Keynote Speakers

Karen Cator is the Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. She has devoted her career to creating the best possible learning environments for this generation of students. Prior to joining the department, Cator directed Apple's leadership and advocacy efforts in education. In this role, she focused on the intersection of education policy and research, emerging technologies, and the reality faced by teachers, students and administrators. Cator joined Apple in 1997 from the public education sector, where, immediately prior to her position at Apple, she led technology planning and implementation in Juneau, Alaska. She also served as Special Assistant for Telecommunications for the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska. Cator holds a Master’s in School Administration from the University of Oregon and Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Springfield College. She is the past chair of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and has served on the several boards including the Software & Information Industry Association—Education.

Dr. Susan Lowes is Director of Research and Evaluation at the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has conducted research on teaching and learning at both the K-12 and university levels, including many online initiatives, and has evaluated multi-year projects funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education (PT-3, FIPSE, TIGC, 21st CCLC, and TAH), NSF (GK-12, REU, IGERT), private foundations, and city and state governments. She has served on Department of Education and NSF Advisory and Review panels and was Co-PI on a NSF-funded GK-12 Project awarded to Columbia's Fu Foundation School of Engineering. Her most recent research includes a study of the impact of online teaching on classroom change, funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education through Learning Point Associates/NCREL; a study of children's conceptions of the world, funded by the National Geographical Education Fund; and a series of ongoing studies of online discussion forums.

Susan Patrick is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). iNACOL is the international K-12 nonprofit association representing the interests of practitioners, providers and students involved in online learning worldwide. She is the former Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. As Director, she published the U.S. National Education Technology Plan for Congress and managed research and technical assistance programs on educational technology. In addition, she co-chaired the federal government’s Advanced Technologies Working Group for Education and Training, and served as a member of the Secretary’s Rural Education Task Force.


Tim Callahan has been a classroom English teacher for thirteen years and Dean of Curriculum and English department team leader at Drury High School for two years. This past winter, he was named Director of Technology for the North Adams Public Schools. Since the 2009-2010 school year, Tim has coordinated the development and implementation of twenty-nine online credit recovery modules for grades 8-10 as part of a larger school-wide initiative to keep students on track toward graduation. Tim is also an accomplished author in the field of graphic narrative, lecturing on the topic at the Norman Rockwell Museum and writing for publishers such as TwoMorrows and Image Comics.

Jonathan P. Costa, Sr. is the Director of School and Program Services for the Education Connection in Litchfield, Connecticut. A former teacher, consultant and businessman, Mr. Costa is now currently responsible for providing leadership for all district services for K-12 education, which includes supervision of The Center for 21st Century Skills. In his 27 years of advocating for increased student engagement through digital learning environments, he has shared his expertise regarding leadership, technology, change, and organizational productivity with educators and businesses in over 125 school districts in 12 states. Mr. Costa is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences and his writings have appeared in publications as varied as Educational Leadership and Runner's World.

Dr. Stephen Kossakoski is the Chief Executive Officer and one of the founders of New Hampshire's Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS). Prior to becoming the school’s first CEO, he worked for eight years as the Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Research for School Administrative Unit 16 in Exeter, NH. While at SAU 16 he was responsible for overseeing two elementary school districts and leading the technology efforts for the seven school districts that comprise SAU 16. Also during his tenure at SAU 16, he founded and served as Director of the Seacoast Professional Development Center and designed another successful charter school, the Great Bay e-Learning Charter School. Dr. Kossakoski has also worked as an independent consultant and served as a director of . During the first thirteen years of his career he served as a classroom teacher, department chair, and basketball coach.

Jeff Mao is the Learning Technology Policy Director for the State of Maine, Department of Education. Jeff provides vision and oversight to Maine’s education technology programs, including the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). Jeff began his career in the classroom at the Brewster Academy where he helped develop its pioneering 1:1 program in 1993. Jeff then held a technology director position in one of Maine's larger school districts, and subsequently joined the Maine Department of Education. He has testified in support of education technology to the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and has published articles in the One-to-One Institute Newsletter, THE Journal, and online for Jeff is also Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the State Educational Technology Directors’ Association.

Jeff Renard is a long-time educator, technologist and lifelong learner. As a teacher, he has instructed courses in electronics, fiber optics, audio/video production, web-based media and instructional design in face-to-face and online programs at the secondary through graduate level. Jeff holds several educational and technical certifications and degrees in Educational Technology, Electronics, and Philosophy as well as advanced graduate certificates in Educational Administration, Web Design and Online Teaching. He also holds a Masters of Science in Information Technology. Jeff is currently the program coordinator and founder of the Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative (VTVLC) and has been active in promoting and implementing online education in Vermont for over 12 years.

