Speakers: Tech Forum Texas 2013

Speakers: Tech Forum Texas 2013

Keynote Speaker

ADAM BELLOW, Educator, Web Designer and Consultant

Adam Bellow is the founder of eduClipper.net and eduTecher.net, free web resources for educators and students. He has previously worked as a classroom teacher as well as the senior director of educational technology and AP student services for the College Board. Named Outstanding Young Educator of the Year by ISTE in 2011 and featured as the closing keynoter at the ISTE 2013 national conference in San Antonio, TX, Bellow has presented at conferences across the country and all around the world, speaking out about how to reform education with the successful infusion of technology as well as the merit of web-based tools.


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

Mark Barnett, Makerspace Director, Venture Lab 501c3, San Antonio, TX Mark Barnett is co-founder and makerspace director at Venture Lab 501c3 and was a previous STEM education consultant for the Central Texas STEM Center. He has hosted sessions across the state about robotics, STEM education and project-based learning; has presented at SXSWedu, NSTA, TCEA, CAST and other conferences; and served as a trainer for the Engineering is Elementary program from the Boston Museum of Science. Barnett is passionate about the maker education movement and the idea of experiential learning for all students. Mary Ann Beseda, Executive Director of Technology, Spring ISD, Houston, TX Mary Ann Beseda took over as technology director at Spring ISD in 1997, after 20 years in corporate information systems and consulting. She has led initiatives such as implementation of a district portal, data warehouse, virtualization, and Google Apps for Education, as well as deployment of Chromebooks, BYOD, and infrastructure improvements. Her department created a disaster recovery site, connected via fiber, with duplication of critical systems for business continuity. She is a member of the District Design Team, which focuses on transforming Spring ISD into a learning organization by creating engaging work for students. She served as chair of the Texas K-12 CTO Council, the state chapter of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and has served on various national committees for CoSN.

Dr. Karla Burkholder, Director of Instructional Technology, Northwest ISD, TX With an unyielding focus on teaching and learning with and through technology, Dr. Karla Burkholder has led the instructional staff at Northwest ISD in embracing 1:1 student technology, online learning, and personalized professional development. Under her leadership, NISD has received national recognition as a leader in digital education by the American Association of School Administrators and the National School Board Association. The NISD community witnesses the impact of its technology investment through the district’s annual student showcase, TechnoExpo. Additionally, Burkholder has led the development of Technopalooza, a two-day professional development event attended by over 400 educators, as well as the district’s online Technology Integration Academy and the I3 instructional technology leadership development program. She has presented on various educational technology topics at state and national conferences and written articles on educational technology and educational leadership fora number of publications. She is the immediate past president of TCEA and has served as the TCEA Area 11 Director, convention vice president, and vice president for member services.

Stuart Burt, Director of Technology, Community ISD, Nevada, TX Stuart Burt has worked as a classroom teacher, guidance counselor, and technology director in Texas and Wisconsin. He believes that district technology departments should “simplify” their processes and shift their focus to the classroom. This philosophy of simplifying has enabled Burt to maximize the efficiency of his department and provide the best tools to students and teachers.

Lisa Carnazzo, Teacher, North East ISD, San Antonio, TX Lisa Carnazzo has been a primary grade educator for over 20 years in North East ISD and previously in the Omaha Public Schools. She was recently named a finalist for the TCEA 2013 Teacher of the Year award. She shares her passion for technology in the classroom through presentations at her campus, her district, and most recently at the iPadpalooza conference. Being a teacher on a “Leader in Me” campus, Carnazzo feels strongly that students should be empowered as technology leaders. She has placed her second graders in this role by allowing them to lead the iPad professional development for teachers at Las Lomas Elementary. Her students have gained a global audience by regularly publishing the digital artifacts of their learning on their class wiki at carnazzosclass.wikispaces.com as well as tweeting out the daily happenings in their classroom. Follow them on Twitter @CarnazzosClass. You can additionally connect with Carnazzo on Twitter @SAtechnoChic .

