Education Expo Speakers

SXSWedu is proud to have the following speakers deliver short, compelling talks at the 2014 SXSWedu Education Expo on everything from Informal & Continuing Education to STEM Careers and College Planning. These speakers are poised to advise and enhance the educational opportunities presented to Central Texas students and parents of all ages at the Education Expo.

Stay tuned to sxswedu.com for further updates on speaker announcements and scheduling.

Edmund R. Oropez

Edmund R. Oropez

Associate Superintendent for High Schools
Austin Independent School District

Mr. Edmund R. Oropez has served since January 2010 as Associate Superintendent for High Schools of the Austin Independent School District, overseeing the instructional programs and operations for over 11 comprehensive high schools, three schools of choice, three specialized high schools, two In-District Charter schools, and all AISD Athletic Programs. Mr. Oropez previously served as the AISD Director of High School Operations, Executive Principal for High Schools, and principal at Sidney Lanier High School as well as a principal in Weslaco ISD.

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He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Political Science, a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Texas Pan-American, and is currently working on a doctorate in Educational Administration at the University of Texas at Austin.

Mr. Oropez currently serves on the board for The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce Crest Committee and was awarded Austin Chamber of Commerce 2013 Outstanding District Leader Award. He is also a member of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.


Donald Tracy

Donald Tracy

Director, CE Business Operations & Marketing
Austin Community College

Donald Tracy serves as the Director of Business Operations and Marketing for the Continuing Education Division at Austin Community College. Don is passionate about the transformative role that education plays in the lives of individuals and the communities in which they live.

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He has worked in Central Texas for over 15 years leading collaborative, community-wide and statewide skills development initiatives focused on preparing workers to grow in their current jobs or transition to new careers.


Jack Andraka

Jack Andraka

Student Scientist

Jack Andraka is a Maryland high school student who at age 15 created a novel paper sensor that detects pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer in 5 minutes for as little as 3 cents. He is the winner of the Gordon E. Moore award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award and was Mrs. Obama’s guest at the State of the Union Address. Jack was named a Champion of Change by President Obama for his work to break down scientific journal paywalls.

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He has spoken at TED Long Beach, over 12 TEDx events including the Houses of Parliament, is the youngest speaker at the Royal Society of Medicine and has been featured on 60 Minutes, World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, NPR Marketplace, Popular Science, BBC, and Al Jazeera as well as in award winning documentaries including “You Don’t know Jack” by Morgan Spurlock. Jack is currently working with a team of teens (Gen Z) on the Qualcomm Foundation Tricorder X Prize and speaks about open access, STEM education and universal Internet availability. He is also on the national junior wildwater kayaking team, has won awards at multiple national and international math competitions.


Julie Shannan

Julie Shannan

Deputy Director
Girlstart

Julie Shannan has created some of the most innovative and effective informal STEM education programs for girls, parents and teachers. Ms. Shannan is a recipient of the “Austin Under 40” Award and is a founding advisory board member for SciGirls.

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Ms. Shannan received her bachelors in Biology from the University of Texas, and has developed nationally recognized STEM programs that have been funded by Oprah’s Angel Network, NASA and the National Science Foundation. She has been featured in Family Circus, Mothering Magazine, and CosmoGirl, and is a national advocate for STEM education.


Meria Carstarphen

Meria Carstarphen

Superintendent
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.

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Dr. Carstarphen’s professional experience includes teaching at the middle school level, as well as elementary education in Seville, Spain, and Caracas, Venezuela.

She earned a doctorate in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy with a concentration in urban superintendency from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Carstarphen earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and Spanish from Tulane University, and master of education degrees from Auburn University and Harvard University. She also has studied at the University of Seville, Spain, and University of Innsbruck, Austria. A public school graduate, Dr. Carstarphen hails from Selma, Alabama, where she began her teaching career.

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.


Monica Loera Sanchez

Monica Loera Sanchez

President of the Austin Council of PTAs
ACPTA

A native Austinite and product of the Austin Independent School District, Monica Loera Sanchez attended Becker Elementary, Fulmore Middle School, and the LBJ-Science Academy. Her college major was in Journalism. She began volunteering at her sons’ elementary school PTA (Parent Teacher Association) just four years ago, and is serving her second year as President of the Austin Council of PTAs…overseeing over 120 PTAs in every school of the district.

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The primary role of ACPTA is to train parent leaders, and be a resource of knowledge to them as they serve their individual schools and AISD.

Married for almost eleven years to a fellow Austinite, Mario Sanchez, she is the mother of two young sons enrolled in Dual Language at an elementary school in South Austin. Monica is bilingual and has extensive family both in Austin and Mexico. She enjoys travelling regularly, reading, gardening, photography, nature hikes and spending as much time as possible with her children, family and friends. A passion for service to her community was instilled by her father, who would regularly volunteer with his children at political campaigns as they were growing up. Monica has lived her entire life in Austin, with the exception of a two year extended trip to Germany and Europe in the late 1990s.


Michael Reeser

Michael Reeser

Chancellor
Texas State Technical College System

Mike Reeser is the Chancellor of the Texas State Technical College System. He has been with the TSTC System since 1999 and served in various roles including: President of TSTC West Texas, Vice President & Dean of Instruction of TSTC West Texas, and Chief Financial Officer of the TSTC System.

