Tech & Learning Live @ Chicago

Tech & Learning Live @ Chicago
  • District and Building-Level Administrators
  • Technology Directors
  • Technology Coordinators
  • Librarians and Media Specialists
  • Board of Education Members
  • Other education staff involved in technology planning
    Bring your leadership team and make the most of your professional development budget! Sign up here to bring your leadership team at a highly discounted rate (up to 50% off, depending on numbers of people you are bringing).


Registration and Breakfast: Playground (Ohare III)

Network with friends while you enjoy breakfast in our “playground” area, where interactive exhibits including makerspaces, learning spaces, new gadgets, and more will be set up throughout the day. Come prepared to share your ideas and questions.

Mini-Keynotes: Making Academic Coaching Work (Ohare II )

When done right, instructional coaching can be an effective and sustainable way to offer ongoing professional development for districts of all sizes. In these Ignite-style mini-keynotes, four districts will present four unique stories about how they made instructional coaching work at both the elementary and secondary levels.

PRESENTERS: Svetlana Sutic (Assistant Principal/Instructional Coach, Kipling Elem Deerfield District 109, Deerfield, IL); Kim Barrett (Director of Literacy/Instructional Coach), Allison Gest (Maine East Science Department Chair/Instructional Coach, Maine 207); Sean Crevier (Teacher/Instructional Coach, D128); Moderator: Michael Gorman

Refreshment and Networking Break: Playground (Ohare III)

Breakout Session # 1

BREAKOUT #1: Blended/Personalized Learning (Kennedy)

Learn about the latest tech tools for blended and personalized learning, as well as how to evaluate the effectiveness of these tools. PRESENTERS: Chris Skrzypchak (TOSA - Instructional Technology, Huntley Community School District 158, Algonquin, IL); Gerry Marchand (Science Teacher, Huntley HS, Huntley, IL); R.J. Gravel (Assistant Superintendent for Business Services / CSBO, Glenbrook High School District 225)

BREAKOUT #2: Sustaining and Energizing 1:1 Programs (Love B)

After the 1:1 launch fireworks die down, how do you keep that “new car smell?” These 1:1 district veterans discuss how they maintained enthusiasm from their communities by making sure their 1:1 programs weren’t just another initiative but integrated and integral to the curriculum and student success. PRESENTERS:Colleen Pacatte (Assistant Superintendent, Gurnee District 56) and Phil Hintz (Director of Technology, Gurnee District 56); Mary Mlinar-Stephens (ELA Teacher, Grade 7, Robert Abbott Middle School) and Tim Bryner (Principal, Robert Abbott Middle School); Philip Lacey (Director of Instructional Technology, NTHS 219, Skokie, IL); Moderator: Nancy Battaglia

BREAKOUT #3: Demos (Midway)

Attendees have the opportunity to test drive some of latest tools for K-12.PRESENTERS: Kristin Lagerquist (K-5 Technology Integration Specialist, Sacred Heart Schools, Chicago) will present app smashing (Symbaloo, Recap, Opinion, Video; Joan Biese (Second Grade Teacher, Rock Ledge Primary School, Seymour, WI) will present augmented reality apps Elements 4D and Aurasma; Natalie Profita (Technology Instruction Coordinator, North Palos School District 117) will present online formative assessment GoFormative, Peardeck, Nearpod, Edulastic and Quizizz, and Deanna Nelson (Instructional Technology Trainer, Sheboygan Area School District) will show how to integrate the 4Cs into instruction with BrightBytes.

BREAKOUT #4: Leadership Track: Moving to the Cloud (Love A)

This sounds easy, but there is a lot to consider before making the leap. How will you integrate Open Educational Resources? How can you personalize learning with digital resources? And, finally, how do you lead your school community toward a digital ecosystem? This session for school leaders will address these questions and more. PRESENTERS: Steve Dembo, Jill Gildea (Superintendent, Fremont 79); and Nick Polyak (Superintendent, Leyden 212). Moderator: Kevin Hogan

Refreshment and Networking Break: Playground (Ohare III)

Industry Spotlights (Ohare II)

Hear from the companies that are sponsoring this event and shaping the future of educational technology.

Anything Goes Discussions #1 (Ohare II)

These discussions provide a great opportunity for you to network with fellow technology leaders. Topics will be repeated at the 1:10 "anything goes" breakout session.

Personalized PD Workshop (Jarod Bormann, Instructional Technology Keystone AEA): Jarod has developed a model of Personalized PD embedded on three elements: Growth Mindset, Instrinsic Motivation, and Sustainable Autonomy. Work with Jarod to develop the model for your own district. **This workshop will take place in LOVE B.

