Speakers: Tech Forum Chicago 2014

Speakers: Tech Forum Chicago 2014

Keynote Speaker

Ramsey Musallam, Science Teacher, Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco, CA

Follow on Twitter: @ramusallam

Ramsey Musallam is a secondary science instructor and the acting science department chairperson and director of inquiry and innovation at Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown San Francisco. He also serves as an adjunct professor of education at the University of San Francisco and Touro University. Musallam delivers keynotes, webinars and facilitates workshops for teachers nationally and internationally with a focus on using technology as a strategic classroom partner in designing learning environments grounded in inquiry fueled by student curiosity. Additionally, he is the host of the Infinite Thinking Machine, an internet TV show dedicated to sharing innovative ideas for teachers and students. Musallam’s TED Talk “3 Rules to Spark Learning” is widely popular with classroom teachers, and was the lead talk on TEDs first ever PBS TV premiere, “TED Talks Education.”


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 Chicago 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 Lincolnshire on May 9:

Ryan Bretag, Director of Educational Technology, District 225, Northbrook, IL
Ryan Bretag has spent 15 years in education as a secondary English educator and administrator. In his role as director of educational technology, he focuses on innovation in learning and teaching, whole-child education, and project management for district and building-wide technology initiatives. Bretag is currently completing his doctoral work with an ethnography research on spaces people inhabit for learning and a comparative case study of the design, implementation, and impact of physical learning spaces in schools using an environmental psychology lens. The common thread in his presentations and work is that the most important conversation we can be having today in schools centers on experiences, happiness, learning, and passions.

Stephanie Cardella, Curriculum Coordinator, North Shore School District 112, Highland Park, IL
Stephanie Cardella (@Cardella112) proudly serves the North Shore School District 112 as a curriculum coordinator where she supports teachers in their endeavors to engage and inspire students through innovative and purposeful instruction. She has presented and facilitated workshops at the local, state and national level, focusing on teaching for understanding, Common Core State Standards, differentiation, technology integration, and Google Apps for Education. In conjunction with the Teaching and Learning team, her work over the past year has included the planning, development and rollout of a 1:1 initiative, personalized learning pilot, Common Core implementation and writing curriculum.

Charlene Chausis, Creativity & Innovation Specialist for Mobile Pedagogy, Aptakisic-Tripp District, Buffalo Grove, IL
In her current role at Aptakisic-Tripp District 102, Charlene Chausis (@cchausis) supports junior high school teachers and students participating in the district’s 1:1 iPad program. For more than 16 years she served as the technology training and integration manager at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL. She is a frequent presenter at local, state and national conferences, and has led workshops and seminars on a variety of topics to help educators discover how technology can be used to amplify students' creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills. Chausis is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a Google Certified Teacher, and on the executive boards for the Illinois Computing Educators and Northern Illinois Computing Educators (NICE). For more information and presentation resources, visit http://charlenechausis.com.

Mickey Chavannes, Director of Instructional Technology, School District of Cudahy, Cudahy, WI
Before moving into the position of director of instructional technology, Mickey Chavannes (@mchavannes) spent the last 10 years as a high school economics and history teacher. When in the classroom, he started experimenting with video production for student resources. Eventually, those resources became the foundation of his teaching models. In his current role, Chavannes has implemented a 1:1 initiative at the middle and high school, developed and deployed a spiraling K-6 technology curriculum, and is instructing teachers on the best practices of teaching in a 1:1 environment. During the week, he is often found running between schools helping teachers deploy new applications and collaborate on different teaching techniques that incorporate iPads, Chromebooks and PCs. For more information or to contact Mickey directly, you can visit his website at www.Educabana.weebly.com.

Tom Donovan, Chief Technology Officer, Aptakisic-Tripp School District 102, Buffalo Grove, IL
Aptakisic-Tripp is a small K-8 district in Buffalo Grove, northwest of Chicago (and only a few minutes away from this conference). During his time in the district, Tom Donovan has worked with other district leaders to implement a number of initiatives, including the adoption of Google Apps for Education, the creation of a flexible model for obsolescence planning, and the Personal Technology Initiative, a 1-1 program providing an iPad to every student in grades 5-8.

Dr. Theresa Dunkin, Superintendent, Aptakisic-Tripp CCSD #102, Buffalo Grove, IL Dr. Theresa Dunkin has been a leader at CCSD 102 since 2002. Prior to becoming superintendent in 2009, she served as junior high school principal and then assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. As assistant superintendent, she developed an academic governance structure that has led to 100% teacher participation and support of the district’s goals and initiatives. As superintendent, Dunkin created a future planning process that has been showcased at the National School Boards Association and Learning Forward annual conferences. In 2013, she was selected as a Tech Savvy Superintendent by eSchool News and recognized at the American Association of School Administrators National Conference.

