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Presenters

2019 Great Plains Summit Presenters

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.


Eric Curts

Technology Integration Specialist
SPARCC - Canton, OH

Eric has been in education for 28 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 throughout Ohio and across the country. He is a co-leader of the Ohio Google Educator Group at bit.ly/gegohio and runs the award-winning blog www.ControlAltAchieve.com 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.


Lisa Highfill

Instructional Technology Coach
San Francisco Bay Area

Lisa Highfill (@lhighfill) is an Instructional Technology Coach in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her masters in Educational Technology Leadership and has been a classroom teacher for over 20 years. As a Google Certified Innovator, and a YouTube Star Teacher, she travels the country presenting at edtech conferences and speaking about lesson design and learning theory. Lisa is the co-creator and co-author of The HyperDoc Handbook.


Jessica L. Williams

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.


Jesse Lubinsky

Chief Learning Officer
Ready Learner One LLC

Jesse is the Chief Learning Officer for Ready Learner One LLC. Prior to entering education, he was a technology consultant for Fortune 500 companies specializing in network engineering and software development projects. In 2009, he was published in the book "High-Tech Teaching Success!" by Prufrock Press. He was named one of BestCollegeRankings.org’s 100 Top Experts in #eLearning and #EdTech as well as a Top 100 K12 Tech Leader and Top 100 Most Social CIO by Extreme Networks. In 2016, he received a Technology Leader Pioneer Award from the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center. A Google for Education Certified Innovator and Trainer, Jesse is also co-founder of NY TECH ED, an organization centered around instructional technology use, and a former co-chair of NYTEN, a regional group focused on technology leadership. He is a CoSN Certified Education Technology Leader, an Adjunct Professor of Education Technology at Pace University, a member of the Google Earth Education Experts team, and a frequent keynote speaker and presenter who has recently done educational technology presentations across North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia. Jesse is also co-host of the Partial Credit Podcast which you can check out at http://partial.credit


Ryan O'Donnell

Video Production teacher
Rocklin, California

I am Video Production teacher and former Technology TOSA and high school social studies teacher in Rocklin California. My passions are Ed Tech, Innovation, Social Studies, Podcasting and Teacher Professional Development.

I have been teaching since 1997 and have been an advocate for all things "tech" since I first began teaching. Along with teaching, I've been presenting at technology and social studies strategies workshops both in my district and throughout the country.

I am the co-host of the "Check This Out" podcast where we chat weekly about new ed tech resources and ideas.

Along with presenting, I am on the board of CapCUE; the Sacramento affiliate of CUE.org which is an organization which focuses on infusing technology and developing leadership.


Donnie Piercey

Fifth Grade Teacher
Fayette County Schools

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, http://www.mrpiercey.com.

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.


Christine Pinto

Kindergarten teacher
Arcadia Unified, Southern California

Christine Pinto is a kindergarten teacher for Arcadia Unified in Southern California. Inspired by the kids she works with, she strives to make learning purposeful and the school environment an enjoyable place to be for her students. Christine is the founder of the hashtag #GAfE4Littles and co-author of the book Google Apps for Littles: Believe They Can. More recently, Christine has brought #GAfE4Littles into joining forces with #InnovatingPlay. Christine is a co-moderator of the #InnovatingPlay #SlowFlipChat, where she and Jessica Twomey facilitate discussions with educators about the ongoing cycle of connecting, wondering, playing, and discovering through a variety of intentional topics. Christine is a believer in the CAN mindset behind #GAfE4Littles, and has acquired the #InnovatingPlay mindset that learning and teaching can be done without limits!


Jim Sill

Director of Product Development
EdTechTeam

After working in the television industry, Jim spent many years as an award-winning video production teacher working with students to produce service projects that addressed the growing number of issues impacting teens. His work in the classroom was featured in Edutopia and their Teach2Learn series on "Building Career Skills in Video Production". As a Google Certified Innovator & Trainer and Apple Distinguished Educator, Jim specializes in Google’s collaborative tools, project-based learning, and visual / media literacy

Today, he is based out of Melbourne, Australia as the Director of Product Development for EdTechTeam and works with schools all over the world inspiring new uses of technology in teaching and learning. Throughout his travels, he has developed a passion for finding great stories in education while writing a few of his own.


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

Superintendent
Community High School District 99 Downers Grove, IL

Dr. Henry (Hank) Thiele is the superintendent of Community High School District 99, which includes Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School in Illinois. These two premier high schools, serve over 5,000 students, drawing from several area communities District 99 is recognized as one of the first districts to fully close the “Homework Gap” by ensuring every student has access at school and home to a computer, digital resources, and Internet access while working to enable students to “collaborate, reflect and empower” in their learning. District 99 is in the process of a major facilities refresh, through a Master Facility Plan, which was strongly supported by the community through a successful bond referendum in 2018. This work is underway and will fundamentally restructure the spaces in which District 99's students learn and provides new opportunities for the entire learning community.

Dr. Thiele is well known for his expertise in educational technology with a focus on personalizing education through the lens of care. Throughout his career he has led others through the deployment of several large-scale initiatives related to teaching, learning, and technology. Examples include working with Google to bring Google for Education into many K-12 settings (including the first deployment of Google in the K-12 setting), launching full-scale 1:1 learning programs, transitioning print resources to digital platforms, and leading the districts to be recognized nationally for innovations in technology and learning.

Dr. Thiele and his wife, Annel, have two children, Maria and Henry. He serves his community in many volunteer capacities in local schools and athletic programs. Dr. Thiele is a graduate of Concordia University Chicago with a B.A. in Secondary Education with majors in Physical Science and Instrumental Music. His graduate coursework including studies in Teaching, Learning, Administration, and Organizational Change took place as he earned a M.A. and Ed.D. from Roosevelt University in Chicago followed by post-doctoral work at Loyola University, Chicago.


Jessica Twomey

Kindergarten teacher

Jessica currently teaches Kindergarten in New Jersey, and has experience as a classroom teacher preschool through first grade. She completed her M.Ed. from Rutgers University in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, as well as additional graduate work and professional studies focusing on use of educational technology with young children. Together, with Christine Pinto, she works to build the Innovating Play mindset which examines the ways in which joyful, play-based experiences can be elevated for all learners through use of technology. Jessica and Christine work collaboratively between their Kindergarten classes on a daily basis from across the country, and hold the belief that the most effective way to utilize technology with young children is to create a foundation for seeing and experiencing humanity beyond the screen. She and Christine share about their work together at www.innovatingplay.world and co-moderate the #InnovatingPlay #SlowFlipChat to support all educators in connecting, wondering, playing, and discovering together.


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