*HyperDocs for Learner-Centered and Blended Professional Development (Steve Wick, Technology Coordinator, Neuqua Valley High School) - **This workshop will take place in LOVE A.

*Academic Coaching Models: Each of the 4 districts presenting at the keynote will have a table during the Anything Goes session to answer any further questions about their academic coaching programs. **This session will take place in KENNEDY

*Future Ready Libraries: Personalized PD for Librarians (Laura Nylen, Instructional Technology Specialist, Indian Prairie School District 204, Naperville, IL)

*Using Online Formative Assessment for Timely Intervention (Natalie Profita, Technology Instruction Coordinator, North Palos School District 117, Palos Hills, IL)

*Content Area Literacy (Erica Holton, Instructional Coach, Huntley Community School District 158, Huntley, IL)

*Social Media in the Classroom: Why or why not include this tool in our classrooms (Jennifer Smith, Instructional Tech Coach, South Middle School, Arlington Heights School District 25, Arlington Heights, IL)

* Tech Savvy Tools for School Leaders (Jerri Kemble and R.J. Gravel)

*Making the Case for Maker Spaces (Todd Dugan, Superintendent, New Holland-Middletown Elementary District 88, Middletown, IL)

*1:1 in Title 1 Schools (Robert French, Instructor, Waukegan Public Schools District 60, Waukegan, IL)

*Collaborative Learning Spaces and Flexible Seating (Chris Skrzypchak, TOSA - Instructional Technology, Huntley Community School District 158, Algonquin, IL)

*Impactful Professional Development Strategies to Lead and Empower (Kim Darche, Digital Learning Coach, SD113A, Lemont, IL)

*Entrepreneurial Thinking. Teens creating Technology (Carl Heine, Program Director, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Aurora, IL)

*Digital Citizenship (Cheryl Parmenter, Teacher, Warren Township High School, Chicago IL)

*Hosting a Hackathon (Rico D’Amore)

* Project-Based Learning (Michael Gorman)

Lunch (O'Hare I)

Dessert & Demos: Playground (Ohare III)

Anything Goes #2 (See location and topic details in the 11:15 listing)

BREAKOUT #1: Play to Learn: A Look at Gamification in the Classroom (Love B)

Research shows that gamifiying classrooms has a positive impact on both teaching and learning. Panelists will share their tips for gamifying a classroom, show attendees how they can create their own gamified curriculums, and let attendees “play” some of their favorite games. PRESENTERS: Michael Biondo (Social Science Instructor/Instructional Coach, Maine South High School); Vita Carnduff (4th and 5th grade Teacher, District 56, Gurnee); and Carrie Baughcum (6/7/8Extended Resource Teacher, Arlington Heights School District #25); Moderator: Kevin Hogan

Gamification in the Classroom Presentation

BREAKOUT #2: Computer Science: Coding and Beyond (Kennedy)

What does it take to launch and sustain a computer science education effort? Hear how the Chicago Public Schools established Computer Science as a high school graduation requirement and learn how you might replicate this model in your district. PRESENTERS: Brenda Wilkerson (CPS), Faythe Brannon (CPS), Don Yanek (CPS), Jeff Solin (CPS), Dale Reed (University of Illinois at Chicago); Moderator: Michael Lach (University of Chicago).

Coding and Beyond Presentation

BREAKOUT #3: Leadership Track: The Business of EdTech: From Purchasing to PR (Love A)

District leaders know that the challenge or edtech lives long after they sign the purchase order. How do ensure your RFP process best servies the needs of your district? How do you lead your staff to ensure they are working collaboratively to meet these needs? And, after you’ve purchased the tech, how do you share this story with your community?. PRESENTERS: Diane Doersch (Chief Technology & Information Officer, Green Bay Area Public Schools, WI); Henry Thiele (Superintendent Community High School District 99 Downers Grove, IL); Rico D'Amore (Director of Educational Technology, Warren Township High School); and Phil Hintz (Director of Technology, Gurnee District 56). Moderator: Nancy Battaglia (Director of Technology, Skokie School District 68).

The Business of EdTech Presentation

Closing Session: Playground & Takeaways (Ohare III)

Join the party!

Join the party! T&L Live will close with a reception where you can unwind and network with colleagues and industry partners—as well as participate in the end-of-day prize drawing! Bonus giveaway challenge: Tag @LocknCharge in a #TLTechLive post and be entered to win a 6-pack of Baskets by LocknCharge.!