Tracy Clark, Education Technology Consultant, Kyle, TX As an architect of digital learning environments and initiatives, Tracy Clark, M.S., works directly with teachers and administrators around the world to help them craft authentic learning opportunities for students of all ages. An edupreneur, edtech evangelist, and former bilingual teacher, she has held positions in both Texas and Mexico.

Scott S. Floyd, Director of Instructional Technology,White Oak ISD, TX Scott Floyd’s continued work with inquiry-driven instruction has helped make the utilization of technology in his district a natural extension of the learning space. His teaching experience at both the elementary and secondary levels has uniquely prepared him for the state, regional, and national training stage he finds himself on. His dry wit and sometimes not-so-subtle snarky comments keeps his co-learners on their toes. His current passion is creating a vaccine to help politicians ward off the always-encroaching bias against public schools that generally kicks up around legislative session.

Karen Fuller, Chief Technology Officer, Klein ISD Karen Fuller has been involved in K-12 education for over 20 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 became the technology manager for ESC VII, in Kilgore, TX, after which she served as district technology trainer and, later, 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; has conducted workshops on technology integration, grant writing, supporting district hardware and software, and technology planning; and has served on state committees for developing hardware standards and teacher standards in technology.

Greg Garner, Educational Technologist, West Ridge Middle School, Austin, TX Greg Garner, M.Ed., is a change catalyst, leaning into problems and finding ways to influence the world around him. Previously, he has worked in digital media marketing as well as teaching math, touch-system data entry, and technology applications. He has degrees in business and education and currently serves middle grade educators in the Austin area as an educational technologist. He is excited about the educational potential of today's students, fortunate to find themselves in the throes of technological revolution. Connect with him on Twitter @classroom_tech.

Peter Griffiths, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Dayton ISD, TX Before assuming his current position at Dayton ISD three years ago, Peter Griffiths served as an assistant principal and principal in Channelview ISD for eight years. As the principal, he began many new district pilot programs, including wireless coverage for the entire campus, BYOD, SmartBoards and digital learning systems. As executive director of curriculum and instruction for Dayton ISD, Griffiths has helped implement district-wide BYOD, a district-wide wireless system, and an online summer staff development program created by the curriculum department (made up of six people). This year, the district is fully integrating technology in the classrooms with the help of instructional technology coaches.

Miguel Guhlin, Technology Director, East Central ISD, TX As a veteran educator comfortable with modeling the use of technology at the classroom, campus, and district level, Miguel Guhlin has a simple goal: to use powerful technologies to transform practice and enable learners to communicate and collaborate with each other.As Director of Technology Operations (a.k.a. CTO) for a 9800-student school district in Texas and past president of the state-wide TCEA Technology Education Coordinators group, he continues to model the use of emerging technologies in schools. You can read his published writing and engage him in conversation via his blog at Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org. Make contact via email at mguhlin@gmail.com

Carl Hooker, Director for Instructional Technology, Eanes ISD, TX Carl Hooker has 16 years of experience in education, with positions ranging from 1st grade teacher to his current position as director for instructional technology. In his current job, he helped spearhead the launch the Learning & Engaging through Access & Personalization (LEAP) Initiative which placed 1:1 iPads into the hands of all K-12 students. He works as a consultant for EdTechTeacher and is an Apple Distinguished Educator. He is also the founder of “iPadpalooza,” an annual learning festival which was attended, in its second year, by over 1000 people from 20 different U.S. states and Canada. Besides having the outstanding Sir Ken Robinson as a keynote speaker, the event also featured 100 concurrent sessions of learning, live music and food trailers.Since becoming an educator, Hooker has been a part of a strong educational shift with technology integration. From his start as a teacher to his current district technology leadership, he’s always had one common belief – that kids need to drive their own learning.

