The ESAA Network Leadership Fellows
Dedication. Expertise. Passion.
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TESTING THE LAYOUT
Nneka McGee has served in public schools for over a decade. She taught middle school mathematics for six years and was recognized as a district finalist for teacher of the year. Nneka has also served as District Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Director of GT and Advanced Academics, Executive Director for Learning and Innovation, and currently, as Chief Academic Officer for a public school district. As part of her doctoral studies, Nneka is researching the impact of artificial intelligence in education. She serves on the Board of Directors of HAKing Innovation, a non-profit organization providing students STEM access and opportunities.
strategic and critical thinker in K20 information technology, scientist, inventor
Elizabeth Laird serves as CDT’s Director, Equity in Civic Technology, where she leads the organization’s work in this critical area. Building on the work she leads in CDT’s Student Privacy Project, her work engages civic institutions to promote the responsible, equitable use of data and technology to improve outcomes for individuals and the public good, while ensuring it does not come at the expense of privacy and civil rights.
Sara Vispoel, Ph.D., is the Chief Assessment and Learning Officer at Finetune. After starting off as a high school biology teacher and seeing how impactful assessments were, she went back to get her Ph.D. in Educational Measurement and Statistics to help assure these tests were of as high quality as possible. She moved to working in senior management overseeing test development teams and assessment design for 17 years at ACT, Inc.. Sara and her teams designed assessments across grade 3-PS, college entrance, workforce, and noncognitive domains. Dr. Vispoel worked both nationally and internationally developing educational standards (CCSS, consulted on NGSS), creating assessment systems to improve educational goals, performance level descriptors/standard settings, as well as interpretive tools and integrated approaches to teaching and learning. Now she works on incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) with psychometrics, principled design and learning science to create leading edge AI-enabled assessment development and tagging tools.
Veera is the CEO of Sustainable Living Lab, a consulting firm with operations in Singapore, Indonesia, India and the US. He is concurrently the CEO of edm8ker, a edtech firm which operates in the domain of teacher professional development. He has more than a decade of professional experience in the domains of sustainability consulting, foresight, innovation program design, educational technology, and digital skilling (AI & Cybersecurity). Veera was awarded the Joseph Jaworski Next-Gen Foresight Asia Special Award by the UK-based School of International Futures in 2018 and the NUS Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2019. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Intellectual Property Management.
Dr. Shannon Terry, Vice President of National Strategic Accounts, works closely with school districts across the nation to provide strategic vision and direction on implementing and effectively leveraging SAFARI Montage solutions in their digital ecosystems. Prior to joining SAFARI Montage, Shannon led multiple, complex statewide learning technology and creative services projects at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in her role as Division Director of Program Integration Strategies. With more than thirty (30) years experience in different educational contexts, Dr. Terry brings a diverse set of professional experiences at the national, state, and local levels to the education sector and as a result has developed a deep understanding of urban, suburban, and rural school systems. Highly engaged in the innovation and transformation space, Shannon leverages her knowledge and expertise to design teaching and learning ecosystems that reflect a mind for the future with the future in mind. She enjoys leading and contributing to multiple efforts as a thought partner and invites opportunities at every turn to engage with, respond to, and influence the larger political, social, and cultural context.
With 20+ years in K-12 EdTech and a background in education, Julianne Robar is committed to empowering those who are driving innovation in education to make data-informed decisions that optimize opportunity for every learner. As Director, Metadata & Product Interoperability at Renaissance, Julianne’s focus is making connections among assessment, practice and instructional content resulting in recommendations for educator consideration of what students are ready to do next in their learning journeys. Julianne is exploring the use of an AI + humans-in-the-loop model for large scale educational content matching with the ultimate goal of saving teachers’ time in identifying the right educational resource at the right time for each student’s needs.
Like many of the fellows, Victoria Akasale, an education researcher and advocate residing in Washington, D.C., began her education career on the front lines. However, she did it abroad teaching highschool students in both China and Spain, where she became aware of the diverse breadth of learner variability—or the observably unique ways that students acquire new knowledge or skills. Upon her return, she shifted her career into policy work, eventually working specifically on issues of student data privacy, and how such parameters and values inform edtech roadmaps. She sees the field of education in need of a common understanding of what AI can and cannot do for both students and teachers alike, and being thoughtful about the impact policy decisions have on individual lives. Which is why she’s eager to learn from those outside of policy work in the fellowship, and look for ways to collaborate and make the entire ecosystem safe for all who are touched by the work in our field.
Innovative strategist and certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with 14 + years of experience leading user-centric, cross-functional project teams to orchestrate transformative and strategic growth within innovative organizations. Project Portfolio Manager committed to planning projects aligned with organizational strategic initiatives, goals, and roadmaps. With an entrepreneurial and can-do attitude, lead complex cross-functional projects with a focus on organizational development and change management. Determined on driving change that reduces costs, increase efficiencies, and deliver human-centric value.
Supriya Bhuwalka is the founder of a personalized AI & Coding Edtech startup - Coding and More. We teach AI & Coding to children from the K-12 grade band. Her students have won many prestigious awards like the world AI youth competition, USA , apps for good - UK to Microsoft Imangine Junior Cup to name a few. A staunch supporter of women empowerment, Coding and More is an all women run organization that helps upskill women and gives them opportunity to work flexitime and WFH.
Bryan Contreras is Vice President at myOptions Encourage, a free college and career planning program. He has spent the last twenty years working to improve post-secondary outcomes for students through student counseling, program management, leadership development, and education technology. Both personal and educational experiences serve as the foundation for his commitment to this work.
Nyalleng is a senior researcher at Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research (DAIR) institute. Her interests are in understanding how we can build models which center populations often regarded as peripheral. Before DAIR she was a research software engineer at Google, where she was one of the first employees at the Google Africa research lab. She has also been a senior researcher at the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial research, where she worked closely with government and academic institutions to develop a diversity of products for private and public institutions. Outside of formal work she is involved in efforts to democratize AI; she is a founding member of the Deep Learning Indaba, the largest machine learning consortium of AI/ML practitioners in Africa, a member of A+ Alliance an international coalition that seeks to not only detect, but correct, gender bias in Artificial Intelligence.