2018 Summit Speakers


Tom Chi
Founder, Prototype Thinking LLC

Tom Chi has worked in a wide range of roles from astrophysical researcher to Fortune 500 consultant to corporate executive developing new hardware/software products and services. He's played a significant role in established projects with global reach (Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Search), and scaled new projects from conception to significance (Yahoo Answers from 0 to 90 million users).

Tom has pioneered and practiced a unique approach to rapid prototyping, visioning, and leadership that can jump start innovative new ideas as well as move large organizations at unprecedented speeds. These approaches have benefitted over a dozen industry-leading companies. He most recently served as head of product experience at Google X developing technology such as Google Glass and Google's self-driving cars.

His current focus is delving into human development issues with social entrepreneurs around the globe, rebooting the fundamental frameworks of entrepreneurship itself, and teaching a limited number of workshops to select organizations.


Chuck Templeton
Managing Director, S2G Ventures

Chuck Templeton (founder and former CEO of OpenTable) is a Managing Director of S2G Ventures, an investment fund focused on healthy food and sustainable agriculture. He is passionate about early stage and emerging companies, and is focused on using business principles to find solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. He has had the pleasure of being involved with over two-dozen startups as an investor, board member, or advisor, but spends the majority of his time helping impact companies as the Managing Director of Impact Engine. 


Emily Dalton Smith
Strategic Partnerships for Social Good, Facebook

Emily's team works with the world’s leading nonprofits to help them raise funds and awareness for their organizations. Emily was previously a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she managed investments in personalized learning technologies, and a director and special assistant to the provost at Arizona State University. She sits on the advisory board of the Adult Literacy X Prize.

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Esther Wojcicki
Founder, Palo Alto High Media Arts Program

Esther Wojcicki is a internationally known journalism teacher and the founder of the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Program, a program that focuses on empowering students through the use of media (newspaper, magazine, yearbook, websites, video production, photography, radio, & television). The program started in 1984 with an already established (1918) 6 -8 page newspaper and 19 students; it has grown to become one of the most distinguished and the largest scholastic media program in the nation today (2016) with 600+ students, five additional teachers, nine publications, and a new 25,000 sq. ft Media Arts Center (2014).


Jason Bollich
Senior Director for Secondary Curriculum and Instruction, Galena Park Independent School District

Jason has been in education for nineteen years and is a former English teacher, associate principal, and high school principal. He believes every student should be taught by passionate teachers using curriculum that is relevant and engaging. When he is not inspiring young minds, he enjoys spending time with his wife and their twin seven-year-old boys, watching them play baseball, and catching Houston Astros’ games. He looks forward to continuing the great work with his GPISD team as they provide innovative ideas and opportunities for their students.


Kevin Connell
Enterprise Relationship Manager, LinkedIn Learning

Kevin partners with colleges and universities to help them provide targeted skills development for their students, faculty, and staff through LinkedIn Learning. He previously served as the head of business development and strategic partnerships for CourseTalk, the leading search and review site for online courses. Kevin also acted as an advisor for Autism Expressed, a digital learning provider for students with learning disabilities, and as an associate for FSG, a strategy consulting firm that specializes in providing strategic advisory, evaluation, and research services to social impact organizations, programs, and initiatives across all sectors - including foundations, corporations, school systems, nonprofits, and government agencies.


Barry Rodgers
Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning at Winnetka Public Schools-District 36

Barry spearheads innovative programs that support and challenge staff and students of Winnetka Public Schools to reach their fullest potential. He has nearly 25 years of experience in education, serving as assistant superintendent of curriculum instruction, technology, and assessment at Lake Forest Schools District 67 and 115. Barry has also served as principal of Lake Forest High School, and was a founder and principal of Northside College Prep High School, where he also served as department chairperson and curriculum chairperson.