Lisa Johnson, Educational Technologist, Eanes ISD, TX Lisa Johnson has 12 years of educational experience ranging from teaching high school English and middle school math to international curriculum development and creating and presenting workshops. Author of the TechChef4u blog and app, Johson has shared her app-thusiasm for iLearning at multiple conferences around the country. As a CEO and Founder of TechChef4u, she wants to share these digital dishes with the world. Other TechChef4u delectable digital delights are the "Hot Apps 4 HOTS" iBook and "Appy Hours 4 U" podcast. Additionally, TechChef4u provides keynote presentations, hands-on workshops, seminars, and mobile integration support resources. Johnson joined Eanes ISD as an educational technology specialist in 2012 and was named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2013.

Sandy Kendell, Educational Technology Specialist, Georgetown ISD, TX Sandy Kendell’s 20 years of experience in K-12 education include classroom teaching and instructional technology facilitation at the campus and district levels. She is an experienced professional development leader as well as a conference presenter and panelist, having led or co-led a variety of sessions at TCEA, ISTE/NECC, iPadpalooza, and SXSWedu. Kendell’s professional interests include social media in education, digital citizenship and ethics, educator professional development, online blended and distance learning, and mobile learning. She is most passionate about the personalized ongoing professional learning educators can immerse themselves in through social media. She would love to connect and learn with you on Twitter where she is known as EdTechSandyK or via her blog at edtechsandyk.blogspot.com.

Amy Mayer, Director of Staff Development, Huntsville ISD, TX Amy Mayer is a Google Certified Teacher, a Google Certified Trainer, a director of staff development and district initiatives for a fantastic Texas public school district, and a passionate educator who is on a crusade to inspire us to join the future. She is known for her funny, human-centered approach to dealing with shiny new things. Her goal is to learn and share with fellow educators and administrators while working together to help technology become a powerful tool for learning.

Todd Nesloney, Teacher, Waller ISD, TX Not only was Todd Nesloney selected by the National School Board Association as one of their “20 to Watch” in education for 2013, but he is also a SMART Exemplary Educator, Star Discovery Educator, Classroom Champions Teacher, Ron Clark Academy Slide Certified, part of the Remind101 Teacher Advisory Board and a Flipped Class Certification Instructor for Sophia.org. He has written his own children’s book “Spruce & Lucy” and co-authored a flipped classroom book, “Flipping 2.0”. This year Nesloney was the first teacher in his district to do a totally flipped classroom and project-based learning environment, after which his students (66% of whom qualify for free-and-reduced-price lunch) scored 100% passing on their math STAAR test. With the leadership and help of district technologist, Rosa Ojeda, Nesloney also had a part in securing a $100,000 grant that bought every 5th grader at his campus (and one other campus in the district) an iPhone 4 with Verizon Data plans to use for flipped learning. Nesloney also started a technology training company for teachers called “The 3 Tech Ninjas” and (with the help of another teacher on his campus, Stacey Huffine) brought an EdCampWaller conference to his district with over 200 educators attending from all across Texas.

Juan Orozco, Education Technologist, Eanes ISD, TX Juan Orozco has been an educator for 15 years. An Intel Teach Master Teacher, Google Certified Teacher, PBS Teacherline facilitator, Discovery Star Educator, and a Texas Staff Development Conference board member (TSDC), he has developed and led numerous instructional technology staff development sessions and has presented at various conferences including ISTE, TCEA, FETC, Tech Forum, and Learning Forward Texas

Elaine Plybon, Instructional Resource Trainer, Secondary Science, Keller ISD, TX Elaine Plybon is an instructional resource trainer and professional development consultant. She is a former high school science teacher who co-founded Girls of Technology (GOT), an organization aimed at creating a sense of community among girls choosing STEM career pathways during high school. She is a certified Gender Equity trainer, and has worked with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) and Women of Texas Instruments to increase awareness of issues related to parity for women in STEM careers. Plybon has presented at numerous local, regional, and national conferences, was one of three finalists for TCEA Instructional Technology Specialist of the year, and was named a Discovery Educator Network (DEN) Guru in 2012. Additionally, she serves on the Innovation and Strategies team of the Leadership Council for the DEN and is the National Technology in Education blogger for Examiner.com.

