Austin Independent School District
Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen has served since July 2009 as Superintendent of the Austin Independent School District, an urban public school district with an annual budget of $950 million, 12,000 employees, and 87,000 pre-K-12 students in 123 schools. Dr. Carstarphen previously served as the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota, and in accountability positions for public school systems in the District of Columbia, Kingsport, Tennessee, and Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Carstarphen’s professional experience includes teaching at the middle school level, as well as elementary education in Seville, Spain, and Caracas, Venezuela.
Dr. Carstarphen currently serves as an Adjunct Faculty member in the University of Texas Department of Educational Administration. She is a member of the Austin Area Research Organization and serves on the boards of the Council of Great City Schools, Educational Testing Service, Austin Partners in Education, Austin Public Education Foundation, the Austin Symphony and Ballet Austin, and is on the Children’s Hospital/AISD Health Service Advisory Board. She is a student mentor through the Seedling Foundation.
Jaime CasapSenior Education Evangelist
Jaime Casap is the Senior Education Evangelist at Google, Inc. Jaime evangelizes the power and potential of technology and Google tools in and out of the classroom. He helps educational organizations across the world find ways to utilize these tools in support of new learning models. His team is responsible for bringing Google tools to millions of administrators, teachers, and students across the globe. Jaime was named one of Tech and Learning’s Top 10 Most Influential in Education.
Jaime serves on the Arizona STEM Education Board, on the Board of Directors for New Global Citizens, and a member of the Digital Learning Council.
Born and raised as a first generation American to a single mother on welfare in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, Jaime understands and appreciates the power of education in changing the destiny of a family in just one generation. His mission is to make sure that education continues to be the silver bullet it was for him.
Sara DeWittVice President
PBS KIDS Interactive
As Vice President of PBS KIDS Interactive, Sara DeWitt oversees day-to-day development of PBS’ multiplatform content for kids and families, including the Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning PBSKIDS.org. DeWitt has led innovative strategies to build connected and immersive educational experiences for kids across media platforms. This includes PBS’ preschool (PBSKIDS.org) and early elementary school age (PBSKIDSGO.org) websites, which reach over 13 million unique visitors per month and offer more than 500 games and activities.
Named one of the “50 Best Websites 2012” by TIME.com, PBSKIDS.org continues to be one of the top entertainment sites for kids and the leading site for kids video streams.
Having joined PBS Interactive in 1999, DeWitt has worked with the PBS KIDS producer family on a variety of award-winning television program sites, such as Curious George, Super Why, Arthur, and WordGirl. DeWitt has also overseen production of nationally-recognized web-original projects on PBSKIDSGO.org, such as Chuck Vanderchuck's “Something Something” Explosion, Oh Noah!, and Fizzy's Lunch Lab. A frequent speaker on multimedia approaches to learning for kids, DeWitt has presented at renowned conferences including SXSW, Games for Change, and the Sandbox Summit.
Before coming to PBS KIDS, DeWitt worked as a preschool teacher and a management researcher. She studied media habits of children in rural United States for the Stanford University Spencer Project for Youth and Families, and co-authored with Dr. Shirley Brice Heath a study for the Poynter Institute on youth and newspapers. She holds both a BA and an MA in English from Stanford University, and a certificate from Stanford’s Children, Society, and Public Policy program.
Dale DoughertyFounding Editor and Publisher
Dale Dougherty is the co-founder of O’Reilly Media, the founding editor and publisher of MAKE magazine and the co-creator of Maker Faire. Make magazine started in 2005 followed by the first Maker Faire in the Bay Area in 2006. In 2012, Maker Faire was held in the Bay Area to over 110,000 guests, and also at a smaller scale in Detroit and New York.
In 2011, the White House recognized Dale as one of the “Champions of Change: Make It In America,” for his work in helping to create high-quality jobs in the United States.
Alan GershenfeldFounding Industry Fellow, ASU Center for Games and Impact
Founder/President E-Line Media
Alan has spent the last twenty years at the intersection of entertainment, technology and social entrepreneurship. He is currently Founder and President of E-Line Media, a publisher of digital entertainment that engages, educates and empowers, with a core focus on computer/video games. E-Line works with leading foundations, academics, non-profits and government agencies to harness the power of games for learning, health, and social impact.
