2018 Great Plains Summit Presenters

Keynote Presenter

Alice Keeler

Alice Keeler is a mom of five children. She taught high school math for fourteen years and currently teaches in the credential program at California State University Fresno. She is a Google Certified Innovator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, and has been named by Google as the Queen of Spreadsheets. Alice has a masters degree in Educational Media Design and Technology and frequently blogs about teaching on her top ranking edtech website Alice co-authored the books 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom; 50 Things to Go Further with Google Classroom: A Student-Centered Approach; Teaching Math with Google Apps; Google Apps for Littles; and Ditch that Homework.

Tanya Avrith

Director of Educational Technology and Teacher
Grandview Preparatory School, FL

Tanya Avrith is the co-author of the newly released book The Google Infused Classroom. She is an Education Strategist as well as the Director of Educational Technology and Teacher at Grandview Preparatory School in Boca Raton, Florida. Tanya helps lead change by working with educators, parents, K-12 and college students. She previously served as the Lead Educational Technology and Digital Citizenship Teacher at the Lester B. Pearson School Board in Montreal, Canada. While there, Tanya was instrumental in the vision and execution of the district wide Digital Citizenship Program ( which resulted in her being invited to Facebook headquarters to discuss Digital Citizenship education. Tanya has presented to thousands of educators, students, and parents from all over Canada and the United States addressing strategies for learning how to harness the power of social media.She facilitated the deployment and professional development of 1:1 initiatives including Macbooks, iPads and Chromebooks as well as the adoption of Google Apps for Education for her district. Tanya's passion stems from a strong desire to effect change and inspire others to explore how they can use the technology to help differentiate individual students' needs, provide a vehicle for collaboration and allow for deeper purpose and voice in student learning. Tanya holds a M.A. in Educational Technology and a B.A in Communication Studies from Concordia University in Montreal as well as a B.Ed from the University of Ottawa. Tanya is a connected educator with strong ties to her PLN. She is a Google Certified Innovator and an Apple Distinguished Educator as well as the co-host of the show.

Carl Behmer

Google for Education Consultant
Amplified IT

Carl Behmer is a Certified G Suite Administrator and a Google for Education Consultant for Amplified IT. Before joining Amplified IT Carl was the Director of IT at Placer Union High School District in California and worked in education for over ten years. Now, as part of the Amplified IT Team, he continues to help schools set up and manage Google environments with educational best practices to make sure they are getting the most out of the platform while keeping their students safe.

Stacy Behmer

Coordinator of Digital Learning
Grant Wood AEA, IA

Stacy is a former elementary and middle school teacher and also spent some time as a district technology director. She is currently the Coordinator of Digital Learning from Grant Wood AEA in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she works with a team of consultants providing digital learning support and training to teachers and administrators. Stacy serves on the Iowa Technology Education Connection board which holds a couple of conferences and a series of workshops across the state promoting technology-rich learning environments. She is a Google for Education Certified Innovator, Certified Trainer, GEG Iowa Leader. Stacy enjoys learning from and with teachers and students new ways to incorporate technology in teaching and learning!

Eric Curts

Technology Integration Specialist

Eric has been in education for 26 years, and currently serves as a Technology Integration Specialist for SPARCC in Canton, Ohio where he oversees Google Apps for Education implementation, training, and support, as well as other technology integration initiatives. Eric is an authorized Google Education Trainer and Innovator, and provides Google Apps training to schools, organizations, and conferences across the country. He is a co-leader of the Ohio Google Educator Group at and runs the award-winning blog where all of his Google Apps and edtech resources can be found.

Jeffery Heil

Instructional technology coach
San Diego County Office of Education, CA

Jeff is an instructional technology coach for the San Diego County Office of Education, an adjunct professor of educational technology for California State University San Marcos, and a Google Certified Innovator and Education Trainer. His mission in life is to spread the love of technology as a tool to transform student learning across the globe. As a frequent conference presenter (CUE & ISTE) and featured speaker (EdTechTeam featured speaker and CUE Rockstar Faculty), he is perpetually striving to transform education in everything that he does. This work was recognized in his selection as the Classroom of the Future Foundation's Innovative Educator Award for 2015. He spent eight years teaching high school in a residential facility for students impacted by homelessness where he developed his passion for technology integration and educational equity. In 2005, he was selected as a Distinguished Teacher in Residence at California State University, San Marcos where he still works as an adjunct professor of educational technology in the School of Education. Most recently, he has helped facilitate the integration of GAFE, 1:1 Chromebooks, and blended learning in the SDCOE Juvenile Court and Community Schools.