Linda Rawlings, Executive Director of Secondary Education,Eanes ISD, TX Linda Rawlings is a 35-year educator who has served as head principal in two excellent schools: Clear Lake High School in the Houston area (2003-2006) and Westlake High School in Austin (2006-2012).She retired in 2012 and was rehired part-time as the executive director of secondary education for Eanes ISD. Technology integration has always been a passion for Rawlings.As a Latin teacher in the 1990’s, she requested from parents and received the first computer to be donated to a Clear Lake High School classroom. During her tenure at Westlake, Rawlings bolstered the philosophy of excellence and innovation, spearheading the Westlake Initiative For Innovation (WIFI) pilot, which provided juniors and seniors with mobile devices tailored to the fast-paced environment of high school students. Today, all Eanes ISD students, K-12, use an iPad for their school work, and Eanes ISD hosts ipadpalooza, which attracts educators from around the country.

Randy Rodgers, Director of Digital Learning Services, Seguin ISD, TX Randy Rodgers is a proud, 23-year Texas public educator. He previously taught 4th, 5th and 6th grade science, and worked for 10 years as an instructional technology specialist in Birdville ISD. He was honored as Birdville's secondary teacher of the year in 2000. Rodgers frequently presents at conferences and does educational consulting around the state of Texas. In the last decade of working with technology in the classroom he has come to be influenced by a few basic ideas. First, no technology is THE solution for every classroom. Second, technology should be used to engage kids in tasks they could not do otherwise, not merely replace paper and pencils. Finally, time must be devoted to let kids use technology to create, innovate, and invent.

Carrie Ross, Curriculum Coordinator and Instructional Technology Specialist, Trinity ISD, TX Carrie Ross has had a truly blessed experience serving students as a high school English teacher. Accustomed to wearing many hats, she has been presented with the honor of serving as an English, language arts and reading curriculum coordinator and instructional technology specialist after recently earning her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. As a classroom teacher, she harnessed her school’s 1:1 initiative to integrate 21st century skills, go paperless, and increase student achievement and engagement. After attending a small conference on leadership in the digital age, Ross had the revelation about the power of professional growth through social media. Seeing the need for a statewide professional learning network that brings together all educators in Texas, she started the Twitter chat “#txed” to help begin conversations of change. She is eager and excited to share how the infusion of technology and social media into the classroom and professional development can help transform education.

Christopher Ruggerio, Intermediate School Principal,Klein ISD, TX Chris Ruggerio is currently the principal of Wunderlich Intermediate in KIein ISD and in his 11th year of education. Previously he served 7 years as the associate principal of administration and as the technology administrative contact (TAC) assistant principal at Klein Oak High School, a one-to-one campus utilizing tablet PCs. As the TAC, Ruggerio oversaw the implementation of the first large-scale one-to-one program implementation at the high school level in KISD in 2008. In his role as an educational leader, he believes in sustaining an educational community that supports collaboration and establishes high expectations. He feels that it is essential to maintain data-driven, site-based decision making that leads to student success, as well as continually supporting our teachers in their efforts and recognizing students for their success.

Kevin Schwartz, Chief Technology Officer, Clear Creek ISD, TX Kevin Schwartz is the CTO of Clear Creek ISD in League City, TX, which is home to NASA and a spirit of exploration. CCISD is a high-performing school district of nearly 40,000 students, and Schwartz is part of a cohesive leadership team. His strength is in creating sustainable education ecosystems that utilize technology in ways that are innovative and cost-effective. CCISD is currently implementing the “Latitude to Learn” 1:1 initiative which leverages Dell Latitude 10 tablets and Windows 8 for student learning, but also keeps a healthy balance of Chromebooks, iPads, and BYOD. Schwartz serves as chair-elect for the Texas K-12 CTO Council, and co-chair for the CoSN Smart IT Advisory Panel. He is a frequent presenter in these organizations, and has also presented for Dell, ISTE, and other groups on topics ranging from 1:1 deployments with varying devices, strategic thinking, and funding for technology.