Before netomat, Alan spent six years at Activision, a global leader in entertainment software. He was a member of the executive management team that rebuilt Activision from bankruptcy into a profitable industry leader with more than a billion dollars in revenue. At Activision, Alan served as Senior Vice President of Activision Studios where he supervised all product development at the company’s Los Angeles studios. Titles released under Alan’s leadership include Civilization: Call to Power, Asteroids, Muppet Treasure Island, Spycraft, Pitfall, Zork and Tony Hawk Skateboarding.
Before Activision, Alan spent nearly ten years in the film industry where he worked in development, production and post-production with credits on numerous feature films and documentaries. As a writer, Alan was a film critic for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and co-author of Game Plan, a book about the computer and video game business published by St. Martin’s Press. His articles and photographs have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Filmmaker Magazine, Cinema India-International and Bowler’s Journal.
As a speaker, Alan has presented at a wide variety of conferences throughout the world including PC Forum, South By South West, Sundance Film Festival, Games for Change, CTIA, Teach For America, Game Developers Conference, National Writers Workshop,, MIT Fab Lab Conference, Milia/Cannes, LAX Conference, Game, Learning & Society, ISTE, SoCap, NASBE, NCTE, Game On Texas, e-virtuoses France, ICE/Toronto, Serious Games Korea and the World Economic Forum at Davos. Alan has also led game design workshops throughout the world for students, teachers, parents and policy makers, most recently at the invitation of the White House for the winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Alan serves on the Board of Directors of FilmAid International, a nonprofit that uses film and video to empower refugees throughout the world and on the Advisory Boards of PBS Kids Next Generation Media, Creative Capital, Startl, Global Kids, We Are Family Foundation and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center For Educational Media and Research (Sesame Workshop). He is also on the Advisory Board and former Chairman of Games for Change, a nonprofit committed to rising the sector of social impact computer and video games.
Nikhil GoyalStudent and Author
Lauded by the Washington Post as a future U.S. Secretary of Education. At age 17, Nikhil Goyal is the author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School by the Alternative Education Resource Organization. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, Fox and Friends, Fox Business: Varney & Co., NBC Nightly News, Education Week, and Huffington Post.
He is leading a Learning Revolution movement to transform the American school system. A senior at Syosset High School, Nikhil lives with his family in Woodbury, New York.
Neeru KhoslaCo-Founder and Executive Director
CK-12 Foundation Neeru Khosla is currently the Co-Founder and Executive Director of CK-12 Foundation, a non-profit organization, which aims to provide K-12 learning materials that is customizable, personalized, aligned to requirements, and free for all, in the US and worldwide.
These include digital textbooks, individual concepts, and learning pathways.
Mrs. Khosla currently serves as a member on several advisory boards, including the Board of Directors for High Tech High School’s Graduate School of Education, the Advisory Board for the Wikimedia Foundation, the Advisory Board for DonorsChoose, the Advisory Board for Stanford University’s School of Education, the Advisory Board for IDEO.org, the Advisory Board for SxSW Edu, and is one of the founding members of the K-12 Initiative of the Design School (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design) at Stanford University.
Mrs. Khosla holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Delhi University/San Jose State University, a Master’s of Science degree in Molecular Biology from San Jose State University, and a Master’s of Education degree from Stanford University.
Rebecca Mieliwocki2012 National Teacher of the Year
Luther Burbank Middle School
On April 24, 2012 before a White House audience that included the 2012 State Teachers of the Year, President Barack Obama presented to the American people, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki (mill-wok-ee), a seventh grade English teacher from Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, California.
As the daughter of two public school teachers, Ms. Mieliwocki says that she initially rebelled against becoming a teacher. Even though she experimented with other careers including publishing, floral design, and event planning, she realized, in time, that she was not content with being anything but a teacher. Great teachers from her past have driven Mrs. Mieliwocki to be the educator she is today.
As a parent of one of her recent students, who is also a teacher, says about Mrs. Mieliwocki: “Her students, my son included, are captivated by the fervor with which she teaches every day. So many children think school is boring and it is difficult to convince them otherwise, but Mrs. Mieliwocki lights a fire under these students with her infectious enthusiasm.”
Ms. Mieliwocki holds a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo and a Single Subject Credential in English from California State University-Northridge.