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Prior to joining TSTC, he spent nearly twenty years as a commercial and private banker in Houston and Waco.

Mike holds a BS in Psychology from Texas A&M University and an MBA from UT-Arlington.

Reeser lives in Crawford, Texas with his wife, Carroll Lively Reeser, and his children, Katie, 20, and Matthew, 18. He is active in various civic and community organizations.

Photo courtesy Joe Griffin

Richard Middleton

Richard Middleton

Vice President
College Board

 Richard A. Middleton joined the College Board on April 29, 2011 as Vice President for the Southwestern Region Office based in Austin, Texas. He has overall responsibility for leading the management and operation of the SWRO’s staff and serving the College Board’s secondary and higher education clients in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

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He was Superintendent of the North East Independent School District from 1990-2011. Dr. Middleton is a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School. He received a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University, his master’s degree from UTSA and his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin where he participated in the Cooperative Superintendency Program. He began his education career as a teacher of history and government at North East ISD’s Roosevelt High School in 1972. Since that time, he has moved up the education ranks with positions in the San Antonio, Austin and Houston areas.


Sarah Mabry

Sarah Mabry

Counselor
Westlake High School, Eanes ISD

Sarah Mabry has been an academic counselor in the Austin area for almost thirty years. Prior to her current position at Westlake High School, she was crucial in the transformation of East Austin’s Del Valle High from a largely non-college bound student body to a 100-percent college application rate in 2012 and 2013.

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Sarah is proud to have recently joined Westlake’s Jeff Pilchiek, Director of Guidance and Counseling, and his staff at one of the premier selective public high schools in the United States.


Stacy Schmitt

Stacy Schmitt

Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications
National Instruments

As Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications, Stacy Schmitt leads National Instruments’ communication and marketing strategy.

Schmitt and teams are responsible for corporate marketing, communications, and design; public and government affairs; employee engagement; investor relations; internal communications; investor relations; and corporate responsibility. Prior to joining NI in 2012, Schmitt served as the vice president of public affairs and government relations at Time Warner Cable.

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Schmitt invests her time advancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives in the community through service on the FIRST in Texas Advisory Board and The University of Texas at Austin Neighborhood Longhorns Program.

Schmitt holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and marketing from Stephen F. Austin University.


Susan Dawson

Susan Dawson

Founder
E3 Alliance

Susan Dawson is a Texas entrepreneur, business and civic leader. She founded and leads the E3 Alliance (for Education Equals Economics), a regional collaborative to increase economic outcomes by aligning our education systems to fulfill the potential of every student.

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E3 Alliance has been recognized across the country for its ground-breaking work in systemic change for education. Dawson has led multiple technology firms and served as Chair of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. Her many awards include the Leadership Austin Polly Scallorn Award for Lifetime Achievement in Community Trusteeship, Austin Under 40 “Austinite of the Year”, Hero for Children by the State Board of Education, Austin Profiles in Power “Profile Leader”, and the UT McCombs School “Trailblazer Award” for the distinguished woman alumni trailblazer in business and community. In 2011 the Austin Business Journal named Dawson one of “Austin’s 30 Most Influential” leaders who have shaped Austin’s economy and culture in the last 30 years. Dawson has a BS Cum Laude from Princeton University and an MBA with Highest Honors from UT Austin McCombs School of Business.


Steve Nelson

Steve Nelson

Director of Marketing, Americas
Freescale Semiconductor

Steve Nelson currently serves as the Director of Marketing, America’s for Freescale Semiconductor, based in Austin, Texas. Steve joined the company in 2007 and was previously responsible for the company’s automotive product and systems strategy.

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As a veteran of more than 25 years of semiconductor, software and technology industry experience, he has an extensive background in engineering, marketing and international business. Steve has developed large and successful businesses in diverse markets including automotive electronics, consumer products, telecommunications, vision technology, defense electronics and industrial systems. He began his career at Texas Instruments in 1984, and since has served as Managing Director of Accusonic Technologies, Vice President and General Manager at SMSC and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Coherix.

He has also published articles in trade journals such as EE Times, Embedded Computing, Design News, Electronics Weekly and EDN, and has been a featured speaker at many industry and university events.


Tracy Manier

Tracy Manier

Associate Vice President & Dean of Admission
St. Edward’s University

Tracy Manier is the Associate Vice President & Dean of Admission at St. Edward’s University and has led the university’s admission team since 2001. The favorite part of Tracy’s job remains working with students on their path to higher education. During her career in education, Tracy has also taught high school and college level courses in literature and writing.

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Tracy received her B.A. in English and philosophy from Trinity University and an M.A. in English from the Pennsylvania State University. Additionally, Tracy is a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Tricia Berry

Tricia Berry

Director
Women in Engineering Program (WEP)

Named one of 100 Women Leaders in STEM by STEMconnector in 2012, Tricia Berry leads efforts to advance gender equity in STEM fields. As Texas Girls Collaborative Project Director, she leads the dissemination of STEM resources across Texas in coordination with the National Girls Collaborative Project.

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She concurrently serves as Women in Engineering Program Director at The University of Texas at Austin, leading efforts to recruit and graduate women in the Cockrell School of Engineering.