Kimberly Barrett @@kdonahuebarrett

Director of Literacy, CCSD59

Dr. Kimberly Barrett is the Director of Literacy in CCSD59, a public school district servicing almost 7,000 students in grades PreK-8. Before joining CCSD59, Dr. Barrett spent 16 years as a classroom teacher and a literacy coach during which time she earned a doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction with her dissertation focusing on the impact of literacy coaching on teacher knowledge and practice. An advocate of instructional coaching, Dr. Barrett strives to cultivate a community of learners supported by a coaching model that embraces positive relationships, goal setting, in-depth planning, collaboration, and reflection squarely focused on preparing students to be successful for life.

Nancy Battaglia @nbattaglia

Director of Technology, Skokie School District 68

Nancy Battaglia is Director of Technology for Skokie School District 68, a PK-8 district of 1,900 students in Skokie, IL. Nancy is in her 12th year as a technology director, previously working as an assistant principal, technology staff developer and high school teacher. Last year, Nancy and her department rolled out 1700 iPads to staff and students for a 3rd-8th grade 1:1 program.

Carrie Baughcum @HeckAwesome

6/7/8 Extended Resource Teacher South Middle School

Carrie is a self described inspiration junkie, idea sharer, learning enthusiast and most of all a passionate believer that all children can learn, we just need to find out how. She is the married mother of two daughters, 9 and 11. At home she encourages her daughters to explore, learn and try anything their imaginations can think up. She is also the 6/7/8th grade Extended Resource Special Education teacher at South Middle School in Arlington Heights School District 25. She uses a no fear philosophy, creative thinking, an adventurous mindset and the power of technology coupled with hands on activities and experiences to enable her students to achieve things they never knew they could. She shares her experiences from her classroom, her family, creative adventures and her reflections at conferences and at

Steven Baule @DrBaule_MCS


Steve Baule is superintendent of the Muncie Community Schools. In his career as an educator, Baule has experience as a classroom teacher, a library media specialist, a building administrator, an assistant superintendent, and a superintendent. His leadership focus has been to provide students with deeper understanding and connections between traditional curricular areas while enhancing that instruction through the innovative use of technology. He was identified by eSchool News as one of the top ten Tech Savvy Superintendents in 2009. He was honored by the Illinois Association of School Administrators and the University of Illinois’s College of Education with the Van Miller Distinguished Scholar Practitioner Award in 2013. Baule was invited to the White House in November 2014 for the Connected Superintendent Summit. Baule has written on historical and educational topics. He has conducted technology program audits and program evaluations for a range of districts from small rural and suburban districts to large urban districts.

Joan Biese @gr1teacher

Second Grade Teacher, Rock Ledge Primary School, Seymour, WI

I have been teaching with tech at the primary level for 24 years; I love learning about new trends in technology--especially those that are free and don't take up a lot of my time to learn how to implement into my classroom! Augmented reality definitely has a place in my students' creative classroom environment; I'm hoping you learn how it can enhance your classroom, as well!

Michael Biondo @history_mrb

Social Science Teacher & Instructional Coach, Maine South High School

Michael Biondo ( is in his 14th year as a Social Science teacher and in his 8th year as an Instructional Coach at Maine South High School. He teaches United States History and coordinates student participation in the Chicago Metro History Fair, the local affiliate of National History Day. In his instructional coaching role, he provides one-on-one coaching to teachers, leads staff development programs, and co-directs a district action research program (CLEAR Project) currently in its 6th year. He is a Google for Education Certified Trainer. He earned his BA in History at Dominican University. He has an MA in History from Northeastern Illinois University, and an MA in School Leadership from Concordia University Chicago, where he also recently began a doctoral program. Michael was named Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) “Classroom Educator of the Year” in 2015 and the Illinois Patricia Behring National History Day Senior Division “Teacher of the Year” in 2016.

Jarod Bormann @jbormann3

Instructional Technology - Keystone AEA

A Technology Integration Specialist at the Keystone AEA. Masters in Instructional Technology through the University of Northern Iowa. An adjunct professor for the same Masters program. Formally taught MS/HS English for seven years in one of the first 1:1 iPad schools in Iowa. A blogger at An annual presenter at the Keystone KPEC Conference, ITEC Iowa (2016 Iowa Featured Speaker), as well as other educational tech conferences throughout the midwest. ITEC Iowa Board Member. Co-host of the Next Level Learning podcast. Presenter at ISTE 2016. Recognized as the 2014 Iowa Safe Schools Educator of the Year.

