Twitter: @dlaufenberg

Diana Laufenberg has taught social studies at all grades, 7-12, over the past 15 years. She most recently taught at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, an inquiry-driven, project-based high school focused on modern learning.Her practice has deep roots in experiential education, taking students from the classroom to the real world and back again. Prior to her work in Philadelphia, she was an active member of the teaching community in Flagstaff, AZ where she was named Technology Teacher of the Year for Arizona and a member of the Governor's Master Teacher Corps. Diana was featured onTED.com for her “How to Learn? From Mistakes” and recognized for earning National Board Certification. Her publications include a featured piece on the New York Times Learning blog, co-authoring a chapter in an educational leadership book, an article in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and regular contributions to teachinghistory.org.


Tech & Learning's Tech Forum conferences are known around the country for their amazing presenters and roundtable moderators – not to mention interesting and dedicated attendees. Tech Forum Boston will be no exception. Here are just a few of the K-12 thought leaders you will have the chance to talk with and learn from in Newton on May 2:

Dr. John Antonucci, Superintendent, Westwood Public Schools, MA
Dr. John Antonucci has served as the superintendent of the Westwood Public Schools for nine years, during which time he has placed a high priority on the use of technology in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning. After years of planning, testing, and evaluating, in 2013 the district rolled out a 1:1 Chromebook initiative at Westwood High School. Early results have been overwhelmingly positive. The district’s decision to implement 1:1 computing at the high school followed a pilot program in 2011-2012 during which several teachers were provided class sets of Google Chromebooks in an effort to simulate a 1:1 environment. The planned 1:1 initiative sought to build on the combined successes of the Chromebook pilot program and the Fall 2011 district-wide implementation of Google Apps.

John Armentrout, Director of Information Technology, Kennebec Intra-District Schools (RSU2), ME
John Armentrout came back to the education field about ten years ago, after serving in other roles in both the public and private sectors. As the director of IT at Maine School Administrative District 16 (MSAD16) he embraced the state’s MLTI 1:1 program as well as the district’s own HS 1:1 initiative, and worked with the curriculum director and superintendent to start the journey towards a fully learner-centered, proficiency-based learning environment. The Maine school consolidation law spawned Regional School Unit 2 (RSU2, www.kidsrsu.org) in July 2009, which added seven schools to the IT department. Working towards learner-centered, proficiency-based design and implementation at MSAD16 and RSU2 – as well as the technology and curriculum work supporting these goals -- has been one of Armentrout’s main initiatives.

Leo Brehm, Chief Information Officer, Newton Public Schools, MA
As CIO for the Newton Public Schools, Leo Brehm is responsible for district-wide technology operations, instructional technology and library media. He is past president and current treasurer of the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (MassCUE). He has recently joined the Instructional Innovation through Interoperability Leadership Advisory Council (I3LC) supporting the efforts of IMS Global. He has a B.A. in Media and Public Relations and an Ed.M. in Instructional Technology, and is working on an Ed.D in Education Leadership from Northeastern University. His current passions include the interoperability of educational resources that will allow technology to more effectively empower learning for the entire learning community.

Kim Carter, Executive Director, QED Foundation, NH
1991 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year and 1996 New Hampshire Media Educator of the year, Kim Carter has been actively involved in local, state, and national education reform efforts for over three decades, providing training, coaching, and facilitation for administrators, teachers, parents, community partners, and youth in schools and learning organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom. As Executive Director of QED Foundation, her expertise and interests include designing and implementing highly effective learning and assessments, proficiency based pathways, and high school redesign, and leveraging technology in service of all of the above.

Dr. Laura Chesson, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Arlington Public Schools, MA
During the last two years, under Dr. Laura Chesson's leadership, Arlington Public Schools has had a major push in the area of STEM and the use of technology to transform education. This work has been funded through over $150,000 in grants and an extraordinary agreement with the capital committee of the town of Arlington to significantly increase the districts capital funding for technology, including infrastructure. The district has implemented an extensive iPad program and developed a clearly articulated K - 12 STEM curriculum. Prior to coming to Arlington, Chesson was the principal of Maynard High School, an assistant principal of Leominster High School, and a teacher and administrator at the Boston Arts Academy.

Eric Conti, Superintendent, Burlington Public Schools, MA
After graduating from Brown University, Eric Conti worked for AT&T for five years. From the corporate world he went back to Brown for his Masters in teaching science. As a seventh grade science teacher in East Greenwich, RI, Conti was nominated for the Sallie Mae first year teacher’s award. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison and worked for the Consortium for Policy Research in Education while earning his doctorate. Wisconsin led to an Assistant Superintendent’s position for the Manchester Essex Regional School District in Massachusetts. From Massachusetts, Conti took a job as Assistant Superintendent in Culpeper County, Virginia. His current position is where all that he has learned along his many stops is being put to good use.

