Speakers: Tech Forum Southwest

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


Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

21st Century Collaborative, LLC

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach is a 20-year educator who has been a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, and digital learning consultant. Currently, she is in the dissertation phase of completing her doctorate in Educational Planning, Policy and Leadership at the College of William and Mary. She is the owner and founder of 21st Century Collaborative, LLC, a digital learning consulting business through which she supports school districts and other nonprofits in their work toward 21st Century reform. Through the Powerful Learning Practice Network, which she co-founded with Will Richardson, Nussbaum-Beach works with schools and teachers around the world to re-envision their learning cultures and in helping them develop as professional learning teams. http://plpnetwork.com. Additionally, she is the co-founder of the K12Online Conference, a free, annual global gathering of educators, hosted on the Web and packed with cutting-edge ideas. In 2007, K12Online attracted more than 83,000 participants world-wide. Find out more at http://k12onlineconference.org.

Nussbaum-Beach has published journal articles, book chapters and magazine pieces, been featured on public broadcasting television and radio shows, and is a regular presenter at local, state, national and international conferences speaking on topics of homelessness, teacher leadership, virtual community building, and 21st Century learning initiatives. Her first book on 21st Century Learning will be published with Eye on Education in 2009.

Other TECH FORUM Speakers

Jennifer Bergland

Chief Technology Officer

Bryan ISD

Jennifer Bergland has been in public education for 30 years. She taught social studies for 17 years in middle and high schools in Oklahoma and Texas. She has been with Bryan ISD for 22 years, five of them as CTO and, before that, eight as director of instructional technology. In 1995, Bergland took a department of two trainers and a part-time secretary to a staff of 45 technology professionals whose responsibility it is to support and maintain a high-tech infrastructure for over 15,000 users. Central to her heart is how best to serve the district's learning community. Bryan ISD recognized her efforts by naming her the district's Administrator of the Year in 2002. Under Bergland's leadership the district has received over 8.6 million dollars in grants, enabling it to pursue the skills and technology necessary to prepare its students for the 21st Century. Byrant ISD was recently honored by the Consortium for Schools Networking (CoSN), which presented it with the TEAM award, given each year to a district that has significantly employed technology to transform learning.

Amy Bramhall

Instructional Technology Specialist

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD

Amy Bramhall taught fifth grade math for two years, sixth grade math for six years and has been an instructional technology specialist at the district level for the past six years. In her current role she works with students and teachers to integrate technology skills across the curriculum. Podcasting, iPods, GPS, student email, message boards, blogging, web pages, and multimedia are just a few of the technology components she helps students and teachers embrace in the educational setting. Three years ago La Donna Conner and Amy Bramhall were instrumental in implementing the Beyond4Walls project in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. The project brought iPods and podcasting to the ESL/ELL classrooms across the district as a tool to improve language acquisition skills and give students access to the teacher outside the classroom setting. Bramhall has presented at TCEA, TASB, Region X, and TABE.

LaDonna Conner

Instructional Technology Specialist

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD

La Donna Conner has been with the Carrollton-Farmers School District since 1982, first as a classroom teacher and now as an instructional technology specialist. In her current position she assists in the implementation and ongoing support of technology integration across curriculum areas. As a part of her job, she conducts training sessions for teachers and students on Web 2.0 components such as blogging, podcasting, and wikis. Along with Amy Bramhall, she was instrumental in developing the Beyond4Walls project, focusing on iPods and podcasting in the ESL/ELL classroom. Conner has presented workshops and sessions at TCEA, TAET, TABE, T+ L, TASB and NECC.

Scott Floyd

Instructional Technologist

White Oak ISD

Scott S. Floyd currently serves as the district technology curriculum specialist for White Oak Independent School District in White Oak, Texas. Before that he spent ten years in the classroom, mostly teaching middle school reading, English, and classes for gifted and talented students. His current focus is on helping teachers integrate technology tools into their curriculum, both in instruction and learning, with his recent priority placed on electronic portfolios using an open source blogging platform.