Timothy Bryner @@brynertsb

Principal, Robert Abbott Middle School, Waukegan CUSD #60

Timothy Bryner has been the principal of Robert E. Abbott Middle School in Waukegan CUSD #60 for the last six years. Under his direction, his was the first middle school in the district to pilot the 1:1 use of Chromebooks for instruction. This year the school is in the second phase of the rollout to all of its 770 students. An educator for the past 23 years, Tim's professional practice is strongly rooted in the underlying belief that a growth mindset empowers all learners: everyone can learn and become an expert if one puts in the time to learn and practice. Married and father of three children, Tim’s hobbies consist of maintaining a 125-gallon saltwater fish and coral aquarium and hydroponic gardening. Tim is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University.

Vita Carnduff @QueenCarnduff

4th and 5th Grade Teacher- Gurnee School District 56

A 2014 Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction, Vita loves to work with passionate and innovative educators in order to create a positive school experience for students. As an original Apple Trainer for Gurnee District 56, Vita is constantly looking for new and exciting ways to incorporate technology into her classroom and with 1:1 iPads K-8, across the district, there is always something fun to learn! Two years ago, Vita embraced the concept of gamification and turned her classroom into a castle, and her students into questers and adventurers. With the students focused on earning XP and conquering the evil wizard, Bor-DOOM in order to save the queen, she has seen a dramatic improvement in student achievement, interest, engagement, responsibility and productivity. Gamification + Imagination = Transformation and Motivation!

Amanda Carroll @MsCarrollSS

Instructional Technology Coach - Vernon Hills H.S.

Amanda started her teaching career in 2003. She has been at Vernon Hills High School since 2006 where she is currently an Instructional Coach and Social Studies teacher. Her passion for politics and undergraduate studies in International Affairs at Marquette University, fits perfectly teaching Advanced Placement Government and United States History. Amanda is dedicated to helping all teachers improve instruction and blend technology in their classrooms to foster learning. A Wisconsin girl at heart Amanda is currently living in Libertyville, IL with her husband and three children.

Sean Crevier @BusEdCrev

Instructional Technology Coach - Vernon Hills H.S.

Sean has been a teacher since 1999, after leaving the technology consulting world. He currently teaches business & works with educators as an instructional technology coach at Vernon Hills H.S. Sean is also on the Accounting Pilot & Bridge Project team (, helping infuse college accounting curriculum into high school courses. Sean has given several educational keynotes, workshops, a TED talk & loves learning with other educators. He’s a Chicagoland native, outdoor enthusiast, and die hard Packers fan.

Rico D'Amore @rico_damore

Director of Educational Technology, Warren Township HS District #121

Rico D'Amore has been the Director of Educational Technology at Warren Township High School, one of the largest high school districts in Illinois, for about 10 years. His work over the years includes a successful transition from a school wide BYOD policy to a district wide 1:1 Chromebook initiative for 4500 students. This past year he worked with students to plan Devil Hack 1.00, which was one of the first Major League Hacking high school events in Illinois.

Todd Dugan @nhmesd

Superintendent of New Holland-Middletown #88

Todd Dugan has been the Superintendent of New Holland-Middletown Elementary District #88, a remote rural high-poverty K-8 district in central Illinois, for the past five years. In that time, NH-M #88 has rolled out a successful 1:1 program with iPads, Chromebooks and Surfaces as well as continued bringing innovative practices such as maker spaces, flexible seating, 3-D printing and design thinking to students in order to disrupt the barriers of inequity. In the past five years, NH-M has received numerous awards and grants, including State Farm Neighborhood Assist, three STEM grants, and consideration for Green Ribbon Award and 2016 White House Maker Movement. Todd has been in public education for 20 years, with nine years as a middle school teacher, six years as a principal and the last five as superintendent. Currently finishing a qualitative dissertation at Illinois State University on the effects of equity barriers, Todd enjoys writing ( in his spare time, as well as spend time with his wife, children and dog, following the Chicago White Sox and enjoying nature.

Nina Dulabaum ~ Dr. Duly @DrDuly

Assistant Professor at Tulsa Community College

After graduating from Oberlin College, Dr. Dulabaum served in Berlin, Germany as an international volunteer during the East-West divide. Dr. Duly includes among her accomplishments the publication of a best-selling handbook on communication and conflict [5 editions], and numerous presentations on technology for student and faculty success. Areas of expertise include leveraging personalized and adaptive technology; she is currently piloting OER resources in enhanced, face2face and online courses. Dr. Dulabaum has diverse work experience as a professor, consultant, administrator and mom, and enjoys facilitating dynamic learning experiences in e.g., psychology, education, sociology, leadership and German. She advocates for OER, social entrepreneurship, and innovative technology for global sustainability.