Jennifer Ferrari, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, North Shore School District 112, Highland Park, IL
Committed to fostering creativity and innovation in the classroom, Jennifer Ferrari leads North Shore School District 112 teachers in curriculum development and the delivery of intentional and engaging instruction. She has led professional development in the areas of community and culture building, strategic planning, differentiated instruction, technology integration, promoting culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms, and collaborative leadership. Along with her teaching and learning team, Ferrari’s recent work involves leading a variety of district initiatives including: strategic planning, 1:1 Chromebook adoption, multi-age personalized learning, and Common Core implementation.

Brian Gervase, Math Department Chair, Mountain House High School , Mountain House, CA
Brian Gervase (@bdgervase) has been teaching mathematics from the front edge of technology for 18 years. He has spent the past five years working in Community High School District 99 (in Downers Grove) with blended learning across a variety of his own courses. In particular, he focuses on finding the perfect 'blend' of automated content and formative assessment mixed with student-driven portfolio work -- all taking place in the classroom! Gervase was recently named mathematics department chair of the brand new Mountain House High School opening just outside of San Francisco where the staff will be charged with rethinking the traditional high school classroom through the use of blended learning school wide.

Allison Gest, Science Teacher & Instructional Coach, Maine High School District 207, Park Ridge, IL
Allison Gest (@MrsGest) is a high school geosciences teacher and building instructional coach at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, IL. She is now supporting the district’s 1:1 Chromebook initiative and offering professional development to staff across the district in technology tools in the classroom, cooperative learning, and assessment. She was awarded one of the 2013 Innovative Chromebook Teacher for Science awards and was featured on the Google in Education YouTube Channel. She is also an online mentor for the New Teacher Center and is focusing during the spring semester on helping new teachers use technology in the classroom.

Dr. Stacey Gonzales, Director of Instructional Technology, Indian Prairie School District, Aurora, IL
Dr. Stacey Gonzales (@staceypacer) is an enthusiastic and visionary leader in the field of education and technology. She has two Master's degrees, one in English and one in educational administration, and completed her doctorate from Northern Illinois University in instructional technology. Her research interest focuses on teachers' technology efficacy and the quality of technology integration into classrooms. She has served in various roles in the public education sector. Before coming to Indian Prairie School District, Gonzales worked the majority of her career in Joliet, IL, serving students as an English teacher, instructional technology coach, and building administrator. She is a passionate, student-first educator and leader.

Sue Gorman, Adjunct Professor, University of Washington-Parkside, Kenosha, WI
Sue Gorman (@sjgorman) teaches at the Institute of Professional Educator Development at U.W. Parkside and is an innovative learning consultant. She is passionate about student-empowered learning through creativity and innovation. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Apple Certified Trainer and a Google Certified Teacher. She works with teachers and students to ensure they are critical thinkers, collaborative team member,s and effective communicators while promoting digital citizenship. Gorman works with educators to build professional learning networks to share ideas and to inspire and to be inspired by other educators. She attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Apple Institute as well as the first Global Apple Institute in Cork, Ireland. She truly believes there has never been a more exciting time to be in education. The world is our classroom! You will find her on social networks, especially on Twitter.

Dr. R.J. Gravel, Director of Instructional Technology, Johnsburg School District 12, Johnsburg, IL
A native of the suburbs of Chicago, R.J. Gravel (@RJGravel1) has worked in the field of instructional technology and education management since 2006. Today he will officially graduate from Northern Illinois University with the Doctor of Education degree, completing his dissertation on the effects of professional development when applying the TPACK theoretical framework. He is an adjunct instructor at several higher education institutions and an advocate across the state for effective and efficient technology integration in PreK-12 classrooms. Prior to assuming his current job in 2010, Gravel worked for several years with the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Rockford as a technology coordinator and director of liturgical music.

James Gubbins, District Technology Coordinator, Maine Township High School District 207, Park Ridge, IL
For the past fifteen years, James Gubbins has been on the forefront of implementing technology in the classroom. He supports the special education program in his district and enjoys assisting educators, helping to bring them into the 21st century. His Zendotous.net blog gives succinct and helpful information on useable technology. He is also a co-host for the #EduWin Weekly Podcast on EdReach.us. As the district technology coordinator for a high school district, he has been involved in education and technology in multiple capacities and has a passion for helping educators integrate technology into existing curriculum. Gubbins works with special education satellite schools in his district and provides support for the administration center. His areas of specialty include: professional development, integrating technology for special education, technical support, web 2.0, professional learning networks, social networking and online research.