She was chosen the National Teacher of the Year from among the fifty-four 2012 state and territorial teachers of the year. Selected by the oldest and most prestigious awards program to focus public attention on excellence in teaching, Ms. Mieliwocki began a year as a full-time educational spokesperson in June 2012. The National Teacher of the Year Program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, is sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target, in partnership with the University of Phoenix and People to People Ambassador Programs.
Alan NovemberSenior Partner & Founder
November Learning Alan November is an international leader in education technology. He began his career as an oceanography teacher and dorm counselor at an island reform school for boys in Boston Harbor.
While Alan was a computer science teacher in Lexington, MA, he was probably the first teacher in the world to have a student project on line in 1984, a database for the handicapped. He has been director of an alternative high school, computer coordinator, technology consultant and university lecturer. He has helped schools, governments and industry leaders improve the quality of education through technology.
Alan was named one of the nation’s fifteen most influential thinkers of the decade by Technology and Learning Magazine. In 2001, he was listed one of eight educators to provide leadership into the future by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse. In 2007 he was selected to speak at the Cisco Public Services Summit during the Nobel Prize Festivities in Stockholm, Sweden. His writing includes numerous articles and two best-selling books, Empowering Students with Technology and Web Literacy for Educators. Alan was co-founder of the Stanford Institute for Educational Leadership Through Technology and is most proud of being selected as one of the original five national Christa McAuliffe Educators.
David RobinsonFounder and Chairman
The Carver Academy David Maurice Robinson was born in Key West, Florida, on August 6, 1965. He and his wife, Valerie, have three sons, David Jr., Corey and Justin. Known by National Basketball Association fans as “The Admiral,” David is 7-1 and weighs 250 pounds. He wears a size 17 shoe. A scholar as well as a great athlete, Robinson scored a 1320 on the SAT College Board Exam and holds a B.A. in Mathematics from the United States Naval Academy.
Driven by an intense Christian faith and strong sense of duty, in 1992 David and Valerie created the David Robinson Foundation. Since its inception, more than $2 million has been awarded to community programs that meet the physical and spiritual needs of families, primarily in the Robinsons’ adopted hometown of San Antonio.
The Foundation’s most significant accomplishment to date is the opening of The Carver Academy just east of downtown San Antonio on September 17, 2001. Considered the single largest gift ever made by a professional athlete, the Robinsons donated more than $9 million to create the project benefiting many low-income, at-risk students. The school offers elementary-age children a challenging academic program featuring small classes, leadership opportunities and a nurturing family-like environment based on Judeo-Christian scripture. Named for African-American botanist, social advocate and educator George Washington Carver, Robinson’s hope for the school is that Carver graduates return and reinvest in the community. The Academy represents the Robinson family’s interest in education as well as their legacy to San Antonio’s children. For more information, visit www.thecarveracademy.org.
Robinson began his incredible athletic career after just one year of high school basketball at Osbourn Park in Manassas, Virginia, before attending the Naval Academy. He was an All-American in both his junior and senior seasons and was everyone’s choice for College Player of the Year. He was the first player in NCAA Division I history to finish his college career shooting over .600 percent from the field for more than 2,500 points and 1,300 rebounds.
Robinson was selected as the number one NBA draft pick in 1987 by the San Antonio Spurs, but did not play until completing his two-year military commitment to the Navy. In 1989-90, his first season with the Spurs, Robinson earned unanimous Rookie of the Year honors. The two-time NBA World Champion (1999 and 2003) Robinson retired in 2003 from the Spurs after 14 memorable years at the age of 37. However, he led an outstanding career with tremendous accomplishments on and off the court. Please see attached listing.
Darline RoblesProfessor of Clinical Education
University of Southern California Dr. Darline P. Robles is currently a Professor of Clinical Education at the Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.
Her primary responsibility as professor is the development of a new, national hybrid (on-line and on-campus) Masters degree program in school leadership. Her duties also include teaching and supervising graduate students, and providing service to the School, the University and the larger professional community. Dr. Darline Robles recently retired as the superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education where she served eight years. As the top education leader of the nation’s most populous and diverse county, she ensured the financial and academic stability of 80 school districts that serve more than two million preschool and school-age children.
She was the first woman to be named Superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) in 2002, Dr. Robles oversaw $16 billion in school district funding and a staff of nearly 4,000.