Jennifer Errthum

Assistant Principal - Saint Mary Immaculate Parish School - Plainfield, IL

Jackie Fiske @SMIPTech

Technology Integration Coach - Saint Mary Immaculate Parish School - Plainfield, IL

Robert French @teachconsumered

Business/Technology Instructor, Waukegan Public Schools

I am a public school teacher who teaches Business/Technology Classes in the North Suburban Chicago town of Waukegan. I am currently a Lead Technology Teacher for Waukegan Public Schools District 60. WPS is a K-12 District with 13,000 students and over 1200 teachers. I serve as a mentor, guide and pilot teacher for new technology initiatives and train staff on how to better use existing technology in the district. I formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Jumpstart Initiative, a national organization furthering financial literacy to urban youth. I currently am completing National Board Certification with completion expected in Fall 2017. I have achieved distinction with multiple certifications including: Google Educator Certification, Pear Deck "Power Teacher", WISE Financial Literacy Certified Instructor, Everfi "Teacher of Distinction", Hapara Certified Instructor. I have receive multiple grants totaling over $35,000 from Discover Financial Services, Computer Science Collaboration Project, Lake Forest Hospital, WPS Educational Foundation, WCHS Educational Foundation.

Allison Gest @@MrsGest

Maine East HS - Science Department Chair

I am a Geology Teacher and Science Department Chair at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, IL. I am also a Google Education Trainer. I have students use all kinds of technology, especially GAFE on a daily basis in a 1:1 chromebook environment. I help provide professional development to demonstrate how technology can be infused with other research-based strategies.

Jill Gildea @drjillgildea

Superintendent at Fremont School District 79

Jill Gildea has served as Superintendent of Schools for ten years with the last seven at Fremont 79. During this time Fremont 79 moved to a 1:1 dynamic digital learning environment co-creating a student-centered and future-focused learner experience.

R.J. Gravel @rjgravel

A native of the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Gravel (@rjgravel) is the Assistant Superintendent for Business Services at Glenbrook High School District 225. As an educator, business manager and technologist for elementary, secondary, and higher education institutions, a SMART Exemplary Educator, and a Skyward Leader in Excellence recipient, R.J. advocates for effective technology integration in PreK-12 education at the local and national levels. As a contributor to the profession, Dr. Gravel contributes to a number of publications, and emphasizes the importance of school leaders working together in order to ensure student and staff success.

Phil Hintz @phintz

Director of Technology, Gurnee School District 56

Phil Hintz is the Director of Technology for Gurnee School District 56 in Gurnee, Illinois where he has been for the past 12 years. Currently, Phil's district is in their 5th year of a district-wide, 1:1 iPad initiative for all 2400 students and teachers in grades Pre-K through 8. Phil has presented at several Illinois technology conferences including the ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) conference and the University of Illinois Technology conference called the "Tech Feast.” On the national stage, Phil has presented the highlights of his initiative to Tech and Learning Magazine's School CIO Summit. Phil is an avid new technology reviewer and has written several columns for Tech & Learning Magazine and School CIO. Phil has also served as a judge for the past several years in Tech & Learning’s Awards of Excellence program. In 2014, Phil presented a half-day workshop on the international stage at the 2014 ISTE Conference in Atlanta, GA. In January of 2015, Phil presented a half-day workshop for the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) on how to implement a successful 1:1 iPad initiative. Phil continues to present on the local and national stage at workshops and conferences throughout the year, as well as keeping an extensive consulting and coaching schedule for schools that are beginning their journey towards digital and collaborative transformation. In the Spring of 2015 Phil was chosen as the Technology Director of the Year for 2014-2015 for the State of Illinois and was presented with this award at the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) conference. In June of 2015, Phil also became that year’s recipient of ISTE’s Outstanding Leader of Year Award, which was highlighted and presented to him at the annual ISTE conference in Philadelphia. Most recently, Phil made the list of the National School Boards Association’s top “20 to Watch” in educational technology for 2016. Gurnee School District 56’s District-Wide 1:1 iPad Initiative was awarded the Apple Distinguished Program for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence for 2013-2015 and again in 2015-2017. An interactive iBook detailing this initiative can be found on the iTunes Book Store. Gurnee School District 56’s award-winning 1:1 iPad Initiative is one of only 6 featured programs internationally on the Apple Distinguished Schools website.