Karen Fuller

Chief Technology Officer

Klein ISD

Karen Fuller has been involved in K-12 education for 17 years. She began as a classroom teacher in Diboll ISD, teaching microcomputer applications on Apple IIe's, and then became the technology coordinator for the district. From there she moved to become the technology manager for ESC VII, in Kilgore, Texas. In 2004 she became the district technology trainer and, later, the director of technology in Marshall ISD. Fuller has been with Klein ISD since 2006, first as the director of information technology and now as CTO. She has designed, implemented, and supported campus LAN's, district WAN's, and regional networks, and has conducted workshops on technology integration, grant writing, supporting district hardware and software, and technology planning. In addition, she has worked with districts on implementing wireless, VOiP, and distance learning networks, and developing curriculum for technology integration; has provided technical training for technology staff; and has served on state committees for developing hardware standards and teacher standards in technology.

Michael Gras

Chief of Technology

White Oak ISD

Formerly a teacher of life science, physical science, earth science, and Texas history at Sharpstown Jr. High (Houston I.S.D.), Michael Gras also worked for many years as a tutor, educational consultant and network designer. After forming his own company, he assembled teams that designed and built educational networks in dozens of East Texas school districts. In his current role as chief of technology at White Oak ISD he works with three co-workers caring for seven servers in an enterprise environment with connectivity to over 600 workstations. Gras is the current member-at-large for the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Strategic Open Source Special Interest Group.

Arturo Guajardo

Instructional Technology Facilitator

Austin ISD

In addition to serving as an instructional technology facilitator for the Austin Independent School District, Arturo Guajardo is an independent trainer and consultant specializing in emerging educational technologies and the use of digital media with ELL/Bilingual students. He has developed and led numerous instructional technology staff development sessions and has presented at various conferences including NECC, TCEA, FETC and National Association for Bilingual Education. An experienced educator, he taught third, fourth and fifth grade bilingual students for ten years in Austin ISD. In 1999, he was honored as the Mollie Dawson Teacher of the Year and was a semi-finalist for AISD Teacher of the Year.

Miguel Guhlin

Director of Instruction Technology Services

San Antonio ISD

Miguel Guhlin, a 15 year educator with a Master's degree in Bicultural/Bilingual Studies with ESL Concentration, has been a bilingual/ESL teacher at elementary and secondary grade levels as well as serving as a campus instructional specialist, campus technology coordinator, and district instructional technologist. He currently is the director of instructional technology services for San Antonio ISD. He has served as TCEA Area 20 board member/director and is currently president of the TCEA Technology Education Coordinators Special Interest Group (TEC-SIG). Guhlin has over 100 publications to his credit. He has spoken at international, national, state, and regional conferences for the last 15 years and has completed Digital Storytelling training under the leadership of Joe Lambert, founder of The Center for Digital Storytelling. Visit Miguel on the Web at http://mguhlin.net.

Kevin Hogan

Editorial Director

Tech & Learning

Kevin Hogan began his stint as Tech & Learning's editorial director in 2008. He comes to T&L directly from Scholastic Administrator, where he was executive editor for four years. Prior to Scholastic, Hogan was senior editor of MIT Technology Review and editor of the magazine's website. He was also formerly a features editor for Business 2.0 magazine. Hogan has been reporting and writing about the intersection of business and technology since 1993. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Wired, Forbes ASAP, and Small Business Computing magazines.

Karen Kahan

Director, Educational Technology

Texas Education Agency

Karen Kahan was named director of educational technology at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in March 2008. Departments within the Educational Technology Unit include Technology Applications, Distance Learning, Special Projects, Technology Grant Programs, Educational Technology Pilot Projects, Technology Planning, and E-Rate. Previously, she was the director for the technology applications curriculum at TEA for 12 years and, prior to that, she served in other capacities in educational technology at TEA where she has worked for nearly 18 years. Kahan taught mathematics and science at the middle school level before joining TEA. During her years at TEA, she has provided leadership in the implementation of the recommendations in the State Board of Education's Long-Range Plan for Technology. Currently, she serves on the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) Board of Directors.