Chad Kafka

Technology Integration Specialist
Franklin Public Schools, Wisconsin

Chad Kafka works as a Technology Integration Specialist for Franklin Public Schools near Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he plans with teachers and coaches them around best practices and uses for technology in the classroom. In Franklin, Chad is part of the "tech team" that oversees the 1:1 Chromebook program for grades 5-12. Chad has spoken at a variety of state/national conferences and worked with organizations and districts to put on sessions centered around Google Apps. Chad is proud to be part of the Google Education Trainer, Google Certified Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator programs. Chad hopes he can challenge you to think about how you use technology with your students to drive learning forward. You can learn more about Chad or follow him at

Jessica Loucks

Technology Integration Specialist
Manchester Public Schools, CT

Pertinent, high-energy training peppered with laughs is Jessica's forte! She has been providing professional development on technology integration since her early days as a 7-12 Reading and Language Arts teacher. Now a Technology Integration Specialist for Manchester Public Schools in Connecticut, Jess has overseen Chromebook 1:1 deployments at both the high school and middle school levels, provided GSuite training at the district level, and has even spearheaded her district's first MakerSpaces. As head of the Technology Department at Illing Middle School, she has presented at numerous conferences on how to effectively roll out technology in engaging ways.

Donnie Piercey

fifth grade teacher and district technology integration specialist
Eminence Independent Schools, KY

Donnie Piercey works in a hybrid role as a fifth grade teacher and district technology integration specialist for Eminence Independent Schools in Kentucky. He is always trying to find new and innovative ways to incorporate technology across the curriculum in order to increase student learning and engagement. You can always check and see what his students are up to by visiting his classroom website,

Donnie has run a 1:1 iPad, Chromebook, and Macbook classroom over the course of his twelve year teaching career. Donnie received a B.A. in Theology from Asbury University and got his Masters in Education from Auburn University (Montgomery). Donnie is also a Google for Education Certified Innovator, a Google for Education Certified Trainer, and the lead for the Google Earth Education Advisory Board (GEEAB) in North America. He currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife and two children.

Susan Stewart

K-12 Instructional Technology Coach
Fowler Unified School District, CA

K-2 Can, TOO is the motto of this lead learner! Susan Stewart is Google Education Innovator and Trainer. She is currently the K-12 Instructional Technology Coach for Fowler Unified School District in Central California. Within her district, Susan has facilitated the implementation of a 1:1 program using iPads, Chromebooks, and the Google Suite. She regularly works with individual and teams of teachers to promote best practices for using technology to enhance instruction, foster creativity, support and supplement content, and improve assessment.

Henry Thiele

Community School District 99 Downers Grove, IL

Dr. Henry Thiele is the superintendent of District 99, which includes Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School in Illinois. These two premier High Schools high schools, serve over 5,000 students, drawing from several area communities District 99 went fully "1:1" in the 2016 school year; every student is now equipped with a Chromebook to use both inside and outside of school and to keep over the summer to continue using Google Apps, Classroom, Digital resources, and online tools. In the 2017 school year we ensured that every student had access to the Internet at home. Fully closing the "Homework Gap" helps us to achieve our learning mission: to enable students to "collaborate, reflect and empower" in their learning.

Immediately prior to joining District 99, Dr. Thiele served as assistant superintendent for technology and learning at Maine Township District 207 in Park Ridge, a district of three large high schools serving 6,500+ students. In this role, he serves students and teachers by leading the selection of educational and technology resources with a focus on personalizing education. During his tenure at District 207, he has led the district through the deployment of several large-scale initiatives related to teaching, learning and technology. For example, his achievements include becoming the first to bring Google Apps to a K-12 setting, launching a full-scale 1:1 Learning program, transitioning over half of the district's textbooks to digital platforms and leading the district to become recognized nationally for its innovations in technology and learning.

Dr. Thiele and his wife, Annel, have two children, Maria and Henry.