Erica Holton @HoltonErica

Instructional Coach at Huntley Community School District 158

Now an instructional coach, Erica Holton previously taught high school English in the traditional, 1:1, and blended environments. She is passionate about increasing students’ literacy and critical thinking skills, and ultimately, their positive engagement and interaction with the world around them. Erica now enjoys collaborating with Huntley High School teachers as they continue to push themselves to create more dynamic, innovative, and student-centered learning environments.

Phil Lacey @philacey

Director of Instructional Technology, Niles Township High School District 219

Dr. Philip (Phil) Lacey is the Director of Instructional Technology for Niles District 219 in Skokie, IL. In this capacity, he works closely with classroom instructors and curriculum developers to develop rich student centered learning environments. Phil and his team have been supporting 1:1 learning in District 219 with their student led AAL Help Desk since 2010. His latest project involves the implementation of a large-scale blended, competency-based Digital Literacy Program. Prior to his current role, Phil was a high school science instructor in both private and public schools. He has served Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) as President, ICE Conference Co-Chair, and Tech 200X Co-Chair, and presented at ISTE and numerous national and local conferences. Phil is a Google Certified Educator and Certified Trainer and has provided training for school districts as they transition to digital learning environments and Google Suite for Education. He is also involved in his community as a Local School Council Representative for Ebinger Elementary School in Chicago and as a coach for Edison Park Youth Soccer. His most rewarding role is serving as Assistant Chief Household Officer to Amy for Sean and Maggie.

Kristin Lagerquist @klagerqt

I am the K-5 Technology Integration Specialist at Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago, IL. I recently became Google Educator Level I certified and I also hold tech educator certifications through Symbaloo and Graphite/Common Sense Media.I absolutely love what I do and I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and ideas with others. One of the biggest "perks" of my job is that I never stop learning, I never stop challenging myself and there isn't an is ever-changing, ever-evolving and becoming a bigger and bigger part of our world. I love to help bridge the gap between "tech speak" and "normal person/teacher talk". Using tech can be scary but with the right tools, support and encouragement it is ALL possible.

Gerry Marchand @gm8585

Science Teacher: Huntley High School

Gerry is a science teacher at Huntley High School and adjunct professor at Elgin Community College. He has been teaching since 2006. Gerry was a pioneer at HHS in Blended Learning in 2011 and was also the first at HHS to implement the Flipped Classroom Model, creating over 100 videos to enhance student learning. His current endeavor of mastery-based learning has escalated the flipped and blended learning model. At FlipCon 2015, Gerry presented on one of his favorite hobbies: making fun educational videos for students. Gerry's most recent endeavor is co-founding The IL Flipped & Blended Learning Network. Check it out at

Maureen Chertow Miller

Director of Technology- Winnetka Public Schools District 36

Maureen Chertow Miller 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. Maureen's eyes are always future-focused, with a vision for using technology to help all students exceed their learning goals. Currently, the Director of Technology for The Winnetka Public School District 36, Maureen has led initiatives for Makerspaces, iPads, Google Apps, technology-infused professional development, and interactive whiteboards. Maureen's passion for technology and her love of learning are evident to all who know her.

Mary Mlinar-Stephens @mary_m_s

Teacher, Robert Abbott Middle School, Waukegan CUSD #60

An educator for over 20 years, Mary Mlinar-Stephens is currently teaching seventh graders in a 1:1 learning initiative at Robert Abbott Middle School in Waukegan, Illinois. She is part of the school’s technology team to help plan/support her colleagues’ ed-tech professional development. Mary is a former Director of Educational Technology Innovation in Waukegan CUSD #60 where she co-facilitated a 1:1 learning initiative of 5000 Chromebooks. Mary earned master’s degrees in Elementary Education and in K-12 Instructional Technology, and is a graduate of the JHU/ISTE Administration and Supervision Cohort program. Mary has presented on instructional technology topics at ICE, MACUL, and ISTE and has participated in several Chicago Tech & Learning Live Events.

Deanna Nelson @HiveJiver

Instructional Technology Trainer - Sheboygan Area School District

Deanna Nelson strives to help teachers navigate the rapidly changing technology landscape in education. As an instructional technology trainer, Deanna has worked to help plan, establish, evaluate, and refine teacher adoption of technology integration in her school district of 10,000 students. Her experience includes lesson planning and modeling the use of the 4Cs (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity) with preK-12th grade teachers across content areas. Technology solutions employed at Deanna's district include Google Suite for Education, Haiku Learning, SMART Notebook, GoGuardian, and BrightBytes. District students use iPad mini devices (4K-2nd grade) and Chromebooks (3rd-12th grade).