Patricia Haughney, Director of Information Services, Barrington CUSD 220, Barrington, IL
Patricia Haughney (pshaughney) has been involved in educational technology for over twenty years, as a technology facilitator, library media specialist, and director of technology. She has served as president of her local and state ISTE chapters, a CoSN board member, and co-founder of the Illinois COSN chapter. She has also worked as a programmer and systems analyst in the private sector and earned certification through a unique alternative certification program that was based upon the medical model of instruction. Through this process, she taught at all grade levels, K-8. She also has experience teaching Spanish at the high school level and computer science and accounting at the college level. She holds an MBA and an MA in Education, and is completing the requirements for a doctorate in Educational Leadership. She is currently working to implement a 1:1 program for students in grades 6-12.

Peter Helfers, Teacher, North Shore District 112, Highland Park, IL
Peter Helfters has been a 6th grade teacher in Highland Park since 2005. Teaching is not just a job for him; it is what he loves to do. Ever since his first education technology class in graduate school he was hooked on finding new ways to integrate technology into the classroom. In the spring of 2011 he co-wrote a grant with a colleague in an attempt to offer students a 1:1 iPad experience. They received the grant and two years later paired up again to found Otus Mobile Learning Environment, an ed tech company aimed at improving the use of mobile devices in 1:1 classrooms. Helfers is truly excited to be a part of creating this opportunity for others.

Kim Jablonski, CTE Instructor/Instructional Coach, Maine West High School, Des Plaines, IL
Kim Jablonski has been an educator in the career and technical education department at Maine West High School for the past 10 years. Her main educational goal is to expose students to technologies and thought processes that will allow them to be successful in high school and beyond. For the past two years, she has served as a building instructional coach and has worked with individual teachers and teams to build stronger curriculum and instructional practices, utilizing technology to enhance their classrooms.

David Jakes, Digital Designer and Strategist, CannonDesign
A recognized leader in the educational technology field, David Jakes focuses on the increased need to develop agile, 21st Century, personalized, and digitally-enhanced learning environments. Based in Chicago, he works with the Third Teacher Plus and K-12 education group of the architectural firm of CannonDesign. Jakes’ thought leadership encompasses digital storytelling, cloud-based learning environments and their relationship to physical learning spaces, mobile learning, the use and impact of social media in education and how organizations engage in change and improvement. Before his current position with CannonDesign, he spent almost three decades in education as a teacher, technologist, administrator, designer and storyteller. He is a frequent presenter at national and international educational technology conferences where he speaks about the power and promise of a new expedition for learning, and the roles that all educators have in shaping that journey.

Cynthia Jaskowiak, Assistant Superintendent, Program Evaluation and Assessment, Barrington 220, Barrington, IL
Cynthia Jaskowiak is an administrator with extensive and varied school and district-based experiences in both Missouri and Illinois. In her current role in Barrington 220, she provides leadership and support for: the district's "One-to-World" Digital Age Learning initiative; Project Horsepower, the first-in-the-nation partnership with Comcast and NetGear to bring free wireless Internet access to the homes of district families participating in the National Lunch Program; and the Business Incubator, a state-of-the-art entrepreneurial business curriculum that is serving as a national high school model.

Dr. Josh Mika, Library Resource Center Director, Beebe Elementary, Naperville, IL
Dr. Josh Mika (@iJoshmika) taught 4th & 5th grade in the regular ed classroom for eight years before transitioning into the library media center director at Naperville District 203 for the past eight. He received a B.A. from Knox College, a Masters degree from Cambridge College, and a Doctorate of Education from Aurora University, studying the mobile generation. He currently is authoring a free, multi-touch book on reinventing the teacher-librarian to be published on iTunes U and is serving as a 2014 ILEAD USA Instructor for the Illinois State Library Association. Named to the Apple Distinguished Educators program in 2011, Mika is now a part of the US ADE Advisory Board responsible for planning and implementing annual summer institutes.

Maureen Chertow Miller, Director of Instructional Technology, Township High School District 113, Deerfield, IL
Maureen Chertow Miller (@mmiller112) has been an educator for over 20 years. She started using technology in the classroom when she was student teaching and hasn't looked back. Miller’s eyes are always future-focused, with a vision for using technology to help all students exceed their learning goals. Her passion for technology and her love of learning are evident to all who know her.

