Digital Advisory Panel
Vera Ahiyya (née Corbett) was born in Germany and raised in El Paso, TX with her wonderful mother and amazing grandparents. Originally a pre-med student, Vera realized her calling as an educator at Austin College in Sherman, TX, where she majored in History and Psychology and earned her MA in Education. Vera has taught Kindergarten and first grade for the last 15 years in Austin, Boston, and Brooklyn. Vera’s online presence is dedicated to influencing other educators by spreading her vast knowledge and love of diverse children’s books. Vera’s unwavering commitment to social justice and diversity is also the focal point of her professional development presentations for other educators. Vera lives in Brooklyn with her husband Lonnell and her dog, Mozi. You can find her on social media @thetututeacher.
Assistant Professor of Teacher Development; Graduate Director of Educational Leadership & Technology MS at the College of Education and Learning Design, St. Cloud State University
Dave Blanchard is an assistant professor of Teacher Development and graduate director of the Educational Leadership & Technology MS program in the College of Education and Learning Design at St. Cloud State University. Dave is a current doctoral student at Winona State University, focusing on innovative educational leadership and online personal learning networks. Dave holds a MS in Information Media, double majoring in Instructional Design and Training (for corporate settings) and Technology Integration (for P12+ schools). Having served as a classroom teacher, technology specialist, and district coordinator, Dave works to center educational decisions on the needs of learners, involve teachers and students in decision making, and work through a lens of equity to ensure voices and perspectives are present in organizational change. He is an active presenter, facilitator, and educational consultant working with schools, nonprofits, and education companies to design meaningful and relevant learning experiences for all. Dave is always open and active on social media - find him across most platforms at @000Dave
Technology Integration Coach
Becky is an energetic and passionate technology integration coach, educator, and presenter. As a new coach, Becky brings her computer science experience and her love of technology to help find innovative and standard based learning activities for her teachers. She earned her M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on distance learning and online education from Dallas Baptist University and she holds various certifications such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) certification. Becky has written and help establish an elementary computer science school of choice program and works as an educational consultant. You can follow her on Twitter @txBeckytech.
Data Specialist/ Reading Interventionist
Sara Norman is a Teacher, Course Evaluator, and Educational Consultant. Sara has been in education for over 20 years. She has been a classroom teacher, Reading Interventionist, Data Specialist and Instructional Coach. Sara is also an educational consultant with a focus on educational technology integration, as well as a course evaluator for Learners Edge. She loves talking about all things teaching and technology related! You can find her on Twitter @teachernorman.
Alonzo brings a wealth of experience in helping all students feel represented and accepted. He has served as a high school special-education teacher, middle-school teacher, dean of students, school partnerships manager and assistant principal. Alonzo understands the importance of approaching education with an equity lens and collaborating with stakeholders to increase student achievement. Alonzo is also committed to building strong family partnerships, closing the student achievement gap and ensuring a strong pathway to college and career goals for our students. Alonzo is proud to continue the great work of Capstone and is excited to join an innovative community that works together to ensure every child has what they need to learn. Alonzo has excellent academic qualifications with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Howard University, a Master’s of Education Leadership degree and a K-12 Administrative License from Old Dominion University, and he is currently pursuing his Education Specialist Degree at Minnesota State Mankato. In his free time Alonzo enjoys staying active through sports, going to outdoor concerts, watching indie films, traveling, and spending time with his partner, twin boys (Myles & Theo), and his four-year-old daughter, Leila. You can follow him on Twitter @Parks_IV, and on Instragram @adparks32.
School Library Media Specialist
Andy Plemmons is the school library media specialist at David C. Barrow Elementary in Athens, GA and a Google Certified Innovator. He has over 20 years of experience in both the library and the classroom. Some of his honors include the 2021 UGA Mary Frances Early College of Education Mid-Career Alumni Award, 2018 Edtech Digest Top 100 Edtech Influencers, 2017 American Association of School Librarians Social Media Superstar Award, 2016 Library Journal Movers and Shakers, Georgia Exemplary Elementary Library Media Program, finalist for School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year, and the 2015 National School Board Association 20 to Watch. You can follow Andy’s work on Twitter @plemmonsa or on his blog Expect the Miraculous. You can also follow him on Instagram @andy.plemmons & @barrowmediacenter.
First Grade Teacher
Tiffany Renando is a First Grade Teacher in Minneapolis, MN, where she lives with her husband and one-year old daughter. She received a B.A. in Psychology and Linguistics from the University of Minnesota, and an M.A. in Education from Augsburg College. She loves Minneapolis and is passionate about guiding the children of Minneapolis to be lifelong learners, contributing citizens, and thoughtful community members. In her free time, she makes pottery, and likes to go hiking and camping with her family. You can follow her on Instagram @trotteryceramics.
Senior Program Developer; National Girls Collaborative Project
Dr. Amanda Sullivan is a researcher, educator, and author who focuses on the impact of new technologies on young children. Her research explores strategies for breaking gender stereotypes and engaging girls in STEM from an early age. She is currently the Senior Program Developer at the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), a nonprofit organization focused on gender equity in STEM. Amanda is a former Lecturer in the Department of Child Study & Human Development at Tufts University where she taught in the Early Childhood Technology graduate certificate program.
Amanda holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Child Development from Tufts University where she worked with the Developmental Technologies Research Group on the creation of the KIBO Robotics Kit for children ages 4-7 (now commercially available through KinderLab Robotics). She is the co-creator of the ScratchJr Coding Cards: Creative Coding Activities for Children Ages 5-7, published by No Starch Press, and author of the book Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Early Childhood, published by Rowman & Littlefield. Her work has been featured in GeekWire, WIRED magazine, the New York Times, and more.
At the heart of it all, Amanda’s greatest joy is working with young children to spark creativity, inspire confidence, and just plain have fun! She has over a decade of experience teaching early childhood and elementary school robotics, coding, drama, film production, and more. She currently has her hands full as the mother of two energetic young children. You can follow Amanda on Twitter @AASully, on Instagram @keikisullivan, and on LinkedIn.
Assistant Director of Equity & Inclusion
Mikela is a wife and mother of three, and she has been an educator for 14 years. Her current role is the Assistant Director of Equity & Inclusion for Olentangy Local Schools. Mikela is a doctoral candidate at North Central University and will receive her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Mikela has a passion for diversity, inclusion, cultural awareness, and social justice, and she believes it is through love and empathy that we can uplift humanity.
STEM Integration Transformation Coach
Victoria Thompson is a STEM Integration Transformation Coach at Technology Access Foundation--a nonprofit leader redefining STEM education in public schools--a consultant for Ignite EdTech, and a learning specialist for NCCE. She has presented at ISTE, ImpactEducation, CUE, and DigCitSummit on topics such as creating inclusive math classrooms, culturally responsive STEM education, and equity in educational technology. Additionally, she was recently awarded the title of one of the top 30 K-12 IT influencers in 2021 by EdTech Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @VictoriaTheTech, on Instagram @vadavkavoria, and on LinkedIn.