Michele Staley, High School Principal, Clear Creek ISD Michele Staley is in her 20th year as an educator in the Texas public school system. She began her career teaching biology as well as coaching volleyball and basketball. Her experiences in the classroom have led her to pursue an administrative degree from the University of Houston, Clear Lake. She has served as a high school assistant principal, associate principal, and head principal of four different campuses ranging in grades from 5-12. She is currently the principal at Clear Brook High School Clear Creek ISD and is pursuing her doctorate degree from Texas A&M. Staley has been working with and encouraging her teachers to use technology as a tool for engagement for the past four years and has seen results with the creation of a cyber café’ for on-line classes, flipped classrooms, campus-developed technology in-service conferences, and is now embarking on a one-to-one tablet initiative for her campus in January of 2014.

Candace Threadgill, Director of Information Technology, Klein ISD, TX Candace Threadgill has served for 24 years in the field of K-12 education, the last five in her current position at nationally-recognized Klein ISD in Northwest Houston. She leads a team of 60 IT staff members that services 42 campuses with 55,000+ students and teachers, and over 50,000 computers and technology devices. She is recognized as a consummate educator and presents frequently at state and national conferences. She has served for 12 years on the TCEA Board of Directors in various positions including president, convention vice-president and Area 12 director.

Courtney Toht, Teacher, Northwest ISD Courtney Toht is currently in her seventh year teaching in public education. She began her career teaching and coaching in Carrollton Farmers Branch ISD. She is currently teaching at Byron Nelson High School in Northwest ISD, located in northwest Fort Worth. Toht has been flipping her Physics and IPC classes for two years. She has taught other educators how to flip their own classes at multiple conference including ASCD in 2012, TCEA in 2013, and AP National Conference in 2013. Her love for integrating new technology and reaching all learning styles in her classroom has allowed her students to learn at deeper and richer levels.

Steve Young, Chief Technology Officer, Judson ISD, TX Steve Young has served as CTO for Judson ISD in San Antonio since 2006. Technology Services oversees network operations, server hardware, desktop hardware, data services, application support, programming, help desk support, telecommunications, radio, and the Texas state data reporting system known as PEIMS. Before coming to Judson ISD, Young held several positions in instructional technology at North East ISD and at Northside ISD, where he started teaching in 1992. He founded the San Antonio Area Technology Directors group, which has met quarterly since its inception in 2007, and was selected in 2011-2012 as the Chair of the Texas K-12 CTO Council, the first state chapter of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). Many of the projects and initiatives that he has led at Judson ISD have been featured in national publications such as Tech & Learning, T.H.E. Journal, and eSchoolNews. In addition to his other roles, Young also serves as an advisor to Tech & Learning’s SchoolCIO publication.


  • Dr. Kay Abernathy, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Lamar University
  • Dr. Sheryl Abshire, Chief Technology Officer, Calcasieu Parish Public Schools, LA
  • Joel Adkins, Executive Director of Instructional Technology, Pleasanton ISD
  • Kerry Ballast, Director of Special Projects, Texas Education Agency
  • Bryan Doyle, Director of Technology, KIPP: Austin Public Schools,
  • Carolyn Foote, District Librarian, Eanes ISD
  • Dustin Hardin, Director of Technology, New Caney Independent School District
  • Lannon Heflin, Director of Instructional Technology, Round Rock ISD
  • Karen Kahan, Director, Educational Technology, Texas Education Agency
  • Trudy Ledoux, Director of Technology Services, Humble ISD
  • Bill Lewis, Executive Director of Information Systems and Instructional Technology, Seguin ISD
  • Laura Minnigerode, Educational Research Consultant, @LauraMin, Austin
  • John Orbaugh, Executive Director of Technology, Tyler Independent School District
  • Rachelle Wooten, Educational Technology Specialist, Fort Bend ISD