Mark Onuscheck, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, IL
Mark Onuscheck is the director of curriculum, instruction and assessment at Stevenson High School, where he also served as the director of communication arts and as an English teacher. He is currently working on his dissertation at DePaul University, where he teaches courses in creativity and in corporate social responsibility.

Greg Reuhs, Social Science Teacher and Instructional Coach, Maine East High School, Park Ridge, IL
Greg Reuhs (@MrReuhs) has been a teacher at Maine East High School for the last ten years. In this position, he has taught a diverse set of students in an ever-changing technological landscape. Starting this year, he has taken on the role of instructional coach. He is responsible for supporting teachers with regards to their pedagogy, and spends a good deal of his time helping teachers choose the best tools to help students learn.

Robert Schuetz, Technology Coordinator, Palatine High School, Palatine, IL
An advocate of connected, self-directed learning, Robert Schuetz (@robert_schuetz) has spent the past 24 years as a lead-learner at Township HS District 211 in Palatine. His job titles have included teacher, coach, administrator, and technology coordinator. A National Board Certified Teacher, his current educational interests include digital portfolios, life-wide learning, and instructional technologies. Schuetz’s contributions to teaching and learning can be found on his blog, "Nocking the Arrow."

Shannon Soger, Instructional Director, South Berwyn School District 100, Berwyn, IL
Shannon Soger (@ShannonSoger) has been an elementary classroom educator for nine years. She piloted South Berwyn’s first 1:1 classroom, and served as an iCoach after the successful implementation of a district-wide 1:1 program in 2012. In her current position she continues her passion for teaching and integrating technology while guiding 4,132 students and 400 staff members in a remarkable 1:1 program. She is active in sharing her Apple Foundations training and SAMR practices to bring teaching and learning above the line in District 100. Soger delivers presentations and professional development all over the country and the 1:1 site she organizes has hosted over 500 educators from 130 districts and 8 states. She was instrumental in District 100 receiving the Apple Distinguished Program recognition in 2012 and again for the 2013 through 2015 school years. Follow and add her to your social media: Twitter (@ShannonSoger), Google Plus (+Shannon Soger), South Berwyn iDirector on Facebook, and her blog, “iTeach Above the Line.”

Dr. Henry Thiele, Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Learning, Maine 207 Schools, Park Ridge, IL
Before moving into his current role as assistant superintendent, Dr. Henry (Hank) Thiele was a high school science and music teacher for ten years while also serving as technology coordinator. He has been a featured presenter at conferences such as T+L, ASCD, METC, IETC, ISTE, ICE; for corporations such as Google and Follett; and for many government agencies in Illinois. A Google Certified Teacher, Administrator and Trainer, he is one of the co-founders of the Illinois Google EDU K-12 user group and has supported many schools in Illinois as they transition to Google Apps for Education. He also serves as a leader across Illinois in technology, learning, and professional learning; on the Illinois Computing Education Conference Committee as co-chair; and as the president of special education and technology (SET) Connections. His doctoral research was some of the first work investigating “Web 2.0” and its impact on communication, learning, and efficacy in the classroom.

Vinnie Vrotny, Director of Academic Technology, Quest Academy, Palatine, IL
As director of academic technology and leading at Quest Academy, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school with a gifted education focus, Vinnie Vrotny leads Quest's STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) initiatives. Prior to that, he was the director of academic technology at the North Shore Country Day School for 19 years. As technology’s place in education and learning has grown and changed, so has Vrotny’s role as a technology leader. Originally responsible for all aspects of hardware, software, networking, and web development, he is now focused on implementing a 21st Century, technology-enriched learning environment for Quest’s gifted learners. His current projects include both a middle school 1:1 Chromebook implementation and the creation of a cutting-edge innovation lab and curriculum where students create digital and physical fabrications using computers, micro-controllers, laser cutters, and 3d printers to solve both personal and local problems. In July 2013, Vrotny was named one of the 25 National Association of Independent School’s (NAIS) 2013-14 Teachers of the Future. He is both a Google Certified Teacher and a Google Certified Trainer.

Mike Watson, Chief Information Officer, Tippecanoe School District, Lafayette, IN
Mike Watson is an educator of 33 years and a leading force in educational change. As Tippecanoe School District’s CIO he focuses on cultural and instructional change in learning and leading with technology. The 3,800-student high school one-to-one initiative has been nationally recognized for its sound instructional emphasis and cultural change. Watson presents regularly at state and national conferences and his honors include recognition as an “Intel Outstanding Innovator” and Tippecanoe’s selection as the National School Board Association’s “Technology Salute District."