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Viraj Kamdar
Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Viraj’s work centers around identifying opportunities to catalyze research and development of new, breakthrough solutions for K-12 students and teachers. He is working to cultivate an ecosystem of educators, researchers, and entrepreneurial product developers to pilot new models, tools and platforms. Previously, Viraj spent 15 years at the New York City Department of Education. Five years ago, he received an Innovative Professional Development Grant (IPD) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to develop a digital PD ecosystem for NYC’s 110k educators and support staff called WeTeachNYC.org. Prior to that, Viraj worked as a central officer, instructional coach, literacy specialist and high school English teacher leveraging tech and media as powerful tools for teacher training and classroom instruction. Viraj has worked with non-governmental organizations, non-profits, community-based organizations and governments as diverse as the Ministry of Education, in Kigali Rwanda, to the Aspen Institute, in Washington D.C.

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Jared Bloom
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Curriculum, South Huntington UFSD

Jared was named “Administrator of the Year” for Western Suffolk BOCES. He works extremely hard to ensure that all students obtain educational excellence in their school experience, and completes this work in a kind, sensitive and humanistic manner. Jared has aggressively pursued grants for the schools, upgrading existing programs and providing new, innovative ones. His background in technology has contributed to South Huntington’s reputation as a leader in the field. As a past President of the Association of Suffolk Supervisors of Educational Technology, he has helped in the development of regional programs to advance the use of technology in school districts throughout Suffolk County.



Previous Speakers

Photo Credit:  dimnikolov

Photo Credit: dimnikolov

Eileen Murphy
Founder and CEO, ThinkCERCA

Eileen taught English for 15 years and was the founding English Department Chair at Walter Payton College Prep as well as the author of 360 Degrees of Text (NCTE, 2011). As the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for over 100 of Chicago’s highest performing schools, she became passionate about the role technology could play in education in the 21st century and left CPS in 2012 to develop ThinkCERCA to help all students achieve career and college readiness. ThinkCERCA is one of the top Literacy Courseware Challenge winners (Gates Foundation). 


Nessan Fitzmaurice
Senior Managing Director, Citadel Investment Group

As a partner and member of the management team at the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, Nessan ran the global Rates and Quantitative Credit businesses. He joined Citadel to build their Portfolio Construction and Risk departments. Prior to that, he was Managing Director and head of Interest Rate Derivate trading at Bank of America following an earlier career there as head of Quantitative Research and as Chief Technology Officer for Bank of America’s Global Corporate and Investment Bank.


Nader Qaimari
President, Follett School Solutions

Nader Qaimari (former Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Cengage Learning) is the President of Follett School Solutions. He also serves on the Board for Vocabulary.com, which uses adaptive technology to offer differentiated vocabulary instruction to students. Nader is known for taking on tough problems and is a big fan of the simple rule of the three-legged stool of financial stability, customers, and employees.

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Robert Firme
Insights Data Analytics, Learning Solutions at LinkedIn

Robert works in the Insights Analytics group at LinkedIn. He focuses specifically on Linkedin’s learning products, building scalable tools that evaluate user learning, impact, and ROI. Previously, Robert worked as a senior data science consultant at Navigant Consulting Inc, where he led technical initiatives centered on clean and renewable energy technologies. Robert is currently a 2017 Fellow for San Francisco’s New Leader’s Council.

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Emily Lockwood
Senior Program Officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Emily is a senior program manager for Digital Innovations/Networks on the K-12 Education team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In that role, Emily focuses on shifting mindsets, beliefs and behaviors through networks and digital media engagement as a vehicle for scale. Emily previously served as senior managing director of Brand Marketing and Digital Strategy at Teach For America. Prior to TFA, Emily was digital director for EMILY’s List, overseeing online fundraising, growth, social media, content, and technology. She joined EMILY's List after serving as the deputy digital director on Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.


Tony Smith, Ph.D.
Illinois State Superintendent of Education

Prior to his arrival at the Illinois State Board of Education, Dr. Smith was the executive director of the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, which annually awards more than $5 million in grants that support children's development and education. Before joining the Stone Foundation, Dr. Smith led the Oakland Unified School District in California, where he helped improve academic outcomes, district finances, family engagement and organizational coherence during his four-year tenure.