Nevedi Das, Physics teacher, Sharon High School, MA
Nivedi Das is currently in her sixth year of teaching at Sharon High School. She has enjoyed teaching different levels and types of physics from freshman to AP to Physics & Engineering. Although she is a mechanical engineer by training, Das has been in education for the past 20 years. Her first teaching job was in a small rural public school in the Mississippi Delta, and it left a significant impression on her. Since then she has taught in both urban public and private school settings before coming to Sharon. She has especially enjoyed teaching in Sharon over the past few years given the tremendous push to incorporate technology and engineering into science classes. Along with Andrew Tessier, Das has been fortunate to work on the creation of a new Engineering Design course. Outside of school Nivedi enjoys reading a good book, going on long hikes, and spending time with her husband and three children.

Dr. Peter DeWitt, Blogger, Consultant and Principal on Leave, Albany, NY
Dr. Peter DeWitt has taken a leave of absence as a principal in upstate, NY to facilitate workshops with schools around North America. In addition to focusing on creating inclusive school environments, teacher evaluation, and connected leadership, he is a visible learning trainer for John Hattie, professor of education and director of research for the University of Melbourne (Australia). DeWitt is the co-chair for the National School Climate Council which is the steering committee for the National School Climate Center. His “Finding Common Ground” blog is published by Education Week and his articles have appeared in education journals at the state, national and international level. He is the 2013 School Administrators Association of New York State's (SAANYS) Outstanding Educator of the Year. His forthcoming books focusing on school climate (ASCD, co-authored with Sean Slade) and flipped leadership (Corwin Press) will be published in 2014.

Jon Green, Director of Instructional Technology and Media Services, Shrewsbury Public Schools, MA
Jon Green has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in educational technology. In 2012 Shrewsbury kicked-off a 1:1 iPad program for middle school grades 5 and 6 that now includes grade 7 and will expand to grade 8 next year. Shrewsbury’s middle school program takes a mixed approach, allowing students to participate with either a family-owned iPad or a district-owned iPad with options for take-home and school-only use. Green is also involved in planning Shrewsbury High School’s upcoming 1:1 program.

Tali Horowitz, Senior Education Manager, Common Sense Media
As senior education manager for Common Sense Media, Tali Horowitz serves the East Coast region, where she helps educators and families meaningfully harness the potential of technology with students. She has worked in education since 2002, and feels passionately about professional development for educators around digital literacy and citizenship, cultural competency and educational technology. She has worked in a variety of educational settings on both the East and West Coasts, as a classroom teacher and educator coach, as well as in New Zealand as a Fulbright Fellow. In her free time she loves face-to-face interactions with friends and family.

Andrea Kupps, Coordinator of Digital Learning Tools, Office of Digital Learning, MA Department of Education
Andrea Kupps comes to the Office of Digital Learning after 15 years of service in the Massachusetts public schools. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Elementary Education; completed her Master’s program in Educational Media and Technology (K-12); and is a Nationally Certified Educational Technology Leader (CETL) as well as a certified Apple Associate. In her role for the Office of Digital Learning, she is rolling out the Edwin Teaching and Learning instructional improvement system to Massachusetts districts as well as assisting districts in their PARCC Technology Readiness.

Andy Marcinek, Director of Technology, Groton-Dunstable Regional School District, MA
Before joining the Groton-Dunstable schools, Andy Marcinek served as an instructional technology specialist at Burlington High School and played a major role in launching the 1:1 iPad environment, organizing the iPad deployment professional development and leading several educational technology events in Burlington. He spent his previous seven years as a secondary English teacher and college professor. Marcinek has assisted and led numerous school districts in launching Google Apps for Education environments. He has designed and created a digital and information literacy course that focuses on Web 2.0 applications, Google Apps for Education, Information Literacy, and Digital Citizenship. He blogs for Edutopia and is in the final phase of finishing his first book through Corwin Press on personalized learning in a 1:1 environment.

Heather Neil, Elementary Technology Integration Specialist, Woonsocket Education Department, RI
As an elementary technology integration specialist, Heather Neil's role is to provide job-embedded professional development that will impact teacher instruction and student achievement. This innovative role is managed through tsiagency.weebly.com. She is an active member of Ed Underground, an education technology pioneers and early adopters PLC from across Rhode Island, partnering with the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) to explore tech models, approaches and solutions to enhance student achievement. She has been employed by the Woonsocket Education Department since graduating in 1998. The majority of her career was spent as an elementary technology teacher.

Dr. Peter Sanchioni, Superintendent, Natick Public Schools, MA
As superintendent of the Natick Public Schools, Dr. Peter Sanchioni has overseen the implementation of Natick’s one-to-one laptop program for grades 8-12, which has resulted in multiple positive impacts. Buoyed by the 1:1 laptop success, in 2014 Natick will implement five iPads and three laptops per classroom for all K-4 classes and a 3-1 laptop ratio for grades 5-7.