Closing the achievement gap is Dr. Robles’ highest priority. She is acclaimed as a state leader in implementing the Williams legislation—a landmark law enacted in 2004 to promote educational equity—through monitoring of 600 low-performing schools annually to ensure all students have access to textbooks, safe and clean facilities, and qualified teachers.
Dr. Robles also has attained unprecedented success in organizing superintendents and forging partnerships with local, state, and national officials to promote policies and programs that advance educational opportunities for underserved student groups. In addition, she has dedicated a record level of human and financial resources to improve services provided to the thousands of at-risk and special-needs students enrolled in LACOE-run schools.
As chief of the Salt Lake City School District from 1995-2002, Dr. Robles was recognized for raising student achievement, significantly reducing the dropout rate, and securing vital resources for needy schools. Such efforts include obtaining a $12 million Annenberg Challenge Grant to support district-wide reform, and spearheading a $136 million capital bond measure that gained the support of nearly 75 percent of voters.
Earlier, as Superintendent of the Montebello Unified School District, she saved that district from a state take-over by returning it to financial stability within two years. The California native formally began her 30-year education career in Montebello as a teacher, then coordinator, of bilingual and bicultural education, and also served as an elementary and intermediate school principal.
Dr. Robles received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from California State University, Los Angeles; her Master’s Degree in education from Claremont Graduate School; and her Doctorate in education policy and administration from the University of Southern California.
In October 2009,and again in 2011, she was named one of the Top 100 Influential Hispanic Americans by Hispanic Business Magazine, and in March 2010 was a “Women of the Year” recipient by the L.A. County Commission for Women. Dr. Robles is committed to public service and serves on many local and national boards. She was recently named to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Dr. Robles and her co-authors, Dr.Ott and Franco wrote and published “A Culturally Proficient Society Begins in School: Leadership for Equity” in 2011 by Corwin Press.
She is married and has one son and one granddaughter. The Robles’ live in Whittier.
Jim SheltonAssistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement
U.S. Department of Education
Jim Shelton is the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement, managing a portfolio that includes most of the Department’s competitive programs including i3, Promise Neighborhoods, and others focused on teacher and leader quality, school choice and learning technology.
Previously, he served as a Program Director for Education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, managing portfolios ranging from $2 to 3 billion in non-profit investments targeting increased high school and college graduation rates. Shelton has also been the East Coast lead for NewSchools Venture Fund, and co-founded LearnNow, a school management company that later was acquired.
After four years in Atlanta of advising CEOs and other executives on issues related to strategy, business development, and organizational design and effectiveness, he left McKinsey & Company as a senior manager. Upon leaving McKinsey, he joined Knowledge Universe, Inc., where he launched, acquired, and operated education-related businesses.
Shelton holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Atlanta’s Morehouse College as well as master’s degrees in business administration and education from Stanford University.
Shelton currently resides in his hometown, Washington, D.C., with his wife and two sons (Sonia, Justice and Jameson).
Michael WilliamsCommissioner of Education
Texas Education Agency Michael L. Williams was appointed Texas Commissioner of Education by Gov. Rick Perry on Sept. 1, 2012. As Commissioner, he heads the Texas Education Agency, which oversees pre-kindergarten through high school education for approximately five million students enrolled in both traditional public schools and charter schools. During his distinguished career, Williams has served as an assistant district attorney in hometown of Midland, a federal prosecutor in the Reagan Justice Department, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement at the U.S. Department of the Treasury under President George Herbert Walker Bush, and Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.
Constance YowellDirector of Education for U.S. Programs
MacArthur Foundation She oversees a $85 million program on Digital Media and Learning, one of the first philanthropic efforts in the country to systematically explore the impact of digital media on young people and implications for the future of learning.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Yowell was an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, publishing scholarly work that examined the complex interplay among young people’s emerging identity, their social context and achievement. Her research integrated the fields of adolescent psychological development and organization change to address the problem of high school dropout among immigrant students in the United States.
Yowell received the Distinguished Fellows Award from the William T. Grant Foundation, an award to support scholars seeking to bridge research and practice, under which she worked with the National Writing Project to develop approaches that integrate web 2.0 technologies into the social practices of teachers.
Yowell earned her bachelor’s degree from Yale, and her PhD from Stanford University.