Photo Credit:  Mitya Ku

Photo Credit: Mitya Ku

Jenny Nagaoka
Deputy Director, The University of Chicago Consortium on School Research 

Jenny Nagaoka has conducted research for nearly 20 years. Her research interests focus on policy and practice in urban education reform, particularly using data to connect research and practice and examining the school environments and instructional practices that promote college readiness and success. She has co-authored numerous journal articles and reports, including studies of college readiness, noncognitive factors, the transition from high school to postsecondary education, and authentic intellectual instruction. She is the lead researcher on the To&Through Project, a project that provides educators, policymakers, and families with research, data, and training on the milestones that matter most for college success. 

Elena Sanina

Elena Sanina
Blended Learning Manager, Aspire Public Schools

Elena supports Aspire’s California schools as they transition to blended learning, ensuring that they have the training, technology, and resources they need to run successful blended classrooms. During her tenure at Aspire, Elena has helped scaled the blended model to 19 schools and she plans to continue the expansion in subsequent years. She also focuses on improving blended learning analytics by integrating data systems and creating data dashboards to help educators make informed decisions about students’ learning progress. 

Stacey Wang

Stacey Wang
Advisor, Oakland Unified School District

Stacey focuses on collaborating with school leaders, teachers, parents, students, and the broader community to transform schools from traditional models to innovative and personalized learning schools. Prior to this role, Stacey was the Director of Personalized Learning supporting a cohort of ten schools in Oakland to pursue personalized learning as part of the Next Generation Learning Challenge $2.8M grant opportunity. Stacey was formerly a Manager at Monitor Deloitte in their strategy consulting practice, focusing her efforts on helping Fortune 100 companies, education institutions, and nonprofits solve problems around strategic growth, innovation, and large scale organizational transformation that spanned numerous functions industries, and operations. 


Mike Gamson
SVP of Global Solutions, LinkedIn

Mike currently leads LinkedIn's Global Solutions Organization across the company’s 26 offices worldwide. The GSO includes various functions ranging from field sales and professional services representatives, to research analysts, account managers and operational experts. There are three primary business groups within the GSO focused on servicing corporate customers—Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions, and Sales Solutions. Previously, Mike was Director of Product Marketing at Advent Software, a provider of enterprise software for investment managers, where he led the Trading and Order Management business. 

Ann Rogan

Ann Rogan
Executive Fellow, City of Stockton, Office of the Mayor

Ann is currently on assignment with the Stockton Mayor's Office through FUSE Corps, an executive fellowship program that partners with local governments to tackle some of society's most important challenges. Ann is currently focused on workforce development and expanding/diversifying economic opportunities. She also serves on the e-Residency Advisory Group to the Government of Estonia, and previously led the team responsible for architecting Singularity University's global strategy and roadmap to support the growth of their community. 

Deborah Quazzo

Deborah Quazzo
Founding and Managing Partner, GSV Acceleration Fund

A prolific angel investor, Deborah holds over 25 investments in disruptive technology companies. Previously she co-founded GSV Advisors, a boutique advisory firm focused on learning and human capital technology companies. She also co-founded the annual ASU GSV Summit. This event, now in its 9th year, with over 3,500 in attendance, celebrates innovations and innovators across the global education and human capital landscape. Deborah previously served on the board of a number of education organizations including the CPS's Chicago Board of Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Teach for America Chicago, and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Chicago.

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Furman Brown
Founder of Generation Schools

Furman first conceived of launching a new type of urban public school nearly fifteen years ago as a first-year teacher in the charter corps of Teach for America in South Central, L.A. Subsequently he joined the staff of a startup school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn where he began to explore alternative scheduling and space planning. He has consulted for many years with conventional and charter public schools, helping them to redesign their schedules and educational programs, integrate technology, and re-allocate resources to maximize student achievement. Furman worked for over ten years on the development of the Generation Schools model and for three years on its evaluation, during which time the model and its articulation have benefited from countless rounds of feedback and advice of experts from a variety of disciplines from both the for-profit and non-profit worlds.