Laura Nylen @lauranylen

Instructional Technology Specialist- Indian Prairie School District 204

Laura serves as an Instructional Technology Specialist in Indian Prairie School District 204 in Aurora, Illinois. In her current role she works closely with all K-12 Library Media Center Directors in the district in order to provide personalized professional development focused on the Future Ready Librarian framework. Laura also works alongside the Library Leadership Team in order to build capacity for all librarians as Future Ready Leaders. Laura Nylen is passionate about instructional innovation in the classroom and the library. Her past experiences include reading and math specialist, classroom teacher in K-6th grades, and Library Media Center Director.

Colleen Pacatte @@cpacatte, @d56achieve

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Assessment, Gurnee School District 56

Dr. Colleen M. Pacatte is the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Assessment for Gurnee School District 56. Dr. Pacatte has facilitated the transition to becoming a successful 1:1 school district by providing ongoing, job embedded, professional development. Along with her staff, she designed a gamified approach to professional development intended to support the use of the SAMR model when integrating technology in the classroom. Dr. Pacatte also led the initiative to create locally developed digital books for the elementary science program. Dr. Pacatte is the lead author of the e-book telling the district’s story, currently featured on the iBook Store.

Sheila Peckler

Director of Business Services

Sheila Peckler has been the Director of Business Services for Gurnee School District 56 for 14 years.

Nick Polyak @npolyak

Superintendent, Leyden High School district 212

Dr. Nick Polyak serves as the Superintendent for Leyden Community High School District #212. The district contains two comprehensive high schools with 3,500 students from Franklin Park, Melrose Park, Northlake, River Grove, Rosemont, Schiller Park, and Unincorporated Leyden Township. Nick is married with 4 young children and they reside in suburban Chicago. Nick earned a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago where he received the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. He holds a Master of Arts Degree and Chief School Business Officer (CSBO) license from Governors State University. Dr. Polyak’s undergraduate work was at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education. Nick began his educational career in Lincoln-Way High School District 210 as a high school Math Teacher and Tennis/Soccer Coach. He had opportunities at Lincoln-Way to serve as a Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, and Director of Instruction and Staff Development. He then moved to the Peoria area for four years where he served as the Superintendent for Illinois Valley Central School District #321. Nick is proud to lead an award winning school district. Over the past few years at Leyden, the district has received many honors. They were named the 2014 National Advanced Placement District of the Year by the College Board. In addition, the district has welcomed over two thousand visitors to learn about teaching and learning in a 1:1 environment. Leyden’s School Board’s support and vision for digital transformation was recognized with a Magna Award from the National School Board Association (NSBA) and a Digital Content and Curriculum Award. Both Leyden High Schools were recently named Illinois Democracy Schools. Leyden has also been named to the 2014, 2015, and 2016 listing of the Top 100 Workplaces by the Chicago Tribune. Dr. Polyak believes strongly in community involvement. He is the Past-President of two different Chambers of Commerce, served four years as a School Board Member in Manhattan School District 114, coached youth sports, and has been involved in a variety of other community groups and charitable efforts. Nick completed the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) School for Advanced Leadership in 2014 and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Superintendent Certification Program in 2016. Nick is a co-moderator of #suptchat, the international Twitter Chat for Superintendents. He recently co-authored The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today. He can be followed at @npolyak.

Natalie Profita @Tech_Curric117

Technology Instruction Coordinator, North Palos School District 117

Natalie Profita is a Technology Instruction Coordinator for North Palos School District 117 in Palos Hills, IL. North Palos School District 117 is a public school district servicing 3,400 students in grades PreK-8. Natalie has been in the position of Technology Instruction Coordinator for six years and has supported Conrady Junior High School in the rollout of a 1:1 Chromebook initiative. Alongside the two other district Technology Instruction Coordinators, Kara Smit and Shadia Salem, she provides professional development and compiles student achievement data. She is a Google Certified Trainer and has led training workshops to prepare 30 district teachers for Google Certified Educator Level 1 and 2 certifications.

Dale Reed @TeachingCS

University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Dale Reed is Clinical Professor in the Computer Science department at UIC. Reed has been involved in CS Educational outreach programs in Chicago since the early 1990’s. As director of CS Recruitment at UIC he has given well over 300 presentations to ~10,000 high school students over the last 10 years. He has spearheaded UIC CS department undergraduate student population growth from 180 students in 2005 to over 840 students in 2017, leading the national growth average by ~6%. As a founding member of the Chicago CSTA Reed has run Google-funded CS4HS seminars for multiple years and was part of the Chicago team that from 2009-2016 got CS to be a high school graduation requirement in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Reed claims his teaching has gotten much better since he started paying attention to what high school teachers have to say! He is a national Exploring Computer Science (ECS) PD mentor facilitator. He has served on his neighborhood school Local School Council (LSC) for 11 years and served for the last three years as a member of the College Board Development Committee for the AP CS Principles (CSP) course. Secretly, he wants to be able to ride a unicycle and juggle at the same time.