Chris Weinman is the Executive Director for Career and Technical Education (CTE), Adult Education and Alternative Education services for the Greater Southern Tier (GST) BOCES in the Southern Tier of New York State. These educational services offer more than 100 programs, which currently serve approximately 9,000 students. Mr. Weinman helped establish the GST BOCES Alternative Placement Academy and the GST BOCES Advanced Academics Virtual Learning Project, two innovative 21st Century initiatives that introduce online learning opportunities to students.

Angela Penfold (Moderator) is the Director of the Center on Instruction (COI), one of five national content centers that are part of the Comprehensive Center network, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. COI is a resource for the 16 Regional Centers as they serve state education leaders to help close achievement gaps, raise student achievement, and improve teaching and learning for all students. She is a senior research associate with RMC Research, Portsmouth. Her past experience includes work with the National Technical Assistance Center for Reading First and the Partnership for Reading as well as the Early Childhood Educator Academies. She participated in the national evaluation of the Reading Excellence Act and in a study of and practices contributing to the successful design and implementation of pre-service and in-service literacy teacher training programs. She received her B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University and her Ed.M. in Educational Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University.

Breakout Presenters

Paul Leather was sworn in as New Hampshire’s Deputy Commissioner of Education on April 14, 2010. Mr. Leather’s background and experience in Education, Counseling, and Administration in New Hampshire spans three decades. He is also serving as Director of the Division of Career Technology and Adult Learning for the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE) and oversees the administration of Vocational Rehabilitation, Adult Education, Career and Technical Education, Tech-Prep, School Guidance and Counseling, Apprenticeship Programs, and Career Development efforts, including Workforce Investment Act coordination for the NHDOE. In addition, Mr. Leather is past president of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) and oversees statewide initiatives such as High School Redesign, Extended Learning Opportunities, and Drop Out Prevention.

Stan Freeda is the e-Learning Consultant for the NH Department of Education and works at the NH Department of Education out of the Office of Educational Technology. His primary role is project coordinator for the NH e-Learning for Educators program, which offers online professional development courses for teachers through OPEN NH. He also maintains NH teaching credentials in Biology and Physics, and, over the years, has taught a wide range of sciences at both the middle and high school levels. His teaching experience includes both face-to-face and online delivery of science and education courses at the college level. Stan has been trained and certified to both facilitate and develop online courses.

Professor Stan Silverman, from New York Institute of Technology, is widely regarded as a pioneer and national leader in distance learning and educational technology. He combines a physicist’s knowledge of technological hardware with a teacher’s insight into how they can be applied to enhance learning. He is a Full professor in the School of Education and the director of the school’s Technology Based Learning Systems Department and Educational Enterprise Zone. He is a nationally known speaker on technology and education, serves on the NYS Regents Technology Council and Chairs the NYS Teacher Center Technology Committee. He is the author of numerous publications concerning technology and education and has served as the project director for many research and technology innovation projects funded by a wide variety of organizations. He has been honored by inclusion in the USDLA Hall of Fame and was the September, 2003 profile winner of the Center for Digital Education's "In the Arena" program.

Barbara Treacy is the Director of EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO), Education Development Center's (EDC) national, capacity building, online learning program for state departments of education, school districts, colleges and universities, and other educational organizations. ETLO works to enable these organizations to develop effective, online learning programs for teachers, administrators and students. Over the past 10 years, ETLO has prepared over 4000 online specialists who have delivered online courses to over 45,000 educators and students in more than 35 states. Barbara also directs several other online learning projects at EDC, including EDC's collaboration with the e-Learning for Educators project, funded by the US Department of Education, to develop state level online professional development programs in 10 states. Prior to her work at EDC, Barbara was a math instructor at UMass Boston in the Academic Support Department.

Dr. Judith Zorfass, EDC, has been directing federally funded projects on special education, literacy, and technology integration since the mid-1980’s. She has carried out research, developed curriculum, designed online courses for professionals, led the design of websites, conducted professional development, provided technical assistance, and designed software. She is the author of the ASCD book, “Helping Middle School Students Become Active Researchers,” which focused on technology and inquiry; is the lead author of “Make It Happen!” which guides teams of middle school teachers to integrate technology into inquiry-based learning; and is the lead author of “Leading inDeed,” a school-based approach to technology integration. In addition to publishing many journal articles, she has been a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences. She is currently the Co-PI on the Center for Technology Implementation, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).