Ann McMullan

Executive Director, Educational Technology

Klein ISD

Ann McMullan is completing her 30th year with the Klein Independent School District. During the first 18 years of her career, she was a social studies teacher at Strack Intermediate School. During her last years in the classroom she began to use technology with her students to teach US history and government. Klein ISD asked McMullan to move to the central office to lead the district's efforts in using technology to transform teaching and learning in all content areas. In her role as current role she leads the district team that provides technology professional development to Klein's 5500 employees. She also works closely with curriculum directors to assure that Klein ISD's curriculum maximizes the use of the technology tools the district has placed in every classroom, and in the district's 1-to-1 schools. From 2004 to 2006 McMullan served as the co-chair of the state's Educational Technology Advisory Committee which produced the Texas Long Range Plan for Technology, 2006-2020.

Jon Orech

Instructional Technology Coordinator

Downers Grove South High School, IL

Jon Orech taught English for 24 years before becoming the instructional technology coordinator at Downers Grove South High School in Illinois. He is also an instructor for Aurora University where he teaches Digital Storytelling workshops. In the classroom, Orech has always promoted best technology approaches to ensure student learning. He is a frequent speaker at conferences; his presentations address a wide variety of topics including: Digital Storytelling, Hi -Tech Lit Circles, Learning with Wikis, and Student-Generated Assessment. Currently, his focus of research is in the area of Collaborative Technology, specifically, imbedding structured Cooperative Learning pedagogy into teaching with Web 2.0 tools to improve student learning. Away from school, he savors the "Four F's": Family, Football, Fishing, and Food!

Meg Ormiston

Instructional Technology and Curriculum Consultant

Tech Teachers, Inc., Hinsdale, IL

Meg Ormiston is passionate about transforming teaching and learning through the power of digital tools. She loved being a classroom teacher, but now she is always on the move, empowering educators across the globe through her powerful presentations focused on change. She is a former school board member, adjunct professor, consultant, keynote speaker, successful grant development specialist, and most importantly, a mom. Ormiston is high energy, truly motivational, but also very practical. Her current research is focused on how curriculum can be delivered through the use of visual images, simulations and multimedia coupled with real time assessment to check for comprehension. She is the author of Conquering InfoClutter and co-author (with Mark Standley) of Digital Storytelling with PowerPoint. She is currently writing her third and fourth books while juggling baseball, golf and football schedules.

Judy Salpeter

Program Director

Tech & Learning Events

Judy Salpeter, an experienced educator and education technology specialist, is program director for Tech & Learning Events. On the editorial staff of T&L magazine since 1985, Salpeter served as editor-in-chief from 1994 to 2000. In addition to overseeing content for Tech & Learning Events, she is consulting editor to the magazine, director of the K-12 Computing Blueprint web site, and editor of the CoSN Compendium and other publications for the Consortium for School Networking. Over the years, Salpeter has written for publications including Business Week and Newsweek and authored a software program (Mystery Sentences, Scholastic, 1984) and a book (Kids & Computers: A Parents' Handbook, SAMS, 1991).

David Warlick

Author, Programmer, and Educator

Landmark Project, NC

David Warlick, a 30 year educator and Tech Forum favorite, has been a classroom teacher, district administrator, and staff consultant with the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction. For the past ten years, he has operated The Landmark Project, a consulting, and innovations firm in Raleigh, North Carolina. His web site, Landmarks for Schools, serves more than a half-million visitors a day with some of the most popular teacher tools available on the Net. Warlick is also the author of three books on instructional technology and 21st century literacy, and has spoken to audiences throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America.

Christine Weiser

Managing Editor

Tech & Learning

Christine Weiser is a professional writer and editor specializing in education technology. She was the editor for Media & Methods magazine and most recently was a contributing editor and blogger for Scholastic Instructor and Administrator. She is the co-author of Ask Mr. Technology: Get Answers (Linworth Publishing, 2007) and the editor of many other nonfiction education book titles, including Copyright for Administrators (Linworth Publishing, 2008). When she's not reporting on ed tech, she can be found playing bass with her band, The Tights, or writing fiction. Her first novel, Broad Street, will be released in Fall 2008.