Jana Sebestik @MSTEOffice

Assistant Director of STEM Curriculum Design, University of Illinois

Jana Sebestik is the Assistant Director of STEM Curriculum Design in the Office for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (MSTE) at the University of Illinois. Before coming to MSTE, Jana spent 34 years as a public school classroom teacher. She currently coordinates education and outreach for four NSF/DOE funded energy and cyber related projects. She helps engineers and research scientists connect their work to educators, consumers, and students. She is author of curriculum modules in computer science, mathematics, and science including, Discovering Computer Science & Programming through Scratch and The Power of the Wind, published as part of the National 4-H STEM Initiative. She has presented at national meetings of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) K-12 Workshops.

Chris Skrzypchak @biztechtchr

TOSA - Instructional Technology, Huntley CSD 158

Chris is in his second year as a Teacher On Special Assignment - Instructional Technology. Chris oversees the district’s instructional technology vision and also serves as an instructional coach for middle school math. Prior to his present role, Chris served as a Technology Integration Specialist and taught Computer Literacy for 9 years in the middle school. Teaching is a second career for Chris, but he has been around educational technology for over 20 years, having worked in educational software sales for 8 years prior to becoming a teacher.

Jeff Solin @jeffsolin

Computer Science and Making Teacher

Jeff Solin is a Computer Science / Making teacher and FIRST Robotics coach at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, IL. He’s honored to be part of an amazing Computer Science department offering 11 CS courses to the 4,400 students at Lane, with an administration committed to supporting and expanding CS education. Jeff is a co-founder and leadership team member of the Chicago chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association, the largest CSTA chapter in the country. He is also one of the original team members that helped bring the Exploring Computer Science curriculum to Chicago Public Schools. This team successfully helped create CS pathways for both students and teachers in all of Chicago Public Schools through an initiative known as CS4All. There are now many thousands of underrepresented CPS students learning CS through these efforts. Jeff is also heavily involved in bringing the Maker Movement into schools. He turned an old cafeteria at Lane Tech into a fully-equipped 4000 sqft makerspace, the LT Maker Lab (Twitter: @LTMakers). Jeff designed and built the space, wrote the curriculum for the course and currently teaches over 160 students in the space. He received his BS in Computer Science from Ohio State University followed by his M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. Above all things CS, Jeff loves to spend time with his wife Sarah and their two kids Sunshine (14) and Milo (11).

Ross Vittore @rossvittore

Director of Innovative Learning, CCSD59

Ross Vittore is currently the Director of Innovative Learning in CCSD59, a culturally rich and diverse public school district in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. A father to two school-aged children, and a former teacher and school principal, he is passionate about supporting schools in their shift from traditional teaching to modern learning. A believer that every student needs a champion and every teacher needs an instructional coach, he helps shape and develop positive learning cultures to embrace new models of professional development and innovative learning design.

Steve Wick @rechargeedu

Technology Coordinator

Steve is a High School Science Teacher and Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. Steve has taught Science and Social Studies at the middle school and high school level for more than 20 years. His passions as a learner and leader include the 4Cs, personal learning networks, Google Apps for Education, Chromebooks, and student-centered classrooms. He has a Masters in Instructional Technology from National Louis University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Benedictine University. Steve has supported rollouts and professional development connected to Digital Learning, 1 to 1 Chromebooks, and G Suite for Education for K-12 teachers and students.

Don Yanek @dyanekCS

Chair: Computer Science Department at Northside College Prep HS

Don is chair of the Department of Computer Science at Northside College Prep HS, a founder and former President of the Chicago Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association, and co-PI on the National Science Foundation [NSF] Computing Education in the 21st Century [CE21] grant, Accelerate ECS For All. The goal of the research grant is to develop a coaching and peer mentoring protocol for Computer Science teachers. He is a former co-PI on the NSF CE21 Taste of Computing Grant to facilitate professional development for teachers in Chicago and Illinois. Don is a national Exploring Computer Science teacher professional development facilitator, a pilot for the AP CS Principles course, an APCSA teacher, and an advisor for the Teacher Education in Computer Science [TECS] program at Illinois State University and the Illinois CS Task Force. He’s a National Center for Women & Information Technology Aspirations in Computing Educator Award winner and plays drums in the indie/rock band The Purcells.