Paul R. Sanfrancesco, Director of IT, Garnet Valley School District, PA
In additiont to serving as director of IT for the Garnet Valley Schools in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Paul Sanfrancesco teaches as an adjunct professor in the Graduate Education Department at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia and Neumann University in Aston, PA. He was named as one of the “20 to Watch” Educators for 2008 by the National School Boards Association for his work in IT. Prior to his current position, he was director of technology for the 200+ schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He has served on Dell's K-12 Platinum Council for the past eight years; has done presentations for numerous educational technology conferences, and serves as a technology consultant for William H. Sadlier, Inc.

Andrew Tessier, Teacher, Sharon High School, MA
Andrew Tessier has spent the past five years developing ways to integrate the use of technology and the Engineering Design Process into the classroom at Sharon High School. This process has been largely made possible through participation in the Gateway Institute at the Museum of Science and the CAPSULE Program at Northeastern University. The "Intro to Engineering Design" course has also collaborated with the district's elementary schools to host "STEM Days" where high school students guide elementary school students through a day of design challenges that require them to use all four of the STEM skills in an effort to raise awareness and assist teachers in the implementation of more STEM into their own curriculum. There are currently plans to expand the course into a multi-year program that will culminate with students completing a Capstone project geared towards using the skills they've developed to solve a real-world problem in their community.

Jean Tower, Director of Technology, Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough, MA
As director of technology for the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough, a regional PK-12 school district of ten schools serving the two towns, Jean Tower is responsible for all aspects of technology in the schools. Her primary interest is in effective integration of technology in the curriculum and in creating the essential conditions to enable that to happen. Before working in the public schools, she worked in information technology in the private sector, as well as in higher education. She has over twenty years of experience in K-12 educational technology, a BS in Computer Science, a Master’s degree in Critical and Creative Thinking, and a CAGS in Educational Administration from Boston University. She is currently the chair of The Consortium for School Networking, CoSN, a national organization for school technology leaders. Tower also serves on state-wide education boards, is an expert advisor to the Alliance For Excellent Education’s Project 24 and writes a blog about technology and education at K12EduBuzz.com.

Paul Tritter, Director of Professional Learning, Boston Teachers Union, MA
Paul Tritter is dedicated to the idea that the best way to sustainably improve schools is to engage teachers in supportive, collaborative investigation of their practice. He believes that a focus on inquiry and collaboration is central to creating cultures of meaningful learning for both students and teachers. In his current role at the Boston Teachers Union, he leads the Professional Learning Initiative, a collaboration between the union and the Boston Public Schools aimed at improving the quality of professional learning for educators. Tritter taught IB English Language Arts, ESL and AVID at Snowden International School, where he also coordinated the school’s writing center. He holds an Ed.M. in Learning and Teaching, Instructional Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he was awarded the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award.

Andrew Wallace, Technology Director, South Portland School Department, ME
Andrew Wallace has been a technology director in Maine for the past 13 years. His team of technologists, librarians and special educators is preparing for their fourth deployment of 1:1 technology. He is also the Treasurer of the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM), Maine’s ISTE affiliate. Educated as a school librarian, Wallace has a keen interest in blending traditional and digital literacy, and exploring new models of technology integration. He has taught over one hundred administrators across Maine the effective uses of mobile devices, and serves as the state’s public school representative for the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Julie York, Teacher and Department Chair, South Portland High School, ME
In addition to serving as a teacher and department chair, Julie York is Webmaster and Educational Access Channel Coordinator at South Portland High School. Since 2002 she has worked on, created, and maintained several different computer and programming class curriculums to help introduce and engage students in technology. Her website and contact information can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/mrsyorkonline/


  • Pamela Bator, Elementary Science and Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator, Weston Public Schools, MA
  • Kate Benson, Technology Integration Coordinator, K-5, Weston Public Schools, MA
  • Susan Bisson, Instructional Technology Specialist, Arlington Public Schools, MA
  • Gail Callahan, Director of Technology, PreK-12, Duxbury Public Schools, MA
  • Kathryn Cioffi, Director of Technology, Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden, CT
  • Daniel Gagnon, Social Studies Department Head, Cherokee High School, Woodstock, GA
  • Michael Hale, Director of Guidance and e-portfolios, Casco Bay High School, Portland, ME
  • Janie Hobson-Dupont, Instructional Technology Integration Specialist, Nantucket Elementary School, MA
  • Dr. Carol Holzberg, Technology Coordinator, Greenfield Public Schools, MA
  • Theresa Jay, Director of Technology, Thayer Academy, Braintree, MA
  • John Marcus, Director of Technology, Sharon Public Schools, MA
  • Matthew Mena-Landry, District Media and Technology Coordinator, Plymouth Public Schools, MA
  • Steven Ouellette, Director of Technology, Westwood Public Schools, MA
  • Gaby Richard-Harrington, Technology Integration, Digital Learning & Data Analytics, Orange Public Schools and RC Mahar Regional Schools, MA
  • Barbara Treacy, Director, EdTech Leaders Online, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
  • Jennifer Trombino, Technology Integration Specialist, Northborough-Southborough Public Schools, MA
  • Daniel Welty, Physics Teacher, Algonquin Regional High School, Northborough, MA
  • Dr. Judith Zorfass, Project Director, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA